Saturday, March 5, 2011

Strawberry Cream Pie

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!).  

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