My Big Fat Italian Strawberry-Basil Wedding Pie

Yesterday we wrote about how Miami native Naylet LaRochelle took first prize in the Crisco Innovation category of the 17th annual American Pie Counci/Crisco National Pie Championships. Her winning entry, "My Big Fat Italian Strawberry-Basil Wedding Pie," borrows the elegance and color of a traditional wedding cake and translates it into popular pie form. The recipe follows, but you needn't save it for nuptials -- this summery pie can delight any old time.

My Big Fat Italian Strawberry-Basil Wedding Pie
Naylet LaRochelle

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup COLD Crisco Butter-Flavored Shortening
3-6 tablespoons ice water, as needed

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt until well blended. Using a pastry cutter, cut the Crisco Butter-Flavored Shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a small measuring cup, add vinegar to 6 tablespoons ice water. Drizzle water-vinegar mixture over flour-shortening mixture by tablespoons until dough looks evenly moistened and sticks together when pressed with the flat side of a spatula. (If dough crumbles, add more ice water by the tablespoon.) Shape dough into a flat disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pie dough into pie plate; trim pastry edges. Do not prick pastry. Line the pastry with foil; fill with pie weights. Bake at 425 F for 8 to 10 minutes to set the crust. Carefully remove the foil with the pie weights. Prick the bottom of the pie crust. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F; continue to bake 14 to 17 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven; set on cooling rack to cool completely.

Filling Ingredients:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup whipping cream plus 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 (10 oz.) jar Smucker's Strawberry Spreadable Fruit
1 (8 oz.) container mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, crushed, and some of the liquid drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions: In a small microwavable bowl, combine gelatin and 1/4 cup whipping cream. Set aside for 5 minutes. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let sit 5 to 8 minutes or until slightly cool to touch.

In a large bowl, stir together strawberry spreadable fruit, mascarpone, vanilla extract, salt, lemon peel, and gelatin mixture until well combined. Add fresh strawberries and basil; stir until combined.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat on high remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the strawberry mixture. Pour filling into cooled, pre-baked pie shell. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until filling is set.

Vanilla Bean-White Chocolate Mousse Topping Ingredients:
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
White chocolate curls, for garnish, if desired
White fondant flowers, for garnish, if desired

Directions: In a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons cream, stirring often, over low heat until completely melted. When chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat; stir in vanilla paste. Let chocolate cool (but not harden). In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cooled white chocolate mixture until well combined. Spread over top of pie, or pipe in a decorative manner. Return pie to refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, or until topping is set. Garnish pie with white chocolate curls and/or white fondant flowers if desired.

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