It’s good to take something with you to a pot luck. It gets you into the kitchen where the action is, and makes you a contributor, not a bystander. There’s no need to bring a pie, of course. Drinks, chips or a fruit platter from the grocery store are all appreciated, but there is something about bringing a pie, a pie that you made yourself, that changes you from disabled to dazzling in a heartbeat!
These pies aren’t completely home made but near enough to qualify. They are also easy and have simple ingredients. In order to give the details that someone new to cooking might need, I am making this a 2 part post. This week describes a no cook pie. Next week, August 12, there will be 2 pies, Peach Pie and Peanut Butter Chocolate pie, both simple but requiring the oven.
The blog will take a break on August 19 and August 26, and be back on September 2 with Braille Learning Changes the Brain, the next post in the labeling series.
Strawberry Cream Pie
If you haven’t really cooked since you lost vision, or never did much, this is the pie for you. There is no cooking, just preparing strawberries and beating up a creamy mixture. It keeps well overnight, refrigerated and covered.
Here is the equipment you need:
large mixing bowl
hand electric mixer, or a wooden spoon and a strong arm
1 half cup, and ¼ cup measure * check the note at the end of this post if cup and spoon measures are new to you
1 tablespoon measure
pie slice (your host may have one)
1 9 inch graham cracker crust
1 pound ripe strawberries
2 by 8ounce packs plain spreadable cream cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
2oz dark semi-sweet chocolate (half a small bar)
- In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla and sugar. When it is mixed to a smooth creamy mass, cover and refrigerate.
- Remove the leafy top of the strawberries by pulling them off. If possible, use your nails to nip off the stem below the surface.
- Wash the strawberries in cold water and dry them with plenty of paper towel.
- Use the largest holes of a grater to shred the chocolate onto a plate.
- Set aside 5 big strawberries and a spoonful of shredded chocolate.
- Using a big metal spoon and an up and over folding movement, mix the other strawberries into the cream cheese. Then fold in the shredded chocolate. Do not mix more than you have to, and be gentle!
- Pile the whole mixture into the graham cracker crust in its aluminum foil pan. Do this on a tray so you contain any mess.
- Smooth the cream mix gently towards the edge of the pie, using a rubber spatula or the back of the metal spoon.
- When you have finished, wipe the aluminum rim of the pie with a damp paper towel folded around your finger.
- Decorate the top by sprinkling the extra chocolate in the center and placing strawberries the same distance apart around the edge.
- Cover the pie carefully with foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch the cream.
- Transport your pie in the bottom of a box, so it is protected from damage.
Cup and Spoon Measures
In the U.S. cup and spoons measures are used for cooking. Cup measures are by volume, not by weight, so you cannot take the weight on the package and think of it as the same in cup measures. It is sometimes the same and sometimes different. This can matter a lot in baking, though not so much in meat and vegetable dishes.
In a set of 4 cup measures, the 1 cup is the biggest, and the ¼ cup the smallest. Check yours out before you begin. Do not buy larger sets of spoons or cups. It’s just confusing.The links above are to good sets at moderate prices. All U.S. measures are flat, so use a knife to scrape off the extra sugar with the ½ and ¼ cup measures for the sugar in the recipe. The largest spoon measure in a set of 4 is the tablespoon. Measure the lemon juice and the vanilla over a little bowl, in case you overflow big time.
Congratulations on your first (or maybe it’s your one hundred and first) pie. It will go fast at the party, so make sure you get a piece.