Strawberry Pie Bars

I had my eye on this recipe way before I even went strawberry picking…and these pie bars met every expectation. 🙂 This recipe is from Joy the Baker. Wonderful!

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into bite-size chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for topping
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over two edges of the pan about two inches. This will make the pie bars easier to remove after it’s baked. Lightly spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. For the crust, place the butter, sugars, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon and mix on low-speed until just combined.
  5. Scatter two-thirds of the dough into clumps in the prepared pan, flour your fingers and press the dough across the bottom of the pan and up the sides of the pan about 1/2-inch. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and set aside to cool while you prepare the topping and filling.
  7. In a small bowl combine the remaining crust and pecans. Stir until combined and set aside.
  8. In a medium bowl toss together the sliced strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and spices. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes until some juices develop in the bottom of the bowl.
  9. After the juices have developed, add the melted butter and the instant tapioca. Stir to combine. The tapioca will look coarse within the mixture but it will dissolve in the oven.
  10. Spread the strawberries evenly over the crust.
  11. Pinch medium pieces of remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly over the top of the strawberry mixture (they won’t cover the top completely but do your best to cover).
  12. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the topping is brown and the strawberry mixture is bubbling. (If there are still tapioca bits, take the pan out of the oven and gently stir those berries in so the tapioca gets moistened.)
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  14. Chill in the refrigerator to easily remove the bars from the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Note: The bars can be stored, wrapped individually or covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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The Union Square Strawberry Cocktail

I have so many delicious recipes just waiting to be shared. Before strawberry season is over, I must share new recipes that I tried with my fresh-picked berries this season.

This cocktail was the very first thing we prepared with our fresh strawberries. My husband made it for me on my birthday! ❤ The recipe was adapted from cocktails that New Amsterdam Gin named to honor modern-day landmarks in New York City, via The Spruce Eats.com. I plan to also try it using vodka instead of gin. Happy birthday to me! 😉

Yield: 1 cocktail

  1. Muddle strawberries with the basil until fully mashed in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Add ice and shake vigorously.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (We chilled the glass by filling it with ice while the cocktail was being prepared.)
  5. Garnish with half a strawberry, as desired.

Fresh Strawberry Gelato

I am always a little apprehensive to make strawberry ice cream. In the past, I’ve tried various strategies to keep the berries from becoming icy and hard in the finished product. Pureeing the berries in this gelato was the perfect solution. My beautiful freshly picked berries may have helped too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Katrina and Carmelo Turillo, owners of La Divina Gelateria in New Orleans, via Bon Appetit. I didn’t strain the puree, chilled the base overnight in the refrigerator, and churned the gelato for 25 minutes in my ice cream maker. I may add some vanilla extract next time. It was excellent!

Yield: Makes about 4 cups
  • 3/4 cup sugar (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Stir sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and cream.
  3. Whisk over medium heat until gelato base thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Pour into bowl.
  4. Immerse bowl in prepared ice water to cool, stirring occasionally.
  5. Puree strawberries in processor. Stir into gelato base.
  6. Mix in pomegranate juice.
  7. Chill 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Transfer to container. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and the container lid; freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

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Lattice-Top Strawberry Pie

One of our family traditions is to go strawberry picking in June. This year, we were able to pick them at the organic farm that produces our CSA share. The berries were absolutely perfect. The farm also grows many different varieties of berries, so it was fun to pick from different areas of the patch. We kept buying more containers to fill! We went home with eight quarts. 🙂

First, I made the “mandatory” Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Jam and Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. I also make strawberry pancakes and strawberry muffins. Of course, I had to try something new to make with my precious berries. This lattice-top pie was it. Lucky for us, I also had enough berries to make Strawberry Gelato as well. All delicious!

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times. I adapted the recipe by using an all-butter crust from Martha Stewart. I also used an additional cup of berries in the filling, used a 6-piece lattice crust, and sprinkled the top crust with turbinado sugar prior to baking. I also covered the edge of the pie throughout the baking time to prevent over-browning.

Fresh and fabulous. 🙂

Yield: one 9-inch pie, serves 8 to 10

For the Pate Brisee:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • coarse salt
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup ice water

To Prepare the Crust:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined.
  2. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
  3. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water (5 tablespoons) evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture holds together when pressed between 2 fingers (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse.
  4. Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (I made the crusts a day in advance.)

