Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie
You will have a few leftover strawberries, but 2 quarts is a little skimpy.
Serves: 6
  • 3 quarts (about 3 pounds) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered pectin (like Sure-Jell brand)
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pre-baked pie shell (homemade or store-bought)
  1. Slice 1 heaping quart of the strawberries for the filling and halve 2 heaping cups of your best looking ones for the pie top. Halve another 2 cups of strawberries, place in a food process, and puree until smooth.
  2. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of the puree and transfer to a medium saucepan along with sugar, pectin, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat whisking frequently. Continue to simmer so that mixture foams, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; skim foam from surface. Return saucepan to medium heat, slowing whisking in cornstarch mixture. Continue to whisk until mixture is stiff. Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.
  3. Transfer ¼ cup of the mixture to a small bowl. Whisk in up to 2 tablespoons of water for the glaze. Transfer remaining mixture to a medium bowl, placing a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface. When mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in sliced strawberries and turn into baked pie shell. Arrange halved strawberries over top; brush with glaze and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made several hours ahead.)


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  1. Diane says

    My pie is very tasty, but didn’t set up. About how long do you heat that pectin and puree mixture? I wasn’t sure how stiff was stiff.

    • Pam says

      Hi Diane,

      The filling should be very stiff. I’m working on a second strawberry pie post with more explanation in the week or so… stay tuned.

      Sorry it didn’t turn out as it should have.

  2. Nadia says

    This pie looks like a sensational summer treat. Over the years, I have had a “berry” difficult time, so to speak, trying to find a strawberry pie recipe that did not produce a watery, gloopy mess. I saw this recipe in USA WEEKEND and plan to try it, but should I be using pectin for low-sugar recipes or the regular Sure Jell? After some searching online, I found a similar recipe that recommends using the low-sugar version; otherwise, the pie will not set up properly. If I use the low-sugar version, do I still use the three tablespoons of water to mix in with the cornstarch, or do I go back to the 1/4 cup of water to mix in with the cornstarch as written in the USA WEEKEND article?

    Thanks, in advance, for all of your help. I enjoyed the video demonstration, too. This site has so many interesting recipes, and I cannot wait to try some of them!

    • Pam says

      Hey Nadia,
      We’re working on retesting the pies tomorrow or the next day. I used regular Sure Jell and mine set up fine. In fact, i’ve still got the glaze in the fridge from when we shot the video and it’s solid, so I feel pretty sure it’s the water. But… if there’s a problem with the pie tomorrow I’ll try the low-sugar variety. Maybe I’ll pick up a pack of the low-sugar stuff and try that too. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Pam says


    As promised we made strawberry pies again day before yesterday.

    Pie # 1 we made with sure jell for reduced sugar and the original 1/4 cup of water in the cornstarch mixture.
    Pie #1 was made with regular sure jell and 3 tablespoons water in the cornstarch mixture as now called for in the recipe.

    Both pies set up just fine, but I preferred the look of the regular sure jell. It had a glossier, glazed look. The berries tossed with the low-sugar sure jell mixture looked like they had been tossed in dull strawberry jam.

    I’m actually going to make the pie one more time this Sunday night and see if I can reduce the water on the regular sure jell version to 2 tablespoons. I’ll let you know how that works.

    It’s incredible the difference just 1 tablespoon of water can make in a recipe!

  4. says

    i made this pie twice and both times it was runny after sitting in the fridge overnight. the reason i think this happened is juice from the berries that are on top made it runny. taste good but could not slice or serve to company, not presentable. thanks, joyce

  5. Jennifer says

    I added about a 1/2 tbsp more of pectin and a little less water since my strawberries were wet when they were sliced and pureed and it came out perfect! When I make jam i always add more pectin then the recipe calls for to make sure it sets and just applied the same principle to the pie. This is the best strawberry pie I’ve ever made.

  6. Carolyn says

    I made this pie on Friday. Very pretty until I cut it. Too runny. Liquid seeped out through the crust and all over the pie plate after cutting. Tasty but next time I will use more pectin someone suggested. Very full of fruit filling, just need less liquid. Thanks

  7. Nadia says

    Hi, Pam.

