Vanilla pastry cream and strawberry pie filling are layered inside a perfectly baked, flaky pie crust for a strawberry cream pie that is the perfect summer treat.
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM:
- 1½ tsp unflavored gelatin
- 3 tsp cold water
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
FOR THE STRAWBERRY PIE FILLING:
- 5–6 heaping cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp Strawberry Emulsion (optional)
TO GLAZE THE TOP CRUST:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Using a 9-inch pie plate, partially pre-bake a bottom pie shell according to these instructions.
- MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
- In a small dish, stir the gelatin and water together to combine. There should be just enough water to moisten the gelatin, creating a thick paste. Set aside.
- Add milk, sugar, salt, egg yolks and cornstarch to a 4-quart or larger heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk vigorously to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, at which point the mixture will have thickened to the point that the whisk will leave tracks as you stir. Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds longer. Pour into a bowl.
- Break the gelatin into small pieces, dropping them into the hot pastry cream. Whisk until the gelatin is completely incorporated, about 20 seconds. Whisk in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap over the surface of the pastry cream, and punch a few holes in the surface of the wrap with a sharp knife. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
MAKE THE STRAWBERRY PIE FILLING:
- Hull and quarter the strawberries and put them into a medium size heavy bottom saucepan. Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until the strawberries release some of their juice, the sugar melts, and the resulting syrup is thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon extract, vanilla extract and strawberry emulsion (if using). Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE YOUR STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spoon the pastry cream into the partially baked bottom shell and smooth into an even layer.
- Pour the strawberry pie filling over the pastry cream and distribute into an even layer.
- Remove the remaining pie dough from the refrigerator and on a floured surface, roll out enough dough to make a 12-inch disc. Either, cover the pie with the whole disk of dough, or cut the disk into strips for a lattice top.
- Gently brush the egg wash over the top crust with a pastry brush and sprinkle evenly with one tablespoon of sugar. If baking your pie with a whole top crust (as opposed to lattice strips), carefully cut 5 two-inch slits in the top crust to vent.
- Put the pie on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or aluminum foil (to catch any drips) and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 30-40 minutes, until the top crust is golden brown and you can see the strawberry pie filling is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving, at least 2 hours. The pie can be served chilled or at room temperature. Store any uneaten pie in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.