For the Filling:

  • 2 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and halved to make 6 to 7 cups
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, strained lemon juice
  • 4 T cornstarch
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

To Finish:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  • vanilla ice cream, optional, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Make the Filling: In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Between layers of plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface, roll out one dough round to fit a 9-inch pie plate.
  4. Fit the dough in the pie plate and spoon in the filling. Scatter the butter evenly over the top.
  5. Roll out the remaining dough, cut it into 1-inch strips (I cut mine into 6 pieces with a fluted pastry wheel) and weave a lattice top over the filling. Trim and crimp the edges.
  6. Brush the egg over the crust and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  7. Cover the edge of the crust to prevent over-browning.
  8. Place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Continue baking until the crust is nicely browned and the filling bubbles thickly, 40-50 minutes.
  10. Place on a rack to cool completely, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Cut into wedges and serve, with or without vanilla ice cream, as desired.

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Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

I had to make this wonderful dessert when I received rhubarb in my CSA share… even if I did have to go buy strawberries. 😉 The two together always make a delicious and tangy filling.

The topping on this crisp is out of this world- very generous, delightfully clumpy, and perfectly sweet. My non-dessert-appreciating friend had a SECOND helping! Yay! This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Rollie Wesen.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pound strawberries, preferably organic, hulled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

To Serve:

  • vanilla ice cream, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° on convection.
  2. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 3/4 cup of the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In another bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the strawberries; discard any rhubarb juice. Add the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla to the fruit and stir well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix the ingredients together until large crumbs form.
  6. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer (or up to 30 minutes longer in a standard oven), until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned.
  8. Let the crisp rest for 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Note: The topping can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

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Two Years Ago:

Strawberry Slab Pie

Despite being overbooked with so many end of the school year activities- orchestra concerts, dance recitals, field days, parties- we have to squeeze in strawberry picking! The resulting year supply (a well-rationed year supply, mind you!) of strawberry-vanilla bean jam makes it SO worth it!!

After making my special jam, I love to try a new recipe to use our overflowing 8 quarts of mouthwatering strawberries. 🙂 This year the first new one was this amazing slab pie. The juice from the fresh berries resulted in a very syrupy pie. oozing… It also had a lovely hint of orange flavor. The crust was over the top buttery as well. Mmmmm.

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe contributed by Joanne Chang. I adapted the recipe to bake in a convection oven. Fabulous!

Yield: 6-8 servings

For the Pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and chilled
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cold whole milk
  • baking spray

For the Filling & Pie:

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered (4 cups)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sanding or turbinado sugar

To Make the Pastry:

  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour, sugar and salt and mix at low speed.
  2. Add the butter and mix at medium speed until almost incorporated, with some pecan-size pieces remaining, about 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the milk.
  4. With the machine on, drizzle the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix until the pastry just starts to come together, about 30 seconds; it will be crumbly.
  5. Scrape the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together. Using the heel of your hand, smear the pastry against the work surface to work in the butter. Form the pastry into a 1-inch-thick disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° (on convection, if possible).
  7. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving 
3 inches of overhang on all sides.
  8. Cut one-third of the pastry off of the disk. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the smaller piece of pastry to an 8-inch square; transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and refrigerate.
  9. Roll out the larger piece of pastry to a 12-inch square, about 1/4 inch thick. Ease the pastry into the prepared pan, pressing it into the corners and up the sides; trim the excess pastry, leaving no overhang.
  10. Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 25 minutes (convection) or up to 30 minutes (standard oven), until just pale golden and set. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Transfer the pan to a rack and let 
the crust cool completely.

To Make the Pie:

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and salt.
  2. Spread the filling in the pastry crust.
  3. Cover with the chilled piece of pastry crust, gently pressing it down around the edges.
  4. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sanding sugar.
  5. Using a sharp paring knife, make six 2-inch-long slits in the top pastry.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes (convection) or up to 50 minutes (standard oven), until the crust is deep golden.
  7. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool, at least 3 hours. Carefully lift the pie out of the pan and transfer to a platter before serving.

Note: The pie can be kept at room temperature overnight.

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