This recipe will be a blast from the past for some. If you grew up in the seventies going to Bob’s Big Boy, or any of the variations on that restaurant: Shoney’s, Manner’s, or Frisch’s, you know this pie. It’s an American classic of the late 20th century, and I was curious to see if it was as good as I had remembered it – and it is. I adapted my mom’s version of the recipe, from a cookbook she wrote for me when I got married.
It’s a simple concept; fresh strawberries in a nice, crisp, pie crust, covered with a light strawberry glaze made with just enough jello powder to hold it all together, and garnished with whipped cream. I used sugarless strawberry jello powder, to reduce the sugar content of the glaze, and then went a little farther and made another version of this dessert without the pie crust, using stevia instead of sugar in the glaze, and adding Greek yogurt instead of whipped cream. You can try it either way, and I think you’ll love both versions.
I remember people standing in line at the restaurant to buy a whole pie to bring home, and what a big deal it was when my mother would buy one for company. There aren’t many things in life that remain the same, and there’s a certain comfort in enjoying an old favorite like this strawberry pie. It also makes an impressive presentation – whichever version you decide to try.
Prep time: 20 minutes, and another 30 minutes to bake the pie crust and let it cool
- 3 pounds strawberries, hulled but not chopped
- 1 pie crust
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons strawberry jello powder
- Whipped cream for garnish, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For the pie crust:
Note: You can make this in a pie or tart pan. I used a tart pan for the sake of variety, but the deeper the pie dish, the more strawberries you can pile in. You can also buy a premade crust and throw this together in as much time as it takes to clean the berries and make the glaze.
Makes 2 pie crusts:
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 and 1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 8-10 tablespoons ice water
- Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine flour, salt and sugar on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Cut the chilled butter into ½-inch cubes. Add butter to the flour mixture and combine on low speed for a minute, until mixture is crumbly, with bits of pea-sized dough. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing on low speed for ten seconds after each tablespoon. Dough should begin to clump in a ball. Mold dough in a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. (Freeze second piecrust for later use.)
- Roll out crust with rolling pin, folding dough in half to place into pie or tart pan.
- Fill bottom of pan with pie weights (I used uncooked rice instead of pie weights, because I didn’t have enough pie weights to fill this tart pan.) Bake pie crust for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.
- Remove from oven and allow crust to cool.
- Clean and trim strawberries, and mound them inside the pie shell. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine water, sugar and cornstarch. Boil until clear. Remove from heat and add jello powder.
- Spoon glaze over strawberries – just enough to make them shiny – don’t overdo it or the glaze will seep into the base of the crust and make it soggy.
- Store pie in refrigerator until just before serving. Cutting the pie is easier than you think because the gelatin holds the fruit together very nicely.
For an even healthier version:
You can turn this delicious dessert into a super-healthy and low calorie treat by leaving out the crust completely. Use sugarless jello powder to make the glaze, replace the sugar with stevia (1/2 cup of stevia is the same as one cup of sugar), and top with Greek yogurt instead of whipped cream, and serve in individual dessert glasses. SO easy and so good!