Cooking with Curtis: Fresh Strawberry Pie



3/4 cup Winn-Dixie heavy cream, divided

1/2 cup whole milk

9 tbs. sugar, divided

3 large egg yolks

5 tsp. cornstarch

3 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 sheets frozen ready rolled puff pastry, thawed

2 lb. small ripe strawberries, hulled

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting



1. To make pastry cream: In a small heavy saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of cream, milk, and 3 tbs. of sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk yolks, 3 tbs. of sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. of

kosher salt for about 1 minute, or until pale yellow and thick. Gradually whisk in

simmering milk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Whisk over medium heat

for about 1 minute, or until a few bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to cover. Chill for 2 hours, or until cold.


2. Meanwhile, to make crust: Preheat oven to 400°F. On lightly floured surface, stack 2 pastry sheets and roll to a 1/8-in. thickness. Trim to a 12-in.-diameter round. Drape pastry over a 9-in.-diameter pie dish that is 1 1/2-in. deep. Lightly

press pastry into bottom corners and sides of dish. Trim pastry, leaving a 1-in. overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp edge. Using a fork, pierce bottom of pastry all over. Freeze for 10 minutes, or until very firm. Line frozen pastry with parchment paper and fill with enough dried beans or pie weights to cover bottom and sides of crust. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until edges have puffed and are golden. Remove beans and paper. Bake crust, lightly pressing center with a

towel to flatten as needed, for about 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown throughout. If crust begins to darken, cover with foil. Cool completely.


3. To assemble pie and serve: In a large bowl, whisk remaining 1/4 cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk pastry cream until it is smooth and gently fold in whipped cream. Spread over bottom of crust and refrigerate. Meanwhile, cut 1 lb. of strawberries in half. In a large bowl, toss all strawberries with remaining 3 tbs. of sugar and lemon juice. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until berries release their juices. Strain berries and reserve syrup. Mound berries over filling. Drizzle syrup over and serve.


Pastry cream can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Pie can be assembled and refrigerated up to 8 hours ahead.