Icebox Strawberry Pie

serves 8

For the Crust

1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

5 Tablespoons (2 1/2-ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

3 Tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes

4-6 Tablespoons ice water

For the Filling

2 pounds (7 cups) frozen strawberries

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tablespoons water

1 Tablespoon unflavored gelatin

1 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

1 pound (3 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin

For the Topping

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

For the Crust

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt with a few 1-second pulses.  Add the butter and shortening and process until the mixture just starts to come together and resembles coarse meal.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse to combine.  Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and process just until the dough comes together.  Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Using the corners of the plastic wrap and the back of your knuckles, press the dough into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375º F.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a 12-inch circle.  Ease the dough into a 9-inch pie plate by gently lifting edge of dough and lightly pressing into the bottom of the pie plate, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang.  Fold the overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with the edge of pie plate.  Flute or decoratively crimp  the edge.  Freeze until cold and firm, 30-45 minutes.

Line the crust with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until the crust is set, about 25-30 minutes.  Carefully remove the parchment and weights.  Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or strips of foil and bake until set, about 10-12 minutes more; set aside to cool (do not remove shield or strips).

For the Filling

In a large saucepan, cook the frozen strawberries over medium-low heat until they begin to release their juices, about 3 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jam-like, about 25 minutes (mixture should measure 2 cups).

Combine the lemon juice and water in a small bowl.  Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.  Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked strawberry mixture and return to a simmer, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30-45 minutes.

Fold fresh sliced strawberries into filling.  Spread filling into cooled pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.  (Pie can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours).

For the Topping

Using stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer running, add the cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes more.  

Dollop slices of pie with whipped topping and serve.  Enjoy!

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