So here I am back to Goma after a good break back in Athens and other places. This time the strawberry pie story starts with myself crossing the borders from Rwanda to DRCongo. Waiting for my passport to get stamped across the DRC side a couple of young ladies with huge baskets full of freshly picked strawberries started harassing me to buy some. My travelling adventure and the 3 pieces of luggage I was carrying full with training materials for a workshop I had to facilitate in Goma didn’t allow much space for more shopping at the time. However here I am a day later asking from our house lady to spot some strawberries for me. Still no thoughts about strawberry pie. An hour later she comes back with a plastic bag and a couple of kilos of tiny freshly picked strawberries that smelled like heaven. Childhood memories popped up when I was spending my summers at summer camp up to Taigetos mountain and part of our Sunday activities included picking wild strawberries to cook giant baking pans of strawberry pies. So here is the puzzle of events and a recipe of strawberry pie. With love from Goma.
… and in case you are looking for those fine tunes to accompany your Sunday morning breakfast. Check out Sleepy Bedtime Mix For Young Ones by Henry Chinaski at Pinchy & Friends website
For the dough I looked at a fantastic friend’s website My Easy Gourmet for some tips and a pie dough recipe
- 330gr/2 cups of flour
- 220gr of butter (I used vegetable shortening as I had difficulties locating unsalted butter in Goma)
- 110gr/1 glass cold water (I used a couple of ice cubes to drop the temperature down)
For the filling
- approximately 1 1/2 kg of strawberries hulled and quartered if they are big (mine were tiny)
- juice from 1 lime
- 1/2 cup caster sugar preferably (but whatever sugar should work as well)
And now what?
Start with preparing the filling. In a heavy bottom sauce pan add the strawberries and the lime juice. Cook, stirring occasionally in very low heat for 40-45 minutes. This will bring out juices from the strawberries.
Add the caster sugar and bring to boil over high heat. Stir frequently. At this stage is better you stay on top of the pan and keep an eye while stirring for 15 minutes. Reduce hit if you feel your strawberries are burning. All you need a syrup-liked mixture. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.
In a bowl add the dough ingredients and mix with your hands. You may also use a food processor. Then cover in cling or baking sheet and put aside in the freezer for 30 minutes. I didn’t have either so I used a super market bag instead that worked well.
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Remove dough from freezer and use 2 baking sheets or 2 pieces of plastic bag in my occasion to roll the dough. You will need approximately a 2cm thick dough layer for your base. If your dough feels sticky you can place back in the freezer for another 10 minutes before removing from the baking sheet or plastic bag.
Place the dough in a 22cm round baking pan. This is only a guide so be creative about the pan. This time I used a small size square pyrex baking pan for example, which is what we had in the kitchen. Trim the edges with a knife and prick the dough with a fork several times. Place the remaining dough in the freezer again.
Bake the base for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. While baking pay attention and use a spoon to push down any rising dough or instead put a baking sheet and add some uncooked rice on top to keep the dough from rising. If you use rice remove after 15 minutes so you allow your pie to get crispy.
Remove the remaining dough from the freezer and using the same technic as before roll it to a 1cm thick layer. Then cut to 1cm wide strips with a cold knife.
Add the filling in the base and place the strips on top of the filling. Bake again at the preheated oven to 200 C for 25 minutes. When ready put the pie aside to cool down a little bit before cutting into pieces. YOu can remove from baking pan and let it cool down on a oven rack. This will keep your pie crispy until next morning.