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Just in time for Mother’s Day, my mom decided to reveal her 40-year [and hundreds time tested] recipe for her old fashioned crostata with strawberries. Actually, she makes it with homemade strawberry jam, but I decided to give it a twist using homemade jam + fresh strawberries + cinnamon sugar on top. DELISH.
So, friend, do you want to learn how to make strawberry pie with me (and mom)?
Mom insisted on teaching me how to make strawberry pie…how can I say no?!
Yup, this is the story of my mom’s thirty-year recipe that she insisted to hand me down. I mean, seriously, how can I say no?!
She is a REAL recipe developer…
I declare myself a recipe developer. I love testing, mixing ingredients together, experimenting, combining flavors, trying new recipes, measuring grams, getting my hands dirty. When a recipe doesn’t come out like predicted, I love examining in depth what happened. I take a bite and analyze in my mouth what the food tastes like. Then I write everything down and repeat, test, re-test. I’ve never spent months developing a recipe though.
My mom though, well my mom is on another level.
She spent years and years refining her recipes. She spent years measuring grams and making adjustments. Until she came up with a dozen of perfect recipes that she never changes. Well, if they want, they change. I mean, pastry-making is a science and ingredients always interact with the environment (humidity, temperature, air etc), so it can happen sometimes that a recipe doesn’t turn out as she wanted (and she gets upset!).
Her famous strawberry jam tart/pie
When talking sweets/desserts mom is traditionalist. She has her “set” of recipes that she alternates during the four seasons. This strawberry jam tart though is an evergreen!
Therefore, all our friends are familiar with this famous ‘mom’s tart/pie’. Sometimes she gives it away as a gift, sometimes she barters it for something else.
Wait: is crostata more a pie or a tart? Let me know, friend!
Mom always thinks I don’t appreciate what she makes, just because I love baking different things and I tell her to go easy on making sweets.
Reality is when she’s not looking I always steal a piece of cake! lol
If she only could read this post!
Step-by-step: how to make a strawberry pie!
You can read that title on your own: I said this is a FAIL PROOF crostata recipe. Fail proof, fool prof, whatever…
Trust me: you’ll succeed hundred percent (and you’ll make my mom proud!)
The steps to the perfect pie crust (and crostata in this case) are only 4:
- Prepare the crust: put dry ingredients into a bowl, then add eggs and cubed cool butter. Work with your hands until you get a nice and smooth dough (be quick!). Let the dough chill.
If you want to use a food processor (way easier): put all the ingredients into the beaker, close and pulse until you obtain a smooth dough.
- Divide it into two pieces, transfer one to the pan and use the remaining to make decorations;
- Fill with strawberry jam (and fresh strawberries if you use a deeper pan);
THE SECRETS TO THE BEST BAKED STRAWBERRY PIE
So, when mom insisted on teaching me how to make strawberry pie, she also handed down some secrets, tips & tricks, for example:
- If you use your hands – not a food processor like I do – work the crust quickly or it will turn out too soft.
- Also, don’t overmix!
- Lemon zest, from organic lemons, is essential in the crust. When you buy them, do not wash them immediately! Refrigerate until you’re ready to use them, then clean them right before zesting.
If you wash them and refrigerate they will “soak” the smells of your fridge (and you don’t want this).
- She adds a tiny bit of baking powder to give more flakiness to the crust.
- NEVER EVER EVER FORGET THE SALT (mom gets mad lol)
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until it firmed up (not too much!)
Put aside a piece of crust and transfer the rest to your tart pan and spread it evenly with your hands.
Use the remaining to decorate it (lattice is always a win!).
- Do not use extra sweet strawberry jam: she makes her jam from scratch so she can measure out sugar. If you use a store-bought one though, choose the one with less sugar (30 gr per 100 gr is ok). Remember the crust is already sweetened.
- To prevent a soggy bottom use a non-stick pan and don’t grease it (to take these photos I’ve used a vintage pie pan with matte-finish aluminum, non-stick)
- If you have it, use a fan-assisted oven (convection) so you will be able to bake the crust for less amount of time and the jam won’t darken.
Want to make my version instead?
- Use fresh strawberries (slightly sour) to make it yummier and to create balance: nothing better than taking a bite and feeling a piece of strawberry exploding into your mouth!
- Brush the crust with some egg wash.
- Top with cinnamon sugar (cinnamon & strawberries are perfect together!)
Happy Mother’s Day, mom!
Only me, myself and I know what I feel when talking about the relationship with my mom.
We used to have a nice and enjoyable relationship even if we obviously bickered sometimes. Totally normal in a mom/daughter relationship, don’t you think?
What happened next? In 2011 I moved to another city, I lived alone for 3 years and a half…and everything changed.
My theory? During that period I became more independent, no one was telling me how to and when to do stuff (I was pretty good at managing things tho!), then I went back cohabiting (with my parents)…and this completely messed me up. We started arguing every single day, basically for nothing.
But that’s ok. You know why? Because we know that we love and we are there for each other. I mean, sometimes I feel like arguing became just a irrelevant habit.
You are always in my heart, happy Mother’s day mom!
HOW TO MAKE BAKED STRAWBERRY PIE
This recipe makes enough pastry for a 24 cm tart.
- 360 gr All purpose flour (00 flour)
- 115 gr White sugar
- 200 gr Cold butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 Egg yolk
- 2 gr Salt
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder – (level teaspoon)
- 1 small bag Vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 Lemon zest
- 1 Orange zest
- Homemade strawberry jam – Enough to cover the tart ( approximately 250 gr)
To make my strawberry pie add:
- 250 gr Fresh strawberries
- Egg wash
- Brown sugar
- Cinnamon powder
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F)
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla powder, lemon and orange zest).
- Add cold butter and egg + egg yolk. Mix very quickly with your hands (or use a food processor) until you get a nice and smooth ball of dough.NOTE: work it as little as possible otherwise the butter will melt and the crust will come apart.
- Divide the pastry in two pieces.Transfer the pastry to a 24/26 cm tart pan and spread it – with your hands – evenly over the bottom. Use the remaining to decorate.
- Top with enough homemade strawberry jam (approximately 250 gr).
- Bake it for 20 minutes with fan-assisted oven or about 35 minutes with conventional oven. Pay attention not to burn it.
- NOTE: If you want to decorate it with fruit instead of jam, cook the crust itself but before PRICK IT with a fork to prevent puffing up during baking. Let it cool down, then top it with smashed banana + lemon juice to prevent oxidation, and fresh fruit.
For my version: (I used a pie pan with a diameter of 24 cm – top – and 18 cm – bottom)
- Wash 250 gr of fresh strawberries and cut them in half.
- Fill the raw pie crust with jam and sliced strawberries. Decorate.
- Brush with egg wash, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top.
© Healthy Little Cravings – Roberta Dall’Alba.
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