This graceful custard pie is crowned with lemon curd and embellished with brilliant early spring sliced strawberries and edible flowers. Beyond being scrumptious, it’s undeniably stunning.
Looking at the number of steps in this strawberry lemon pie method may be putting you off, but you really should take a closer look. The payoff is simply outstanding and you can opt to “do things up” or save yourself time by swapping out both ingredients as well as steps.
For example, exchange having to blind bake a pastry crust by swapping it for a simple store-bought graham cracker crust. If guilt is getting the better of you, meet half way and make your own graham cracker crust and add crushed salted pretzels for a sweet and salty base. Toasted pecans work great incorporated into graham cracker crusts, too.
The steps are able to be made in advance as well. I prefer to make the lemon curd and cut my strawberries the day before. That means when it’s time to bake the custard, I am focused only on the custard. Additionally, I am now only looking at about an hours worth of time versus several.
This strawberry lemon pie recipe adapted from The New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert, Copyright © 2019
If you love spring and summer fruit recipes, tackling this lemon strawberry pie says a lot about how far you’ll go to achieve dessert greatness. And yes, the effort is different from just scooping yourself a big bowl of ice cream…
My mother refers to this as the strawberry lemonade pie. It’s really because this is a lemon pie filling twice over. Layer number one is a strawberry lemon cream made with delicious fresh strawberries and a a fresh lemon juice enhanced custard. Layer number two is an easy lemon curd which is whipped up in minutes. Refrigeration is the key to this pie’s success. If not made enough in advance and given ample time to set, the custard will likely be runny. If I know I plan to serve this pie, I prepare the lemon curd the day before. I also wash and hull and halve all of the strawberries so that I am focused only on the custard when it comes time to bake.
So, is it a strawberry pie, or a lemonade pie…?
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Despite this being a multi-step pie recipe, it’s ridiculously easy. I think the biggest issue for me is the time in between steps. But in order to get the biggest payoff for the time invested, this one you just need to know has to be taken slow. The type of pie crust is entirely up to you. I think it depends on how formal or informal you wish for this to be, and who will be enjoying it.
I have used a store bought graham cracker crust on several occasions. I’ve also made my own crushed pretzel and graham cracker crust and had this turn out incredibly delicious. But if preparing to serve to company, even if it’s just my neighbors, I always use a blind-baked pie crust. You can make your own pastry dough in this case or purchase ready made.
Just as it sits, this gorgeous dessert is considered complete. A beautiful cream pie consisting of lemon and variations of lemon custards. Strawberries add both color and sweetness. If you wished to serve the slices with whipped cream, it’d be a very nice addition though I’d recommend using fresh heavy cream to whip it myself. I might also then recommend short sprigs of mint or chocolate mint leaves to garnish. Additional berries would also be pretty.
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Once the custard layer is baked, the pie must cool completely on the counter for several hours before being popped into the fridge for additional setting time. I go 6 hours AFTER allowing a 2 to 3 hour counter cool down. Only then do I add the lemon curd. The berries are last and only about ah hour or two before serving so the juices do not run and weep into the lemon curd. Brushing a warmed thin layer of strawberry jam or jelly atop the cut sides of the strawberries ensure they will not turn an off or brownish color. The sugar the jam lends is also welcome amidst the tartness of the lemon.
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Opt to use any kind of pie crust you like. Here, I am using a ready made refrigerated pie crust which I am both attempting to make appear ‘rustic’ by crimping and blind-baking prior to filling.
Do you have what is required to make A Sweet Sunshine By The Slice Strawberry And Lemon Pie? Check the list!
9-inch single pie crust
sweetened condensed milk
unflavored powdered gelatin
edible flowers, optional but very pretty!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
A Sweet Sunshine By The Slice Strawberry And Lemon Pie
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 6 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for A Sweet Sunshine By The Slice Strawberry And Lemon Pie
for the strawberry lemon custard
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries fresh, hulled and quartered
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice fresh, about 1 large lemon or 1 1/2 small lemons
for the homemade lemon curd
- 1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon lemon juice fresh, about 1/2 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest freshly grated
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter very cold, cut into 8 pieces
pie crust and garnish
- 1 9-inch pie crust may be graham cracker, or may be a pastry dough blind-baked
- 2 cups strawberries whole or hulled, halved and some quartered
- edible flowers optional
for the pie crust
- Heat oven to 350°F. Have a pie crust at the ready. If using pastry dough crust, blind-bake while preparing the strawberry lemon custard.
prepare the strawberry lemon custard
- Add the strawberry chunks to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until only small pieces remain but the mixture is not completely pureed, about 3 to 4 pulses. Pour the berries into a sieve and allow to drain.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, condensed milk, and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and the drained strawberries. Pour the mixture into the crust and smooth the top if necessary.
- Bake until the filling is set, about 25 to 30 minutes. The center of the filling should jiggle slightly when it is jostled.
- Cool the pie to room temperature on a wire rack, about 3 hours, before chilling completely in the refrigerator, at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
prepare the lemon curd
- Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice in a small bowl to stand and set aside.
- In a nonstick saucepan, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, the lemon zest, egg, egg yolk, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens slightly. The mixture should read around 165°F before removing the pan from the heat. Whisk in the cold butter until it has completely melted and the curd is very shiny.
- Whisk in the reserved gelatin mixture until very well incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to press and strain the mixture slowly through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Allow to cool tot room temperature, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is cooled completely, use an offset spatula to spread the lemon curd evenly over the top of the cooled custard layer. Refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours or up to overnight to allow the curd time to set.
garnishing the pie
- No more than 2 hours before serving so as not to allow the strawberry juice to weep into the lemon curd, arrange the strawberry halves, points outward and upward, by leaning them on the crust at the outer edge of the filling. Continue arranging the slices in layers slightly overlapping them like shingles. You can choose to cover the entire top of the pie with strawberry slices or leave some of the lemon curd exposed.
- Warm the strawberry jelly in a saucepan over low heat until the jelly is loose and thin but not hot. Use a pastry brush to gently dab a thin layer of jelly all over the strawberry topping. Garnish with edible flowers or blossoms, if using. Refrigerate until ready to serve.