Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer means berries, and berries mean pies

I was very excited over a cookbook called Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts. I watch the TV show and the dessert recipes are always the one I want to try the most. I may have been a little too excited when I decided to make two pies in one go. The first was Icebox Strawberry Pie, and the second was Raspberry Chiffon Pie. Somewhere in there I also made dinner and I think that was mistake number one. I completely forgot to add the fresh raspberries to the raspberry pie. Mistake number two was buying refrigerated pie crust. Making one from scratch, while time consuming, would have resulted in a much better crust. So next time I make a berry pie I will  make sure I have the time carved out to properly focus on it. My favorite was the strawberry. The girls preferred the raspberry, possibly because of the Jell-O in it. I am posting the strawberry pie recipe only since it was followed to the letter and turned out so amazing. I could eat the topping all on its own easily!

Icebox Strawberry Pie (from Blue Ribbon Desserts)
The sacrificial first piece is always the best!
INGREDIENTS
* one 9-inch single crust pie-dough, using your fave recipe or store-bought. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate and chill in fridge at least 20 minutes

Filling:
* 2 lb frozen strawberries
* 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* 2 tbsp water
* 1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
* 1 cup sugar
* pinch salt (1/8 tsp)
* 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
Topping:
* 4 oz cream cheese, softened
* 3 tbsp sugar
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 cup heavy cream, chilled


1. Adjust an oven rack to center position and preheat 375 degrees.  Line chilled crust with foil, and fill with pie weights (or dried beans in you use those). Bake until pie dough looks dry and is light in color, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake another 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. 
2. Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium-low heat until berries begin to release juice, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jamlike, about 25 minutes (mixture should measure 2 cups; if it measures more the filing will be loose). 
Note: Use a large saucepan - it helps contain splatter. I used a medium one and had a nice big mess of splatter to clean up after. Also, the strawberries took about 40 minutes to get to 2 cups because I cooked them on medium heat, since I was trying to do too many other things and didn't want them to burn. 
3. Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to simmer, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 
4. Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.) 
5. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.
And because someone is bouncing near me as I type and wants a photo of the raspberry pie too......

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