I grew up in Watsonville, Calif., the land of strawberries. Around this time of year, the summer scent of strawberries fills the air on San Andreas Road between Manresa Beach and Beach Road. Taking that drive on a summer night is one of my favorite things.
Having recently moved from the area, I’ve been missing that drive quite a bit. I miss seeing the setting sun over the ocean in one direction and the rolling strawberry fields in the other. I miss being able to pull over at a farm stand and buy beautiful, fragrant strawberries directly from the grower, often at a lower price than many stores offer.
The last time I was at the store, strawberries were on sale. Though not as fragrant as the ones I’m used to, I figured they were the best I could get. I decided to use them to make one of my favorite summer treats: a strawberry Bavarian pie.
The pie doesn’t have the heft of most fruit pies. Instead, it combines crushed fresh fruit with gelatin and cream. I got the recipe from “The Joy of Cooking,” one of my go-to reference books for kitchen projects. For now, it will have to satisfy my longing for those sweet summer drives.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Combine the flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut half of the butter into the mixture, working it in with the tips of your fingers until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Cut the rest of the butter into the dough and work in until the dough turns into pea-sized balls. Sprinkle the dough with 6 tablespoons of ice water.
Using a fork, blend the water into the dough. If needed to hold the ingredients together, add the remaining water.
Either roll the dough out and fit it into a pie dish or pat it into the dish. Prick the crust with a fork.
Put a piece of foil in the crust and fill with pie weights. The pie weights will keep the crust from slipping into the dish and keep the bottom from bubbling.
Bake in an oven preheated to 425 F for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool.
1 quart (about 4 cups) strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 cup cold heavy cream
Crush the strawberries in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and let stand for 30 minutes.
Pour the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the boiling water and stir to dissolve the gelatin. Stir mixture into the berries. Add the lemon juice. Chill the gelatin until it is the thickness of unbeaten egg whites.
Whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form. Fold the cream into the berry mixture and pour into the cooled pie crust.