It’s strawberry pickin’ season! There is nothing more delicious than a sun-ripened sweet strawberry just plucked from the vine. I’ve been out picking twice now, treating my family and friends to perfectly ripe, juicy red berries, served up with cream or yogurt, in smoothies, on pancakes, and in pies.
The recipe for Strawberry Cream Pie is a variation of an old Maine formula I found in vintage cookbooks by Marjorie Standish and Vangie Knowlton. It’s really a beautiful pie; a confection that would have graced the counter pie case of the general store; or been the belle of the ball at the local church supper.
Not only does this lovely fruit glacé dessert look sensational, it tastes heavenly. (Must be why grandmothers always brought it to church.) Flaky pastry; lightly vanilla scented cream; perfectly ripe, gorgeous red strawberries shining with a fruit glace top; topped with slightly sweetened whipped cream.
The key to this pie’s delicious, sensual, melt-in-your-mouth taste is the fruit’s fresh, juicy, flavor — in this case, the strawberries.
But…if you can’t pick your own strawberries, still do try this pie. The “Fruit” Cream Pie can be prepared with any fresh, native, perfectly ripe, Maine fruit from your local farm stand, co-op food store or market. To ease the budget, I often use a combination of frozen fruit (for the cooked topping) and splurge on the fresh fruit. (My favorite combination is frozen wild blueberries and fresh red raspberries.) It’s the freshness of the fruit on top that really makes this pie shine.
This is the case where a store-bought pie shell is quite acceptable. For gluten-free cooking, I bet a gluten-free cookie crumb crust held together with melted butter would be good, or a baked, almond flour shortbread crust.
Cream cheese is most often the cheese layer. If you’re feeling quite indulgent, fresh Maine cheeses like plain chevre or farmstead cow cheese really enhance the flavor complexity, particularly in the summer, when the animals are gazing on grass. (Same holds true for the whipping cream.)
This is the perfect, show-stopper pie for entertaining, cookouts, and family gatherings. Prepare in the morning and chill. Later, watch your delicious creation gobbled up by all your delighted family and friends.