The Secret Ingredient of Wishes is set during the summer in a fictional North Carolina town. And for me, nothing says summer like juicy, sweet strawberries. And the only thing that could make strawberries better is to bake them into a butter, flaky crust and top it off with a good dollop of whipped cream.
So when I needed a pie for a scene that marked a key turning point in Rachel and Ashe’s relationship, sun-warmed strawberry pie seemed like the perfect choice. The pie starts as a peace offering of sorts, but winds up helping these two finally start to open up to each other. Because when you eat pie right from the pan with someone else, it’s hard to keep up emotional walls. (Chapter 12, if you’re interested!)
• 5 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced in half/quartered
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or more depending on sweetness of berries
• 3 Tbsp cornstarch
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• two pie crusts
• milk, as needed
• turbinado sugar, as needed
- For the crust, I used my go-to butter crust recipe, but The Little Epicurean has a recipe included with her strawberry pie too. (Or you can use a store-bought crust, but it’s so easy to make on your own, why would you buy one?)
- Once you’ve prepared your crust and have lined the pie pan with the bottom layer, stick it in the fridge to chill. Then it’s onto the filling…
- Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. And mix together.
- Pour strawberry mixture into the chilled pie crust. Cover with top crust and crimp the edges in whatever fashion works best for you. (You’ll see below that mine is a clumsy mess!)
- Chill pie and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place chilled pie on baking sheet. Brush top of the pie lightly with whole milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Then cut vent holes in the top crust to let the steam escape.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Then rotate the pie and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes until pie is golden brown. Let it cool on a rack before serving.