Strawberry Icebox Pie

I’ve been in a bit of a culinary rut, and I’m the first to admit it.  Making dinner and such has been more like a chore than something I’ve been looking forward to.  I blame work and not enough “me time,” but after sleeping in for the past few days and catching up on getting the house back to “base beauty zero,” and an excellent batch of blueberry muffins  I’m feeling more like myself.

So we tackled pie the other day with the local strawberries I picked.  I have a go-to strawberry pie recipe, but one of the key ingredients in it is soda, and since JGL and I have both attempted to sworn the stuff off, it seemed silly to use it in a recipe.  So naturally we whipped out the Epicurious app, and I was  delighted to find a soda-free strawberry icebox pie. It has very few ingredients (a plus!) and honestly set up better than my old pie.  Bonus?  I got to use some of the botched whole wheat pie crust I had frozen for a rainy day back in December (that I “neglected” to blog about).  Let’s just say it was a first attempt at using whole wheat pastry flour AND the first time trying to use a food processor to blend–end result was a delicious pressed crust, but one that wouldn’t roll to save my life.

But it’s perfect for this pie, and this pie is perfect for this time of year–sweet, fresh, and full of strawberry flavor.

Strawberry Icebox Pie 
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2003 (as found on Epicurious)
 
1 Crust 
5 Cups quartered and hulled strawberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbs fresh lemon Juice
 
Place 2 Cups of the strawberries in a medium sauce pan and mash until chunky, like you were making jam (a potato masher works well).  Add sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils and thickens, about 3 minutes.
 
Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool to room temperature.  Then add the remaining berries and stir to mix.  Mount into your pie crust, and chill pie until cold and set.  
 
Would be EXCELLENT with whipped cream!

Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade

In college one of the things I loved the most about coming home for the summer was that I got to see the lilacs bloom twice–about a month before school would let out the lilacs would just cascade around campus, and then when we returned home to New England at the beginning of May the lilacs were just waking up for spring.

Even though the strawberries have long since passed in Virginia, they are just now nearing the end of their season here in New Hampshire.  So while JGL is back in good ole VA with the dog-kids, I’m having a blast up here in NH picking berries with my family, and trying new jams and marmalades out of the Canning Magazine that my mother so kindly splurged on.

So here was the first can-venture of the week–Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade made with sweet end of the season NH berries.  We’ll do a cross-country family taste test in two weeks when it’s finished curing!

Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade
BHG Special Interest Publication, Canning, pg 19

 

2 Medium Lemons
1/2 cup water
1/8 tsp baking soda
3 cups crushed strawberries
5 cups sugar
1/2 of a 6 oz package liquid fruit pectin

 

Remove peel from each lemon, removing any pith from the back of it.  Shred into small strips.

 

In a large saucepan combine peel, water and baking soda.  Bring to boiling then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Do not drain. 

 

Meanwhile, remove the rest of the pith from the lemons, section and squeeze the juice from what is left.  Add lemon sections and juice to peel strips.  Stir in crushed berries.  Return to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.
 Add sugar and bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Quickly stir in pectin, and return to a full rolling boil for 1 minute.  Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Process in a water canner for 5 minutes, and allow to set a room temperature for two weeks before serving.  

Strawberry and Cream Muffins (and a strawberry pie for later)

Today is JGL’s birthday, and because it’s JGL’s birthday, we’ll finally be using up those strawberries we picked from last week.  It’s been hard hoarding them, but I think the end result will have been worth it.

As long as I’ve known JGL, he has never wanted actual cake on his birthday.  The one thing he wanted was strawberry pie.  So I rigged up a recipe 5 years ago when we first started dating, and it’s become a birthday tradition.

The added bonus this morning was there were enough berries for the Strawberry and Cream Oatmeal Muffins I’ve been dreaming up for the past few days.  They have a similar base to my blueberry muffins, but with a few key swaps–oatmeal added for some of the flour, baking soda, yogurt to replace the milk, and butter to replace the shortening.  The end result?

An amazingly healthy and sweet start to JGL’s awesome day!

So here’s to you, JGL–know that I am so incredibly proud of how far you’ve come (and the fact that you’ve stuck to your Weight Watcher’s Guns and have lost 28 pounds even with all of my crazy baking!), and I can’t wait to see where this journey continues to take us.  Thanks so much for letting me be a part of this wild, crazy, beautiful ride.

With Love,

Your GAL

JGL’s Strawberry and Cream Oatmeal Birthday Muffins
Makes 1 dozen
 
1 1/2 cup white wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1/4  cup melted butter
 
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
 
Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add oatmeal and salt to sifted mixture.  
 
In a separate bowl mix together sugar, egg, yogurt, strawberries and butter.  Mix the wet and the dry ingredients until the mixture has just barely come together.  Top muffins with a little extra oatmeal and sugar.  Spoon into baking cups, bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Stick a birthday candle in and enjoy!
 
JGL’s Birthday Strawberry Pie
 
8 oz of 7 Up (you can substitute diet if you’re watching what you eat)
4 TBS Cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
red food coloring
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 baked pie shell (graham cracker crust is also a suitable substitute) 
 
Mix first three ingredients and cook and stir over medium high heat until thick (and when I mean thick, I mean thick–it should start to thicken up but still be cloudy, you want it to go from cloudy to clear–then you’re done).  Cool and then add red food coloring to make it look…well, more like strawberries.  A little coloring goes a long way–you want pinky, not blood-red.
 
Once this mixture is room temperature, stir in berries (don’t get greedy on this step–put it in when it’s still warm and you will have soupy pie.  Trust me, been there done that).  Pour into pie shell and cool in fridge for at least one hour before serving.  Goes well with a bit of whipped topping, birthday candles and love (awwwwww!)
 

UPDATE:  Check out Sweet as Sugar Cookies blog for her Sweets for a Saturday link up–there are some super amazing yummy treats going on out there!