Before we get to the pie: prayers go out for those of you in any of the areas affected by tornadoes this year — you are on our hearts and minds daily.

I just made perhaps the prettiest, most scrumptious pie I’ve had the privilege of shoveling into my mouth. Encased in a flaky, tender pie crust are billowy mounds of pastry cream, toasted almonds, and fresh glazed strawberry slices. Making it even sweeter (not as if it needed it or anything) is the source of the recipe. It comes from this lovely lady, my Aunt Pat, who’s also responsible for this lovely flower garden. Just call her a domestic genius:

My cousin sent me this recipe mounted on a gorgeous wooden plaque and it now sits by my computer desk as a reminder of my sweet family and all of the food memories that bind us — grandma’s homemade sausage gravy and biscuits, all the potluck Thanksgiving treats, and now, thankfully, this Strawberry Cream Pie.

Another sweet thing about this pie is that it comes to you during May, which is National Strawberry Month! The Charlotte Food Bloggers celebrated by going strawberry pickin’ at Miller’s Farm in South Carolina.

freshly picked strawberries!

I’d never been strawberry picking, but the thought of dancing around the kitchen whipping up this pie spurred me along row by row, bush by bush. Along my journey, I realized that one could glean many a life lesson from the berry-picking process. Here are just a few:

Life Lessons from Strawberry Pickin’:

1. The best berries are in the middle of the bush. Sometimes the things in life that are worthwhile also require more effort. Sitting in the sunshine and playing in the sand is worth the hassle of loading the beach chairs into the car and slathering on sunscreen. Showing love to a friend is worth the time it takes to create a special dessert for them. Seeing your family is worth enduring an hours-long road trip and a few embarrassing childhood anecdotes. Go for what’s worthwhile, even if it’s hard.

2. There will be bugs. They’ll even, like, bite you and stuff. But the hard and annoying parts of your life are still parts of your life — not just times to get through, but times to experience! Every hardship is an opportunity to react with grace and integrity, and to grow as a person. And, in the case of bugs, to itch.

3. Don’t be afraid to get a little muddy. Life’s more relaxing when you stop trying to keep things perfect.

4. Pet the pig . . . You know, like “smell the roses,” except cuter. There were a few random animals at the farm that we decided to love on after our berry baskets were full: a porker aptly named Juicy, a goat, a duck, and a donkey. Don’t hurry past the fun parts of life.

5. . . . But watch out for the donkey, because he flippin’ bites, especially if you have strawberry juice on your fingers. This probably has no life application. But really, watch out for that beast.

6. Being “hot, sticky, sweet” is not all that Def Leppard made it out to be, but it does make you thankful for showers.

7. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Everything’s more fun when you’re purposeful about enjoying yourself. Optimism and positivity come naturally for some people — and some of us have to make it happen.

8. Sweet experiences are best enjoyed with people you love. And even the not-so-sweet experiences can be helped along by great company. Like these crazies:

Charlotte bloggers Crosby, Diana, Katie, and Erin pick berries (not pictured: Vanessa, Taylor, and Julia)

9. The early picker gets the berry. Plan ahead and keep your life organized according to the systems that work best for you. We went picking when the strawberries were just past their peak, so others nabbed the better berries. Next time, we’ll be proactive!

10. Use your strawberries before they go all mushy. Don’t wait for great things to happen, and don’t let your talents and energy be wasted on sitting around, fearing failure. If you think an endeavor is worthwhile, give it your all and make it happen.

This life lesson can also be translated as: get in the kitchen this instant make a Strawberry Cream Pie!

Have you ever been strawberry picking? What’s your favorite use for delectable strawbs?

Strawberry Cream Pie

Recipe by: Pat Howard
Yields: about 10 servings

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoons salt
3/8 cup cold shortening or lard
3/8 cup cold butter, chopped
3-4 tablespoons cold water

Cream Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Other Ingredients:
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
red food coloring (optional; I skipped this)
mint leaves or whole strawberries for garnish (optional)

Note on timing: There are several components of this pie, but their preparation fits together nicely. You can make the crust dough and while it’s chilling, toast your almonds and set them out to cool. While the crust is baking and cooling, make and refrigerate the cream and slice your strawberries. Assemble these things once the crust is cool, and chill your almost-completed pie while you whip up the glaze. Chill the whole concoction for a few hours before slicing for best results.

