Did I mention I picked 40 pounds of fresh strawberries this week? Well, yeah, I did, and I will freeze most of them. But I also have been making honey sweetened jam, agar-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. 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!
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 TB of agar powder
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.
You can also sub the agar powder for 1 packet of unflavored gelatin if you prefer. I like using the agar powder because it is plant based (seaweed). If you used gelatin then mix the water and gelatin separately together before adding it to the strawberries and cook 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
10 drops of pure vanilla stevia extract (I used NuNaturals)
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 the stevia, 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 or maple syrup in place of the stevia. And if you want, prefer or like dairy you can use just regular whipping cream whipped up to perfection.
Much love as always!