Let’s get this out of the way : Happy (late) Valentine’s Day! Whether you celebrated it with a significant other, family, friends, pets, and/or Netflix, hope it was a good one! I was home very sick with a cold which very nicely included stuffy nose, headache, and fatigue. Not at all glamorous.
Let’s Talk Strawberries – and why I’m not USUALLY a fan
Strawberries aren’t really my favorite fruit. Not even preferred fruit. At least not the ones you get at the grocery store. Mass produced like most of the produce found at the stores, strawberries taste pretty bland. Rarely do I find one that I can honestly say tastes good good.
That’s why when I decide on going for strawberries, I prefer locally grown and recently picked strawberries. I live in South Florida which has grown quite a reputation for great tasting strawberries. All over red inside and out juicy strawberries that ooze of flavor. Now here’s the thing. I had a new heart-shaped Emile Henry pie plate and wanted to make an easy-on-the- eyes pie for Valentine’s Day. It’s also just about peak south Florida strawberry season. So trying out the strawberry pie for the day we celebrate love and friendship seemed fitting. The boyfriend also said he’d like to try the strawberry pie so it was a done deal.
Searching for a strawberry pie to try wasn’t easy. They all really just sounded like filling a pie shell with strawberry preserve. I finally decided to mix and match some together and see how it went. I decided to use the King Arthur Flour pie shell recipe and the Inspired Taste filling recipe. To make it boyfriend edible (i.e. no dairy), I replaced any butter and/or milk with non-dairy alternatives.
I decided to go with the blind bake crust recipe provided on the King Arthur Flour blog post on Chocolate Cream Pie (coming soon to the blog!). I’ve tried it before and loved not only how it tasted, but how fluffy and flaky it was. Of course it’s also dairy free! 😉
Link: King Arthur Flour’s Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe *only used the crust portion of this recipe for this*
The filling from the Inspired Taste blog did the trick. I wanted to keep as many strawberries fresh as I could without making a preserve-like item. I decided to use the King Arthur Flour Instant ClearJel instead of cornstarch just to give it a try. The boyfriend and I agreed that it tasted too gelatinous (the exact words being ‘gelatiney’). I would say that the cornstarch might have given it less of that gelatin flavor. And I also didn’t add enough as the filling didn’t ‘stay in place’. It still flowed around once we cut into the pie. Lesson learned.
The pie looked absolutely beautiful in all of it’s heart-shaped glory. As far as taste, I think using the ClearJel was probably not the best idea. Aside from the gelatin flavor situation, the pie tasted great. We added coconut cream (can from Trader Joe’s) as the topping instead of whipped cream to make it boyfriend friendly. The boyfriend actually doesn’t care much for the coconut cream, but I thoroughly enjoy it more than whipped cream so a win for me nonetheless.
-Use fresh local strawberries if possible
-to make this dairy free, replace butter with margarine or vegetable shortening for the crust (the recipe I used uses vegetable shortening so didn’t have to do any modifications) and coconut cream to whip instead of whipped cream.
-Used KAF InstaGel instead of cornstarch. Don’t make this mistake or help this chica out if you’ve mastered the InstaGel.
-Follow recipes to the letter to avoid a ‘flowing’ filling.
Let me know if you try either recipes and what you think! Suggestions on how to avoid my bumps would also be appreciated!