I’m on my way through Allentown, PA, next week, which made me think of this legendary pie. We published this version of the recipe in our earliest version of Lost Recipes Found three years ago, and it’s still a top reader-favorite! There are several home-cook versions circulating of the pie that made Hess Brothers’ department store of Allentown, Pa, famous: miles-high, mounded with glazed fresh strawberries, and topped with whipped cream. “Hess’s pie was just plain legendary,” says Michael Lisicky, who writes about department story history. “Hess’s was always about retail theater, and this pie fit that.” When the last store closed in 1996, a long line of shoppers queued up to have their last piece of the pie. Thanks to Lisicky’s aunt, who knew the person who used to make Hess’s pies, you can now make this home-cook version using strawberry gelatin and cornstarch in the glaze. For another great version and a bit more of the Hess’s story, —try our Mile-High Strawberry Pie.
Makes one, 9 to 12- inch pie
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 Tbsp corn starch
- 1, 3-oz box strawberry-flavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
- 1 baked pie crust (9 to 12-inch)
- Whisk sugar, water and corn starch over medium heat until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in package of strawberry-flavored gelatin until incorporated.
- Chill mixture in refrigerator until cooled, but not hard-set
- While mixture is chilling, clean and hull strawberries. Fold into sweetened gel. Mound into baked crust. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour
- Top with whipped cream to your liking, and garnish with whole strawberries