Chew This! Simple Strawberry Pie

Strawberry season is here! (or gone, depending on who you ask…) and this pie is the perfect way to use those delicious, tender, ripe berries…

The 2nd best way!? My “Simple Strawberry Jam”, here –

This pie uses a homemade crust (this most delicious pie crust recipe is inspired by my Grandma Barbra) and strawberries, almost made into a “jam” filling. This is not your typical strawberry / strawberry glaze recipe…it is so much better!

Try it today…

Simple Strawberry Pie

Simple Strawberry Pie

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 21st 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Strawberry season is here!
Blaise Doubman

Strawberry season is here and there is nothing more (aside from homemade strawberry jam) that I love more than strawberry pie! Usually strawberry pie is just simply strawberries and strawberry glaze, all poured into a pie shell and topped with whipped cream. I wanted to create something more than that. I wanted to create something that would be simple to make, have depth in flavor and was something that reminded me of the old-fashioned pies of my childhood. My Grandma Barbra makes the best strawberry pies, and that is because she makes them using a homemade crust, and lots of sugar.

I still remember when I was younger, my Grandma Barbra and I stopping at the Farmer’s Markets in New Castle, early in the season, and stocking up on strawberries, asparagus and peaches. I would always help prepare the strawberries by rinsing them in water (before cutting into them because my Grandma said they wouldn’t absorb water that way), and then cutting off the tops. Naturally, I would be so excited that I would end up almost cutting the strawberry in half in order to take off the green stem and leaves. After all of the strawberries were prepared, we followed along with her recipe. I loved eating a cold piece with vanilla bean ice cream, and sometimes a homemade shortcake biscuit on the side. It was the perfect dessert in celebration of the coming summer months!

Simple Strawberry Pie

This can be made with a store bought pie shell, but may not taste as good. I really wanted an old-fashioned feeling for this pie, and homemade crust is the only way to properly do that. The amount of sugar in this recipe really depends on how sweet your strawberries are, so please taste as you go along. You may need to add a little more – or even a little less. When starting to cook the strawberries over the stove, feel free to mash some of them up before adding in the sugar. It will help “loosen” some of the pie. It’s really all about preference. The pure vanilla extract gives a warm back-note to the strawberries. Also, the cornstarch and water mixture is called a “slurry” – a thickener for the pie. This pie is delicious eaten alone, but feel free to serve alongside some vanilla ice cream. Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

For the strawberry pie filling…

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and diced
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup water

For the pie crust…

1 cup white all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the pie crust first, by combining the white all-purpose flour, shortening and salt with a fork until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Next, add the ice water and mix together until a dough forms.

Once the dough is formed, form a ball and place on a piece of floured parchment paper. Take another piece of parchment paper, place on top, and roll out the dough to the size of your pie dish using a rolling pin.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the top and flip the dough that’s on the parchment paper dough side down into your pie dish.

Remove the parchment paper, and smooth out the dough. If there’s any excess on the sides, remove. If part of the pie tears, repair it with your finger and a little water. This works almost like a glue for the pie shell.

Once the dough is in the pie pan, using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom of the pie dough so that it will not puff up when baked.

Place in preheated oven for 27 minutes exactly and then remove to cool slightly.

Next, take the diced strawberries and place them in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in the white granulated sugar and bring this to a boil, stirring often.

Once the mixture is at a boil, allow to boil for about one minute.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and pour it into the boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and stir continuously for about five minutes, until the mixture has thickened.

Once the mixture has thickened, incorporate the pure vanilla extract, and then pour it into the baked pie shell.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.

Top with your favorite whipped cream and enjoy!



Chew This! Candied Pecans

Happy “Super Bowl” Sunday – and Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! Oh – and Happy February 1st! I am so excited to share this recipe with everyone. I have taken a basic recipe, turned up the flavor and made it basically foolproof!

Candied Pecans Blaise Doubman Chew This

Candied Pecans

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 1st 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Candied Pecans are simple, flavorful and perfect for snacking!
Blaise Doubman

I’ve loved pecans for as long as I can remember. The earliest memory I can recall is my Grandma Barbra buying me a small bag of pecans at the old New Castle “Becker Brothers” grocery store. I loved them from my first taste. They add so much flavor to chocolate fudge, blondie brownies, on top of sweet potatoes and in spicy chili pecan soup. Yes, soup! It’s made with chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, onion, garlic, tomato – and topped with pecans. (A little hot for my taste, but good with a little sour cream and still in my recipe development process). It wasn’t until about three years ago though, that I started tinkering around with the process of actually candying the pecans. Want to make pecans better? Candy them with white and brown sugars and cook them in a low and slow oven – they’re incredible! These are not only delicious and easy; they will make your house smell better than any candle ever could!

Did you know that pecans are an excellent source of Vitamin E? Did you know they are a good source of energy? Pecans are also rich sources of several B-complex vitamins and great providers of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc! They really are a “miracle” nut – so don’t feel guilty when you’re snacking on your third or fourth handful. Don’t get me wrong – this is not a “diet recipe”, but pecans are more beneficial than eating a candy bar. And these candied pecans really add a flavorful crunch on top of your salad too. Sprinkle a few on top of your grilled chicken salad with orange dressing – how delicious does that sound? You’ll be amazed at how easy these are to make! Even if you’re a novice in the kitchen – try this recipe! It’s foolproof…

Candied Pecans

This recipe really is foolproof. Just follow the directions and you’ll get perfectly candied pecans every time. Store these in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. They are delicious sprinkled on top of salads, desserts or even main courses like soups, chicken dishes, etc. These are also a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day! Wrap them in little Valentine’s bags and tie with a red or pink ribbon. Be creative and have fun with different flavor combinations! Creativity and having fun are two important things when entering the kitchen. Leave your reservations at the door and enter with an open mind and have fun!

½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups pecan halves
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of water

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 13×9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl mix together the granulated white sugar, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg white, vanilla extract and splash of water until combined and frothy. Once combined, add in the pecans and toss until evenly coated with the egg white mixture.

Next, add the sugar mixture to the pecans and stir gently until all pecans are evenly coated with the mixture.

Pour the pecans onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread out evenly.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Once completely baked and candied, remove the pecans and allow to cool slightly before serving.