It started when my husband spotted the strawberry sale: a kilo container of organic Driscoll’s strawberries. Driscoll’s is a large, national concern that happens to farm strawberries in our locality. “You normally pay $4 for one basket of berries at the farmer’s market,” Rory said. “Why not give these a try. The price is the same.”
Friends were coming for dinner on Saturday night and my first inclination was to make strawberry shortcake. But on Saturday morning, I tasted the berries in my breakfast muesli and they had great aroma but meh flavor. Shortcake was not going use up 2 pounds of berries. It would have to be a pie, but I’d not baked a pie in at least 20 years. I used to make them often when I was a teenager, then switched to tarts and free-form galettes.
Most of the strawberry pies I'd eaten were like the ones from Marie Calendars, with berries glazed shiny and whipped cream. Not the best expression of strawberry goodness. I was looking for big strawberry-jam like flavor contained in a delicate, well baked crust. That was my vision of a perfect strawberry pie.
But I wan't completely sure how I was going to achieve pie perfection by the time guests arrived. I needed to very quickly brush up on pie-making skills. Pie seems simple but to get a tasty crust that’s properly cooked (not gummy and soft) with a filling that held together – requires a certain level of know-how. Pies are strangely tricky and I was obviously rusty.