I have had Sister Pie borrowed from the library for quite awhile (I checked it out right before my library closed because or COVID-19), and I kept avoiding it because I am not a pie baker. If I feel the need to make a pie for some reason, I usually just get a store-bought crust and call it a day. (My husband loves blackberry pie, and about the only baking he ever does is making homemade pie crusts.) But this book, which has a gorgeous cover, kept staring at me, and I finally decided to take on the challenge of making a homemade pie with crust from scratch.
Sister Pie is written by Lisa Ludwinski who owns the Sister Pie bakery in Detroit. If you want a traditional pie cookbook, this is not for you. The basic pie crust recipe seemed pretty standard, but the pie recipes are full of non-traditional flavors like Concord Grape and Goat Cheese Pie or Rhubarb Rosemary Struesel Pie. As I read through the cookbook, I still found quite a few recipes that looked interesting, including some recipes that aren’t even for pies. There is a whole section about salads because Ludwinski said she makes a lot of these for the workers in her bakery.
I was able to hold on to this cookbook for a long time because of the libray closure, and the more I read through it, the more I think I’m going to have to buy my own copy!
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom*
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
- 1/4 cup sugar (add up to 2 more tablespoons depending on sweetness of your strawberries)
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tapioca starch**
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds, whole strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- One 9-inch homemade pie crust, blind baked and cooled***
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons finely ground toasted pistachios
- Make the crumble: In a large bowl, combine the pistachios, rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cardamom, lime zest, and salt. Place the butter in the bowl and coat on all sides with the flour mixture. Take a bench scraper and cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes directly into the flour mixture in the bowl. Work to break up the cubes with your hands until they are lightly coated with the flour mixture. Use the bench scraper to keep cutting the butter into smaller pieces.
- Switch to a pastry blender, and begin to cut the butter with one hand while turning the bowl with the other. Once most of the butter is incorporated, use your fingers to fully break down the butter until it is no longer visible and you’re working with small clusters of crumble. The crumble can be make up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to assemble and bake the pie, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the sugar, lime zest and juice, tapioca starch, and salt. Add the strawberries and toss with your hands until evenly distributed.
- Evenly spread the cream cheese on the bottom of the pie shell. Brush the crimped edge with the beaten egg. Layer the strawberries on top of the cream cheese, being careful not to mound them in the center. Carefully cover the fruit with the crumble topping, leaving a small hole in the center of the pie. Place the assembled pie on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the pie juices are beginning to bubble in the center and the crumble topping is uniformly a deep golden color.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, transfer the pie to a wire rack, and cover with the pistachios. Let cool for 4 to 6 hours.
My notes: I’ve never made a strawberry pie before, but I am now a huge fan. I loved the pistachio crumble also, although my family didn’t think it had a lot of pistachio taste. If you want to try out a new pie flavor, I would definitely give this one a try. Maybe make it for your dad for Father’s Day!
*I used cinnamon because I didn’t have any cardamom.
**I used cornstarch because I couldn’t find any tapioca starch.
***I did use the pie crust recipe from this cookbook, but if you already have a favorite crust recipe, just use that. The recipe was pretty detailed, so if you, like me, are new to pie crust, you might want to check this book out.