Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Pie

A few weeks ago one of my friends down in South Carolina posted pictures of strawberry picking with her girls - and gosh those berries looked delicious! Well, strawberries are finally in season here in the DC area, and last weekend I went strawberry picking at Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD and stocked up on fresh strawberries.* I used most of my berries (about 12 cups worth) for two strawberry pies - the remainder (about 4 cups worth) I froze. Two notes about this pie recipe: (1) the chocolate is completely optional - if you don't want a chocolate layer in the pie, it will come out delicious with just the fruit; (2) because the berries aren't cooked, the pies will be quite juicy - so be sure to eat within a day or two of making!

*Homestead has a great selection of fruit throughout the summer - check out some of my blackberry and peach (another peach) recipes from last year's haul.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Pie (~ 8 servings)
1 pie crust
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
6 cups strawberries, hulled
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 c. chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate - but white, milk, or dark will all work)

1. Prepare and bake a single pie crust, cool. I suggest using a store-bought frozen crust that is already formed into a pie plate for ease of preparation, but if you like to make your own crust, follow your favorite recipe.

2. Puree two cups of berries. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and water. Stir in berry puree, lemon juice, and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (up to one hour).

3. Melt chocolate chips. [There are many ways to do this. One of the easiest is to fill a large pyrex measuring cup with boiling water and set a small bowl with chocolate chips on top of measuring cup. As chocolate softens, stir until smooth and liquid.] Pour chocolate over bottom of pie crust, forming a thin layer - use a spoon to spread if necessary.

4. Add 2 cups of berries to pie crust and pour half of puree mixture over berries. Add remaining berries and puree mixture. Refrigerate until cooled throughout, at least 4 hours.

5. Slice and serve. Top with whipped cream or ice cream!