Fresh Strawberry Pie, Made With Grandma Nairne's Crust Recipe

 It's a little late, but you can still find strawberries for sale in my area. We start seeing the stands pop up around April and usually they last through June.

And what better thing to make with strawberries but Strawberry Pie?

My dad's mom was a great cook. She was raised in the mid-west and making pie was what she did very well. Her pie crust rocked, so when I got married I asked her for the recipe.

Side note: my grandma's name was Nairne. (A Scottish name that is pronounced Nar-en.) When my Sweetie met her for the first time he saw her name and called her Narnee. Innocent mistake and we still laugh about that one.

Well somehow I lost the recipe.

She passed away in 1999 and years past. In 2007, my grandpa decided to move closer to family and so we started going through his stuff and he told me to take some cookbooks. I love reading old cookbooks so one of the ones I got was this one: The Households Searchlight Recipe Book, published in 1938.

And a few years later I was reading through the book, and lo and behold, a slip of paper fell out.

The lost pie crust recipe.

Very appropriately titled Never Fail Pie Crust

What makes this pie crust recipe unique is that it calls for things you don't normally put in a pie crust like vinegar, and an egg.

The other thing about this recipe is that it makes 2 double crusts. I find that handy because pie crust, or pate brisee, can be made in batches and stored in the freezer for future use.

And let me tell you it is a great recipe.

The only change I make is instead of putting shortening in, I use this:

Coconut Oil.

I love this stuff and use it often.

You start by cutting the oil into the flour. Now on a hotter day coconut oil becomes liquid, so if yours is doing that I would recommend putting it in the fridge for an hour or so before you work with it.

Next you take an egg....

and add to it ice cold water,

and a tablespoon of vinegar. ( I used Apple Cider Vinegar.)

It's important that all of the liquid ingredients are very cold.

This gets all beaten together, then added to the flour mixture.

Then, mix it together, just until moistened. If you handle the dough too much your crust becomes tough.

At this point you will divide it into halves, or quarters if you are making a single pie crust. Wrap the remainder in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.


Roll out the dough using as little flour as possible.....

I put my pie pan on top of the dough so I can estimate how much to roll it out.

To get it into the pan I fold the dough into quarters, then lift and place into pan. This dough is pretty tacky and wet, but oily enough to not be sticky.

Into the pan.

Edges crimped.

The crust of a strawberry pie is baked before it is filled. How do I know this? The hard way.

In the first year that I was seeing My Sweetie, he came over to my parents house quite often, and so I started expanding my repertoire of meals. And when I found out that his favorite dessert was strawberry pie, I decided to make it.

I went to the store and bought one of those jars of red glaze (full of food coloring, no doubt). I made my crust, chopped up the strawberries, poured the glaze over, and put the whole thing in the oven for 45 minutes. It turned into some kind of weird strawberry jam inside a tough crust....let's just say that it's a good thing My Sweetie wasn't marrying me for my cooking.

So now is the time to cook the crust. And to do this I use the craft beans that sit in our school room.

I line the pan with foil and pour the beans in.

 This goes into a 425 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.

And comes out looking like this:

Well, I hope yours looks a little more aesthetic than mine. I always forget that the crust tends to shrink in the oven and line the pan right to the brim. Make sure that you let the crust come over the lip of the pie pan just a tad.

This cools while the filling is made.

The filling recipe I got from this trusty book.

The only change I made was I decreased  the sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup. It was still plenty sweet, so next time I might even decrease it by more.

 The strawberries are quartered,

and then blended up in the blender

Then place cornstarch, sugar and salt in a pan...and whisk in some water.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice...

...and then stir in the blended strawberries with some butter.

This simmers and becomes a lovely, darker color.

That cools, while the rest of the strawberries get quartered, or sliced, or even just put whole into the pie crust.

The hot glaze get poured over the strawberries, then the pie goes into the refrigerator for a few hours.

And that is it. This time I cheated and got the whipped cream from the store, but you can easily whip up your own in no time.

So make this lovely pie.

Before strawberry season is over.

Grandma Nairne's Never Fail Pie Crust (Exactly as it is written)

Makes 2 double crusts

3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. shortening (I used coconut oil)
1 t. salt
1 egg, well beaten
2 T. cold water
1 T. vinegar

Cut shortening into flour, salt. Combine egg, water, vinegar. Pour liquid into flour mixture all at once. Blend with spoon just until flour is all moistened. Keeps in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Rolls out so easy - it's the only one I can make successfully flaky.

Fresh Strawberry Pie (Joy of Cooking)


1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/8 t. salt
1/2 c. water
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
6 cups strawberries
1 baked pie crust


Rinse, dry, and hull the strawberries; cut any very large ones in half. Measure 4 cups of berries and set aside. Puree remaining berries in blender. Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in water. Stir in pureed berries, lemon juice, and butter. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring constantly and cook for 1 minute. Pour half the berries into the crust and spoon half od the hot berry mixture over them. Gently shake the pice pan to coat the berries evenly. Cover with remaining berries, spoon the remaining berry mixture over them, and gently shake the pan as before. Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours to set. This pie is best served the day it is made.


  1. Marvelous! I love the way you wove your experiences in through this photo journal recipe. :)
    Local strawberries just came into season here last week, and now I want the rain to stop so we can go picking!!


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