1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 13 full graham crackers)
6 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups whole fresh or frozen strawberries (about 1 1-lb container)
½ cup of water
¼ cup of sugar
Lemon juice from half a lemon
For the strawberry filling
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 egg yolks
¾ cup of sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup cold butter, cut into 4 tablespoons
1 additional container of fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)
Graham Cracker Crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a food processor, blender, or plastic bag and rolling pin, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and sugar and combine thoroughly, until mixture forms clumps when squeezed with your hand. Press into a 9-inch pie plate, using the back of a measuring cup to compact tightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes and let cool.
Puree strawberries, sugar, and water in a blender until smooth. Place in saucepan and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally until it thickens and takes on a syrupy texture, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve 1/2 cup of puree, saving the rest for another use.
Place milk and lemon zest if using in a small saucepan. Heat mixture over medium heat, bringing just to the point of boiling but do not boil. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Slowly pour milk mixture into yolk mixture, whisking to prevent curdling. Pour mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened and starts to boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter tablespoon by tablespoon, then whisk in vanilla and reserved strawberry puree. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour into prebaked crust and chill completely, at least 4 hours.
To serve: Trim strawberries and cut into ¼ inch slices. Arrange strawberry slices on top of the pie.