I think I was first inspired to try this idea by the farmers market. The perfectly delicious strawberries and fragrant basil spoke to me. In fact, it may have been their idea. And it really is a perfect summer pie. It is light and refreshing while the basil custard surprises those who don't expect it and has won over those who were skeptical of the idea before they tried it.
I truly love this pie and am so proud of this creation. Even if the strawberries and basil ARE responsible for the idea, I'm going to take all the credit for this pie.
Basil Cream and Strawberry Pie
Pre-baked 9” Pie Shell
1 lb. Strawberries
For the custard:
2/3 cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
3 cups Milk
½ cup loosely packed Fresh Basil leaves
4 beaten Egg Yolks
2 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
To pre-bake pie shell:
Line pie dish with rolled out pastry.
Line with aluminum foil and fill with beans or pie weights. I find it works best to fill the entire pie shell to the top with your weights.
Bake on the bottom shelf at 400° for 20 minutes.
Decrease oven temp to 375°.
Remove foil and weights. Poke holes all around the shell with a fork, twisting the fork slightly as you go.
Continue baking at 375° until the inside is golden brown and the shell is fully baked. Check at five and ten minutes, using the back of a spoon to press down any spots that puff up.
Cool shell before filling.
For the pie:
Wash and quarter the strawberries. (Reserve a couple of the prettiest ones if you would like to use them for garnishing.)
Separate ½ cup of the cut up strawberries. Mash slightly. Mix with remaining cut up strawberries and set aside.
In a medium bowl, slightly beat the egg yolks and set aside until needed.
In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch. And milk and whisk to combine with the dry ingredients.
Add basil leaves.
Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until thick.
Once thickened, whisk about a half a cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, tempering them to prevent scrambled eggs from forming in your custard.
Add egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan while whisking, continue heating about 1 more minute while continuing to whisk the mixture.
Remove from heat and add butter, stir until melted completely into mixture.
Pour mixture thru a fine strainer to remove clumps and basil leaves.
Spread strawberries in an even layer across the bottom of the baked pie shell. Top with basil custard. Refrigerate until set, probably 4 hours is sufficient but I refrigerate overnight.
Garnish as desired with additional strawberries, bail leaves, and/or whipped cream.