Strawberry Pie

I miss strawberry picking.  Every June in Ontario I used to take my children.  I’m sure we brought more home in our stomachs and on our shirts, but we did end up with a few that we could eat and make desserts with.  I love having so much of a food item laying around that you just HAVE to do something with it.

This is another recipe from my friend in Italy.  I actually made it quite a few times before it got photographed as it was quite a hit and disappeared quickly.  I really only blog for fun, I really don’t have the time to devote the time it seems to take to go far and get attention.  I really just want to blog what I like and actually make and enjoy serving.  Honestly, that doesn’t happen every day.  I have teenagers and take care of my parents and do volunteer work and that takes up a lot of my time.

My Croatian friend who’s been living in Italy wouldn’t steer me wrong food-wise.  It’s funny how we all are drawn to people for different reasons.  Even though I was closer to  her younger sisters growing up in age, I was always drawn to her for her love of food, hospitality, and ability to make things look beautiful on a budget.

When we visited them last June, I loved seeing the home she shares with her husband, chickens, and neighboring cats just outside of Florence.  I love how they’ve settled into the way of life there, the way they eat, rest, and cook.   I love how Italians respect the land and use the local ingredients around them.   Local cooking customs are shaped by geography and climate differences.  Some regions are landlocked and mountainous; others touch the sea, while others have cold winters.  This leads to great variety in cuisines from region to region.  I learned last year that pizza isn’t the best in Venice because they can’t have the same kind of wood burning ovens that they do in Naples and other parts of the country due to fires. I loved that we had new food to look forward to even traveling from town to town.

I also loved that I got a good cappuccino everywhere I went.  I need some stability after all.

This pie is by no means an “Italian” dessert, but who cares?  It’s surprisingly good for something so simple.  I love the sweet cheese base and those fresh glazed strawberries are gorgeous.  You can leave the strawberries whole if you like, but I enjoy them sliced myself.

And if you make this after you’ve gone strawberry picking, don’t tell me, I’ll be jealous.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 TAB sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 lbs strawberries
  • 2 TAB cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 TAB lemon juice
  • 1 TAB icing sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Combine graham crumbs, butter, and sugar and combine until well combined.  Press down in glass pie pan.  Bake in a 350° over for about 10 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Beat 1/2 cup of whipping cream until stiff.  Beat cream cheese until smooth then beat in the 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla.  Fold in whipped cream. Spread over bottom of baked crust. Chill well.

Wash and hull strawberries. Crush sufficient berries to yield 1 cup.

Combine cornstarch, 3/4 cup of sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, blend in crushed berries and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened.  Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.  Remove from heat.  Press mixture through a sieve.

Carefully fold remaining sliced berries into strawberry mixture until all are glazed.  Heap strawberries on cheese filling, spoon any remaining glaze on berries. Chill at least 2 hours.

Beat remaining whip cream until stiff, beat in the icing sugar. Serve on top of pie.

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