So much of what people do is good and right. The right thing at the right time. And the news of that is rare. So I wanted to write a little blog about that, especially in families—where we nestle in and are loved.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Cool and Luscious, Strawberry Pie.
We're used to the heat in the Pacific Northwest. Big portions of the West are land-locked desert or high plains, both of which attract heat like butter to pancakes. We have triple digits in July and early August, cools off to the 90s in the last of August. It's October before we see the 80s. The heat roils in from California, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico, followed by thunderstorms and eardrum-rattling lightning. Possibly we're not in the Kansas category, but it's all I want.
When the heavy, soaking rains come, we relish the sound, coolness, and the scent. There's a word for it: petrichor. The smell of falling rain on hard, dry dirt. It's delicious. So until that happens, I go through gallons of iced tea, take walks in the morning before the heat sets in, and run the air conditioner at night. So far, Obi, my giant, long-haired ragdoll is doing all right. As I am.
And when the occasion calls for it. I make Strawberry Pie. My church buddy, Rick, just completed an Iron Man race in the north. His wife, Suzie, is here for the summer, and we're celebrating his accomplishment. A big deal, given the fact that Rick is 58.
That calls for Strawberry Pie.
For the crust: The day before.
1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt - run a whisk through it. Add chilled, 3/4 cup shortning, cut in pieces. Then I used two knives to cut in the fat.
When the mixture resembles pea-sized bits, I add 6-8 tablespoons for iced water. Mix it all together and form a ball. Put the ball in waxed paper, a let it rest for about an hour, or overnight.
Roll it out, it's a big crust. Roll, east-west, north-south. When it's bigger than the pie pan, gently put the crust in the pan. Carefully make sure the crust is patted into place. Trim off the extra. (I make a bigger crust, because it's easier to trim than patch.) Use a fork to press in a pattern along the rim and to poke holes in the crust across the bottom and along the sides. Let it sit in the fridge, for an hour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. You can use parchment paper and a couple cups of dried beans to make sure the crust doesn't fall in on itself. Start checking on it at 10 minutes. Let it cool at least an hour. The hard part is done.
Here's the filling. You'll need 6-8 cups of strawberries. Wash them by running cool water gently over them. Cut out the hulls and cut the big ones in half. Otherwise, let them be.
Take about 1 1/2 cups strawberries, and put them into a sauce pan. Don't add any water. Take a potato masher and break up the strawberries. Add 2 tablespoons of corn starch, 1 1/2 teaspoons SureJell, and 1/2 cup sugar.
Let the mixture come to a boil, and then let it cook about 10 minutes. The sauce will clear. Take it off the heat, and let it cool for about 15 minutes. You don't want to pour hot sauce over the rest of the berries. That will cook them. You want them the way nature intended.
Then add the sauce to the strawberries, stir just enough to coat the berries. Pour them into your prepared pie crust. You can press them into place a little bit. Let the pie finish cooling in the fridge at least 4 or 5 hours.