Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Strawberry Pies and Baking with My Granddaughter

Our beautiful strawberry pies
Last week, my husband and I, spent several days at my daughters house on Long Island.  We were there to help with the kids, while her husband was out of town.  The days were long, my grandkids get up at 5:30, but filled with so much fun. We drove the kids to and from school, attended my granddaughters field day and dance class, spent time at the beach and, took the boys to Panera Bread (their request) for lunch.  It was a full few days.  One of my favorite moments came saturday, when my granddaughter and I, baked strawberry pies while her brothers attended a birthday party.
I had gone strawberry picking the day before we left for L.I.  I made some jam, then brought the rest of the berries out to my daughters house. Pies were the plan!  It was to be a strawberry-rhubarb pie, but I forgot the rhubarb! Really?  I had picked it from my garden that morning, just for our pie.  My daughter and I went to several grocery stores, but no one had rhubarb.  Ok, strawberry pie will have to do.  I made the dough for the crust early in the day, and refrigerated it! I always make Nick Malgieri’s pastry.  It’s my all time favorite. It’s so easy to make in the food processor and, it always comes out perfect. When the boys left for their party, my granddaughter and I set out to make our pies.  I made a large one, and she made 3 minis for her and her brothers.
I found the recipe online at All Recipes and, did some tweaking after I read the reviews.  The recipe called for flour as a thickener.  I never have luck with just flour.  I changed the recipe, and used tapioca along with the flour.  My daughter washed and sliced the strawberries, before she left for the party.  The berries were ripe, juicy and sweet.  Now for the pie. I took the dough out of the refrigerator and gave J a disk, along with some little custard cups that she could fill and bake her pies in. I rolled out my dough and decided on a lattice top.  Both of us were very focused on our individual pies.  She rolled out her dough, decided to follow my lead, and cut strips for lattice.  She was quite meticulous. After she was done,  it was very cute watching her take photos of her pies, just like grandma!  All of our pies came out quite delicious and, made for a wonderful dessert that evening, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Everyone was happy!
Pleasure comes to us in so many ways. For me baking with my grandchildren is one of my greatest pleasures. Enjoy!

Beautiful ripe, and juicy strawberries
J rolling out her dough
She really gets into it
Taking photos….just like grandma 
Her pies ready for the oven…they look perfect
Ready to bake
Oh it smelled so good!

Pies cooling…didn’t my granddaughter do a great job?

Totally delicious!

Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie
Adapted from All Recipes
Serves: 8


 pie crust for a double crust 9 inch pie
1  cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or to taste
5 or 6 cups fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place one crust in a nine inch pie pan.
2. Mix together sugar, flour, tapioca and cinnamon. Mix lightly through the berries. Let stand for about 15 minutes.  Pour filling into pastry lined pan, and dot fruit with butter or margarine. Cover with top crust, and cut slits in the top. Seal and flute the edges. (I used a lattice top on my pie.)
3. Bake for 25 minutes, cover edges so they don’t burn and finish baking for another 25 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.

Flaky Pie Dough (My absolute favorite Pie Crust)

Recipe by Nick Malgieri

Prep Time:1 hr 20 min Inactive 

Ingredients for a one-crust pie, about 10 ounces:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose bleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for a two-crust pie, about 1 1/4 pounds dough:

2 1/2 cups (about 11 ounces) all-purpose bleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

To mix the dough by hand, combine flour, salt and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir well to mix. Cut butter into 1tablespoon pieces and add to dry ingredients. Toss once or twice to coat pieces of butter. Then using your hands or a pastry blender, break the butter into tiny pieces and pinch and squeeze it into the dry ingredients. Keep the mixture uniform by occasionally reaching down to the bottom of the bowl and mixing all the ingredients evenly together. Continue rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarseground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible.

Sprinkle the minimum amount of water over the butter and flour mixture and stir gently with a fork the dough should begin holding together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add the remaining water, 1 teaspoon at a time for the smaller quantity of dough, a tablespoon at a time for the larger quantity, until the dough holds together easily.

