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Recipe: Bitterroot Valley Strawberry Pie

Pixabay (Nicky Pe)

Food Guy Greg Patent usually enjoys locally-grown strawberries raw and ungarnished, but he makes an exception for this pie recipe. The kicker? It includes canned pineapple. Read on to find out why this makes the pie not an atrocity, but a winner.

Bitterroot Valley Strawberry Pie

Greg writes: "The Bitterroot Valley, just south of my home in Missoula, is one of the best strawberry-growing areas in the country. The berries are small, tender, juicy, and loaded with flavor. Besides tasting great plain with a bit of sugar, they are excellent baked in this pie. This recipe is based on a prize-winning from the Tenth Pillsbury Bake-Off submitted by Mrs. Mary Police. I was a teenage finalist in the same contest but didn’t make the pie until many years later. What drew me to the recipe was the small amount of canned pineapple in the filling. What was it doing there, I wondered? Well, I found out. The pineapple works in two ways: It actually emphasizes the sweetness in the strawberries, and it adds its own delightful complexity. This pie is delicious plain or with whipped cream, ice cream, or vanilla frozen yogurt."

Pastry ingredients:

1 1?4 cups (5 1?2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1?3 cup (1 1?4 ounces) cake flour

1?2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 6 pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (1 ounce), chilled

4 tablespoons ice water

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Strawberry-Pineapple Filling ingredients:

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1?4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pounds (5 to 6 cups) hulled and sliced strawberries

1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits in juice, well drained

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces


1. If you measure the flours for the pastry instead of weighing them, spoon them into dry measuring cups, fill the cups to overflowing, and sweep off the excess with a metal spatula.

2. To make the pastry in a food processor, place both flours in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the salt, butter, and shortening. Pulse the machine 4 times, about 1 second each. Combine the ice water and cider vinegar in a cup with a spout. Then, while pulsing rapidly, gradually add the liquid through the feed tube. Keep pulsing very rapidly, 20 to 30 times until the dough almost gathers into a ball. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, press the pieces together, and pat the dough gently to form a 6-inch disc.

3. To make the pastry by hand, place both flours in a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Add the butter and shortening and cut them in with a pastry blender until the particles resemble small peas. Sprinkle in the ice water and vinegar while tossing the mixture lightly with a fork. Keep tossing until the mixture is moistened and almost gathers into a ball. Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a sheet of plastic wrap, and pat it gently to form a 6-inch disc.

4. Cut one-quarter of the pastry circle off the disc (3.5 oz) and bring the cut ends of the larger piece together (10.25 oz) to form a new, smaller circle. Wrap both pieces of pastry in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

5. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and set a heavy baking sheet on it. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger piece of pastry into a 13-inch circle. Fit it loosely into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim away excess pastry with scissors, leaving 1?2 inch of overhang. Reserve the pastry scraps. Fold the pastry edge back on itself and press together to form a high-standing rim. Flute the edge. (Even with a high rim, the filling may bubble over if the berries are especially juicy.) Place the crust in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and salt. Add the strawberries and pineapple and fold them in until the fruits are completely moistened. There should be no dry ingredients visible.

7. Add the pastry scraps to the small circle of pastry and roll it into an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Prick the pastry generously with a fork and cut it into 8 wedges.

7. Remove the crust from the freezer and spread with the filling, mounding it slightly in the center. Dot the top with the butter bits and set the pastry wedges over the filling, leaving a little space between the wedges. Lightly brush cold water over the pastry and sprinkle the wedges with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Immediately place the pie on the baking sheet.

8. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking another 50 to 60 minutes, or until the filling is very bubbly and the pastry wedges are golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack, cut into wedges, and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 8 servings (Copyright © 2020 by Greg Patent)

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 7/12/20.  Listen weekly on the radio at 9:53 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)  

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