There is a beautiful stretch of Highway One between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz that has been named, “Slowcoast”. After an early morning foggy trip to San Francisco I decided to take the long way home. I had never traveled along that stretch of road. In addition to the gorgeous views at every turn, there was an artisanal slow food presence that caught me by surprise. After seeing a vintage bright yellow truck with a large strawberry perched in it I pulled into Swanton’s Berry Farm. An Airstream served as a gift shop and a long blue rustic building as the pie shop. What a treat for a wandering western hippie!
I am not sure that it gets any more west coast natural than this. The strawberries in the pie shop were absolutely beautiful and delicious – I bought a three pack. Behind the counter with an honor system till, stood fresh faced pie bakers and shortcake assemblers carefully creating some absolutely wonderful looking berry desserts. I was inspired to take those berries home and make a pie.
Because strawberries have so much liquid in them I decided against a crust on the bottom of the pie plate. It would never bake properly and would be mushy. I simply sliced the berries in quarters and grated some orange rind to add the bright taste and hue of citrus.
I then tossed the strawberries with about 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of “minute” tapioca. The minute tapioca helps to absorb the juice from the berries and gives the filling a thicker consistency.
Roll out one round of pie crust. You can make your own using your favorite recipe – or use the frozen stuff.
Crimp the edges by using your thumb and index finger on your left hand and your index finger on your right hand … like this <-
Preheat the oven to 375 F and bake until the crust is verging on golden. Remove the pie from the oven. Take a pastry brush and a ramekin of milk – brush the surface of the pie with the milk and dust generously with granulated sugar. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden.
Enjoy with fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or a dollop of vanilla yogurt.
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