Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fresh Strawberry Pie (Gluten Free)

I have such amazing memories of being in the kitchen with my great-grandmother. Her best dessert is a fresh strawberry pie. I believe this is the only way you should make a strawberry pie!

Making this pie marks the beginning of spring for me. In eastern NC, spring seems to get here earlier and earlier each year. These beautiful berries were my first purchase from a local strawberry farm. Thankfully they will be selling them through May, so you can bet neighbors will be getting a strawberry pie or two this month!

Strawberry pie is actually a very simple pie to make. I try to make several gluten free pie crusts ahead of time and freeze them. That way, when it's strawberry season, you can just pull out your ready made pie crust, bake it, and you are ready to go!

Here is how to make my grandmother's strawberry pie:

Buy a quart of strawberries from a local farmer! If you are going to use them immediately rinse them off, and place them in the fridge. If you are going to use them later, DO NOT RINSE until you are ready to use them!!

Cut the strawberries into slices or quarters. I did a little of both!

Gather your ingredients for the strawberry gelatin, this is going to be the wonderful gooey stuff that holds the pie together! We'll use cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar, and plain ol' strawberry gelatin.

In a saucepan, mix together 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Let this mixture come to a boil for 3 minutes.

Take the thick-syrupy mixture off the heat and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of strawberry gelatin. Mix together thoroughly.

Let this yummy sweet syrupy mixture cool for 5-10 minutes.

Grab your favorite pie plate!
Okay, you don't have to use this specific plate, but it sure makes it seem more authentic!

Here is my pie crust before prebaking. Make sure when you are prebaking the crust to use a fork and put holes in the bottom crust! This will keep your crust from bubbling and cracking. You can also place a sheet of foil over the unbaked crust and place pie weights or a bag of beans on top of the foil to weigh down the crust while baking.

Once your pie crust is completely cool. Spread about 4 tablespoons of cream cheese over the bottom. This will act as a shield against the pie filling and keep your crust nice and crispy!

Next, fold your strawberries into the cooled strawberry syrup/gelatin and pour this mixture into your crust. It will be a beautiful bright red! Refridgerate the pie for 2-3 hours before serving. This will allow the syrup/gelatin mixture to completely firm up and set.

Here is my second pie. I ran out of strawberries, so I added some frozen wild blueberries that I defrosted and rinsed.

Serve up this pie with a big dollop of whipped cream! Enjoy!!

My Great-Grandma P.'s Strawberry Pie
free of gluten and soy

1 quart strawberries, rinsed, patted dry, and quartered or sliced
1 gluten free pie shell, baked and cooled
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin (Jello)
4 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together water, cornstarch, and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil for three minutes. Mixture should be think and gel-like. Take off heat and stir in lemon juice and strawberry gelatin. Set mixture aside and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Warm cream cheese in a small bowl in microwave for 20 seconds. Spread cream cheese over the bottom of your cooled gluten free pie crust. This will act as a barrier between your pie crust and your pie filling to keep your crust crispy. Fold cut strawberries into the strawberry gel mixture and pour into pie shell. Refridgerate 2-3 hours before serving so pie will set. Calories do not count when serving strawberry pie! Serve with fresh whipped cream.
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