Spring!! I think I can confidently say that it's Spring in Chicago. We still have a few weirdo days now and then that are 50 degrees and rainy but we're beginning to have steady, sunny, 70 degree weather. Huzzah! (Side note: I'm not ready to bare my arms in public! I haven't achieved my tank top arms!! I blame genetics and pizza and Goldfish crackers).
This pie is basically the food equivalent of spring. Much the same way that watermelon is the food equivalent of summer. You catch my drift? It tastes like spring. It's bright and sweet and light and I could eat the whole thing. I didn't but I could. Do you dare me? Ok, I will.
And don't you dare judge me for using Jello. First things first, we're all friends here, right? Right. So let's not impose silly rules on what makes food fancy or delicious. And let's not pretend an ingredient like Lemon Jello doesn't totally brighten up an already fabulous Strawberry Pie. Because it does!
Let's talk about crust. When I set out to make this pie, I wanted to make something easy from start to finish. My first inclination was to use a no-roll pie crust. I'd never attempted one before and I went through a bit of trial and error. While it's not the recipe I used, I've been eager to try Joy the Baker's recipe for a no-roll crust too. Ultimately, I think the crust tastes great and held up well to the filling but it certainly felt shortbread-y, not pie crust-y. The great thing about a recipe like this is that it's customizable. So if you prefer a classic crust, just swap it in. Blueberries instead of strawberries? Sure! Pizza? Why not! Goldfish Crackers? Heck yeah! Tank Top Arms? No probably not.
Here's the recipe!
Fresh Strawberry Pie with Shortbread Crust
4 cups strawberries, quartered
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon flavored Jello mix
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick), cubed
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water, if necessary
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a 9 inch pie pan with non stick spray and set aside.
2. Prepare the dough. In a food processor, pulse flour, butter, shortening and sugar until the mixture resembles course corn meal. Add vinegar and 1 teaspoon of water and pulse to combine. If the dough holds together when you pinch it, it's ready. If it needs more moisture, add 1 teaspoon at a time until it just holds together.
3. Sprinkle dough into the bottom of a pie plate and begin working it evenly to the bottom of the pan and up the sides. I use my fingers and knuckles to work the dough but a flat bottom-ed cup works well too. You're looks for even consistency and full coverage of the plan. When ready, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
4. Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Pour in water and bring to a full boil. As soon as the mixture begins boiling, turn off the heat and add the Jello. Stir until dissolved and allow to cool.
5. Once cool, gently fold in strawberries and pour into crust. Arrange the top layer of strawberries to look pretty. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight (covered) before serving.