Make the crust dough: Pulse flour and salt together to combine. Add scoops of lard and pulse into the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in chunks of butter and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add minimum amount of water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another 2 tablespoons of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Toast your almonds: While the crust dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spread your sliced almonds out on a baking sheet. Toast for about 4-6 minutes, using a spatula to gently flip and stir the almonds ever 2 minutes. They burn quickly, so keep a close watch on the nuts and remove them when they just start to get some color and are fragrant. Mine took about 5 minutes.

Finish making your crust: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roll disk of dough out to around 2 inches larger than your (9-inch) pie plate and transfer it, situating it in the plate. Fold the excess dough around the edges and crimp, trimming where necessary. Cover the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans, pressing to the edges. Bake for around 20 minutes. Remove weights and paper, egg wash crust, and bake 5-10 minutes more, until golden brown (you won’t be baking it again, so make sure it has good color — shielding edges with foil if they begin getting too dark). Let crust cool completely.

Make cream filling: While the crust bakes, prepare your cream filling. Prepare an ice water bath in a bowl big enough to accommodate your saucepan. Mix sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook until thickened, still stirring constantly. Spoon out about 1/4 cup of your hot mixture and gradually drizzle it into your beaten egg, whisking constantly. This will temper the egg so that when you add it back into the hot mixture, it won’t cook. Add the egg into the hot mixture, continuing to stir constantly. Bring this just to boiling.

Set the saucepan in the ice water bath and stir it periodically as it cools. Once cool enough, chill the mixture in the refrigerator. During this time, whip the cream and vanilla together to stiff peaks. Take the chilled mixture from the fridge and beat it to break it up. Stir in about 1/3 of the cream to lighten it, and then gently fold in the rest of the cream until well combined. Chill until ready to use.

Assemble the pie: Cover bottom of crust with toasted almonds, and then dollop in chilled cream mixture, spreading it smooth with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Slice about a cup of fresh strawberries and layer them in overlapping concentric circles on the top of your pie. Chill this while you make your glaze.

Make the glaze: Crush remaining 1/2 cup of strawberries and cook with water in a saucepan over medium-high heat for two minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard the pulp. Add the juice back to the saucepan over medium-high heat and gradually stir in sugar and cornstarch. Cook until thickened. If you want, you can tint this glaze with food coloring to desired hue, but mine was plenty bright enough! Cool the glaze slightly (I transferred mine to a heat-proof measuring cup with a pour spout to cool for a bit) and then pour over top of strawberry slices on your pie. Garnish with big mint leaves, if you’d like, or whole strawberries. Chill entire pie for at least a few hours for best results; cut with a knife held under hot water and then dried.

life’s too short — eat strawberries!

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98 Comments on (Freshly Picked!) Strawberry Cream Pie

  1. Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    May 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm (13 years ago)

    I’ve never been strawberry picking but would love to try it! Looks like your hard work truly paid off, what an amazing looking pie!

    • Judy
      March 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm (11 years ago)

      I spent my entire childhood picking berries in Oregon. Every day we would be up by 4 am eat & rush to our stop where our berry bus would take us to the fields to do the picking. I loved it, being outside in the fresh air enjoying the morning with otheer kids my age. No parents!! We worked hard and ate as many berries,
      right off the bush. Of course we had our berry fights but thats another story.

  2. Wanda Goodall
    May 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm (13 years ago)

    Julie…your pie looks delicious!!! Yes, I have been strawberry picking and it was actually loads of fun. I keep promising Laya and Beau that I am gonna take them but have never gotten around to it…..BAD ME! I need to stop and smell the strawberries.LOL Keep posting these fabulous recipes…..

  3. gingerbreadgirlus
    May 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm (13 years ago)

    I’ve never been strawberry picking. I should do that. I can’t wait to try this recipe – – it looks so good! As always, love your blog!

  4. Vanessa
    May 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm (13 years ago)

    Aw I loved this post!! Strawberry picking really was so much fun! I’m so bummed I missed your yummy strawberry cream pie!! Pictures are great too!! Look forward to seeing you again soon 🙂

  5. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    May 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm (13 years ago)

    Mmmm…..strawberries. I’ve picked my share this season, and then some. My little brother grows them and lets me pick however many I want. I’ve made several pies, but most we’ve just eaten! Your pie looks soooo good! 🙂

  6. DessertForTwo
    May 24, 2011 at 10:58 pm (13 years ago)

    Aww, sweet story and sweet pie! Love this 🙂

  7. stephanie
    May 25, 2011 at 5:01 am (13 years ago)

    Love your life lessons! This pie looks so refreshing and just screams summer! My husband is going to love it! I really love that it has a layer of cream filling too!

