This simple fresh strawberry pie is quintessentially spring with lightly glazed fresh berries nestled into a crisp and flaky crust. You won’t want to stop at just one piece!
I have always loved this pie, which carries family memories of our Grandma Campbell, the best pie baker I have ever known. Our Mom also makes wonderful pies and now we try to live up to the legacy.
No one else I knew growing up, or even now, made a pie this way – using fresh berries and a homemade glaze instead of baking all of the berries with the crust. The result is the freshest, most delicious pie – perfect for hot summer days!
Don’t Let the Pie Scare You!
Pies can be intimidating, but you don’t have to be afraid of them. The truth is, anyone can make a pie. Grandma Campbell wasn’t too worried about what her Instagram followers were thinking and you shouldn’t be too worried about that either. My pies are rarely true beauties, but they taste good and making a pie from scratch feels amazing.
You can absolutely make a delicious pie crust from scratch! Take the pressure off yourself. Below you will see a lot of instructions for making your crust because details can be helpful. But if it all feels like too much for you right now, Pillsbury makes a really good pre-made crust that will be perfect with our filling. Do what feels fun for you, then enjoy the results!
Two Golden Rules of Pie Crust
There are two rules to keep in mind when making your own pie crust. The first is to work the dough as little as possible. Once water hits flour, gluten begins to form. This gluten will toughen the dough, working against our goal of a light, flaky pie crust. The more you mix, press, touch, or manipulate your dough, the more gluten forms and the tougher the final result will be.
We want just a little gluten so that the dough holds together and the little pockets of steam created by your cold butter are held into the dough, creating those wonderful flakes. But it doesn’t take a lot of mixing to go too far. So, take it easy and mix just a bit less than you think is needed. The instructions in the recipe below will help you stay on track!
Keep It Cold
The second golden rule is to keep everything as cold as possible. Your butter should be straight from the frig or frozen and grated. Your water should be ice-cold. I use ice water and strain out the pieces of ice before measuring.
Work quickly and avoid over-mixing (see rule #1) to help keep everything from warming up too much as your form and shape your dough. You can also keep your room cool by waiting to preheat the oven. Chill the dough one last time before baking to make sure the butter and dough overall is as cold as possible when it hits the oven.
Here’s why this is important: the flakiness of the dough depends on the cold butter turning into steam in the oven. The steam gets caught and creates tiny little slivers of space in your dough. That space is what allows the crust to break apart in flakes when you cut or bite it. Crispy, light, airy, perfect!
Let’s Bake a Pie!
I included some very detailed instructions on making pie crust in the recipe, so I won’t also write them here. Read carefully before starting, then just go for it. You’ve got this!
For the dough, I use my trusty food processor. This makes the process quick and easy. You do have to be a bit more watchful so you don’t overmix the dough. It takes very few pulses to come together in the processor, so be careful not to let it go too far.
The best and easiest part of this recipe is the filling. My favorite thing about this pie is that most of the fruit isn’t baked at all. That makes this pie so fresh, which is just what I want in the heat of summer. The berries really shine here!
We do cook some of the berries, though, to create a homemade glaze that will hold the pie together. Otherwise, it would be dry berries in a crust, which is not nearly as good. Make the glaze by cooking some of the berries on the stove with a little lemon juice, water, sugar, and cornstarch to thicken it. That’s it! You are basically making something like a jam, which will coat the fresh berries in your pie. It’s so easy!
Top it with Whipped Cream
Do you make your own whipped cream? Cool Whip is tasty, but isn’t made with real cream. You won’t believe the difference in richness and flavor of homemade. This is almost always true, isn’t it?
Whipping your own cream is so easy. I recommend at least trying it. Simply whisk together heavy whipping cream with some powdered sugar until soft peaks form. I use a hand mixer for this to keep myself from walking away. Cream will go from soft peaks to butter in a flash, so watch it carefully and check it often once it starts to thicken. You should see just a little bit of movement when you lift the mixer and watch the little peaks that have formed. The very top should fold over very gently. If it stands up straight, that’s okay, but you’ve got firm peaks there and are only a tiny step away from making butter!
I use powdered, or confectioners, sugar in my whipped cream because it has cornstarch in it. That will help stabilize the cream so it isn’t as likely to weep or fall as it sits. Sweetness and structure, all in one. Plus, it’s fine texture ensures that it will dissolve quickly into the cream so you don’t end up with any grittiness.
Slather your freshly whipped cream all over the top of your cooled pie. Top with a few sliced berries if you like. Then slice and serve!
