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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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on April 4, 2009
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  1. I loved Shoney's! They shut ours down a few years ago up here! I love your blog, I'm a fairly new cooker and I LOVE your blog. I love in North Louisiana so all your recipes fit right in with my taste buds!

  2. Hi Emily and welcome! We don't have any Shoney's restaurants at all down here on the Coast anymore - at least not that I am aware of!

    One of my most favorites things about Shoney's was the big breakfast buffet on Sunday mornings. My (then) boyfriend and I would go early, eat far too much, and then go home and veg out on the couch while he watched football and I leisurely read the Sunday paper - I mean it literally took me nearly all day to read it since I would close my eyes and nap a big afte that big breakfast!!

    Ahhh... those were the days...

  3. Mary,

    Your pie looks sooooo gooood, and we do have the strawberries, so looks like I'll be making a pie this week.

  4. Hi Mary! I'm so glad you stopped by my blog so I could find YOU!! I love southern cooking!! Is this the new blog?? Let me know so I can put you in my reader, I expect to be here alot!!

  5. Hey Joyce! It's very simple to do too - enjoy!

    Hi Bunny - this is the only blog right now. Eventually I want to move things over to the other one, but who knows when/if that will happen! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I really love any type of dessert recipe that features strawberries! We buy ours here at a local Orchard here in PA. I store my strawberries in a TW Fridgesmart berry container and can usually get them to last for 5-6 days. We have been making a lot of strawberry lemonade lately. About 2 weeks ago I made a White Chocolate Amaretto Dessert that had strawberries and blueberries in it.

    Anyway, just wanted to leave my comment since I am a strawberry fan!

  7. That is one pretty pie Mary. Strawberry Pie is one of my faves.

  8. Mmmmm, that looks really good, fresh strawberry pie is a favorite of ours too.
    Love the beach picture.

  9. Hi Shelly! Locally grown produce is always best. That dessert sounds awesome - and strawberry lemonade??!! Thanks for stopping by to visit me!

    Thanks Tina! This one is good and easy too!

    Hey Rebel - I guess I'm just so used to the beach that I have taken it for granted - gosh it's hard to believe that I used to practically LIVE down there LOL...

  10. I love strawberry pie! I can't wait for fresh strawberries. I have made a wonderful pie that looks very similar, but doesn't have the soda in it. I'll have to try this next time.

  11. Hey Heidi! I have NO idea what the 7-up is supposed to do scientifically with the recipe, only that it was in the Shoney's pie that I loved so much! There are loads of recipes without it. I'll have to check your pie out!

  12. Your picture is GREAT

    Strawberries are on sale at Walmart in my area.

  13. Just made your Strawberry Pie. It looks great. I can't wait to dig into it.

  14. Just made your Strawberry Pie. Can't wait to dig into it. It looks and smells great.

  15. Hi Melissa! Let me know what you think if you have time to come back. :) Enjoy!!

  16. My fiance kept telling me his favorite dessert was Shoney's Strawberry pie. I had never heard of it so I searched online to find a good looking recipe to make for him. Found this, made it and he loved it! He ate half the pie in one night and the other half the next. Thank you for the great recipe!

    1. I'm so glad he enjoyed it & thank you so much for stopping back by to let me know!!

  17. I followed your recipe to exact. Totally ruined. It ended up being Strawberry pie jello. The whole box was to much.

    1. Well... I sure don't know what to say about that.

      What you see pictured is exactly the result of what I did from the recipe so if you followed the recipe exactly, you should have the same exact result as that pie pictured, and as the other folks here who left positive comments above about making this recipe!! There had to have been an error??

  18. Just made it. Turned out wonderful!!

    1. Thanks Heather - glad you enjoyed it & thanks especially for taking the time to come back to leave positive feedback. I really appreciate that!

  19. I had never had a strawberry before I tried this recipe and We LOVED IT! Thanks, Mary for posting. Super easy and just delicious. Strawberry season's about done here in South East Texas but I can't wait til next year to try it with some good, local, pick-your-own berries!!
    -Shirley B.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it Shirley and thanks so much for taking the time to stop back by and let me know! That really means a lot - thank you!!

    2. How funny! I said I had never tried a strawberry before and what I meant was I had never tried a strawberry PIE before! LOL of course I knew what a strawberry was before I made the pie. That got me tickled :)
      Shirley B.

    3. :) I didn't even think a thing about it Shirley - I knew what you meant!!

  20. Used really sweet berries straight from the farm to make this. Normal (not sweet at all) strawberries from the supermarket would have worked better. Probably should have adjusted the sugar back to compensate. Because except for being too sweet, this was the perfect copycat of the Shoney's pie. Thank you Mary because this may be the one dish I miss the most after Shoney's passing! my youngest had never even had a glazed strawberry pie! (she's not quite 24.)

    1. I miss the Shoney's Sunday breakfast buffet! Yes, definitely always taste the strawberries as some are much sweeter than others. Bet those are some good ones you got from the farm though!!

  21. Holy yummy! This is one delicious pie, Mary. Love the addition of jello. It gives it a great body. I'm thinking of other fruits; blueberries with mixed berry jello? Yes, please!

  22. With the exception of the lemon-lime soda, this is identical to the recipe Mom used for years. It's quite tasty, and everyone demands BIG slices.

    A tip about fresh strawberries that will enable you to keep them longer. I always wash mine as soon as I get home. To about a gallon of cold water I add one cup of white vinegar; place the strawberries in this for no more than 2 minutes, then remove to a colander to drain & dry. As the berries or whatever you've washed dries, the vinegar flavor & aroma (?) dissipates. I've been doing this for a few years and they DO keep much longer. Recently I found a few berries that were still in the container and had been pushed behind some other items in the fridge. They were dried out, but did not have a speck of mold on them - seriously. It's well worth the extra few minutes of time to do this, plus it washes off any nasties that may be lurking. I also use this for tomatoes, green onions, citrus fruit (since I utilize the zest), and several others.


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