Pi Day is here, and beyond the fact that it’s an excellent excuse to make lots and lots of pies, it’s also my birthday, which makes it a double celebration! Every year I think to myself how symbolic it is that I was born exactly on this day, which symbolizes one of my favorite desserts to make.
Although originally this day represents the constant Pi in math, over the past years it also has become one of the most favorite time for pastry chefs and bakers to make all kinds of pies and tarts.
Like every year, I also joined the celebration and made a special pie just for this day (and my birthday, of course). This time I went for strawberries and pistachios – two of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen. A short crust pastry filled with pistachio cream and strawberry jam all topped with pistachio Chantilly cream and lots of whole strawberries and roasted pistachios.
Strawberry and Pistachio Pie
For short crust pastry:
- 150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp.) all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) cold butter cut into cubes
- 40 grams (4 tbsp.) icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp. cold water as needed
For pistachio and strawberry cream:
- 100 grams (1 cup) natural pistachios peeled
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) cold butter cut into cubes
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 10 grams (1 tbsp.) cornstarch
- 30 ml. (2 tbsp.) milk
- 1 large egg
- 100-150 grams of strawberries diced
For strawberry jam:
- 250 grams strawberries
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
For pistachio Chantilly cream:
- 250 ml. (1 cup) whipping cream very cold
- 30 grams (3 tbps.) sugar powder
- 50 grams (2-3 tbsp.) pistachio paste
- 1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding powder
- Small whole strawberries
- Some Nappage or other natural glazefor brushing
- Slightly toasted pistachios halved (for decoration over the cream)
- Roasted pistachios coarsely chopped (for decoration in the edges of the pie)
In a food processor with a steel blade put flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and process until mixture is crumbly.
Add egg yolk and continue to process just until large clumps of dough form. If the dough is not setting, gradually add a little water.
Transfer the dough chunks on a lightly floured work surface and form a disc-shape with your hands.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
Roll out the dough on a floured work surface about 3-4 mm thick and line the pie pan. It is important to create a right angle between the sides and the base of the crust, which will ensure the edges remain high when baking.
Using a fork create holes in the crust. Freeze the crust for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
Put a sheet of heat-resistant plastic wrap or baking paper on the frozen crust and fill with dry beans or special weights for baking.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes.
Remove the weights and the plastic wrap and continue to bake the crust for about 8-12 minutes or until it is lightly golden.
Cool at room temperature.
In a food processor with a steel blade put pistachios, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and cornstarch and blend at high speed until the mixture is crumbly.
Add milk and egg and continue to blend until you get a uniform, thick cream.
Pour the cream over the half-baked crust, and smooth the top.
Arrange diced strawberries over the cream.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cream is golden and set at the edges, but still slightly soft in the center.
Cool completely at room temperature.
Wash the strawberries and cut into quarters. Put in a pot and add in sugar and lemon juice.
Cook over low-medium heat for 30-60 minutes, or until jam is formed. To check whether jam is ready, put a plate in the freezer. When it seems jam is ready, pour about 1 tablespoon of jam on the plate, wait a few seconds and then form a "path". If the path remains open - jam is ready. If it closes - cook a little longer.
Cool the jam slightly at room temperature and spread over the baked (cooled) pistachio cream in an even layer.
Pistachio Chantilly cream:
In a bowl of a mixer, whip cream, sugar powder, pistachio paste and pudding until very stable cream is formed.
Transfer the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a serrated 2 cm piping tip and drizzle generous mounds of cream over the pie, leaving about 1-2 cm in the edges for the strawberries.
Arrange whole strawberries (relatively small) in the edges. Brush them gently with Nappage.
Decorate with chopped pistachios and pistachio halves over the cream.
- The pie is at its best on the day of preparation, but you can keep it in a closed container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
- Instead of strawberries you can use raspberries or cherries.
- Instead of pistachios you can use any other nut you prefer.
- You can make the crust (including the blind baking) up to a week in advance and keep in the freezer.
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