There is nothing like this pie. It was created by test kitchen director Ruth Cousineau, and if there were ever a laurel to rest on, this would be it. The berries are key, so look for local ones (those that travel least taste the best) that are plump, fragrant, and fully ripe, with no white shoulders. One of the miracles here is that the gelatin will be set just enough so that you can easily cut a slice, but it’s not bouncy.
SEE MORE: 15 Food That Are Better Frozen
- 1 (5-ounce) package shortbread cookies
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 pounds (1 1/2-inch) strawberries, hulled (see cooks’ note, below)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- lightly sweetened whipped cream
Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Pulse cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs, then pulse in sugar and butter until combined. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Filling and Assembly: Select 20 large strawberries as close to same size as possible and set aside. Cut remaining berries into 1/4-inch dice and toss with sugar and lemon juice. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Drain berries in a sieve set into a large glass measuring cup. Add enough water to measure 2 cups. Transfer liquid to a medium saucepan and reserve berries.
Sprinkle gelatin over strawberry liquid and let soften 1 minute. Bring to a bare simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved. Add diced berries, then transfer to a metal bowl set into an ice bath and stir frequently until mixture begins to mound, 20 to 30 minutes.
Spoon 1/2 cup filling into pie crust and arrange reserved whole berries, stem ends down, on filling. Spoon remaining filling over and between berries. Chill pie until filling is set, at least 4 hours.