Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Pie

A well loved pie, reminiscent of those served at Shoney's restaurants, made with fresh sliced strawberries and set with the help of strawberry jello and a secret ingredient of good ole 7-up lemon-lime soda.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

It's the season for strawberries, which makes me a happy person. I LOVE strawberries! And especially locally grown sweet Louisiana or Florida strawberries.

Strawberries are best purchased fresh when you need them because they just do not store well. Last year though, I discovered that the Debbie Meyer green bags and boxes kept them fresh in the fridge for much, much longer than any other storage method.

This pie recipe is reminiscent of a pie I used to love from my youth in the early 70s. Back then, a friend of mine was a waitress ... or I guess what would be called a 'server' in this politically correct day and age ... at Shoney's and since Shoney's was right on Biloxi beach, my friends and I would stop by to visit with her sometimes to duck the heat. Of course, we couldn't just occupy a space in a booth without buying something, so we would usually have something to eat too!

Years later in the mid and late 80s, that Shoney's was still a favorite. My boyfriend and I would go there mid-morning on Sundays for the breakfast buffet, stuff ourselves and then go back to my apartment and have a lazy Sunday, reading the paper, watching football and taking a nap. They also had a night mid-week where they had a choice between a smaller dinner buffet or a breakfast for dinner buffet. Both were good, but I always seemed to lean toward the breakfast buffet even then. It was just so hard to resist!

Biscuits and sausage with sausage gravy, piles of bacon cooked crisp just like I liked it, scrambled eggs, grits, fried potatoes, pancakes, French toast sticks, muffins, lots of fresh fruit and awesome coffee. We lost our Biloxi Shoney's years ago and gracious do I miss that buffet. I think the closest one to us now is Hattiesburg and I'm sure that it's location near the USM campus is what has kept that one going strong all these years.

Their strawberry pie was one of my top favorites. It was made right there on site, and while the recipe was kept secret, she did tell us that it was made using 7-up. I set out to try to duplicate it over the years and this recipe is pretty darned close to what I remember. Now, in all fairness, I'm pretty sure they did the whole strawberries in their pie, but I find slicing them makes for a much easier pie to both cut and eat, so that is what I do.

When I eat this pie, it makes me think of those carefree days of youth {isn't it funny how food can do that?}, when the only thing we worried about was pretty much what was going on and where we would be over the weekend. Well, that and working on our tans all day every day at the beach so we would look good in whatever skin bearing outfit we chose to wear that weekend!

Hey, it is a beach town after all.

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Recipe: Fresh Strawberry Pie

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 12 min | Yield: About 8 servings

  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 10 ounces of lemon lime soda (like 7-up or Sprite - regular or diet)
  • 1 (3 ounce) box of strawberry gelatin
  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries, rinsed, sliced and drained
  • 1 homemade or commercial pie crust (Pillsbury recommended), precooked and cooled
  • Homemade whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping

Place the sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and whisk until well blended. Add the 7-up and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and thoroughly whisk in the strawberry gelatin. Set aside to cool.

Clean the strawberries by removing the hull and rinsing them in a colander. Slice into 3 to 4 slices per berry and return to the colander. Run a quick rinse over the berries and let them drain completely.

If preparing a pie crust from packaged, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F or according to package directions. If preparing from scratch, you can find a recipe here.

Place the crust into an ungreased glass pie plate and fold the top edges under the pastry (not the pie plate) all the way around. Flute the top edges of the pie crust by taking one hand and barely pinch together a small section of the dough edge between your thumb and forefinger, while pressing the thumb of your other hand in between those fingers at the same time. Do this all the way around the top.

Photo Credit

Using a fork, dock the bottom of the pie crust by pricking it in multiple spots all along the bottom. This helps to vent the crust so that it doesn't buckle. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or according to your package direction, until light golden brown. Remove, set aside and let cool for at least 10 minutes before filling.

Layer the strawberry slices in the precooked, cooled crust. Evenly distribute the glaze over the strawberries and chill 2 to 4 hours, until fully set and serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Tip: To speed the chilling time for the glaze, after thoroughly whisking in the gelatin, set the saucepan in a bowl filled with water and ice, stirring occasionally as it cools. Once cooled, evenly distribute the glaze over the strawberries as above.

Cook's Note: From my recollection, Shoney's made their pie with whole strawberries. While I find the pie much easier to cut and eat with sliced strawberries, certainly use whole strawberries if that is your preference.


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Posted by on April 4, 2009
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