Dying for Strawberry Pie

Susan Vaughan here, not dying yet. Maybe I wouldn’t literally die for strawberry pie, but eating the delicious fruit whether au naturel or in a pie is “to die for.” Those of you in some states south of Maine already are enjoying strawberry season, but here strawberry season hasn’t quite arrived and is fairly short. Local berries freshly picked are sweeter and juicier than the ones from the supermarket, ones that come from far away.

Whenever I eat a berry like strawberries or blueberries, I often wonder about the reaction of the first humans to taste them. Ancient peoples must have sampled all kinds of wild plants that either tasted horrible or made them sick. Imagine the euphoria of biting into a juicy berry like the strawberry. Did they wait awhile to see if it made them sick? Or did they have tasters who could be sacrificed in the search for new edibles? Yeah, nasty, brutish, and short lives of ancient peoples.

A little research, and I found that strawberries were recorded as growing wild in Italy as far back as 234 B.C. The strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Roman goddess of love, because of its heart shape and red color. In Othello, Shakespeare decorated Desdemona’s handkerchief with symbolic strawberries. About the strawberry, William Butler (ca 1600) said, “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”

And early European settlers in Massachusetts ate strawberries cultivated by local Native Americans, who’d cultivated the berry as early as 1643. Crushed berries were mixed with cornmeal and baked into strawberry bread. Colonists then developed their own version and created strawberry shortcake!

In honor of the strawberry, I’m sharing my strawberry pie recipe. It’s easy and foolproof. Oh, and to die for. Enjoy.


1 quart strawberries, washed, drained, and hulled, pre-baked and cooled pie shell, 1 cup sugar, 3 tbsp cornstarch, Pinch salt, Water

Cover the cooked pie shell with the choicest berries. Mash 1/2 to 1 cup of the remaining berries. Add enough water to make 1 1/2 cups. Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch together. In saucepan, bring juice mixture to boiling. Gradually stir in sugar mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until boiling. Add drop of red food coloring if desired. Only a drop. Too much red and it looks artificial. Boil one minute. Cool. Pour over berries in the pie shell. Chill about two hours. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

You can use peaches or other berries or a mix of berries.

If anyone has interesting facts or lore about strawberries, please share!

About susanvaughan

Susan Vaughan loves writing romantic suspense because it throws the hero and heroine together under extraordinary circumstances and pits them against a clever villain. Her books have won the Golden Leaf, More Than Magic, and Write Touch Readers’ Award and been a finalist for the Booksellers’ Best and Daphne du Maurier awards. A former teacher, she’s a West Virginia native, but she and her husband have lived in the Mid-Coast area of Maine for many years. Her latest release is GENUINE FAKE, a stand-alone book in the Devlin Security Force series. Find her at www.susanvaughan.com or on Facebook as Susan H. Vaughan or on Twitter @SHVaughan.
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3 Responses to Dying for Strawberry Pie

  1. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Thank you, Susan. Perfect timing, as strawberries are just starting to come in here in the Portland area. I look forward to trying this recipe.

  2. Julianne Spreng says:

    We had wild strawberries every summer in the grasses near the clothes line. They were tiny. No bigger than a child’s fingernail and oh, so sweet. Mum would send us out with a little juice glass each and tell us to fill it up, so we could have shortcake for dessert. We always complained. We knew it would take a lot of berries to fill even those little juice glasses. It was always a contest to see who could collect the most berries, but we had to work fast since our dog loved them, too. Hansie was able to curl his lips back and hook the berries with his front teeth. Susan, thanks for the memory.

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