Return to the Cooking Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

Posted by irislover7b (My Page) on
Tue, May 6, 08 at 0:14

I've made this recipe three times. The first time, it came out perfectly. The last two times, it tasted fine, but it was very runny. The first time I made a graham crust, the second time I bought a graham crust and the third time I made a crust from oatmeal, flour, coconut, oil and ice water. I don't think the crust would make any difference in how it turns out, though. I don't remember doing anything differently with the first one. After the second one didn't set up, I thought maybe I should cook it longer, so I tried that. I think I "stirred constantly" for 20-25 minutes, at least. My stove is electric, so takes a while to get to a boil. It seemed to be thickened up nicely when I took it off the heat. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I made sure it was completely cool before adding the berries. Does cornstarch need to be very fresh?

Fresh Strawberry Pie
1 1/2 quart strawberries
1 heaping cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
pie shell
Crush berries to make 1 cup in blender (I used a stick blender each time). In pan combine sugar and cornstarch, add crushed berries and water. Cook on medium til it boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Cool. Add remaining berries to glaze and toss to coat. Pour into shell. Chill and add whipped topping.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

If you overcook cornstarch it will break down and go watery. I'd cook it just until it was thick, then stop. Residual heat will keep it cooking so even if it seemed right when you poured it out before, the residual heat could have taken it past the overcooked point.


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

Choose another thickener: arrowroot, kudzoo, potato starch, Clear Jel - even all-purpose flour is sometimes used. You'll find more information at the link below.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: Baking 911 - Pies & Tarts


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

Corn starch is fine....but it's touchy. As colleen says it will break down if you over cook it.
As with all recipes and cooking you have to go by "cooking until it's done" rather then time as it may vary, and "allow to rise until double" rather than raise for 1 hour.
Try it again, if you have the courage....and cook until it just "breaks a boil"....and turn the heat low so it just blurps like one of those mud pots in Yellowstone park, and cook until just thickened.....about 3 to 5 minutes after it first reaches the boiling point.
Or try arrowroot....but I find that can sometimes get "ropey"...unplesant texture, if you can get it, clear jel is best for cold fruit pies.
Linda C


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

As I think grainlady has mentioned before, a lot of recipes are flawed. In this case the instructions are poor. Stirring too vigorously can cause cornstarch to break down, as can boiling. It needs a gentle hand.

Also, it may not be your fault. It may be the strawberries. If they're more acidic, the cornstarch glaze may be fine initially but won't hold over time.

ClearJel is by far the more reliable product. Usually you have to order it online but I have found it in cake decorating stores. There's an instant form and a cooked form, which could be used with this recipe.

Carol


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

That's almost exactly like the recipe I use, except I use exactly 1 cup of sugar and add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the cooled berry mixture. Last week, I got a little carried away with the lemon reamer and probably put more than 1 tablespoon of juice in it. It set up kind of runny, too. Never thought of using ClearJel. Would you sub the same amount?


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

That's awfully close to the recipe I use and it always sets up. Don't be put off. Something weird happened (that's the scientific explanation) try again using Coleen's caution. It's too good and easy a recipe to abandon....Tache


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

If you use ClearJel in lieu of cornstarch, you can use it 1:1, but I back off a little. I find it too viscous for my taste.

Carol


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

I always use tapioca and it works great. I make sure to buy a fresh box each year though.


 o
Grainlady: Kudzoo???

Okay, I've lived in the South for almost 40 years and the only kudzoo I know is that awful stuff that drapes over trees and kills them. I know that when it was originally brought to this county it was supposed to be used for cattle fodder and Southerners have been sorry ever since!

Can this be the same thing? Some good purpose for this awful plant? Tell me more!


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

Cook's Thesaurus mentions kudzu as a thickener. I think I'll stick with cornstarch, ClearJel or tapioca.

I see they describe kudzu as an "obnoxious vine." True, true, true.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Cook's Thesaurus: Thickeners


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

If you taste the sauce as it is cooking and then, without washing off the spoon,stir the sauce again, the enzymes in the saliva with cause the cornstarch to thin.
I know probably no one does that but it was something I learned in chemistry when I was in college.


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

Oh yes,Carol, my chemistry class taught the same thing and it is particularly important if you are cooking chocolate. In fact you need to taste it several times.

To the OP; I dug out my old recipe and I think you might want to try yours with 4 tbles. cornstarch. I'm not a great cook and it has never failed for me. It has such a wonderful fresh strawberry taste


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

If the cornstarch breaks down overtime with heat and stirring, cant you heat to thicken (isn't this basically evaporation?) and add the cornstarch a little later?


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

No it won't "re thicken"....essentially the starch molocule that forms a network to hold liquid and make it "thick" breaks down.
I can't remember the exact chemestry but that's close.
Linda C


 o
RE: why doesn't this strawberry pie set up?

Thanks, everyone. I'll go buy some strawberries and give it another go, this time increasing the cornstarch a little and not cooking it too long. If that doesn't work, I'll try some of the other thickers.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Cooking Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here