Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Flavors Break the Gloom of a Rainy Easter

I'm not sure about the rest of the planet but our Easter Sunday in the lovely and verdant Pacific Northwest was a real wet one. Not even the threat of a sun beam marred the perfectly gray and soggy landscape. As a result I've been rebelling against this rather Novemberish weather using some of the oldest tricks in the books.

First and foremost an enormous bouquet of daffodils is gracing my kitchen. Their humble perfume permeating the area with the very smell of spring. Secondly a new pair of spring pumps with a small blue flower print and a darling bow above the open toe. Of course, I can't wear them out of the house yet but they are soooo cute! And, last but not least, a strawberry dessert that makes everyone who eats it want to hug a bunny.

As usual the recipe came from my Mother and, as usual, I've made some minor alterations to the presentation. The recipe is called Strawberry 1, 2, 3 Pie and it couldn't be simpler. When I've made this in the past I've always just made a single baked pie shell. It has just been revealed to me that the original recipe made the pie shell creation even easier. You mix it directly in the pie pan!

Strawberry 1,2,3 Pie Crust

8 inch pie plate
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 T cold milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift dry ingredients into pie plate. Mix wet ingredients in small bowl and then pour into flour mixture. Mix with hands until combined and then press firmly into pie plate. Create sides and rim for fluting. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

I haven't tried the pie crust yet but my Mum used it on Easter Sunday and said it worked perfectly. I wanted to try something a little different this time around. I rolled out and then cut 9 squares out of a single puff pastry sheet. I sprayed a muffin pan with Pam and then placed the squares of puff pastry in the muffin holes. I left the trim overlapping. Poke the pastry many times with fork and then place in 425 degree oven for 7 minutes. When 7 minutes have passed pull them out of oven and poke once again with fork to bring down puffiness especially on the insides of the shell. Place back in oven for another 7 minutes or until shells are golden brown. They should fall right out of the muffin tin. (You can always buy the puff pastry shells instead!)

Strawberry 1,2,3 Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored Knox gelatin
1/2 cup water
10 oz package frozen sliced strawberries
1 T lemon juice
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 Cup whipped cream

In saucepan mix sugar and gelatin. Stir in water slowly. Cook over low heat until sugar and gelatin dissolve and the liquid is just below boiling point. Remove from heat and add frozen strawberries, almond extract, and lemon juice. Stir until strawberries have melted and mixture has thickened. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour mixture into baked pie shell and chill for 3 to 5 hours.

If using puff pastry leave mixture in original container and refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours until set. Scoop servings into puff pastry shells, top with fresh strawberry, and serve. Do not put strawberry cream mixture into shells until serving or they will get soggy. Enjoy!

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