I’ll be honest: I gobbled up this pie too fast to save a pretty portion for a photo. But some recipes are worth sharing, even when they aren’t picture perfect, and this is definitely one of them!
This summery treat has a silky pastry cream filling that tastes like Häagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream and a yummy-enough-to-eat-by-itself shortbread crust with just a hint of almond flavor. This may just be my favorite way to use a basket of farmer’s market strawberries!
Strawberry Cream Pie with Almond Shortbread Crust
For the crust:
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1 c flour
- 3/4 c almond meal
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 c whole milk
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 c fresh strawberries
Start with the crust. Heat the oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a tart tin with parchment.
Beat the butter and powdered sugar together on medium-high speed until they are completely combined, creamy, and pale yellow.
Add the flour, almond meal, almond extract and salt. Beat on low speed until the flour and almond meal are incorporated and the mixture comes together into a crumbly dough.
Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart tin with your fingers, then press all around with the bottom of a cup to make sure it’s as compact and even as possible. Poke the dough all over the bottom with a fork, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
While the crust is baking, make the pastry cream. Chop the strawberries and combine with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the strawberry chunks are no longer discernible and the mixture is somewhere between a syrup and a jam. Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl. Beat the whole egg, then the yolks (one at a time) into the cornstarch mixture.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup milk and the remaining 1/4 c of sugar and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Whisk the egg mixture as you pour about a third of the boiling milk into it in a slow stream (to temper the eggs). Return the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan to medium heat and pour the hot egg mixture into it in a thin stream, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to boil, then immediately remove from heat and whisk in the butter and strawberry sauce.
Pour the pastry cream into the baked crust. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least an hour, until the pastry cream has set.