Springtime in Washington DC is a short and sweet affair. It seems that no sooner than the cherry blossoms have shed their flowers, that the heat and humidity that signal summer begin creeping into the air. Last week I had a pleasant reprieve from the DC heat during a trip back to Minnesota to visit family and friends. It’s clearly still spring in Minnesota and one of my favorite spring fruits were in full abundance—strawberries!
Whenever I think of strawberries I remember going strawberry picking with my mom and grandma when I was younger. It was always a grand excursion that resulted in more strawberries than you could possibly come up with ways to use. Even after multiple pies, jams, and cakes had been made—there would still be plenty left over to freeze. When I was back in Minnesota, my mom made a trip to the grocery store and picked up some strawberries. Upon seeing them in the fridge, I was inspired to make a pie. We were having BBQ for dinner and I thought the pie would be a perfect way to finish off our meal of chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and corn on the cob.
I made this pie in advance and it cooled while the rest of the dinner was being prepared. It looked so good we had to sample a piece of it before dinner. You might feel the same way when it comes out of your oven looking delicious. Enjoy!
As a side note, it’s okay to cheat with this recipe and buy a pre-made crust. After all, we’re all only human and don’t have hours to slave away in the kitchen. However, if you’re feeling adventurous you should definitely make your way over to Smitten Kitchen where you will find an excellent tutorial on making your own pie crusts.
Strawberry Crumble Pie Recipe
Ingredients for the Pie
1 9 inch prepared pie crust
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
½ cup white sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Ingredients for the Topping
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
⅔ cup granulated sugar
large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes OR coarsely chopped pecans
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the pie crust from the freezer and thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust dough with a fork. This helps prevent bubbles from forming in the crust as it bakes. Place the pie crust directly on the oven rack in the center of the oven. Bake the pie about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool the pie crust completely before filling.
To prepare the crumb topping, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cold butter chunks and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the mixture until well incorporated. Some butter bits will be the size of peas, and smaller. Add the coconut (or pecans if using) and toss to combine.
To make the filling, place cleaned strawberries in a deep bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the ½ cup sugar, ½ cup flour, and cornstarch. Gently coat berries with this mixture; be careful not to crush berries. Pour berries into prepared pie crust mounding them in the middle; mounding is necessary as the berries will sink as they bake. Cover berries with crumb topping and top crumbs with about 15 pea-sized blobs of butter.
Bake pie at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 40 minutes. When there are 10 minutes left of baking, sprinkle a little extra sugar over crumb topping and then finish baking.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
To keep baked edges from getting too brown, cover the edges with foil after the first 15 minutes of baking. Use a 12-inch square piece of foil. Cut out a 7-inch circle from the center, and gently fold the foil "ring" around the crust's edge. Be careful, the pie will be hot!