Whether you bake a strawberry pie or make a no-bake version, you still get one of your five daily servings of fruits and vegetables with a strawberry pie. Flour works well for thickening a baked strawberry pie, but cornstarch is a better thickener for a pie with a fresh strawberry filling.
1. Baked Pies
Baked strawberry pies can have the strawberries alone, can include the classic rhubarb companion or can combine the strawberries with peaches and any or all other types of berries. Typical proportions are 4 cups of fruit to 1/4 cup of flour, along with enough sugar to sweeten the fruit and a small amount of lemon juice to brighten the taste. For a gluten-free pie, use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed a little water instead of flour.
2. Fresh Pies
In summer, a fresh strawberry pie provides a refreshing alternative to a baked pie. For this pie, cook half of the strawberries with flour and sugar and pour the mixture over fresh sliced strawberries in the pie pan. Use the same proportion of flour to fruit as you would with a baked pie. Refrigerate the pie for at least four hours before serving. For a clear filing, allowing the fresh strawberries appear in all their brilliance, substitute 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch for the flour and add about 1 cup of water.
3. Problems With Flour
If you have problems digesting wheat, cornstarch is a better thickener than flour in both baked and fresh pies. It also works better than flour if you plan to freeze the strawberry filling to use later. Some people can taste the starchy flavor of flour in filings and prefer to use cornstarch, tapioca or the most neutral-tasting thickener, arrowroot, instead of flour.
4. Other Thickeners
Because cornstarch, tapioca and arrowroot have twice the thickening power of flour, you need only a few tablespoons for thickening. All three of these vegetable-based starches keep filings, sauces and soups clear instead of opaque. You need to stir tapioca or cornstarch into the fresh strawberries and let it rest for at least 15 minutes for either a fresh or baked pie, so the starches can soften before you begin cooking.
- University of Illinois Extension: Facts
- Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
- University of Illinois Extension: Tips for Best Uses of Different Starches as Thickeners:
- Clemson University: Functional Ingredients: Gums and Starches
- Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images