May is my favorite month, not only because it marks the beginning of summer, but also because I have many fond memories of strawberry picking in mid-May. Buying local Virginia-grown strawberries here at the Food Co-op is a great alternative to picking your own fruit, especially if you do not have the time to visit a strawberry farm. The strawberries I bought at the Food Co-op were delicious and perfectly ripe.
Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Finding a perfectly sweet, juicy and bite-sized strawberry will just warm your heart in contentment! These fruits are great in smoothies, yogurt, and salads. It is important to eat plenty of raw fruits to allow your body to absorb the maximum nutrients. High in antioxidants like Vitamin C and manganese as well as potassium and vitamin K, strawberries are sweet sources of necessary vitamins that are best available to your body when eaten raw. Pack a cup of strawberries with your lunch, or nibble on them as a sweet snack or dessert!
The season for strawberries peaks in late May, so now is the perfect time to plan out all your favorite fresh strawberry recipes. This pie is oh-so-yummy as a dessert on summer evenings and certainly easy enough to prepare for the next cook-out or dinner with friends. The recipe takes no time at all; in total, I prepared this strawberry pie within 30 minutes. Aside from baking the crust a bit, this pie does not require baking in the oven. I love that this recipe is “no-bake” because this makes it even easier to prepare! The ingredient list calls for a lot of strawberries (about 2 pints of strawberries from the Co-op), packing the pie with lots of the awesome and natural fruit sugars. Check out the recipe below.
Ingredients (Makes 1 pie)
2 pints strawberries, sliced (approximately 4 c.)
2 cups sugar
16 oz. or 1 block of cream cheese (best used at room temperature)
1 pie crust, purchased or homemade
Bake the pie crust at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place cream cheese in the crust. As the cream cheese melts, it will become easily spreadable. Spread the cream cheese to create a base a layer on the crust. Layer the cream cheese with half the sliced strawberries (approximately 2 cups). Create the strawberry sauce by combining the remaining sliced strawberries and 2 cups of sugar in a nonstick pot. Simmer the mixture on the stove to release the natural fruit sugars, and a syrup-like liquid will form. Boil the strawberry syrup sauce for about 15 minutes until the syrup thickens to a sauce. Stir frequently to avoid burning the sugar. Next, pour the hot strawberry sauce over the sliced strawberry layer. Allow the pie to cool for several hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
The cream cheese base layer contributes a great contrasting texture and creaminess to the pie. If your diet does not include dairy ingredients, vegan cream cheese can be made within 48 hours using raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, water, and lemon juice. You can also purchase vegan cream cheese (Tofutti) at the Food Co-Op, which will supply an equally creamy texture.
I bought my own pie crust, but if you are more adventurous than I was feeling, try making your own crust! Recipes for pie crust are not complicated; simply mix several ingredients and bake. However, this process will tack on quite a bit of time to baking. I found my strawberry pie was delicious inside a store-bought crust!
I hope fresh strawberries make it home with you after your next trip to the Co-Op. You will be delighted with the natural sweetness of the little fruits especially in this simple Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie!