All Strawberry Double-Crust Pie

When was the last time you baked an all strawberry, double-crust pie? 

All-Strawberry Double-Crust Pie

I’ll stick my neck out and wager it’s been a while, because even if nobody ever comes right out and says it, a lot of bakers just don’t consider an all strawberry double-crust pie a thing. 

Strawberry rhubarb pie is a thing. So is strawberry chiffon. Everybody swoons over those thickly glazed fresh strawberry pies with mountains of whipped cream; that’s a thing. 

But a double crust strawberry pie, not so much. Strawberries, by quiet consensus, are way too soft to tolerate a thorough baking. They turn to mush when you cook them, and who wants to eat a big forkful of strawberry mush? 

Well…I do, and the soft filling doesn’t bother me one whit. Of course strawberries go soft when you bake them. So do raspberries and blackberries, and nobody ever picks on them. It’s just what berries do. Time to get over it.  

So what we really have here is a public relations problem – fake news, if you will, that can best be dispelled by making a double-crust strawberry pie of your own. 

In coastal North Carolina we’re well into the fresh strawberry season. The pie you see here was made with fresh picked strawberries from a nearby farm. Close proximity to the source of your ingredients is a good first step in any recipe, so start there if you can. 

When you begin with good fruit, it’s always best to stick to the basics. Strawberry pies like plenty of sugar. Whenever I try to cut back on the sugar I wind up with a dull, muted strawberry flavor. The lemon juice and zest are not to be trifled with either. Even really good strawberries need some lemon to pucker them up.

I’ve thickened all-strawberry pies with each of the big three thickeners – flour, cornstarch, and tapioca – and I prefer the latter, and you need a lot of it to do the trick. Strawberry pies can be very juicy and I think the tapioca adds extra body and jelling oomph. If you have the slightest doubt that the pie is done, give it extra time so the thickener can “take.” Strawberry mush has its charms; runny strawberry mush does not. And be sure to bake the pie on a rimmed baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment, because you want something to catch the filling if the pie springs a leak around the edge. 

If you insist on getting fancy, keep it natural with a whisper of mint. I’ll sometimes chop a handful of fresh mint leaves and add them to the filing. The minty flavor is perfect with the strawberries, but just know that it bakes up looking like small black threads in the filling. If that’s going to raise some eyebrows at your table, add a few drops of mint oil or a tablespoon of white creme de menthe to the filling instead of fresh mint.

Just before serving, dust the top of the pie with light coating of sifted confectioners’ sugar, or garnish the pie with vanilla or strawberry ice cream. No matter how you serve it, I think you’ll agree with me that this all strawberry double-crust pie is quite a thing after all.  

PASTRY NOTES: If you don’t already have a favorite double-crust dough recipe try the Slab Pie Dough (divided in half) or the Double Crust Shortening Pie Dough (scroll way down to the bottom of the linked page for the recipe.)


All Strawberry Double-Crust Pie

Yield 8 to 10 servings

It's fine to use some frozen strawberries here if you have a partial bag in the freezer. Just try to use at least 2 to 3 cups fresh berries, and a total of 4 cups.


  • Enough pastry for a 9- to 9 1/2-inch double-crust pie
  • 4 cups hulled and thickly sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint or other mint flavor (see article)
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • Milk or half-and-half, plus a little sugar, for glaze


  1. If you haven't already, prepare and refrigerate the pie pastry. Roll the larger portion of dough into a 12-inch circle and line a 9- to 9 1/2-inch standard - not deep-dish - pie pan with it, letting the excess dough drape over the edge. Refrigerate.
  2. Put 1 cup of the berries and 1/4 cup of the sugar into a shallow bowl and mash them well with a fork. Stir in the tapioca. Set aside for 10 minutes. (This will soften the tapioca and help prevent it from forming pearls in the filling.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Adjust one of your oven racks so it is in the lower position and another so it's in the middle. 
  4. Combine the remaining 3 cups berries and 3/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the tapioca mixture, lemon juice, lemon zest, and mint (if using). 
  5. Roll the other half of dough into an 11-inch circle. Turn the filing into the pie shell and smooth the fruit with a spoon to level it off. Dot the filling with the butter. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell with a little water or some of the milk. Drape the top pastry over the filling, pressing along the edge to seal.
  6. Using a knife, trim the pastry flush with the edge of the pie pan. Press the handle of a wooden spoon into the edge of the pastry, all around the perimeter, to make a decorative edge. Or simply crimp it with a fork. Poke several steam vents in the pie with a large fork or paring knife. Put a couple near the edge, so you can check the juices there later. Lightly brush the pie with milk and sprinkle it with several big pinches of sugar. 
  7. Put the pie on a baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment, and bake on the lower oven rack for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375° and move the pie up to the middle rack, rotating it 180 degrees. Continue to bake until the juices bubble thickly at the steam vents and the top of the pie is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and cool at least 3 hours before serving, preferably longer to insure that the filling has cooled and firmed.

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