To mix the dough in the food processor, combine flour, salt and baking powder in work bowl fitted with metal blade. Pulse 3 times at 1second intervals to mix. Cut butter into 1 tablespoon pieces and add to work bowl. Process, pulsing repeatedly at 1second intervals, until the mixture is fine and powdery, resembles a coarseground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible about 15 pulses in all.

Scatter the minimum amount of water on the butter and flour mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times the dough should begin holding together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add the remaining water, 1 teaspoon at a time for the smaller quantity of dough,one tablespoon at a time for the larger quantity, until the dough holds together easily.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a disk (two equal disks for the larger amount of dough). Sandwich the disk(s) of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and press it into a 6inch circle. Refrigerate the dough until firm, or until you are ready to use it, at least 1 hour.



  1. Fabulous looking pies, and I am a HUGE NM fan for baking...his recipes turn out for me every single time the first time. Your granddaughter is beautiful and she looks very serious about the pie making business! Fun post and great photos (as always).

  2. Such wonderful memories for both of you. And pies that look sumptuous. Great post!

  3. I'm so impressed! Such a delicious and fun project with your sweet little people ;-). Would love a piece of that pie!

  4. Oh Kathy, I could just cry with enjoyment! Your granddaughter did a beautiful job preparing those pies. They look just perfect! (yours looks delicious too:)

    I smiled to myself when I read about the field day and dance classes and birthday party. I did the exact same thing when I was out in Idaho. I don't know how my daughter does it! And her husband is gone 2 weeks out of the month, each month!

    I've been trying to get to Long Island for the past few weeks. Hopefully I'll be down soon. I know you won't have any pie left by then but I can dream:)

    Thank you so much for sharing your Pie Day with us Kathy. I will surely have pleasant dreams tonight.

  5. Your granddaughter is the best pie maker ever my friend, what a special day :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. I am too so impressed! You have a great sous chef..Kathy.
    The pies look so good!

  7. OMG, a chip off the old block I'd say! J's pies look better than any pie I've ever made, I still can't do lattice, or maybe I just think I can't? The pies look so yummy, you've done it again, love the pictures. J is getting soooooo big, and she did such a great job, give her a hug from me. Ann

  8. Realmente impresionante un pie irresistible me encanta,saludos y abrazos.

  9. I love baking with my grandparents, it's always so fulfilling!!!! this pie looks amazing!

  10. What a fun project with your granddaughter...she looks like a budding food blogger to me! And your pies look fantastic!

  11. That's so lovely - what a great time you had - and just look at the delicious results - what GORGEOUS pies!!!
    Mary x

  12. You are the pie queen for sure! What a wonderful memory for your granddaughter and a great lesson for the future. They all look beautiful!

  13. I love, love each and every awesome photos you took Kathy! Your homemade fresh strawberry pies are so perfect; the crust is amazing...can't go wrong with Nick Malgieri...but then again, you are such a 'pro' at pie baking and I can see a future little baker. So much fun to bake with grandchildren and such great memories.
    Pinned the delicious pie!

  14. I think these are treasured moments Kathy! Both you and your granddaughter will remember them with love. The pies are so delicious and the photos make them irresistible!

  15. Your granddaughter did a wonderful job! (I love the photo of her photographing her food.) I always enjoyed baking with my girls, and maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to have grandchildren to bake with too.

  16. These pies are absolutely perfect!

  17. What a wonderful experience to share with your granddaughter! You pies look beautiful! I may need to try your crust--I need to start making my own but it has always intimidated me.

  18. I don't bake too many pies, I don't really know why but yours look fantastic. I love the little ones, they're adorable. How nice of you to have a helper and one that takes photos as well.

  19. What fun! Those pies look so delicious, I wish I could have been there to have a piece.

  20. What a wonderful project for both of you! I'll bet her brothers were excited to have their own pies!

    I just made Nick Malgieri's Prosciutto Bread - I just got "The Modern Baker," so look forward to trying more recipes from it.

  21. It´s all so sweet Kathy, both the pies and your granddaughter! I love N.Malgieri, but I usually make his breads. Must try the pie dough.

  22. After seeing your beautiful TWD tart, I jumped over here and am completely smitten. I have two grandsons and love baking with them. And the pies are so gorgeous. Such fun!!!

  23. What a beautiful post. Your tarts are all beautiful.