  8. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
    May 25, 2011 at 9:14 am (13 years ago)

    This pie is SO pretty! I’m saving this recipe in my “make someday” list, hopefully this summer while strawberries are still tasty!

  9. norma
    May 25, 2011 at 9:57 am (13 years ago)

    I love this pie, I love this post and I wish you a happy Memorial day!

  10. Shumaila
    May 25, 2011 at 10:05 am (13 years ago)

    Loved reading this post! And the pie looks great!

  11. Ashley@BakerbyNature
    May 25, 2011 at 10:14 am (13 years ago)

    That pie is gorgeous, seriously. I want to make it now. I will make it tonight. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 25, 2011 at 10:23 am (13 years ago)

      Yay! I hope you love it! It’s SO good, especially after it chills and all the flavors meld. Thanks, Ashley! Let me know what you think.

  12. julialikesred
    May 25, 2011 at 10:35 am (13 years ago)

    This pie was mind blowingly good – I noticed a slight saltiness to the pastry that was AWESOME. Yup.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 25, 2011 at 10:38 am (13 years ago)

      Thanks, Julia! I love this recipe for pie crust because of the saltiness — fits so well with any sweet pie.

  13. Joanne
    May 25, 2011 at 11:30 am (13 years ago)

    I have always always always wanted to go strawberry picking! It looks SO much fun! And it ends up in delicious tasting pies. What could be better?

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm (13 years ago)

      It was a lot of fun! Tomatoes are supposed to be next, and that sounds fun, too! 🙂

  14. Toria
    May 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm (13 years ago)

    Where I live in Atlantic Canada, there aren’t many places to find strawberries, but blueberries and raspberries are very common. Do you think it would turn out well if I adapted this recipe to one of those berries?

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm (13 years ago)

      Ooh, I think that’s a great idea, and I think it’d work well! Let me know how it goes!

  15. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)
    May 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm (13 years ago)

    Hahha I love those life lessons. Can apply so many 🙂

    The pie looks absolutely gorgeous. Makes me wish we had strawberries this time of the year!

  16. Maranda
    May 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm (13 years ago)

    Yes ma’am! I will be making this pie in the extremely near future! It looks amazing!!!

  17. Abbey
    May 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm (13 years ago)

    Mm, this looks brilliant! I love berry picking, haven’t been in so long. We used to pick blueberries every summer when I was little. Definitely going to find an occasion to make this for my friend – she loves strawberry pie (though who doesn’t?).

  18. natalie (the sweets life)
    May 26, 2011 at 11:13 am (13 years ago)

    I don’t think it gets much more satisfying than baking with the fruits of your labor! YUM yum yum! 🙂

  19. Judy
    May 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm (13 years ago)

    I picked strawberries every year when I lived in NC. Now, unfortunately I have become allergic to them, so I can only admire your beautiful pie. It nearly killed me to have to give them up, so I still eat one or two occasionally with a handful of Benadryl.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm (13 years ago)

      Oh my goodness, you’re kidding! That is so sad, Judy! You know, someone asked if you could make this with other berries, and I don’t see why not. I’m going to try it with you in mind!

  20. Alq
    May 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm (13 years ago)

    Giggly Strawberries lj girl here – aside from making me smile with this post, you reminded me of one of life’s fruity lessons….

    When picking blackberries, make sure you keep your basket away from horses – blackberries on the bush prickle their noses and keep them away but they’ll very happily chomp down on ones off the bush!

  21. Sophia Spach
    May 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm (13 years ago)

    Wow, all of your photos are just fabulous. Everything looks amazing!

  22. Mariah
    May 28, 2011 at 12:21 am (13 years ago)

    I love strawberry (or any berry) picking. I thought maybe I recognized the place you picked at, then I realized that all strawberry farms probably look pretty much the same; rows upon rows of strawberries. I love to (in the following order) eat them while still sun-warmed, coat them in chocolate and eat them really quickly, and finally, throw them into a strawberry rhubarb pie. Just tastes like summer to me.

