Fresh Strawberry Pie

2 quarts fresh strawberries (about 3 pounds)3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup cool water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

One 9 inch pie crust or store-bought crust baked according to package directions

Whipped Cream to serve, optional

  1. Select the largest, most beautiful berries and place stem-side down in the empty pie dish as though they were decorating the surface of the pie.

  2. Once enough berries have been selected, wash and core them and set aside.

  3. Wash and core the remaining strawberries, then slice them about 1/4-inch thick.

  4. Add the sliced strawberries to a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice and turn the heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a strong boil for 5 minutes, stirring so it does not stick.

  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cool water until no lumps remain.

  6. Stream the cornstarch mixture into the boiling strawberries, stirring constantly. Boil rapidly for exactly 1 minute. The gel will go from cloudy to almost clear and will thicken sufficiently to coat a spoon. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool for 30 minutes.

  7. Spoon the strawberry mixture into the baked pie shell.

  8. Carefully place each whole berry on top of the pie filling starting in the center and spiraling outward. They will sink a bit.

  9. Use a small pastry brush to glaze the berries with the gel from the filling. The whole pie should glisten.

  10. Chill the pie for a minimum of 4 hours. Overnight (8 hour) chilling will result in the firmest pie filling and the most photo-worthy slice. Serve with whipped cream.