Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Pie (gluten, dairy and nut-free)

Did I mention I picked 40 pounds of fresh strawberries this week? Well, I did, I'm crazy! And I will freeze most of them. But I also have been making honey sweetened jam, jello and jam, and smoothies with many of the adorable heart-shaped lovelies too. When it is the season for a fresh fruit I really try and make the most of it. There really is no better way to eat fruit than fresh-in-season and right from the vine, plant or tree!
And, I just couldn't wait another minute to share this recipe. It is a revised "healthy" version to the traditional fresh strawberry pie that you can see advertised in the ol' ma and pop diners in the US. A traditional summer treat. I went to researching what was made in those pies and some were made with a lot of sugar, butter and cream. And, some were also made with strawberry flavorings and red dye. I was in shock! Why on earth would you need to add flavor and dye to fresh strawberries?! They are glorious and divine just by themselves and I would be super happy to just eat them as is right off the plant. 
So, yeah, I did my researching and came up with using some healthy alternative ingredients to make this treat. I used agar powder to help gel the fresh strawberries with a nice honey-sweet sauce. Agar powder is derived from an algae seaweed that offers lots of nutritional value and fiber too. And it may look like you are indulging in some super sweet treat, but this pie just brings out the already amazing flavors of fresh berries, coconut and honey. It can also be made with Grass-Fed Gelatin, which is a great health supplement as well, read here to learn more.  This pie is my take on what a fresh strawberry pie should taste like and if you can get your hands on some fresh ripe strawberries- then don't think twice on making this summer treat! And, after you make it once, you'll see why I almost double this recipe every time I make it :)
Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe 
(gluten, dairy, soy and nut-free)

1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1 1/4 cup of gluten-free oat flour ground (1 cup of oats in ground in high power blender to make 1 1/4 cup of flour)
2 TB of honey or maple syrup
dash of sea salt
1/3 cup of organic extra virgin coconut oil

In a mixing bowl, mix the oats, coconut, salt and flour all together well and then add the honey and coconut oil and mix with a fork. You should get a sticking pie crust batter that you will use your hands to press into a 9 inch glass pie pan. You will have to pressed firmly up to the tops of the pan and press firmly along the bottom. It doesn't have to be perfect looking, but do try and make the crust spread evenly over the pan. Then bake the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 16-18 minutes until golden brown. You may need to press a fork up to the sides again after you pull from the oven while it is still hot if the crust slide down a touch while baking. Then, let the crust cool on the counter until it is cold.
Fresh Strawberry Filling:
1 pound of fresh hulled whole strawberries 
        + 1 cup of chopped fresh strawberries
2 TB of fresh squeezed lemon juice
pinch of lemon zest
1/3-1/2 cup of local honey
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 TB of agar powder or  use 1 1/2 TB of gmo-free plain gelitan (Great Lakes Brand)

When you crust is cooled, the you can place 1 pounds of fresh picked and hulled strawberries face down into the pie crust. Then set aside in the fridge or freezer to make the liquid sauce to pour over the berries in a small saucepan. 

First, put your chopped strawberries and lemon juice in the pan and let cook down for a few minutes on low heat, then add your honey and water and keep simmering. Lastly add the agar powder and stir quickly to keep from clumping. Let cook on low heat for up to 5 minutes until the strawberries are cooked down and the liquid is hot. 

 If you use gelatin then you must mix the gelatin with 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl first for it to "bloom" then you can add it into the strawberry sauce after a few minutes and you will have to stir well with the heat off while it melts into the rest of the sauce. So it has one step more, but both can be used the same way.

Lastly pour the warm strawberry sauce over the fresh whole strawberries already in the pie crust. Use a spoon or brush to coat all the tops of the strawberries, and it make take up to 5 minutes to let cool and set and you will have to re-arrange the strawberry tops to be straight. Then place in the fridge and chill for 3 hours before serving. 
Coconut Whipped Topping:
1 can of full fat coconut milk (use the cream only)
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup

Chill the can of coconut milk for at least a few hours or speed up the process in the freezer. Then right before serving, open the can and scoop out the separated coconut cream on the top and pour all of the remaining coconut water in a separate container to keep and use for other baked goods or smoothies. After putting the coconut cream in a bowl with syrup, use an electric mixer and whip up the cream for at least 3 minutes until you get peaks and a thicker cream. Then you can top the pie with this cream however you like. I scooped the cream into a Wilton's pipping bag with a star tip and squeezed out some cream stars over the pie. But you can top however you like- it will taste superb no matter how you top it :)

You can sub 1-2 TB of honey for the maple syrup. And if you want, prefer or like dairy you can use just regular whipping cream whipped up to perfection. 
Then, slice big hearty slices and serve up! This pie is perfect for a hot summer day and will not last long. It will be best kept in the fridge for safe keeping and will only last a few hours or at the most a day ;) But if for some reason you have extras, it will taste best kept in the fridge no more than three days.But really, when I make this in the two weeks of June that we have fresh Michigan strawberries, we eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I mean, because, well, we can! And it's so good, we look forward to the season and then before you know it, it's gone.
Each slice is the perfect combo if crust, fresh strawberry goodness and a little extra creamy goodness to top it all off. This pie is for sure one of the best ways to eat fresh strawberries, well at least I think so :)
But seriously, this is my new found way to use some fresh picked strawberries. You can only make this pie once (or maybe twice) during the few weeks a year when strawberries are fresh off the plant. Super delicious!
I think you know what I will be doing to enjoy this weekend. Lots of time out in the sun and after-dinner pie eatin'. Maybe even some more berry picking before the season escapes us. Summer hasn't even officially begun yet and I just know it is going to be a good one. I hope you find ways to enjoy this summery weekend and some berries to enjoy!

Much love as always!


  1. Replies
    1. yes! and now that I have been making treats with the berries- I want to go back for more ;)

  2. Oh my god, this is gorgeous!!! And I can make it with only a few tweaks!

    1. Thanks Iris! What tweaks are you thinking about? I am curious ;) Hope you have a great weekend! Much love!

  3. what a GORGEOUS pie!!! oh my gosh it is brilliant! i love the fresh strawberries and the coconut milk stars:) thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, and yes- fresh food is gorgeous isn't it?! Thanks for the comment and for your kind words! Much love to you!

  4. Stephanie, you never fail to inspire me! Thank you for this recipe with all the healthy adaptations. I completely agree with you - why would you ever add sugar and coloring to a food that is already beautiful and delicious on its own? I don't understand some of those decisions, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves strawberries for being just what they are :)
    I found you on Facebook today! Have a lovely weekend-

    1. Thanks Emily! Strawberries are beauties just as is :) Hope you have a great weekend as well enjoying your little fam! Much love to you!

  5. I can't describe to you how delicious and perfect this looks!

    1. GF Gidget! your comment made me laugh out loud! And it is true and that good that there really are no words ;)