  23. Kaitlin
    May 29, 2011 at 12:41 am (13 years ago)

    I LOVE strawberry picking!! I can’t wait to go this year and am jealous that you got to go with such a cool crew.

    This pie sounds divine. Yummmmm!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 29, 2011 at 12:44 am (13 years ago)

      They are a super cool bunch! Thanks, Kaitlin! Hope you are LOVING your internship so far!

  24. Lesley
    May 29, 2011 at 4:39 am (13 years ago)

    Came across your blog from Brown Eyed Baker. Love your site. By the way, I got a kick out of the fact that I live across the street from Miller’s! Have a nice day and happy baking!

  25. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie
    May 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm (13 years ago)

    Fresh berry pies are so delicious! And yours look so pretty! Mine always come out a little too messy looking.

  26. Jamie
    June 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm (13 years ago)

    Is it 1.5 cups of strawberries sliced or before slicing? I went strawberry picking yesterday afternoon and I am about to make your pie 🙂

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      June 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm (13 years ago)

      Hi Jamie, I think after slicing, but to be honest, at that point I just layered the strawberries and put however many slices “looked right” on top 🙂 I hope you love it!

  27. SK
    November 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm (12 years ago)

    I have this on my to-do list, but I’m hesitant about something…
    Won’t so many strawberries be tart?

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      November 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm (12 years ago)

      With the thick layer of sweet pastry cream and the sweet strawberry glaze, it ends up pleasantly sweet 🙂 Hope you try it!

  28. Sumsy
    February 19, 2012 at 12:50 am (12 years ago)

    Ooh!!!! It looks SCRUMPTIOUS!!!
    I’m making it as soon as I buy strawberries!

  29. Sister2nd
    February 22, 2012 at 1:06 am (12 years ago)

    My 12 year old sister wants to make this (it DOES look delicious), do you think she can do it? Thanks

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      February 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm (12 years ago)

      This is probably a little difficult for a 12-year old (mostly rolling out the pie crust and making the pastry cream), but I believe she could accomplish it with a little help 🙂

  30. Sister2nd
    February 22, 2012 at 6:04 am (12 years ago)

    BTW the pictures look great! What kind of camera do you use?

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      February 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm (12 years ago)

      Thanks! For these I was using a Canon PowerShot A540 (point and shoot) with a tripod, natural lighting, and a piece of white foam board to bounce light back on the pie. Now I use a Canon Rebel t2i with a f/1.4 50mm lens.

  31. THE Sumsy
    February 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm (12 years ago)

    Yum! I’m want to make it right now! I’ll even add some m&ms on top! (Just kidding!)

  32. Patsy
    March 20, 2012 at 3:46 am (12 years ago)

    Julie, this pie is beautiful, and sounds delicious. I am a new subscriber to your blog. Patsy

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      March 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm (12 years ago)

      Hi Patsy! I’m so glad you stopped by. Thanks for your kind words, and for reading!

  33. Pam
    March 24, 2012 at 12:13 am (12 years ago)

    I made this pie yesterday and it was truly delicious! The detail directions were very helpful. Thank you for a great dessert!

  34. Mercedes
    May 13, 2012 at 6:22 am (12 years ago)

    Hi! I’m making the pie but my filling cream is not as pretty as yours. Mine turned out lumpy and the colour is unpleasant (beige-y). The taste is delicious anyhow, but I was wondering if you had any advice to avoid this result next time? Thanks!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      May 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm (12 years ago)

      Hi Mercedes, were you whisking constantly? It does get lumpy as certain parts cook on hotter parts of the saucepan, but if you just whisk constantly and keep going, it should smooth out as the whole batch cooks. If you still do have lumps at the end, run the final mixture through a sieve. I hope that helps!

  35. Wanda
    June 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm (12 years ago)

    I made this for Father’s Day (with a chocolate cookie crust), and it was fabulous! I’ve never made pastry cream before, but this was so easy that I can’t imagine why 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe, Julie!!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      June 19, 2012 at 2:55 am (12 years ago)

      Love the idea of trying it in a chocolate cookie crust!! So glad you enjoyed it, Wanda 🙂 Thank you!

