Cook's Illustrated Recipes»Dessert Pies»American»Fruit»Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe

The key to this dessert’s bright flavor-plump, uncooked berries-can also be its soupy downfall. But how do you firm up the filling without making it gluey and dull-tasting?

The Problem

Because uncooked berries shed so much liquid, most recipes’ filling has to be firmed up with some sort of thickener, which produces results that range from stiff and bouncy to runny and gloppy.

The Goal

We wanted a recipe for our ideal strawberry pie, featuring fresh berries lightly held together by a sheer, glossy glaze that made their flavor pop in the buttery shell.

The Solution

We knew that the success of our strawberry pie hinged on getting the thickener just right. When none of the thickeners we tried worked on their own, we decided to use a combination of two: pectin (in the form of a homemade strawberry jam) and cornstarch. By themselves, pectin produced a filling that was too firm and cornstarch one that was too loose. But together they produced just the right supple, lightly clingy glaze.