    I am not sure if you received my e-mail a couple of weeks ago, but if not, thanks again for all of your help and advice. Unfortunately, two pies and six pounds of strawberries later, I am still not having much luck with this dessert. The first time that I made this pie, I followed the recipe exactly on this Web page, except that I used the pectin for lower sugar recipes. As you noted about your pie made with this type of thickener, my pie similarly had a dull appearance, but it was a little liquidy. Today, I made this pie using the regular Sure Jell. While the color and taste were far superior to that of my first pie, it was still rather runny. I do not know what I am doing wrong. This time, when the pectin mixture came to a boil, I let it boil hard for one minute and skimmed off the foam. This mixture had the appearance of ruby-red watery jelly. Next, I made the cornstarch slurry with the cold water (I had to use three tablespoons of water because it had the texture of plaster with only two tablespoons of water), returned the pan to the heat, gradually added the slurry, and brought the mixture back to a boil, all the while stirring constantly and letting the mixture boil for two minutes — long enough, I think, for the cornstarch to thicken properly but not too long so that it loses its thickening power. After adding the flavorings, I cooled the mixture completely and continued with the recipe, making sure to dry my strawberries before folding them into the glaze, which was very thick at the time. The only thing that I did differently was to avoid adding additional water to the reserved portion of the glaze for the berries for garnish. I just folded them separately into this reserved portion and spooned them decoratively over the pie. Four hours after refrigeration, I sliced into a runny (much runnier, though more delicious, than the first pie that I made) mess. I used fresh berries from my local market (well, fresh off the truck from California — here in Indiana, we have a short strawberry season) and followed your instructions carefully. I do not understand what I am doing incorrectly and why I cannot replicate your recipe results with this pie in my own kitchen. Mixing strawberries with any sugary solution causes them to release their juices, but I would think that the glaze would be thick enough to withstand or to support these juices at least for a day. Truly, I apologize for taking so much space to comment, but I am once again “berry” overwhelmed by my strawberry-pie undertakings. This site is such a great resource, however, and I appreciate and enjoy all of your stories, recipes, and tips!

  8. Sarah says

    Hello – The directions are incorrect in USA Today. Essentially, this recipe has you making a small batch of jam which, supported with corn starch, will hold your lovely fresh berries together.

    However, the USA today printing has you bring the jam to a simmer. Although I am a veteran jam maker, I thought, “Who knows? Maybe it will work!”. Nope. Turns out pectin is pectin, and you need to bring the jam to a ROLLING BOIL, then add in your pectin, the RETURN it to a ROLLING BOIL for 1 minute. Remove from heat, etc.

    It should be noted, as well, that stawberries are the one berry that can vary widely in its water content. Thusly, the hotter the boil you get it to, the more likely you are to achieve a set.

    I made two of these pies yesterday for the 4th of July, and they did not set. I will try it again using jam making techniques, because the flavor was really fantastic, and it was a very pretty pie.

  9. Annie McGuigan says

    I am a big fan of Pam Anderson’s cookbooks – never had a recipe failure! However, this is the third recipe of Pam’s I’ve tried (all which were printed in the USA Weekend Magazine) and all three failed. I wish I had read the above comments before I wasted almost $10 on strawberries and the considerable amount of time it takes to make this pie. The recipe is titled “Fast and Fresh Strawberry Pie” which is misleading as the recipe is somewhat labor intensive and creates a lot of dishwashing! The taste of the pie is delicious … but it does NOT set up. I will not waste my time or money on giving the recipe a second chance!

  10. Melanie says

    We make pies for our church’s strawberry festival every year. The women of the church have spent 65 years perfecting their methods. Their tips are to wash your strawberries and hull them the night before. Allow them to dry on the counter top. DO NOT chill. The other key is don’t slice your strawberries. These two events will cause your strawberries to sweat (produce extra water) causing the pie to be runny. Hope these tips help!

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