“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ~David Mamet
For this week's column I wanted to make something with strawberries. Strawberries are so bright, juicy and sweet this time of year that they just scream "Summertime!"
After poring over my cookbooks and magazines I found a recipe that combined the tartness of lemon with the sweetness of strawberries, together in one of my husband's very favorite things in the world: pie. Since it's Father's Day, I thought a pie was definitely in order. Especially an "icebox pie" that I wouldn't have to bake. (A talent for baking I do not posess, as I have spoken of in columns past-but this was less about baking and more about me being short on time.) So I gathered my ingredients and got to work.
After I mixed together the filling (easy!) and topping (easier!), froze and then baked the pie crust (easy, but there goes 45 minutes...), I read the rest of the directions.
I realized that after putting the filling into the baked pie crust I would need to bake the whole thing for another 30 minutes. Then let it cool down. Then put it in the fridge for 3 hours. And it still wouldn't be done. UGH. Note to self: Read the directions all the way through before starting a project.
In total this pie takes about 6 hours to make. The prep time is less than an hour but between the freezing, baking, baking again, cooling and refrigerating...it's a lot of time. The time is well spent, though, since this is one lovely little pie.
Strawberry Lemon Icebox (But You Still Have To Bake It) Pie
- Refrigerated pie crust (or if you are awesome you can make your own. I am not awesome so I buy mine.)
For the filling:
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 large egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the topping and meringue:
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 large egg whites (2 reserved from filling)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Let refrigerated crust come to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes) or make your crust (I don't have a recipe for you since I'm not awesome).
- Press the crust into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Freeze for 30 minutes. (Fun fact: Chilling the crust before baking relaxes the gluten and minimizes shrinkage during baking.)
- Bake the crust for about 10-11 minutes until it starts to get brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325.
- Make the filling by whisking together condensed milk, lemon juice, egg yolks, egg and salt.
- Make the topping by combining strawberries with 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp lemon juice.
- Go do something else for 3 hours (suggestions: errands, walking the dog or cleaning out the DVR-those shows pile up fast, don't they?)
- Make meringue by heating egg whites and 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once sugar dissolves (2-3 mins) take the bowl off the pan.
- Use a mixer (high speed) on the mixture for about 8-9 minutes until medium peaks form (about 8 mins or so).
- Spoon the berries over the pie (I used a slotted spoon so there wasn't an overabundance of juice in the pie).
- Spoon the meringue over the top.
- Use a kitchen torch to brown the top or put it under the broiler until the meringue is just browned. (I prefer the torch method because, well, it's more fun.)
- Curse the pie for taking up the majority of your afternoon. Then begrudgingly thank it for being so good (and for giving you the opportunity to clean out your DVR.)
Enjoy and Happy Father's Day!