I’m on my way through Allentown, PA, next week, which made me think of this legendary pie. We published the recipe for it in our earliest version of Lost Recipes Found three years ago, and it’s still a top reader-favorite! Reported to be the pie that made Hess Brothers’ department store of Allentown, Pa, famous, it’s miles-high, mounded with gelatin-sweetened fresh strawberries, and topped with whipped cream. “Hess’s pie was just plain legendary,” says Michael Lisicky, who writes about department story history, and provided the recipe: “Hess’s was always about retail theater, and this pie fit that.” When the store closed in 1996, a long line of shoppers queued up to have their last piece. Thanks to Lisicky’s aunt, who knew the person who used to make Hess’s pies, you can now make your own at home.
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