Monday, July 9, 2012

Strawberry Pie

Nothing in the world smells or tastes like fresh strawberries.  In February, Fairbanks starts to get strawberries after a couple months of finding them only in the frozen food section.  They smell of promises of spring and warmer weather to come, but they taste like nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I have trained myself to just smell the berries, enjoy the fragrance, and then walk away.  I'm sure the produce manager is on his radio to the store manager saying "Yea, that crazy lady that smells the berries is here again.  Do you want me to call security?  Wait, she's done and moving to the frozen food section.  I'll keep an eye on her."
My veggie boxes from left to right: radishes, carrots and celery; cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage; strawberries.
In the summer I have a small garden.  Actually, 4 raised boxes to grow a few things.  I had one box just for strawberries.  They looked wonderful.  I watered them, fed them organic fertilizer and patiently waited for those sweet, red berries to ripen.  I couldn't wait to pick those little treasures and pop them into my mouth, the warm sweet-tart juice running down my chin.  I was ready.  The plants grew, they blossomed, the green berries got bigger and bigger...and no red berries.  I couldn't understand it.  I went to the gardening books, I googled, I covered with bird netting.  Still no red berries.

One morning, I took my cup of coffee out to the back deck to sit and enjoy the morning sun.  As I walked out I saw Lobo by the veggies boxes in the yard.  I said his name and he looked up, startled, and DROPPED A RED STRAWBERRY OUT OF HIS MOUTH ON TO THE GROUND.  I couldn't believe it.  The dogs had been eating the ripe strawberries every morning when I let them out.  I was so mad, then started to laugh.  How could you blame them.  I did move the strawberry box to one of the tall boxes, not the one on the ground, and I watch them like a hawk now.  Although last summer Tucker and Lilly ate all my cabbages, but that is another story.
Zucchini and leeks in the low box now, for some reason the dogs don't bother them like they did the strawberries.

Fresh strawberries in the summer when they are so sweet is truly one of life's greatest pleasures.  In this pie the fresh strawberry is the star, and oh, so good.

1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Bake a pie crust or make a graham cracker pie crust from this recipe.  Cool.
Mix softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until well combined and smooth.  Spread cream cheese mixture on bottom and slightly up the sides of the crust.

Arrange half of strawberries in baked pastry shell. Mash remaining berries and combine with 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over berries in pastry shell. Chill for several hours before serving. In a small bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

I asked Jaden to decorate the pie with fresh blueberries.  It was a beautiful red, white and blue pie for the 4th of July's dessert table.

July 9, 2012     Daylight  20 hours,  40 minutes     Current Temp.  54 ºF

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