Recipe for Joy and Strawberry Pie

by Louise Ayer

The gathering of people intent on connection and intimacy
1 recipe for Strawberry Pie with all-butter crust

Austin and Anjuli, our son and daughter, had come home to roost for a week or three and brought friends and colleagues with them. They were all intent on creating community and intimacy with us and each other. We were a full house, and I felt so blessed. I felt blessed not only because they are all such loving, caring people but also because they all have seva hearts. They understand the concept of service which means they all know how to pitch in and help and to do it with joy. We planned out the day and the meals together. I never felt I had to shoulder the responsibility alone.

When it came to meals, it was often a party. We quickly discussed what we were preparing and people would volunteer to take a part of it, from food prep to cooking to dishes. My husband, Ramani, would sometimes play his playlist and then it became a party. We would dance a little and horse around like one big family and everything would get done. We all felt part of a community where everyone looked after each other, no one was left out, and we all felt energized and ready to sit down and enjoy another delicious meal together.

One night after dinner we turned our attention to a strawberry pie. The next day was Amanda’s birthday and Austin, her partner and my son, had told me Amanda had requested we make a strawberry pie, a cooked strawberry pie. I had grave doubts about this pie. It was not in my family tradition to cook strawberries in a pie like you would cook blueberries. But according to Austin it was a tradition in Amanda’s family, they loved pie and they loved strawberry pie. I certainly had faith in Austin and Amanda, so I was game. Anjuli offered to make the pie with me.

We decided to make a lattice pie. We used my all-butter crust recipe and cut up 6 cups of strawberries for the pie. It was yummy. It tasted like strawberry shortcake and the crust was rich and flaky. We all loved it. Happy Birthday, Amanda!

Strawberry Pie
Use all organic ingredients, if possible

The Pie Dough:
3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut in ¾ inch dice
½ cup (8 tablespoons) ice water

Form the dough:
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl that is big enough that you can easily get both your hands in. Stir to combine. Add the butter chunks into the bowl and toss some of your flour on top of them so they don’t all stick together. Smear the chunks between your thumb and fingers of both hands, working as quickly as you comfortably can. Keep turning the bowl so you are working with different areas. Keep smearing the butter and flour until your mixture has butter flakes about ¼ inch big.

Now drizzle three tablespoons or so of the ice water over the surface of the dough and toss with a fork as you drizzle. Keep turning the bowl. Continue to drizzle the water and toss with a fork until the dough is just moist enough to hold together when pressed between your fingers.

Divide the dough in two and put on separate pieces of wax paper. Press the dough into two disks with straight sides. Wrap each disc in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. If you are not going to use the dough right away, you can also freeze it for up to 2 months, but put the dough wrapped in wax paper in a sealed freezer bag.

Roll the dough:
Remove the dough from the fridge a few minutes or up to 20 minutes before you roll it out so it is not rock hard. Now lightly flour the surface where you are going to roll. Roll from the center towards the outside, lifting your pin before you get to the edge so it doesn’t get too thin. Keep rolling from the center towards the outer edge until you have a circle 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Fold your circle in half and then again to a triangle to make it easier to carry to the pie plate. Place the point of your triangle in the center of the pan, then unfold until your circle is in the center of the pan. Trim excess to one-inch overhang. Refrigerate the pie crust for 30 minutes to set.

5-6 cups fresh strawberries
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

In a large bowl cut the strawberries in halves or quarters depending on their size. Toss the strawberries with zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Toss in the sugar, flour, and salt until the berries are well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes. Spoon berries into pie crust, mounding them in the center.

Take the second disk out of the fridge and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Lightly flour the surface where you plan to roll out the dough. Roll disk into a circle 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Cut into strips to make a lattice top. If you have a pastry wheel or a pizza cutter, it will facilitate cutting the strips evenly. Create a lattice weave as you like. Trim off the lattice ends to 1-inch overhang, fold the edge of the bottom crust over the lattice strips, and crimp with a fork.

Egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Beat the egg with the milk and brush the egg wash on the top of the pie. Then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Chill for 20 minutes.

Bake the pie:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Put the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Let the pie cool on a rack for 2 hours before serving.


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