It’s no secret that I really like Cook’s Country magazine. There are usually a half a dozen recipes or so with each issue that I end up trying out and loving, so it was no big surprise when I got the August/September issue that I found a bunch of stuff that I wanted to try out. At the top of list though was the strawberry chiffon pie that I saw. With strawberries still in season I had plenty of them on hand and the recipe seemed so easy that there was just no way I was going to pass up the chance to give it a shot and I am glad I did. It was easily one of the best desserts I had made in a while.
Strawberry Chiffon Pie
For the Crust:
1 (5.3-ounce) box shortbread cookies, broken into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Filling:
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces strawberries, hulled (2 1/2 cups), plus 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, halved, and sliced thin (1 1/3 cups)
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
For the crust, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Process the cookies, sugar, and salt in a food processor until they are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the almonds and pulse until they are coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add the melted butter and pulse until everything is well combined, about 10 pulses. Transfer the crumb mixture to the pie plate. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the crust halfway through baking. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. The crust can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
For the filling, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let it sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Process the hulled whole strawberries in a food processor until they are completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the strawberry puree to a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and press on the solids to extract about 1 cup of juice; discard the solids. Whisk 3/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch, salt, and the strawberry juice together in a small saucepan.
Bring the juice mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook the mixture until it is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin mixture until it is dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the lemon juice, and let the mixture cool completely, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until they are foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of the meringue into the cooled strawberry mixture until it is smooth. Fold the remaining meringue into the strawberry mixture until only a few white streaks remain.
In the now-empty mixer bowl, whip the heavy cream on medium-low speed until it is foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold in the sliced strawberries. Spoon the filling into the crust and spread the filling into an even layer using the back of a spoon. Refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.
The taste of this pie is phenomenal. You get a nice, fluffy filling that is very light and teeming with strawberry flavor. It does remind you a lot of strawberry ice cream in flavor but the texture is much lighter and then you get the pieces of strawberry inside it as well to top things off. If you wanted to skip making the crust yourself and save some time, you could easily use your favorite store-bought crust instead (shortbread, graham cracker or a Nilla wafer crust would all work well) and you can make this elegant dessert that tastes phenomenal in no time at all. I would be curious to see how well it works with frozen strawberries instead of fresh so you could make it any time of year. I may have to give it a try sometime.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!