I wanted to make strawberry pie today, but couldn’t pick a recipe. The famous Luby’s pie was at the top of the list, but it had what seemed like an excessive amount of cornstarch and I didn’t want to risk it even though the strawberry pies at Luby’s are excellent. Allrecipes had some highly rated glazed strawberry pies, but with the exception of the one that called for Grenadine (which I won’t buy, because if I do I’ll be hounded for Shirley Temples every night), none of them did anything for me. Since I couldn’t pick a recipe, I decided to take a basic strawberry pie and do some embellishing. To give the pie more character, I added a layer of lightly sweetened cream cheese. Then to make the strawberry syrup less flat and offset the sweetness, I added a teaspoon of lemon juice. Since what attracted me to Luby’s pie in the first place was the dramatic presentation of whole strawberries, I topped the pie off with trimmed whole strawberries. Leaving the strawberries whole also offsets some of the sweetness from the syrup. That is, you get a higher strawberry to syrup ratio in every bite.
The pie was set in about 4 hours and while I’ve only tasted a little bit, I know it’s going to be a big hit. I’m so glad I added the cream cheese because like the whole strawberries, it also offsets the sweetness of the glaze. The packaged gelatin really did set up a lot like thick strawberry Jell-O, but we like Jell-O so that’s all well and good.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoons sugar (divided use)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pie shell, baked and cooled
- 5 cups strawberries, whole
- Whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar, cornstarch and water together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Whisk until dissolved. Let stand for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Whisk in the lemon juice
- While syrup stands, beat the remaining tablespoon of sugar with cream cheese and vanilla. Spread the cream cheese mixture across bottom of the pie shell
- Pick out about 15-20 (depending on size) nice strawberries that are close in size. Set them aside. Slice the remaining strawberries cross-wise to make flat slices. Layer strawberry slices over cream cheese, covering it completely.
- Trim stems off the reserved strawberries and arrange them artfully, pointy side up, over the layer of flat strawberries.
- By this time your strawberry syrup should be fairly cool. Pour it over the strawberries. I left about 2 tablespoons of sauce behind so I’d have a higher strawberry to sauce ratio, but you can use your own judgement.
- Chill the pie for about 4 hours or until set.