I work for a software company in Redlands, CA, and on my commute from Moreno Valley, instead of having to take the congested freeways, I’m blessed with a journey through San Timoteo canyon. On my way there, I see picturesque, albeit decrepid, barns whose roofs are caving in from time and weathering by the elements and insects, no doubt. I see cows grazing in pastures, horses with their foals standing on new wobbly legs, orange groves for days, and the occasional pack of wild donkeys that feed on them.
Near the office there’s this house, both on the edge of the orange grove, yet next to an industrial office area that has a chicken coop. I don’t know how, but he always gets out of the coop and pecks around on the street, and supervises the gardeners of the office buildings. I even learned a few months ago that Hangar 24‘s distribution center is right there too, as is the newest brewery in Redlands, Escape Craft Brewing!
Right now those orange groves intoxicate me on the way home with their overwhelming fragrance. Spring is here, mahfackas!! Out of all these spring-time miracles, the one I’m most grateful for is that red umbrella that I can see on one of the many hill-crests on the way home. As I get nearer, I look for the beautifully painted strawberry sign to make sure that I’m not seeing things. It’s there! It’s just a huge, beautiful strawberry painted on what looks like a 1.5′ by 2′ wooden plank with a white background. There’s Mike! He sells his organic strawberries in the busy intersection that’s a mile up the road from his Strawberry Patch Farm. He goes square dancing with his wife, and even sells some of his strawberry plants and pomegranate trees. (and yes, I own both!)
Each time I see him out there, I can’t help it, I have to stop. I’ll buy half a flat (3 baskets) most times, but sometimes he convinces me to get a whole one. I swear I turn into a strawberry in the spring! On the way home, I munch on the super-sweet goodness. You know how as a kid, your mom would dip the strawberries in sugar first before you bit into them? There’s absolutely no need for that with these beauties. They are perfectly ripe, and super sweet on their own.
For this recipe, I just happened to have some leftover pie dough in the refrigerator. It was actually Julia Child’s recipe for quiche crust – super buttery! There are times you just have to use what you’ve got, and there was no sense in wasting the scraps of this crust. I know that not everyone has extra crust laying around, so take some help from the grocery store and get one of those pre-made pie crusts, or you could make
your own. It seriously couldn’t be easier to celebrate Spring in all of it’s splendor!
- 1 pre-made pie crust
- 1 1/2 Cups Sliced Strawberries
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Orange Zest
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Orange Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
- 1 Egg White
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- Granulated Sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.
- Roll out one pie crust to about 12 inches diameter, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or a Silpat.
- Toss the berries, orange zest & juice, sugar, and flour together in a bowl, then layer them artfully on the crust starting about 1 1/2 inches from the outside of the crust, layering the berry slices, and working towards the center.
- Take the edge of the pie crust and fold over the strawberries, working your way around, until all of the excess crust is folded over the strawberries.
- Make an egg wash with one egg white and the water, by whisking them both together with a fork or whisk until incorporated, then brush on the naked crust with a pastry brush.
- Sprinkle the egg-washed crust with some more sugar, then bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, and the strawberries are bubbling.
- Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.