Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
- Pastry Crusts
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 (14.1-oz.) packages refrigerated piecrusts
- Creamy Lemon Filling
- 1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Strawberry Topping
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 10 cup hulled fresh strawberries
- Vanilla Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1. Prepare Crust: Preheat oven to 425°. Sprinkle work surface with 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Roll 1 pie crust into a 12 1/2-inch circle on surface, and cut into 3 (6-inch) rounds. Repeat with remaining 3 pie crusts and 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar to make 12 rounds. Fit 6 rounds, sugar sides down, into each mold of a 6-cavity mini pie pan; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Chill remaining 6 rounds.
- 2. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove crusts from pan to wire rack, and cool completely. Cool pan completely. Repeat procedure with remaining 6 piecrust rounds.
- 3. Prepare Creamy Lemon Filling: Beat cream cheese and sour cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and next 2 ingredients; beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread about 2 1/2 Tbsp. filling into each cooled piecrust; cover with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).
- 4. Prepare Strawberry Topping: Process 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth, and press through a wire-mesh strainer into a 3-qt. saucepan, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice; discard pulp. Stir 1 cup granulated sugar into juice in pan.
- 5. Whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; gradually whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter. Cool 15 minutes.
- 6. Toss together strawberry mixture and 10 cups hulled strawberries gently in a large bowl until coated. (Halve some berries; leave others whole.) Cover; chill 3 hours or until cold.
- 7. Prepare Vanilla Cream: Beat heavy cream and vanilla at medium-high speed until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
- 8. Spoon about 1/2 cup Strawberry Topping into each pie; top with Vanilla Cream. Serve immediately.
- Mega Strawberry Pie: Preheat oven to 425°. Reduce 1/4 cup powdered sugar to 2 Tbsp. and piecrusts to 1/2 (14.1-oz.) package. Sprinkle surface with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Roll 1 piecrust into an 11-inch circle on prepared surface. Fit piecrust, sugar side down, in a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Proceed with recipe as directed in Steps 3 through 8, spooning all of Creamy Lemon Filling into prepared crust, and topping with all of Strawberry Topping and Vanilla Cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings Hands-on 40 min.; Total 4 hours, 50 min.