Roasted Strawberry + Brandy Custard Pie

Matt is on a family vacation right now and I am living. it. up.  Things I've been doing:

  • sleeping with my limbs sprawled in every single direction
  • eating things straight out of the fridge while standing up, maybe or maybe not at 2 a.m.
  • playing NPR super loudly in the house and talking to the radio/myself
  • watching so many Anthony Bourdain shows on Netflix and also I saw Amy and it was so so so good

But it's been a few days and now I'm bored and miss the guy so I'm looking forward to his return on Monday.


Before Matt flew off to Florida and left me wandering around the house in my underwear for days, I made this pie and he got to have some.  In fact, he had a few bites before I brought him to the airport at 3 IN THE MORNING.  I'm not going to be as dramatic as I want to be, but three in the morning is really effing early.  Don't y'all think I deserve some kind of award? Like, a statue of an airplane balancing a massive fruit pie with "best boyfriend ever" written on it in pie-shaped rhinestones, please?  Cool.

Whatever - this is supposed to be about pie.  I like pie, duh, but the humidity in New Orleans means you never know how a crust recipe will turn out, so I kind of fear making them. But, I've been listening to  Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna on repeat and it's got me feeling like a real bad bitch, so I thought I'd give it a go.  It turned out delicious, though my crimping fell in a little... but sometimes a not so beautiful pie is even more incredible?  I don't know, insert your own metaphor about how perfection is boring or whatever.  The truth is I'm lazy and don't actually have all the time in the world and didn't feel like remaking this pie for a third time because part of the crimping fell in.  Remaking a whole pie because of something so solely aesthetic felt so... shallow?  It's also hot as hell (maybe literally) and my oven isn't going on again until October.

Regardless of the crimping, this pie is insanely gooey and fruity and creamy and custardy and buttery and brandy-filled and UGH just put your body in an ice chest, turn on the oven, and make it.   While you're at it, would y'all tell me how y'all are keeping cool?  So far I've mostly resorted to jumping in the pool, chugging tequila cocktails, and burying myself in the cool shadows of my dark bedroom with the air conditioner on blast.  Sometimes those last two go together.  

Oh, oh, oh, if you make this pie or anything else on the blog, take a picture for Instagram with the hashtag #probablythis.  We'll find it and then find you and then we'll all be best friends forever and start a club and make t-shirts with our names on it or something like that.  Have a good week, y'all!



Notes

  • This recipe has three main components, and I organized it as such to make some kind of sense out of it.  Basically, the instructions are written to allow you to work on all three components at the same time.  However, if you have the time, preparing the strawberries, custard, and crust separately may make your life a little easier.  
  • There was really only one note but I didn't want to just write "Note" without an "s," so...

Roasted Strawberry + Brandy Custard Pie

makes 1 pie

Roasted Strawberries

  • 3 lbs strawberries, sliced 
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 t allspice

Custard

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks

Crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup cold (super cold!) butter
  • 4 Tablespoons brandy
  • 1 egg white + 2 tablespoons water (optional)
  • Sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Start by roasting the strawberries.  Preheat your oven to 400*F and add all ingredients from the strawberry portion of the recipe into a roasting pan.  Toss everything together with a spoon or spatula and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the berries have turned slightly brown and the excess liquid is bubbling.  
  2. Remove from the oven and strain out all excess liquid by placing the berries in a colander. Set aside.
  3. You will have a lot of excess liquid, I recommend saving this to pour over the finished pie or ice cream, as it is damn delicious and will stay good in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
  4. While the berries are roasting, start the custard.
  5. Custard: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the milk, flour, both sugars, brandy, and salt.  Bring it to a boil and lower the heat to medium, whisking constantly.  Let simmer for five minutes while whisking, until it becomes very thick.
  6. Place egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, until about half of the mixture has been added.  You should drizzle so slowly, that this step takes about thirty seconds to complete, as you don't want the eggs to scramble.  
  7. Once you have added the half of the mixture, scrape all of the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes, whisking occasionally.  Stir in vanilla and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
  8. While the filling is resting, begin the dough by preheating the oven to 350*F.
  9. Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter into the flour, mixing everything together with a fork after every few grates.  
  10. Once all of the butter has been added, use a pastry cutter or two knives to make sure there are no lumps of butter bigger than a pea.
  11. Slowly mix in the brandy, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is moistened, but not wet.  It should appear crumbly in the bowl but hold together when squeezed in your fist.
  12. Form the dough into a ball and divide the ball into two pieces, one that is 3/4 of the original dough and one that is 1/4.  The 3/4 of the dough will be the bottom of the crust, while the 1/4 will be for lattice work on top.
  13. Roll out the larger dough ball on a floured service immediately, until it is about 1/8" thick and 14-16" in diameter.  Fit to the pie pan and trim the edges.  If you want to crimp it like a fancy pants, here's a great tutorial.
  14. Fill the bottom crust with the custard and smooth it out with a spoon or spatula to make it even.  Top evenly with the roasted strawberries.
  15. Roll out the smaller dough ball on a floured surface until it is 1/8" thick.  Cut into strips, and lay these pieces in a diagonal pattern across the top of the pie.  Here's a cool tutorial for that!
  16. This is optional, but you can whisk an egg white with a couple tablespoons of water and brush this on top of the pie crust along with a sprinkle of sugar.  This will cause the pie to brown a little in the oven.
  17. Bake at 350*F for 50 minutes to one hour. The custard should bubble up slightly.  Let cool before serving, though if you want the custard to be solid and not runny, refrigerate it for at least 5 hours.
  18. Serve with a generous pour of the brandy/strawberry sauce you reserved when you roasted the berries!