Home-grown strawberries are a delicacy, one that a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to sample. Or if they do, it isn’t very often.
I was one of those people, but if things go right this summer, that all will change. I planted 10 strawberry plants in my garden, and Therese put another dozen or so in a Topsy Turvy Upside Down Strawberry Planter that she purchased, so we should get our fill.
My grandfather grew strawberries in his garden when I was growing up, which is part of the impetus behind my wanting to grow the tasty red orbs. I still recall picking them fresh from their bed and dipping them in a little sugar. (Of course, they were sweet enough the way it was, but try and tell an 8- or 9-year-old kid that.)
One recipe I hope to try once my strawberries start to produce is a refrigerator pie that’s made with a graham cracker crust and cream cheese. Sound yummy? I bet it will be.
Here’s the recipe for the pie. For those of you who wonâ€™t have your own strawberries, remember that supermarkets always have a nice supply of them during the summer months.
Strawberry and Cheese Refrigerator Pie
1 9-inch prepared graham cracker pie crust, preferably whole-wheat
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
Â¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons extra-fine sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Â½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 poundÂ strawberries
Â½ cup strawberry fruit spread
1 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place crust on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. This can be done 8 hours ahead.
Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in small bowl. Blend until combined and smooth, using hand mixer on medium speed or wooden spoon. Spread cheese mixture evenly over bottom of pie crust. Refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours.
Just before serving, cut off tops of strawberries. Halve largest, prettiest ones and place in bowl. Cut remaining berries lengthwise in quarters and place in another bowl. Melt fruit spread in bowl in microwave, or in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Mix in lemon juice, if using, and divide hot fruit spread between two bowls of berries. Using fork, toss until fruit is coated and glistening.
Spoon quartered fruit into the center of pie over cheese, turning most pieces cut side down as you spread them out. Arrange larger halves in circle around edge of pie, with flat side facing rim of crust and points toward the center of the pie. Spoon on any fruit spread remaining in bowls to fill in open spaces. Serve pie within 1 hour.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 262 calories, 11 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated), 39 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 219 milligrams sodium.