Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fresh Strawberry and Cream Cheese Pie

Fresh Strawberry and Cream Cheese Pie

Hi everyone!  Hope you all had a fun Spring Break!  I am SO happy Spring is here and with it a whole new group of wonderful foods to enjoy.  This is our grandma Carroll Thomas' recipe for the most positively scrumptious strawberry pie ever!  It has a hidden layer of cream cheese that is so delicious with the strawberries. Ok, you might say after reading the ingredients... "It has jell-o in it!  How can it be that good?"  Now, I know it goes against my cooking etiquette to use “foods” like Jell-O (I inherited that trait from my grandmother) but this pie is an exception.  Just one bite and you’ll want to make it every chance you get!  I admit, SOMETIMES  life calls for a store bought pie crust dough.  However, they just don’t taste as good as a homemade crust.  Pie crust are one of those things you can make on a whim out of basic ingredients in the morning and have a fabulous dessert ready for dinner that evening.  So here's my favorite recipe for a pie crust, but you can use a store bought crust if needed.  Have your pie crust baked and ready to go before filling it with the cream cheese and strawberries, as these are not baked in the crust.  Hence, the name "Fresh" Strawberry and Cream Cheese Pie! Hope you enjoy making this all Spring and Summer long!

 2 Perfect Pie Crusts 
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, slightly beaten

In food processor, mix flour and salt slightly.  Dice cold butter, and toss gently in flour, careful of sharp blades.

 With mixer running add ice water, 4 tablespoons is usually sufficient, by the tablespoonful until mixture comes together in a loose ball.  Remove from processor and divide dough in half. 

Form each half into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour. If you are just baking 1 pie freeze one round of pie dough for later. Flour the counter top, and lay out a large piece of plastic wrap.  Place dough on floured piece of plastic wrap  Roll out between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap into a large circle.  Lay circle in pie pan and form into crust.  Crimp edges and poke holes with a fork in bottom and side of crust.  Brush crusts with egg white.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  As oven temperatures vary watch crusts closely for an exact baking time.  Remove from oven, cool and fill with cream cheese layer and then with the strawberry filling. Filling recipe makes 1 pie. 

Cream Cheese Layer
6 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Strawberry Filling
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, halved or quartered 
3 ounce box strawberry Jell-O
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

With an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipping cream until smooth.  Spread on bottom of baked and cooled pie crust.  Set aside in refrigerator.  In saucepan mix Jell-O, sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir with a whisk. Place saucepan in freezer for 45-60 minutes, and whisk every 10 minutes until mixture has just set to a very thick syrup.  If it set too long, stir the jello and stir in the strawberries anyway, it will still turn out great.  While Jell-O mixture is thickening, wash strawberries, remove green tops and slice lengthwise.  Stir strawberries into thickened Jell-O mixture and spoon into pie shell.  Refrigerate until set and serve with sweetened whipped cream.   

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