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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Strawberry Pie for One

Here’s a little treat that screams summer even though strawberries are available year-round. Wouldn’t it be nice with a huge scoop of (vegan) vanilla ice cream and maybe some chocolate sauce?

For the Crust:
6 TBLSP all-purpose flour
4 TBLSP vegan butter, cut into cubes
1 ½ TBLSP powdered sugar
Ice cold water (and vodka)
For the Filling:
6 medium-to-large fresh strawberries (you can use frozen, if you’d like)
1 TBLSP granulated sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
Pinch of ground cardamom (I used 6 seed pods and ground it in my mortar and pestle)
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
Slosh of vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon lemon juice (about the juice of a wedge)

Make the Crust:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, butter, and sugar using a fork or pastry cutter. Keep going until it’s the texture of a coarse meal, or maybe wet sand.
  2. One teaspoon at a time, add cold water (or half water, half vodka) to the flour mixture until the dough clings together.
  3. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a rough disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Make the Filling:
  1. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters (bigger than bite-sized and still recognizably a strawberry) and place them in a bowl. Add in the sugar, cardamom, cornstarch, vanilla, and lemon juice and smoodge them all around until everything is well coated and juicy.
  2. Let it rest for 15 minutes at room temperature to get more juice, in the fridge to get less.

Assemble the Pie:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the disks of dough to fit into the bottom of your single-serving pie pan. Mine is about 4 ½ inches across.
  3. Place the dough into the pan, pushing it gently into all the corners. Fold any overhang underneath to make a tidy edge, use a fancy fluting technique, or trim it and add the extra dough to the other dough disk.
  4. Place the pie dish with its lovely lower crust in the refrigerator while you deal with the other disk of dough. Pour the filling into the crust just before you put the top on.
    • If you want a one-piece pie crust on the top, roll the dough out until it’s slightly larger than the pie pan’s top, place it on top, and crimp the edges together with the bottom crust. Cut four slits in the top to let the steam out.
    • If you want a lattice top, roll the dough out, cut the dough into strips, and weave them together. I like to do this on a piece of waxed paper and then just invert the masterpiece to the top of the pie. That way, the ends don’t get all covered in goopy strawberry juice. Crimp the edges of the top crust to the edges of the bottom crust.
    • If you want fun shapes on top, roll the top dough out and cut the shapes with a small cookie cutter. This way creates the most scraps, but you can also re-use the scraps to make more shapes. Place the shapes in a pretty pattern on top of the pie, leaving some gaps to let steam out.
  1. Put the loaded and fabulous pie on a baking sheet (to prevent spills) and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Lower the heat again to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes or until the juices have thickened and are all bubbly and inviting.
  2. Let the pie cool in its pan on a wire rack, and cool completely before cutting into it.

  • With any extra dough, sprinkle pinches of sugar over the top of fun shapes. Then use cinnamon, ground ginger and/or ground cloves in very small amounts to sprinkle lightly too. These may not need to bake for as long as the pie, so watch ‘em, and snarfle ‘em down before the pie is even ready.
  • You could also use cinnamon or cloves—or even ginger—in the pie’s filling if you don’t have any cardamom handy.

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