Summer’s Here! Woohoo!

School’s out for The Boy, the town pool is open, the Farmer’s Markets have started up, and our first share pickup at our CSA is this Tuesday. It must be summer. But if all those facts aren’t enough to indicate the change in seasons, look at these:

I’ll give you a minute to collect yourself.

I mean, just look at them! They are the strawberries of the gods. When I brought them home from the Farmer’s Market this morning, I knew they could be only one thing-strawberry pie.

Strawberry pie is not a baked pie; it’s a pre-baked crust loaded with a jelly-glazed pile of fresh strawberries and tucked in the refrigerator for a few hours to set. It is almost too much strawberry goodness for a person to bear. But I’ll do my best, for you.

This bounty of red, juicy sweetness also presented the opportunity to try something I’ve been dying to experiment with. I don’t know about you, but when we bring home Chinese take-out, it always comes with enough fortune cookies for a hoard of Mongol raiders. (I hope that’s not an indication of how many people they think our order is for-hey, we like leftovers.) No one eats these cookies, so they just hang around. One day I decided to whiz them in the food processor to make fortune cookie crumbs. I figured they had to be good for something in that form, and it significantly reduced the amount of space they took up in my pantry.

So here’s my take on the classic graham cracker crust, only with fortune cookie crumbs.

Mad scientist at work…

In the bowl is about 1 1/2 C fortune cookie crumbs, about 1/4 C vanilla sugar, and soon to be added-about 5 Tbls melted unsalted butter. I stirred it all together, then got in there with my hands to knead the mixture thoroughly. When I squeezed a handful of it, the lump held together. Time for the pie pan.

I pressed the crumb mixture with my fingers into the pie pan until it was even all around the bottom and sides (mostly), and baked the crust in a 350 deg oven for about 15 minutes. When it came out it was a little puffy, so I pressed it back down flat with a flat-bottomed 1 Cup measuring cup, and let it cool on a rack while I made the filling.

The filling is my go-to strawberry pie filling, from The Joy of Cooking. You whisk together in a saucepan 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and a pinch of salt. Stir in 1/2 cup water, 2 cups of pureed strawberries, 2 Tbls lemon juice, and 2 Tbls unsalted butter, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Let it cook, stirring, until thickened, a minute or two. Then, if you’re like me, you clean 4 cups of fresh strawberries as fast as you can because you forgot to do it before you made the glaze. Place half the strawberries in the cooled crust, pour over half of the glaze mixture and jiggle a little to settle it, and repeat to finish strawberries and thoroughly glaze. I always end up with extra strawberry glaze. Damn. What am I going to do with that? (slice more strawberries, stir them in, put in fridge for a crepe filling yumyumyumyum) The pie goes into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set up.

Look at all that fat-free yogurt in the background. hahahaha
Must…….Have…….Pie…..

I didn’t wait long enough.

The filling is spectacular, of course, because the strawberries are spectacular. The jury is still out on the fortune cookie crumb crust, as it is a little hard and crunchy. Tasty, but not quite the right texture. I will be revisiting this experiment.

I am also working on a couple strawberry rhubarb items that are a bit off the beaten path. I’ll let you know when they’re ready.

See you on the Road.

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