Mom’s Fresh Strawberry Pie
Fresh. Strawberry. Pie.
Just typing these words makes me drool all over my keyboard. YUM!!!
This pie recipe is paying homage to my beautiful mother. The strawberry pie that I’m about to share with you is hands down her FAAAVORITE pie on the face of the planet.
She is the one who taught me how to make it and it was a regular occurrence in our house when I was growing up as soon as strawberry season started. With 5 kids in the house, it got devoured quickly and was the highly coveted dessert.
Whenever I was able to get a slice, it was heaven on a plate. As you can tell, this recipe is already dripping with nostalgia.
I’m not sure why my mom loved this pie so much (other than the fact that it is DELICIOUS!) but she did and she clearly passed the love of this pie on to me.
My mom would buy flats and flats of strawberries in the summertime and we’d make batches of strawberry jam as a family. Us kids would sit at the counter mashing strawberries with forks on plates. Mashing, mashing, mashing.
I can’t say that I loved the work, but I do love the family togetherness memories I have! We also did this assembly line style of family work for canning green beans, shelling peas, packaging ground beef into 1 pound sized freezer paper packages, and canning tomatoes.
My mom is a rockstar!
And of course when we were done making strawberry jam, we’d make this strawberry pie. Or rather, my mom would make it.
Now, I don’t really consider this pie “healthy” because of the boxed mix that it uses. The ingredient list is primarily sugar (it is a short ingredient list, though. Just 6 items including the food coloring). For me it’s a treat food. For you, depending on what you currently eat, it might be in the healthy category. Who knows?
But it does use fresh strawberries, so yay for fresh fruit! And yay for the occasional treat!!
One note: you will need a specialty ingredient called “Danish Dessert” which you can probably find in the baking isle of most grocery stores. I checked my local stores here in Idaho and it is not available at Fred Meyer or Walmart, but I did find it at Winco. In the Jello section on the top shelf. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, you can order it online here. Please don’t substitute anything else. Well, I suppose you can, but then it won’t be my mom’s fresh strawberry pie. 😉
On to the recipe.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
- 1 pie crust shell, prebaked
- 3 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and cut into bite sized pieces.
- 1 box Danish Dessert pie filling
- 1 3/4 cups water
- For this recipe you will need a pie crust shell that has been prebaked. Follow the instructions in your pie crust recipe or on your pie crust package to bake a single pie crust. Or follow the instructions in my blog post here: Carrotgal.com/easy-pie-crust-recipe/
- Wash and dry the strawberries. Remove the leafy green part. Cut into bite sized pieces if the strawberries are large. Arrange in the baked and cooled pie shell.
- Mix 1 3/4 cups water with the box of Danish Dessert in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil it for 1 minute or until it is thick and gel like. Allow to cool for just a couple of minutes.
- Pour the Danish Dessert mixture as evenly as you can over the strawberries. There may be a few berries that do not get coated. Place the pie in the fridge to set up for several hours. It is ready to serve when the filling is completely set. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
How to make my mom’s fresh strawberry pie – step by step instructions
Make the pie crust.
This recipe begins with a single pie crust that is pre-baked before you add the filling.
I wrote a full post about how to make a pie crust so instead of repeat myself, I will just give you the link to the post here. The post is full of step by step pictures to help you along the way.
You will need to make one pie crust and shape it into your pan. I like a standard fluted edge but feel free to decorate your edges however you want to.
If you have enough time, place the pie crust in the fridge to chill.
One trick that I learned recently to get a super flakey pie crust is after you make the dough and shape it in the pan, put it back in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. This gets the butter cold again and when it goes into a hot oven, it creates the flakey layers.
Your pie crust should look something like this.
Pre-bake the pie crust
It’s very important to pre-bake the crust for this recipe. Prebaking the crust is also called “blind baking” the crust. Just in case you wanted to know.
When you pre-bake crusts, you will want to poke the raw crust all over with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up.
I also like to use pie weights and a pie crust shield.
If you don’t have pie weights, you can use a piece of tin foil with dry beans or marbles in a single layer. You just want some weight on the bottom of the dough to keep it flat.
If you don’t have a pie crust shield, you can cut a piece of tin foil to go around the edge of your pie pan.
Bake your pie crust at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or so until it is baked all the way through. Cool completely.
It should look something like this.
Cut the strawberries
This step doesn’t really require much explanation. You will simply wash your berries and cut them if they are large. You can slice them all if you want to but I prefer to keep them mostly whole.
I typically cut the large ones in half and the really large ones into quarters. The little ones stay whole.
I washed my strawberries in a colander after I had cut them and then patted them dry on a clean kitchen towel. You can certainly wash them before they are cut.
