A few days ago I came home to a kitchen table overflowing with pints of strawberries, filling the house with their ripe perfume. My first emotion was a hit of sadness, as I'm missing some of the best weeks of Portland's own strawberry season while I'm down here in Los Angeles, but my second emotion could only be described as OH-YES-ITS-PIE-TIME!
After a brief Tastespotting search, I came across a recipe for a classic Strawberry Cream Pie from the Better Homes & Gardens Dessert Cook Book, published in 1960, the age of REAL DESSERTS, and after a few modifications (like replacing some of the whipped cream with sour cream for a cheescakier flavor), I had a really gorgeous pie that showcased the berries in all of their glory.
This was the dessert of my "Last Supper" before getting my wisdom teeth out yesterday, and it was a perfect accompaniment to big, meaty beef ribs with my dad's improvised BBQ sauce (think crushed pineapple, beet juice, chipotle hot sauce, red onions, garlic, tomato sauce, molasses, honey, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and grilled pickled jalapenos), crunchy coleslaw with my secret creamy dressing, and grilled ratatouille with lots of fresh basil.
By contrast, the past two days have been filled with frozen yogurt, mashed potatoes, and tomato basil soup, which, let me tell you, is going to get old real fast. I keep having daydreams of Screen Door fried chicken, toasted Kettlemans bagels, crispy cucumbers, and, well, anything not mushy. At least I can still write about/read about/watch movies about food. Yes, at least there's that. Eat crunchy things for me!
Classic Strawberry Cream Pie
Adapted from Laura Flowers and Better Homes & Gardens Dessert Cook Book, published 1960.
1 9-inch pie crust (I use the 'Foolproof Pie Dough' from Cooks' Illustrated)
1 recipe cream filling (below)
3 cups fresh strawberries
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pre-bake pie crust using pie weights or dried beans. Let cool. Fill with chilled Cream Filling. Quarter two and a half cups of the strawberries, place in large bowl. Crush remaining half cup berries (I used a potato masher); add water; cook 2 minutes. Mix sugar and cornstarch: gradually stir into berry sauce. Cook over low heat, and stir until thick. Cool slightly; pour over bowl of quartered strawberries, mix well. Arrange over cream filling. Keep refrigerated until served.
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons enriched flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 slightly beaten egg
½ cup sour cream
Mix first 4 ingredients. Gradually stir in cream. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil; reduce heat and stir until thick. Stir a little of the hot mixture into egg; return to remaining hot mixture. Bring just to boiling, stirring constantly. Cool, then chill. Beat well; fold in sour cream. (I'd let this cool for a few hours, at least, maybe even overnight before piling the strawberries on top. That gives it more of a cheesecake-y texture that is really amazing)