There are so many reasons for me to be excited now! For starters, it's the first official weekend of the summer--my all-time favorite season. I just love everything about it--even the heat! Then there's the fact that school's finally out and even though it's been years (and years) since I've been in school, I still get that rush from knowing there's a couple month break from tests and papers and evil gym teachers (don't even get me started!), plus there's the added benefit of the break in routine for my kids. And even more, today for Famous Fridays, I'm featuring Cheryl and Griffith Day, owners of The Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, GA with this wonderful Strawberry Custard Pie from their latest cookbook, Back In The Day Bakery Made With Love! You can genuinely tell that everything in this cookbook is made with love and guys, I looooooove this cookbook! So much love and good feelings going around that I may officially explode with excitement!!
If you've been following the blog for a while you may remember that I featured Cheryl and Griffith's first book, The Back in the Day Bakery last year as a Famous Fridays post, with their amazing recipe for Plum Tartlets. Their new book is more of the same amazingness with homey Southern-style recipes that will knock your socks off, like Jam Muffins, Chocolate Bubble Loaf, Fresh Fruit Turnovers, Cocoa-Cola Cake with Chocolate Icing, Banana Chiffon Cake, Tybee Sand Dollars etc. I had a really hard time deciding what to feature for this post, but in the end, our overabundance of fresh-picked berries won out!
Fresh strawberry pie is a family favorite around here (this one in particular) so when I recently used 2 pounds of our beloved strawberry crop to produce this one with a graham cracker pecan crust and a layer of vanilla custard, there were a few long faces...until the first bites were taken. Then came joyous smiles, proclamations that I'd been redeemed and finally acceptance that our traditional strawberry pie may have a new rival (although one certain guy has told me I'm not off the hook and I may need to go strawberry picking again to recreate the original). Gotta keep everyone happy!
Meanwhile, here's how you put this thing together. It starts with with an easy, buttery graham cracker crumb crust that's made even more special with the addition of chopped roasted pecans.
Next you make a simple creamy vanilla custard and spoon it into the crust.
Then the whole thing is piled with 2 pounds of fresh strawberries and finished off with a strawberry preserves glaze for even more strawberry flavor and shine.
Every bite is just perfect with sweet strawberries, silky smooth custard and crunchy crust. My only warning is that cutting and serving this beautifully is a bit tricky as it has a tendency to sort of fall apart--not that I noticed anyone not fully enjoying their slice due to appearances, but just know that you may want to go the bowl route for this and that's it's best served on the day it's made.
So have a great first weekend of summer--maybe head out to the beach or pack up for a picnic and check out the Back in the Day Bakery cookbooks or if you're in Savannah, make a pitstop at their wonderful bakery! See you next week with more great summery food! Later, gaters!
Back in the Day Bakery Made With Love's Strawberry Custard Pie-Famous Fridays
Makes one 9 or 10" inch pie
Prep Time for the Crust: 15 minutes (plus chilling time); Prep Time for the Custard: 10 minutes (plus chilling time); Assembly Time: 15 minutes
For the crust
- 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 8 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the custard
- 5 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
For the Pie
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup strawberry or apricot preserves
- Whipped cream for serving (optional--I didn't think the pie needed it)
1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, mix together the pecans, graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Drizzle in the butter, a bit at a time, and mix the ingredients together with a fork, tossing gently, until all the crumbs are moistened.
2. Pour the mixture into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate and use a flat-bottomed measuring cup to help flatten out the crumbs evenly all across the bottom and up the sides. Place the pie in the freezer for about 15 minutes to let it set.
3. Remove the pie from the freezer and bake for 6-8 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
4. To make the custard: In the top bowl of a double boiler, whisk the yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt together until thick and pale. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Slowly add about a cup of the milk to the yolk mixture, whisking all the time, so that they don't curdle. Then whisk in the rest of the milk.
5. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook, whisking constantly for 5-7 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Let the custard sit for 2-3 minutes to cool and then gently whisk in the cubes of butter until the mixture is silky smooth.
6. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap so that a skin doesn't form and let it cool for about 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature. When cool, spoon it into the pie plate, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
7. To assemble the pie: Place the preserves in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until they are smooth and liquidy. Set aside to cool. When you're ready to serve the pie, pile on the berries in a large mound--adding them hours before you serve the pie gives them time to let their natural juices escape and might make the pie a little soggy. Once the strawberries are on, brush on the preserves all over them and place the whole thing in the fridge for a few minutes to chill it back up or serve it directly. A dollop of whipped cream on top can't hurt but it's great without it too!
Note: Recipe adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day.