I’d be very happy if my lifestyle, waistline and conscience allowed me to bake a pie a day. Okay, maybe a pie a week. I really enjoy the process of stirring together aromatic fillings, paring fruit, making and rolling pastry and then assembling it all into a beautiful, edible object. It’s no secret I like my pies rustic. You might notice some shattered crust, some lopsided and inconsistent crimping and some cracking of the custard in the Strawberry and Yogurt Custard Pie in the pictures here. I don’t mind. Do you? It’s not that I take an anti-aesthetic stance on pie and I don’t think that they should be pretty and perfect. In fact, I think quite the opposite, but it seems to me that the appropriate aesthetic for pie is for it to be a bit ramshackle; perfect in it’s imperfections, if you will. You can see that this pie delivers on all fronts: roasty-looking strawberry slices, deep crevices in the lemon custard and a (perfectly) delicate crust (that shattered when my thumbs slipped as I picked it up), no matter. This pie will never be overdressed for the party and will not intimidate the other desserts, but let me tell you, this pie has style … and substance.
Strawberry Season is a happy time of year to me. I love how versatile and delicious they are and how limitless the options are when cooking and baking with them. Keep your eyes peeled for a Strawberry Recipe Round Up next week.
But let’s talk more about this home style Strawberry and Yogurt Custard Pie! I know that making pastry from scratch may seem daunting – I used to live in fear of anything yeasted or even resembling pastry. You just need to accept that not every time will it be perfect but that most times it will be! Roll up your sleeves, roll out your rolling pin, and try it. Any modicum of success will make you feel like an accomplished baker and I dare say you might have fun along the way.
Do as I say and not as I do … don’t slice this pie until it’s fully cooled … custard is a lazy, doddling treat that likes to be coddled and chilled and coaxed into it’s creamy form. Any action too early and it will dramatically flop as you slice it.
What makes this particular custard so good? Well, instead of the classical heavy cream version, which, believe me, has it’s time and place (like chai tea creme brulee) but in this pie, yogurt is the hero. And lemon. Lots of lemon.
Strawberry and Yogurt Custard Pie
2 Cups sliced strawberries
2 Cups plain Greek Yogurt
1 Cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
Hull and slice the strawberries. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, sugar and vanilla, mixing very well. Refrigerate until you’re ready to add it to the pie crust.
To make the piecrust:
In a bowl with a pastry blender, cut together
1¼ cups of all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
½ Cup vegetable shortening
Do not over work the shortening, leaving some pieces as large as a pea. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time until you can form a cohesive ball of dough. It will be very soft and delicate. Allow it to sit in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up. Once chilled, roll it on a floured surface until it is a ¼” thick and round. Place it in a 8″ pie plate. Fold the edges under and crimp them.
Add most of the strawberries to the crust holding back a few for the top. Add the chilled filling and the last few strawberry slices and bake for 1 hour and 15 mins at 375° or until the edges are set and the center is still slightly jiggly.
Turn off the oven and allow the pie to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 1 hour. Chill for 2 hours before serving.
Makes 8 servings.