This pie is a wonderful end to pretty much any meal, but is particularly tasty with something grilled, like our Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Cucumber Cranberry Salsa or our Honey Soy Chicken Kebabs.
Please comment below if you try this pie! Share your own pie crust tips and tricks, or let us help you troubleshoot. We can’t wait to see your homemade strawberry pies!
Simple Fresh Strawberry Pie
For the Crust:
- 9 ounces (2 cups) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter cold and cut into small pieces
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) very cold water
For the Filling:
- 3-1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) water
- 1 quart (4 cups) fresh strawberries trimmed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- To make the crust, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until well combined. Cut in the cold butter by adding it to the processor and pulsing until it is broken up into pea-sized pieces. Alternatively, whisk these dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or fork. Work quickly so that everything stays very cold.
- Slowly pour in the water while pulsing the processor or stirring with the fork. The dough should still look crumbly but will hold together when you grab a little and squeeze. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together into a small round. Do not overwork the dough here or it will become tough. The goal is to work the dough as little as possible so that you don’t develop the gluten and end up with a tough crust.
- Sprinkle your dough round with a little flour and roll out into a circle about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick and 12 inches across. Continue to move and turn the dough as you roll it to keep it from sticking to your surface. Sprinkle a little flour onto sticky spots as necessary, but be careful to not add too much flour.
- Carefully lift your dough by rolling it gently onto your rolling pin, then unroll it into a standard 9-inch pie dish. (I prefer a glass dish, which allows you to see how brown the crust is when it bakes.) Gently lift the edges so that the dough will move down into the curve of the pie dish, where the bottom meets the sides of the dish. Use your knuckle or a small ball of extra dough to gently press the dough into place. You don’t want to stretch the dough here or you will have uneven thickness and uneven baking.
- Trim off excess dough all around the edge of the pie dish, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Use some of the scraps to fill in any missing spots along the edge by pressing the piece very gently into place. If necessary, touch the edge with a tiny bit of water to help it stick.
- Gently fold under the overhang so that the folded edge is even with the edge of the pie dish. Leave it as-is or crimp the edges by using your thumb and index finger to press the edge into a wavy pattern. You can also use the tines of a fork to gently press a pattern into the edge. Or cut small shapes out of the excess dough and use those to decorate the edge; simply attach them with a bit of water. (If you use this method, do not let the shape hang over the edge of the pie dish or it may droop too much while in the oven.)
- Cover and chill for an hour in the refrigerator or 15 minutes in the freezer before baking. This helps the butter to chill and the dough to rest so that the shape will hold up better in the oven. You can skip this step, but your dough will have a tendency to slide or droop in places. It will still taste delicious, but may be harder to fill and won’t look as pretty. If you are using a ceramic or stone pie plate, do not put it in the freezer or your dish will crack when it goes into the oven!
- If you have leftover pie dough, you can store it for another pie, but know that the more you roll it and re-roll it, the tougher your crust will become. I like to make “pie crust cookies” with my leftover dough by cutting it into even pieces and placing the pieces on a cookie sheet. Brush each piece with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then bake alongside the pie until they are golden brown. Cool slightly, then enjoy!
- While the dough chills, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare your pie shell for blind baking by lining it with a large piece of parchment paper that has been crumpled and straightened out again. (Crumpling it makes it more flexible.) Place pie weights, rice, or dried beans, reserved for this purpose only, on the parchment to fill your shell. Be careful not to get any underneath the parchment into the dough itself. Bake the pie shell for 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is golden brown. If the edges begin to brown too much, cover them with a strip of aluminum foil or a pie shield.
- Allow the pie crust to cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
- While your crust is cooling, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Quarter half of your berries and stir them into the sugar mixture. Bring it to a boil, stirring often and mashing the berries with the back of a spoon as they soften. Boil until the mixture thickens and becomes clear. Remove from the heat, then stir in the butter and lemon juice. Once the mixture cools slightly, stir in the remaining strawberries (if your berries are large, halve them).
- When both the filling and crust are cool, add the filling to the crust and top it with whipped cream. Serve immediately.
- This recipe is adapted from our Grandma Campbell’s beloved recipe.
- I use dried beans for this and reserve them for this purpose. If you use either rice or dried beans, you cannot cook and serve them. But, once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container for years to use for blind baking.
- This pie is best served right away, but will keep in the refrigerator for several hours.
- Make your own whipped cream by whipping 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until it forms soft peaks. The cornstarch in the powdered sugar will help to stabilize your cream. It’s so easy and tastes amazing!