In step 1, it is imperative that the cooked strawberry mixture measures 2 cups; any more and the filling will be loose. If your fresh berries aren’t fully ripe, you may want to add extra sugar to taste in step 2. Use your favorite pie dough recipe. Chill the heavy cream in step 4 to help it whip more quickly. From Cooks Illustrated*. Serves 8
2 pounds frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1 (9-inch) pie shell , baked and cooled (see note)
4 ounces cream cheese , softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1. COOK FROZEN BERRIES Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium-low heat until berries begin to release juice, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jamlike, about 25 minutes (mixture should measure 2 cups exactly!).
2. ADD GELATIN Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to simmer, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. ADD FRESH BERRIES Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)
4. MAKE TOPPING With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.
*See this food blog for a similar recipes also from Cooks Illustrated.