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Vintage strawberry pie

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 8
Vintage strawberry pie
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Pie crust

1

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter cubes and toss them in the flour to coat. Using your fingertips, progressively separate the butter into smaller pieces while tossing them back into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

2

Make a well in the center and drizzle over 4 tablespoons of water. If too dry, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time. Combine and shape into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3

When ready to shape the pie shell, flour a working surface generously and roll the dough with a rolling pin until it’s very thin — about 1/4 inch thick. Cut a dough circle large enough to fit into a 9-inch pie pan — don’t forget to account for an extra half inch of dough to crimp a decorative edge. Lightly coat the pie tin with nonstick spray and lay the dough circle inside the tin. Gather the excess dough around the edges and crimp as desired. Refrigerate the pie shell for at least one hour or up to two days.

4

Set an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. To pre-bake the pie shell, coat it lightly with nonstick spray, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or rice to weigh down the dough and prevent it from puffing while in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, carefully lift the parchment circle to remove the beans and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until it’s a deep golden brown. Take out of the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Strawberry pie

1

While the pie shell is baking, start working on the strawberry sauce. Purée 2 cups of the strawberries in a blender until completely liquefied. Add the port, gelatin powder, salt and cornstarch, and blend for another minute.

2

Put sugar in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot and add about 1/2 cup of water just to moisten the sugar. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a pairing knife, scrape out the pulp with the back of the knife, and put the pulp and the pod into the pot. Cook over high heat without stirring until the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let it reduce until it resembles a thick syrup. Add the strawberry purée and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes while stirring constantly; the mixture will be thick. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

3

Gently toss the rest of the strawberries with the cooled strawberry mixture until they’re all evenly covered. Add the strawberry filling in the prepared shell so it makes a mound in the middle, packing it lightly with your hand so the strawberries stick together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Noelle Carter is the former Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director. She left in January 2019.
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