Technically, today was day 3, but I will blog about that tomorrow morning hopefully. Tonight, I’ll write about yesterday’s dinner, our second night of barbecue.
It was a fairly plain peppercorn steak, with roasted potatoes with bacon and chives and corn. Grinding peppercorns made me miss my marble mortar and pestle and I added a replacement to my wish list. I used pink, white and black peppercorns on the steak though I’m pretty sure any peppercorns would work just fine. The steak was a London Broil, the type I used most often for this kind of dinner. The potatoes I always rub with olive oil before slicing a few stripes in them and wrapping them in tin foil. I cook them on the top shelf of the grill to avoid charring the skin, and I usually put them on while the grill is heating up so they are in there longer.
The real star of last night’s dinner was the dessert – the dessert I almost didn’t make! I had already made a batch of strawberry cupcakes for the kids, but the grown ups were not as into them as the kids so I also whipped up this pie. It was perfection, and is now my go-to for strawberry pies and tarts! It’s so so simple too!
6 cups cleaned and chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg + splash of water for an egg wash
First, whip up a batch of pie crust. You can use store bought crust, but I really have to advise that you try to make it yourself. It’s usually so much flakier and getting good at making pie crust is pure magic.
Clean and cut up your strawberries, add the cornstarch and and salt and mix until the berries are coated. Then add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix again until the berries are coated.
Line your pie plate (9″ works well with this recipe) with your pie crust and pile in the strawberry filling. Now, you could nestle a pie bird in the middle, cover it with another sheet of pie crust and bake it off. Or, you could get a little fancy with the top crust. I really believe that if your filling is beautiful, you should show it off. I looked everywhere for my pastry cutter – everywhere. I’m starting to think that I didn’t bring it with me when we moved since now I can’t even find any pictures of cut crust strips in my California kitchens! I did what most full time moms would do and I repurposed a toy to do the job. Although in this case, it’s not really repurposing since I used a play doh cutter and essentially, they are do the same job. I went with a basket weave to look rustic, made a plain border and then brushed the crust with my egg wash before topping with a generous sprinkling of sugar for crunch and sparkle.
This is one of those pies that never looks ready when you check on it. I baked it for about 45 minutes and when I checked, the crust looked great but the filling was really wobbily. I left it for another 30 minutes and returned to the same thing. So I turned the oven off and left it in there for another 30 minutes. By then, my husband wanted to try a taste. I warned him that it was really gooey and he had a little taste. Then he had two pieces! I brought a few pieces to my neighbors, one had never had strawberry pie before and she loved it, the other was supposed to eat one piece and bring the other to his roommate. He ended up eating both of them and this morning there was none left. It’s that good.
The natural sweetness of the strawberries (and of course the sugar) make it sweet, but the natural tang of the strawberries and the lemon makes it a little tart as well. Great with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or all on it’s own!