Strawbaby Pie

I first made this pie when my husband and I were newlyweds in California, the place where most of the strawberries in the US are grown. Tim grew up partly in California, and this is his favorite kind of pie, which partly explains why he cultivated over 500 strawberry plants in our yard last year.

What’s surprising about strawberries is how hardy they really are. The berries themselves are delicate, but the plants are sturdy throughout all kinds of weeds and weather. In another post, I remarked that the five hundred plants we now have–the offspring of the five or so plants we started with–are a slow form of miracle.

But perhaps I digress. One of the first times I served strawberry pie, a guest remarked that her granddaughter used to call strawberries ‘strawbabies,’ and that it was sad when she finally learned to say it correctly. And so I often think of strawberries as ‘strawbabies,’ as it’s a much cuter name, and, anyway, strawberries are not berries at all–they’re aggregate accessory fruits. Because I know that you wanted that clarified.

And without further ado, here is the recipe. I don’t think I need to tell you that local strawberries, when available, will give you the best flavor by far.

Strawbaby Pie

(with a no-bake, gluten-free crust)

First, make the crust by pulsing in the food processor:

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1/2 cup other nuts (or more almonds)

1 cup pitted dates

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch o’ salt

Then, with the processor switched ‘on,’ pour in

1/4 cup–or less–of maple syrup

until mixture forms a cohesive, dough-like ball. If it seems overly wet, add a few more nuts or some rolled oats (gluten-free oats if you’re serving someone celiac!) If it seems too dry, add more maple syrup just a bit at a time.

Press into a 9″ pie pan that’s been lined with parchment; set aside in the freezer.

{Or you could just use whatever pie crust you like!}

Meanwhile, clean and hull about 6 cups strawberries.

Reserve 4 cups of the prettiest ones for arranging tips-up in the pie crust (see above). Mash 1-2 cups of the homelier ones (or the good parts of bad ones, etc.) with a potato masher in a saucepan until they are close to puree. Stir in:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar

Mix thoroughly until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. (Important!) Turn heat to medium-high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat. Arrange reserved strawberries in pie crust, and, a little at a time, smooth the hot mixture over the strawberries in the crust, trying to allow it to ‘paste’ the strawberries together. Chill 3 hours and serve with barely sweetened whipped cream.

And that’s how happy people the pie makes people feel. Results may vary.