  36. James Grobler
    September 25, 2012 at 10:07 am (11 years ago)

    I made this pie over the weekend and I must say WOW!! It truly is one of the best strawberry pies I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      September 25, 2012 at 11:13 am (11 years ago)

      That makes me so happy to hear, James!! I am so glad you loved it! 🙂 Thank you!

  37. Jo Fain
    December 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm (11 years ago)

    I used to pick Strawberries in Oregon. Even worked in a cannery one summer,…that was a boring job, but someone has to do it. So college kids earned their spend money that way. My favorite thing made with FRESH strawberries is Strawberry Freezer Jam. Tastes fresh year round!

  38. Marco Johnson
    February 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm (11 years ago)

    Hello. I am sitting here with my mouth watering for this pie. Thank you for sharing this AMAZING recipe. I like the positive words in your article. You are an inspiration. I will post a picture of the pie we are gonna make after I shut down my computer. Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH! GOD BLESS YOU!..

  39. amy
    April 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm (11 years ago)

    As a child, I always looked forward to berry picking with my family. We always got an early start so we could get the best berries. I think I usually ate more than I put in my bucket! We capped the strawberries and froze them for all kinds of goodies. Some were mashed and mixed with sugar. This was used as a topping for ice cream or put in a milk shake. Some were sliced and frozen for pies and cakes. Alot of the berries were eaten by the kids as a sweet treat on a hot day! I miss those days on Mamaw and Papaw’s farm but the memories will never be forgotten!

    • Julie Ruble
      April 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm (11 years ago)

      I LOVE these memories, Amy!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  40. Kandy
    April 15, 2013 at 11:12 pm (11 years ago)

    beautiful pictures and pie…the recipe is one I have been looking for, thank you!

  41. Paula
    April 30, 2013 at 5:31 am (11 years ago)

    I loved picking strawberries when I was growing up! My grandparents had a strawberry patch and as far back as I can remember I got to help pick strawberries. It was so much fun! 😀 My grandparents are gone and so is the strawberry patch, but those memories will last forever. Thank you for this trip down memory lane! 🙂

    This pie sounds delicious! I will definitely be giving it a try very soon. When I saw the picture of the “creamy” part, I was so surprised to find out it didn’t have cream cheese in it. It is really a pleasant surprise though as all the recipes for strawberry pie(except one) that I have call for cream cheese. I’m glad that you shared this family recipe. Thank you so much. You have a wonderful blog and I a follower now.

    • Julie Ruble
      April 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Paula!! That is so sweet of you.

  42. ALISON
    June 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm (11 years ago)

    I’ve just made the pie as I was presented with a basket of strawberrys from my hubby
    Absolutely amazing ….. Bit of a challenge here in the uk with the measures but it turned
    Out perfect will be making again ….. Xx thanks for sharing …

    • Julie Ruble
      June 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm (11 years ago)

      So happy to hear that, Alison!! 🙂

  43. Carla Peterson
    November 8, 2013 at 12:40 am (10 years ago)

    Your pictures are the greatest! Just looking at them makes your mouth water.
    I was looking for a recipe for the sauce you put on the berries. I have to buy mine at the store and thought there would be a recipe for it here. I am going to try yours and see how it works.
    My sister makes her strawberry pie with a bought crust and the strawberry gel you can buy. She bakes and cools the crust, Then layers strawberry slices on the crust and then layers bananas on top and covers that with the strawberry gel. Then she covers the top with lots of coolwhip. It is really good.

  44. nipponnin
    July 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm (10 years ago)

    Love the pics! So beautiful! There is a strawberry field just a few minutes away but we have not been there for so long…we have plenty in our back yard, spreading new shoots taking over the back yard almost … Thanks for the recipe, I sure try it soon.

  45. Debra Harvey
    July 22, 2015 at 8:24 am (9 years ago)

    Hi after seeing this Delicious looking Strawberry Pie & reading the equally Delish recipe Ive decided theres no way I Cant follow you!! Lololol Love ur Blog & cant wait for more recipes from u! Thanks so much for sharing with me/us. I used to pick strawberries & blueberries with my family. It is a lot of hard work out in the blazing heat of summer but as kids we plowed thru. It was exciting & yummy. We usually looked the color of whatevet berries we were picking by the time we got home. Lolol I cant wait to make this YUMMY Pie & I hope mine looks as good as yours but im not holding my breath on that. Thanks again please keep these scrumptious recipes coming.


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