In our household, it is always a big day when the first red, ripe strawberry can be picked and enjoyed. And it seems that after a long year’s wait, we have finally reached that time of year again!
Each day the girls peer into the strawberry patch looking for any signs of red beneath the green mass of leaves and vines. Their little fingers are just the right size to weave in there and snatch up any berry goodness they can locate.
This week I sat outside, looking at our first full bowl of strawberries of the season and I knew I had to make something that would showcase these little jewels. While I was thinking, I also remembered that I had a dozen eggs from our farm visit on Saturday, freshly collected by our girls and all. And that sparked it…I would make a strawberry custard pie.
With pen and paper in hand, I got to work. I worked assiduously all afternoon, checking out a variety of recipes, making my own tweaks, measuring and mixing and tasting. After a bit of time, and a little help from my always helpful sous chef (Who has now advanced to age three…she is getting so mature 🙂 ), I ended up with what looked like, and tasted like, a yummy pie.
Here is what I did:
Crust (This crust recipe makes a lot, but I have found that it is easier to make a bit more crust, so that it is less likely to break while transferring to the pie plate. I just use the extra crust to make a quick cream and sugar pie for the girls to snack on. See the note at the bottom of the recipe for this super easy recipe idea.)
~Mix 2 1/4 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
~Add 2/3 cup coconut oil (in its solid state). Mix the coconut oil into the flour using a pastry blender until it resembles crumbs.
~Then add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency for the crust. (I normally end up with about 10 tablespoons of water.)
~Roll out your crust and transfer it to a pie plate. Cut off the excess crust and make your desired edge for the pie.
~Blind bake the crust in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.
~Allow to cool completely.
(*Note: I take any extra crust, roll it out and place it in a baking dish. I then add a few pads of butter, a few tablespoons of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top of the crust. I then drizzle a bit of cream or milk on top of it all and bake it at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. This will give you a yummy little snack to enjoy while you are making the rest of the pie. I especially love it because it keeps the little ones occupied while momma works on the other parts of the pie.)
~Mix 2 cups whole milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 4 tablespoons sugar and one vanilla bean (with seeds removed…you add the seeds as well) in a saucepan.
~Bring the milk mixture close to a boil over medium heat. Stir often to avoid scorching. Once the mixture is close to a boil, remove it from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, remove the vanilla bean.
~In a separate bowl, mix 8 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
~Temper the eggs with the milk mixture. Do this very slowly and with a whisk. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly mix the egg mixture back into the remaining milk mixture using a whisk.
~Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of corn starch.
~Then place the saucepan back on low to medium heat and mix constantly with a wooden spoon. The mixture will gradually begin to thicken. This will take some time. Once the custard reaches the desired consistency, remove it from the heat. (You do need to be careful while heating the mixture because if the heat is on too high, or if you cook it for too long, the eggs will begin to scramble.)
~Pour the custard into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
~Once the pudding has set, place fresh, sliced strawberries on top of the pie and enjoy!