This simple and elegant custard pie topped with lemon curd and garnished beautifully with strawberry slices won the authors and bakers Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin their first blue ribbon in a baking contest. The Georgia-based couple has gone on to win the National Pie Championships and other baking awards. Their new cookbook, The New Pie, shares seventy-five of their best recipes as well as tips like how to blind-bake a crust. That’s where this recipe begins—when the warm crust emerges and is ready to be filled with luscious strawberry-lemon custard that sets in a 350°F oven.
Food & Drink
Summer Strawberry Pie
The freshest berries make this stunning blue-ribbon pie sunshine by the slice
photo: Andrew Thomas Lee
Yield: One 9-inch pie
1 9-inch pie crust blind-baked
For the Strawberry-Lemon Custard:
1½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
½ cup fresh lemon juice
For the Lemon Curd Topping:
¼ tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
¼ cup plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1⁄3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
For the Fresh Strawberry Flower Garnish:
1½ cups Fresh strawberries, whole or hulled, cut into ⅛-inch slices
2 tbsp. strawberry jelly
Make the Strawberry-Lemon Custard: While the crust bakes at 350°F, add the strawberry chunks to the bowl of a food processor and process until only small pieces remain but the mixture is not completely pureed, about 15 seconds.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, condensed milk, and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and the processed strawberries. (Do not whisk in the lemon juice until the pie crust is out of the oven and you are ready to add the filling to it.) Pour the mixture into the warm crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula, if necessary.
Return the pie to the oven and bake until the filling is set, 20 to 30 minutes. The center of the filling should jiggle slightly when it is jostled. If the crust begins to brown too much, cover it. Cool the pie to room temperature on a wire rack, about 3 hours, before chilling completely in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Make the Lemon Curd Topping: Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tsp. of the lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, the lemon zest, egg, egg yolk, sugar, and salt. Over medium heat, cook the mixture until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, whisking constantly. The mixture will be about 165°F. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cold butter until it has completely melted.
Whisk in the reserved gelatin mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and set aside to cool at 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.
Make the Fresh Strawberry Flower Garnish: No more than 4 hours before serving (otherwise the strawberries will start to wilt and leach juice into the lemon curd), arrange the strawberry slices, points upward, by leaning them on the crust at the outer edge of the filling. Continue arranging the slices in concentric layers working toward the center of the pie, slightly overlapping the slices like shingles. You can choose to cover the entire top of the pie with strawberry slices or leave some of the lemon curd exposed. When all the slices have been placed, garnish with the baby strawberries or strawberry blossoms, if using. Warm the strawberry jelly in a saucepan over low heat or in a small bowl in the microwave at 5-second intervals 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 topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This pie is best eaten on the day the fresh sliced strawberries are added to the top.
Reprinted from The New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert. Copyright © 2019 by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Andrew Thomas Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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