Hi! My name is Jocelyn, and I'm a composer, author, and home baker. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a strawberry pie for awhile. I don’t know that I’ve ever had one before, except for a bite of the gooey diner classic that’s simultaneously intriguing and disconcerting. I wanted something multidimensional that honors the quintessential strawberry flavor and the rise of spring.
Enter my best friend AJ, who sent me an Instagram reel of a Strawberry Calpico cocktail. It contained homemade strawberry gin, lemon, yuzu (a cross between a lemon and orange), cream, egg white, homemade pink peppercorn syrup (!!), and club soda. My only response was “I need to make a pie out of this.” I LOVE making cocktail-inspired pies that pack a punch, and this felt like my latest conquest. I swapped the strawberry gin with Tom Cat honey-distilled gin (a recent gift from my connoisseur cousin), lovingly omitted the remaining ingredients (for now), and went to work. The result is a pie that tastes the way the first warm day of spring feels. It’s light, not too sweet, and crave-able.
The first time I tested this pie, I macerated the berries with sugar to extract the juice, and reduced it on the stove with butter and cornstarch to thicken. It still came out too watery for my preference, so I pivoted. Erin McDowell released an incredible Blueberry Lemon pie in her seminal book on pies: The Book On Pie. It features both cooked and fresh fruit filling that combines flavor and texture beautifully. That method worked out perfectly, resulting in a pie that feels like strawberry preserves with extra love. I hope you enjoy this pie; May it help you celebrate spring and summer for years to come.
This recipe was adapted from Erin McDowell’s Blueberry Lemon Pie Recipe.
- One store-bought 9-inch / 23-cm pie crust thawed, OR one 9-inch homemade all-butter pie crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (150 g)
- Pinch salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (113 g)
- 1/4 cup ice water, or more as needed (56 g)
- One 9-inch / 23cm metal, ceramic, glass, or disposable aluminum foil pie pan, ungreased
- 850 g / 5 cups fresh strawberries
- About 25 g / fresh yuzu or lemon juice (if lemon is used, juice ½ medium lemon)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 250 g / 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 60 g / ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 g / ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 28 g / 1 ounce / 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 28g/ 1 ounce / 2 tablespoons honey-flavored gin (such as Tom Cat by Barr Hill) (optional)
Pie Crust Method
If you’re using store bought dough, skip to step 10.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt to combine.
- Add the butter, tossing the cubes in the flour to coat. Rub the butter into the flour until it is the size of walnut halves (for a flaky crust) or peas (for a mealy crust).
- Make a well in the center, and add the water a few tablespoons at a time and mix just until the dough comes together.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and chill at least 30min, up to overnight, before rolling, forming, and baking.
- To Roll Out the Dough: Lightly dust a work surface with flour, and lightly dust a rolling pin, if desired.
- Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick, rotating it as you work to help prevent it from sticking.
- To transfer the dough to the pan, gently roll it up, wrapping it around the pin, then unfurl it into the pie plate.
- To Prepare the Edge for Crimping: On a single crust pie, use scissors to trim away the excess dough, leaving about ½ inch excess all the way around the outside edge of the pie plate.
- Tuck this excess dough under, pressing gently to make it flush with the edge of the pie plate.
- To Par-Bake the Dough: Dock the crimped single crust pie dough with a fork and chill well (at least 30 minutes). Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the diameter of a pie plate, and press it into the base of the pie plate. Fill with pie weights to the top inner rim of the pie plate.
- Bake in a 425°F oven until the edges begin to lightly brown, 15-17 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights, and return to the oven until the lower portion of the crust appears dry and set, 2-3 minutes more. Cool completely before filling.
- In a medium pot, combine 340 g / 2 cups of the strawberries, the lemon zest, citrus juice, vanilla extract, and 150 g / ¾ cup of the sugar and cook over medium heat until the strawberries begin to soften and break down, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Use a potato masher or ricer to break up the strawberry pieces until mostly smooth. You can also use an immersion blender right in the pot, a traditional blender, or a food processor. Return to the pot.
- Bring the mixture back to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 149 g / 1/2 cup sugar with the flour and salt. Sprinkle this mixture over the strawberry mixture, whisking constantly, and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a simmer again and begin to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 510 g / 3 cups strawberries and the butter. Transfer to a storage vessel or rimmed baking sheet and let cool, covered with plastic wrap placed directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Then refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C with a rack in the lower third.
- Place the cooled crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pour in the strawberry filling.
- Transfer to the oven and bake until the filling visibly bubbles, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
This pie stands on her own, but feel free to serve with fresh whipped cream, ice cream, or creme anglaise if you want to be fancy!
- Yuzu is a cross between an orange and a lemon. The raw fruit can be difficult to find in stores, I recommend purchasing fresh juice from The Yuzu Co. If that’s not accessible, lemons are a perfect substitute!
- The gin in this recipe is optional, but it’s lovely and not too strong. Traditional clear gins will work find here as a sub, but the honey flavor is what adds that extra depth of sweetness! I recommend splurging on the Tom Cat gin, you won’t regret it!
- Want to be even more adventurous? Remove the citrus zest/juice altogether. Finely chop 2 tbsp of fresh mint leaves and divide them in half. Add 1 tbsp of the mint in step 1, and the remaining 1 tbsp in step 5. This one sub shifts the entire flavor profile and adds a lovely spring kick!