S T R A W B E R R Y   P I E   -   P A R T   1
[Em Português]

This post is a little bit about bending the rules.

There are some sweets that, when you're a kid, are part of your home. I believe that in most homes it is so. In my we never had carrot cake, something so common in the house of my friends, which always made me think it was a very complicated cake to do, however, it simply wasn't a common cake in my house. What has always been our common one was strawberry pie by my granny Carminda.
When we start to cook, the recipes seem an infinite world of random possibilities. As you study, you begin to see what brings them together, basic recipes that originate all others and learning to "rules", you can build more freely - and better yet, break them.

Granny Carminda's strawberry pie was a simpler adaptation of two traditional recipes of French pastry with a roasted strawberries coverage.
By OCD organizational reasons, I divided the pie recipe into two parts, keeping one basic recipe on each post. After the bread and pizza dough, today we make the basic recipe for the crème pâtissière, that famous pastry cream that everyone does wrong and is used to fill eclairs, pies and many other sweets. In the next post, we will write about sucrée pâte, which is the dough with a touch of almonds for the pie bottom. In addition to the assembly of the pie, of course.

This week we couldn't go to the farmer's market, therefore, the cream in the pictures was made with supermarket eggs. Usually I do it with organic eggs because in addition to chickens being raised in a healthier way, requiring less antibiotic and producing eggs less likely to be contaminated with salmonella, they produce a cream with a more vivid yellow color, it is cuter and a tastier flavor.
The crème pâtissière is tastier if eaten fresh, but lasts up to 1 week in the refrigerator in an airtight pot. This recipe is a little bit different from some traditional recipes as the Ladurée, but it always worked out for me and it is by the renowned French confectioner Pierre Hermé, meaning you can trust it.

Crème Pâtissière
Makes 300ml

250 ml of whole milk
1/4 cup minus one teaspoonful (22,5g) of Cornstarch
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (62,5g) of sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
25g of butter at room temperature cut into pieces

1. Mix with a fouet: milk, cornstarch and 30g of sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds and add seeds and bean to the mixture in the pan. Turn on the heat and whisk until boiling.
2. In a bowl, also with a fouet, beat egg yolks and the remaining sugar. Pour the milk into the mixture in a continuous wire, stirring constantly.
3. Put the mixture back in the pan and, beating constantly, bring the liquid almost to boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat.
4. Place the pan in a shallow bowl filled with ice water, remove the  vanilla bean and let cool to 60° C (if you don't have candy thermometer, the extract point is when you manage to touch the mixture with your finger, keep warm, but not burn). Then add the pieces of butter and whisk vigorously until melted. This will make the cream soft and shiny.

If you won't use the cream right away, pour it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap touches the cream, this way the cream won't create that pellicle for it won't be in contact with air.

Do not throw your vanilla bean out, wash it under running water, let it dry and set aside. You can make vanilla sugar or vanilla essence (the real one! some essences you buy in the supermarket can contain up to 100 ingredients in the attempt of getting the taste of vanilla artificially). We'll talk more about it in the future!

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