How to Perfect the Summer Fruit Pie
Are you looking to bake the best strawberry chamomile pie you have ever had? Well start with my tips below to help you on your journey. A classic summer fruit pie is something every home baker should know. A lot of people are afraid to try making pie crust, but it’s really not hard at all!
The best summer fruit pies are made with the best summer fruit. Save the frozen fruit for the winter months and go straight to your local farmer’s market. Pick up the best ripe fruit that they have and make your pie with that. Peaches, plums, nectarines, berries, apples, anything!
Keep in mind that summer fruit will be ripe and sweet. Many pie recipes online are based off of out-of-season fruit sugar content and sweetness.
Some Strawberry Chamomile Pie tips
First tip: Start with the best quality strawberries. In Southern California (and certain stores in NYC and other cities), we have Harry’s Berries. Harry sells the best strawberries in America, hands down. He always has multiple types and they are always perfect. They do turn fast, however so my tip is to wash them with a bit of apple cider vinegar when you first bring them home and use them ASAP.
Second tip: Don’t go too sweet. There are tons of strawberry recipes out there and most, if not all, will be based on your average grocery store, white interior strawberries. If you only have access to these, I would add another 1/4 cup of sugar to the filling and taste. This recipe is based on ultra-sweet, ripe strawberries.
Third tip: Don’t over hydrate your pie dough. Sounds simple enough, but it’s easier to add a little water if it is too dry when rolling then it is to work with a too-moist dough. When you are wrapping it in plastic, it should be a bit crumbly and dry. The moisture hydrates during the resting stage, which is why it’s so important. You can use my recipe below, or any pie crust recipe that works for you. You can take this strawberry pie filling recipe and bake it in any pie crust that you love.
A lazy cook's guide to pie crust
Full disclosure, I would not say that I have ‘perfected’ pie crust. I can make something pretty good that works for my purposes.
- 2 Tbsp loose-leaf chamomile tea
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp plus some additional granulated sugar
- 6 cups hulled and quartered Summer strawberries
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- Juice/zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- Pinch salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks frozen butter
- 2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup ice-cold water
- 1 egg
- Using a food processor or a coffee grinder, blend chamomile and 1/2 cup sugar until fine. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, chamomile sugar, cornstarch lemon juice and zest and salt. Refrigerate.
- To make the crust: Whisk together flour, remaining sugar and salt. Using a cheese grater, grate the sticks of butter directly into the flour and toss with your hands to make sure all the pieces of butter are coated evenly. Gradually add ice water until a small handful of the flour mixture mostly holds together when compressed. Dump mixture onto counter top or clean surface and gather together a few times with your hands.
- Divide into two disks and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or overnight (your strawberries can chill the same amount of time).
- Heat oven to 375F. To assemble the pie, roll one piece of the pie dough with a rolling pin on plenty of flour. Roll into an even circle about 12 inches across. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.
- Add the strawberries and their juice into the pie pan.
- Roll out the remaining disc of dough and cut into 1-inch wide strips. Weave the strips together like a basket (or follow the guide below).
- Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp water. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with additional sugar.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbling, then keep baking some more. Fruit pies take quite a long time to bake, and if you have to cover the top with foil, do it. 55-75 minutes is a typical bake time.
- Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing (if you can resist).
Best Strawberry Recipes
Here’s a round up of some of my favorite strawberry recipes on the internet!