Fresh strawberry pie bursting with ripe spring berries and a hint of floral rose. The berries in this pie are not baked, just held together with a binder of sweet strawberry jam, making for a beautiful seasonal pie that is dressed to impress.
This is a pie truly worthy of celebrating the first strawberries of spring: ripe and juicy and bursting with flavor – characteristics that are preserved and enhanced here, rather than cooked away. Instead, fresh, whole strawberries are tossed with a quick jam made with a splash of rose water that really gives the pie an extra special hint of flavor.
I first tried fresh strawberry pie last summer during our family reunion in Northern California. While I was having disastrous results trying to make a bundt cake (high altitude baking is no joke, y’all!) my cousin Brooke and her family whipped up two amazing fruit desserts, including a rustic peach galette and a fresh strawberry pie that blew my mind (maybe the trick to high altitude baking is pie? lol).
Needless to say, I’ve been waiting ever so patiently since then for the local strawberries to ripen so I could recreate the pie that’s been haunting my dreams.
The recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen, and is basically just fresh strawberries tossed with a quick strawberry jam to bind it all together. I adapted the recipe to use Pomona’s Universal Pectin (the original uses low sugar Sure-Jell – instructions for both are below).
What I love about this recipe is that the strawberries themselves are not actually baked, and so each bite preserves the bright, fresh flavor of the berries that I simply adore.
I originally wanted to enhance the strawberries by infusing the flavor of rose geraniums. I am not entirely sure where this idea came from, I think I saw reference to a rose geranium strawberry jam years ago, and for whatever reason the combination just stuck with me. Alas, scented geraniums are not easy to come by locally (most people spring for the decorative kind so that’s what all the garden centers sell). I found a place online that sells them (I ordered some of the Old Fashioned Rose variety – they should arrive in a few weeks!) but my first bucket of spring strawberries wasn’t going to wait for that.
I’ll be honest I have no idea what rose geraniums smell or taste like. I imagine roses (makes sense, right? lol). So, in lieu of rose geraniums I turned to the most logical replacement: rose water.
I’ve combined strawberries and flowers before in jam recipes, both Strawberry Hibiscus and Sakura Strawberry. Strawberry rose seemed like another winning combo… and it only took one bite to confirm that hunch. I mean, WOW (don’t be surprised if you see this one turned into a jam at some point).
The rose flavor is subtle, not overpowering (too much of any strong floral scent and your pie would taste like grandma’s boudoir). And if you didn’t know it was there you might not even be able to identify what exactly that flavor is. It teases the palate, elevating the strawberries from “mmm that’s a really good strawberry” to “what is this wizardry?!”