I know. It's not exactly the prime time of year for strawberries. But this winter has been so full of white and gray, snow and clouds, that it was time for a splash of color. And.....February was a good time for pink and red (National Heart Month and all - oh, and Valentine's Day). When I saw strawberries at Haymarket a few weeks ago, I grabbed them eagerly without any clear plan for them yet. But I knew something good would come out of a carton of strawberries.
This was a pretty divine splash of color. At first I thought it was going to be too sweet, but no - it was fantastic. Everyone who tried it raved about it! (That is, with the exception of a certain slightly picky 5 year old who hates coconut - but she still loved the strawberry filling sans crust.) So if you're baking for a coconut-hater, not to worry - use your own favorite pie crust, but keep the filling. The filling is definitely a keeper.
Strawberry Cream Pie
For the filling:
16 oz. strawberries, sliced or chopped
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cups gluten-free, dairy-free whipped topping or vanilla custard (you want something that is pretty firm in consistency)1 tbsp. vanilla
Slice the strawberries and combine with the sugar. Set aside to rest together for 15 - 20 minutes.
Place the 1/2 cup cold water into a small saucepan. Pour the packet of Knox gelatin and let dissolve. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil, simmering until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and mix in the lemon juice and almond extract. Pour over the strawberry-sugar mixture and mix well. Leave to sit for at least 15 - 20 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. The mixture will be very...gel-ly at that point.
When the strawberry mixture has cooled, fold in the vanilla and gluten-free, dairy-free whipped topping or vanilla custard. Spread evenly into the prepared Coconut Almond pie crust and cover. Chill in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving to allow it to fully set. Keep refrigerated (unless eating!).