We did it again. We took advantage of the sweet, innocent, juiciest berry of the month! MC made this pie the other night and it is simply irresistible! I really did not feel I got my fair share because my daughter had to have bites of mine after wolfing down her own adult-sized piece. So, it is with pleasure that we recreate this seasonal delicacy, even larger than before, so that no one walks away wanting more.
FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE
Adapted from Betty Crocker Kitchens
For the Pie Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsweetened butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
1 ½ Quarts Strawberries (about 6 cups), hulled
1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
½ Cup Water
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon grated Lemon Zest
1. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. If your refrigerate for longer, let it soften before rolling.
3. Heat oven to 475°F. Roll out your pie dough into a ¼ inch-thick circle. Gently place into pie plate, trim extra from sides, fold dough under and flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on cooling rack.
4. In small bowl, mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup water and mashed strawberries (add 1 or 2 drops food color if deeper red color is desired). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; cool.
5. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and lemon peel until smooth. Spread evenly in pie crust. Top with remaining strawberries. Pour cooked strawberry mixture over top. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Happy National Strawberry Month!
Here in Rabun Gap, we have a real jewel awakening this time of year. Our local produce market has just opened up, brimming with hundreds of bright, sweet strawberries picked from right out back, daily. I cannot get enough. I’m already a little sad about them trickling down and eventually disappearing in a month or so. But that’s silly. There is much more market-fresh produce to get excited about as the soil warms…
These strawberries await mouth-watering dessert recipes, crisp green salads, and buttery jams this month. We thought, however, that we would kick off this juicy sweet month with something a little out-of-the-ordinary for these berries. What about a salsa? Mmmm. Perfect.
The thing we played with the most in this recipe was the heat. The strawberries give this salsa a very sweet flavor, and we felt it needed a good bit of heat for balance. Feel free to adjust the heat to your liking; increase or decrease the cayenne as well as the jalapeño, and an additional suggestion would be to add a bit of this hot sauce. Suit yourself.
Grab a cold beer and go outside with this. Your corn chips are going to love it!
SPRING MARKET SALSA
Adapted, loosely, from Cooking Light
1 1/2 C Fresh Strawberries, diced
1- 2 Avocados, diced
3/4 C Chopped Red Onion
1 Medium Yellow Tomato, diced
1 Jalapeño, seeded and chopped small
1/4 C Minced Cilantro
Juice of 2 Limes (about 1/4 C)
2 t Honey (we used orange blossom honey)
1 t Cayenne
* hot sauce to taste, optional
Combine the first six ingredients (through cilantro) in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, juice the limes, add honey and cayenne. Whisk together until well-combined. Pour over ingredients in medium bowl and stir gently to combine. Enjoy!