I could never name a favorite fruit; I love way too many kinds, but I am partial to strawberries, especially this time of year when I can buy 3 baskets for $6 at the farmers market. I grew up in Oregon, where I'm convinced the best strawberries in the world grow, and the season was painfully short. I am now incredibly spoiled to live in a place where strawberries grow pretty much year-round. True, they may be slightly inferior to Oregon berries, but they are still very good, and there is never a shortage around.
I was going to make a strawberry tart, but I decided I really wanted something with graham cracker crust. So, I took the pastry cream, fruit, and glaze that would normally be found in a tart, and switch
ed it up into a pie.
Some people bake their graham cracker crust for a few minutes before they fill it...I just chill mine while I prep the pastry cream and fruit.
12-14 graham crackers (put in the food processor to make 1 1/2 cups of crumbs)
6 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
Pastry cream: (from Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan)
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup corn starch, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 pints strawberries
1/4 cup fruit preserves (I used raspberry because that's all I had)
1 tsp water
To make the crust:
Combine ingredients in the food processor, then press into a 9" pie dish. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill while you make the pastry cream.
To make the pastry cream:
Whisk together egg yolks, corn starch, and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Boil the milk in a small sauce pan.
Gradually stir the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Place the pan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Stir for one minute while boiling, then remove from heat.
Let the mixture sit, off the heat, for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the vanilla. Let sit five minutes more, then stir in the butter. Place the pan in a large bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until cool (about 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, wash, drain, stem, and cut in half about 2 pints of strawberries.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour the pastry cream in. Smooth with a rubber spatula. Arrange strawberries on the pastry cream, then make the glaze.
Heat the preserves in a small saucepan over low heat until runny. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, and stir in 1 tsp water. Use a pastry brush to evenly distribute the glaze over the berries.
And there you have a strawberry-vanilla custard pie!