Once you are done cutting and washing the strawberries, set them aside while you make the filling. Or if your pie crust is already baked and cooled, you can go ahead and arrange them in there now.
Make the strawberry pie filling
The filling is made with a product called “Danish Dessert” which you can usually find in the baking isle of most grocery stores. It’s a little bit like Jello but it is thickened with tapioca starch to create a syrupy goodness that firms up into a gel.
The box calls it a “Pudding Pie Filling Glaze” for whatever that’s worth.
If you can’t find Danish Dessert in your grocery store, you can order it online here. Please don’t substitute anything else. Well, you might be able to substitute it for something else (I’m not sure what), but then it won’t be my mom’s fresh strawberry pie.
Where I live in Idaho, I checked several grocery stores to see if they carry Danish Dessert. Fred Meyer and Walmart do not. But WinCo does! It’s in the aisle with the Jell-O on the top shelf. Again, if you can’t find it locally, you can always order online.
Follow the directions on the package for “Pie Glaze.”
The directions say: Stir contents of package into 1 ¾ cups cold water in medium-sized saucepan. Bring to full boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
You want it to be thick but still be able to run off the spoon. The consistency will be like a gel.
While it’s cooling slightly, arrange your strawberries in your pre-baked pie shell. I’m not usually very precise with this. I usually just dump them in and maybe flip one or two over so the cut side is down. Simple!
Pour the Danish Dessert over the top of the strawberries as evenly as you possibly can. There’s usually a few spots that get missed a little bit.
Finally, put the pie in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
It’s ready to eat when the filling is completely firmed up. I will warn you though, it does not always slice beautifully. It usually falls apart as it comes out of the pan, so be prepared for ugly (but delicious) pie on your plate. 🙂
It’s yummy just as is, but is also great with some fresh whipped cream on top!
Questions you may have:
Can I substitute the strawberries for something else? I personally have not tried this and have only made the strawberry version. Having said that, I have a niece who is allergic to strawberries so if she was coming to my house, I would make this with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. It would probably be good with other mixtures of fresh fruit too. If you try a different combination, let us know how it goes in the comments section!
Can I use frozen strawberries? No, I do not recommend using frozen strawberries in this recipe. Only fresh strawberries. There are baked versions of strawberry pie that lend themselves well to using frozen strawberries, but this recipe requires fresh berries.
How long will the pie last? You can certainly make this pie ahead of time. I’d recommend eating/serving it within two days. It can technically last up to 4-5 days in the fridge, but it probably won’t make it that long. Just sayin’.
Can I use something other than butter in the crust? Yes, but again, I have not tried it. In the pie crust post, I go over other options for butter. I’d use lard or coconut oil as I think those would yield the best results. I personally would stay away from shortening, margarine, and other butter substitutes.
Can I use a store bought crust? Yes, of course. There are many store bought options available. I’d check the freezer section and buy a frozen crust and bake it for the most similar result. Or you can try the sheets of refrigerated pie dough near the refrigerated cookie dough and canned biscuits section of your grocery store. I haven’t tried this recipe with a graham cracker crust but it would probably taste good (but won’t be how my mom made it of course).
What about gluten free crust? Gluten free crusts are not something that I have dabbled much with so I’m not an expert. I do know that Whole Foods sells a frozen gluten free crust that you could try. You can also try this recipe or this recipe if you want to make a crust from scratch. If you make a gluten free crust, let us know how it goes in the comments section!
Can I freeze the finished pie? No, I do not recommend freezing this pie. Freezing it will definitely change the texture of the strawberries. It’s best to eat this pie fresh!
Can I substitute something for the Danish Dessert? No. I don’t recommend it. There might be other things you can use instead (I’m not sure what) but it will definitely change the recipe. Feel free to experiment if you want but for this recipe, it’s Danish Dessert all the way!
Where can I buy Danish Dessert? You can usually find it in the baking isle of most grocery stores. Look on the top shelf or the bottom shelf near the jello or the pie crusts/fillings. It will likely be cheaper if you can find it in a physical store. Where I live in Idaho, I could only find it at Winco near the Jello (Fred Meyer and Walmart didn’t appear to stock it). But if you can’t find it locally, you can order it online here.
If you have any additional questions, please drop them in the comments section below.
Want more pie?
This post is part of an entire series of pie recipes. Um, yes please! Check out these other posts for more pie recipes!
All-butter Pie crust recipe
More recipes coming soon…
Go make yourself some fresh strawberry pie
This is such a fun, fresh summertime dessert that everyone loves. It’s bright and clean and surprisingly filling.
The sweetness of the glaze with the tanginess of the strawberries and the crusty flakiness of the crust is a party in your mouth.
I encourage you to try it out.
If you make this pie, please let us know how it went in the comments below!
Happy fresh strawberry pie making!