Strawberry Pie

The Recipe

(Serves 4)

For the Pastry

4oz plain flour

pinch salt

2oz butter - cubed

2-3 tbsp cold water

For Strawberry Filling

2 Large punnets strawberries (about 200g per punnet)- hulled & halved

1 dsp cornflour

1 dsp dry polenta or tapioca

2-3 dsp sugar (depends on how sweet your tooth is)

1 tsp vanilla paste (not essence & optional)

a few good twists of freshly ground black pepper

For Shortbread Biscuit Topping

6oz plain flour

4oz caster sugar

2oz butter - softened at room temperature

Pre-heat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6

First make your pastry - Put the flour & the salt into a bowl add the butter and, using your fingertips,

 'rub' into the flour - try & work quickly so the butter doesn't become too warm 

- your mixture should resemble bread crumbs when all the butter is rubbed in.

Add half of the water and, using a knife, bind together to make a dough adding more water if needed.

Cover & chill in the fridge

Whilst the pastry is chilling out in the fridge,check over your strawberries - I don't like to wash soft fruit but I  do

check over for 'bugs and foreign bodies' and I only buy fruit that hasn't been sprayed or treated (always

check the packaging) I find that when I've washed fruits such as berries they seem to lose flavour & texture.

Pop your prepared strawberries into a bowl and fold in the sugar, cornflour, polenta, vanilla and black pepper - do this carefully so as not to damage & bruise the fruit.

Cover & place the bowl in the fridge.

Gather together your pastry tins & grease. Flour your work surface & roll out the pastry, cut & fit to your tins.

(fancy edges are optional)

Cover and blind bake for 20 to 25mins, uncover & give them another 5mins just to dry the base a bit more

(there's nothing worse than a soggy bottom!)

Whilst the pastry cases are blind baking make your shortbread mixture.

Combine the flour, sugar & butter in a bowl and work together until you have a smooth dough.

Cover & pop in fridge for 10mins.  Flour your work surface & roll out to a 1/2 cm thickness and cut into 

your desired shapes, sprinkle with sugar and set aside.

Turn you oven down to 190C/170C/Gas 5

Using your fingers, divide the strawberries amongst the pastry cases, leaving behind as much of the juice

 as possible, and then place on the shortbread biscuit tops in a random pattern if you wish. 

Return to the oven & bake for 25mins or until the shortbread is starting to colour - if your pastry edges 

start to catch gently cover with a strip of tinfoil. Remove from the oven & allow to cool.

Serve at room temperature with a good dollop of cream