Thursday, March 17, 2011

Strawberry Cream Pie

Edit : so cool!   What Pi sounds like

It all started on Pi day. You know, 3.14. I was walking around the park, enjoying the beautiful weather and noticing the signs of a returning Spring, like 8 turtles lined up on a log, sunning themselves, and the new, fresh and tender foliage on the trees and in herb pots. It was gosh darn inspirational!

So I went in search of Spring at the market, and guess what? There were berries berries everywhere-y.  (Sorry). After sending the scientist son his annual Happy Pi day greeting, I began my search for a pastry cream recipe. This took longer than I thought it would and before you could calculate Pi out to the 8th decimal place, the day had passed.

Anyway, I intended to make a strawberry cream pie like they used to serve at a tiny little restaurant where I grew up named the Char House. If memory serves me well, it was a family run business. They made a really good burger, but the thing that anyone who ever tasted it remembers about the Char House was their strawberry pie. It was housed in a regular (but super flaky delicious) pie crust, had a layer of pastry cream (like custard or pudding) and gorgeous sliced strawberries. However, I was already late on my Pi Pie so I took a few shortcuts. I intended to make a graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust but I couldn't find the cookies I needed (and I refuse to dismantle that many Oreos) so I bought pre-made crusts. Let's just pretend I made them.

The pastry cream recipe was really easy.

Scald (warm) 3 c milk with the seeds from a vanilla bean.

Vanilla Bean -- split lengthwise and scrape out seeds

All the little tiny vanilla seeds float to the top of the milk

Meanwhile whisk 8 egg yolks and 3/4 c sugar together until light in color.

Stir in 6 T cornstarch into the egg mixture.
Pour 1/3 of the heated milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir it up to temper the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture into the milk pot and cook on medium heat until it comes to a slow boil stirring gently with a whisk the whole time.

Strain your custard mix into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface. Refrigerate. This can be done 3 days ahead.
I had expected my yummy pastry cream to set up overnight like a pudding. I was was a bit more liquid than I'd expected  BUT it still tasted wonderful, so I made the Spring Pi Pies anyway. I cleaned the berries and shaved a little dark chocolate and tried my best to make them pretty. (I need a food styling class to go along with a camera and phtography class). Anyway here's how they turned out. The smaller ones are in graham cracker crust and the larger in a chocolate coookie crust. The larger pie was the one presenting a challenge. I decided to freeze it for a bit and then cut it. That worked perfectly.

Thanks so much to my neighbors who helped eat these! I think I got a seal of approval:

Happy Spring!

See you soon

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sally. Sounds good. Can you email one of those to me? I don't remember the Char House. Oh nuts, they want me to select a profile. I dunt have no profile! So I'm going to go with anonymous. It's me, Diane, AKA Squirrel