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Strawberry Shortcake Pie

Earlier this week I went with a friend to pick fresh strawberries at a local farm. We each picked two gallons of berries! Putt planned to dry most of her strawberries (yum). I had other plans for mine: I removed the hulls and froze a large bag of whole berries for future smoothies, margaritas, and mojitos; baked a pie; and ate plenty of them plain, only washed. They were all delicious!

Today, I made my first batch of  homemade strawberry jam. Or is it preserves? What is the difference between preserves and jam? That might be a future blog post. I originally planned to make a quick and easy freezer jam, because I’m a little intimidated by canning. But then I realized I’ve canned pepper jelly, so this is probably about the same.

I made eleven jars of jam:  eight regular, one jar of jelly (the last jar had no pieces of fruit, so I think that is jelly), and two strawberry habanero. It sounds like a strange combination but I think it will be good on cream cheese and served with crackers. I love hearing the sounds of the lids popping. I can hear them as I type. I would include the recipe in today’s blog, but I just followed the directions inside the box of Sure-Jell fruit pectin (http://www.kraftbrands.com/surejell/howto_cookedjam.aspx). Everything worked out fine until I was cleaning up the kitchen: somehow, a tiny Mason jar fell down into the garbage disposal. I didn’t realize this until it was too late. Yep, little bits of glass all in the disposal. I think Matt and I will try to fix it this weekend. This will be the second one we have repaired (never stick flower stems down a disposal, it will likely clog it!). We never had a garbage disposal growing up, so that’s my excuse for my disposal accidents.

We support local farms when we can. We are fortunate to have several wonderful farms in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee. If you live outside the area, I hope you will support your local farms and farmers markets. Here’s some information about three of our favorite farms that provide local, fresh, and delicious strawberries (among other things)!

Brown Farms: Their farm is in New Market. Directions from Huntsville: take North Parkway/231 North, turn right on Joe Quick Road, turn left on Walnut Grove Road and follow the signs to the farm (it will be on your left). If you can’t make it to the farm to pick your own or buy fresh berries, you can buy their strawberries at local Star Market Supermarkets (the one in 5 Points usually carries them this time of year). Address & Phone: 384 Walnut Grove Rd New Market, AL 35761, 256-828-0710

For more information about Brown Farms:  http://www.pickyourown.org/ALhuntsv.htm

Dennison’s Family Farm: This farm is a little further away in Elora, TN. They sell already picked strawberries at the farm or you can visit one of their cute little strawberry “houses” in Madison (across from City Hall in front of Hartlex Antiques on Hughes Road), Fayetteville, and Winchester (please call for exact locations). They also have a community supported agriculture (CSA) program if you are interested in trying one. Address & Phone: 98 Milner Switch Road, Elora, TN 37328, 931-937-8162

For more information about Dennison’s Family Farm:  http://dennisonsfarm.com/ or info@dennisonsfarm.com

J. Sparks Farm: I’ve only visited this farm once, but I got a behind-the-scenes tour with the owner’s sister. It is a nice farm, and it is a little easier on the knees picking the strawberries standing up since it’s a vertical hydroponic farm. The strawberries (and lettuce) were wonderful. I’m not sure if they are growing strawberries this year, but I hope to see them back at the Greene Street Market at Nativity when they open for the season next week, on May 3rd! Address & Phone: 312 Esslinger Drive, Gurley, AL, 256-776-9881

For more information about J. Sparks Farm:  http://www.jsparksfarms.com/

My public service announcement for local farms is over. And now back to the blog…

Today’s recipe is not healthy, vegan, nor is it gluten-free*. It is a once in a while splurge-worthy dessert – Strawberry Shortcake Pie. Actually, for us, it is a once every 5 year splurge. It’s a fairly simple recipe and it’s not the most outrageous dessert I make, but for some reason, we just don’t have it very often. I’ve known my husband, Matt, since 2007.  I baked this pie for him the first time in May 2007 and haven’t made one since. I figure we are good until April or May of 2017!  Wow, that sounds like a long way away!

I guess this recipe originally came from a magazine because my mom pasted an old clipping into her photo album cookbook. At the bottom of the recipe, it says, “continued on page 120.”  Page 120 is not included in her cookbook. I’ve always wondered what was on that page! I’ve stayed fairly true to the original recipe, only made a few changes: 1) My pie plate is 9.5” instead of 9” so I increased the crust ingredients just a bit; 2) I omitted the red food coloring, I think the glaze is perfectly lovely without the added coloring; 3) Changed the name, instead of Strawberry Glazed Whipped Cream Pie it is now the Strawberry Shortcake Pie (it reminds me of the homemade shortcakes I made as a child); and 4) I sliced some of the larger strawberries, whole berries make slicing the pie challenging.

Strawberry Shortcake Pie

Shortcake Crust:
1½ cups biscuit mix (I use Bisquick)
6 tablespoons butter, softened
scant ⅓ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 450º F. Place biscuit mix and softened butter in the bottom of a 9.5” or 10” pie pan. Pour in the boiling water. Stir mixture with a fork until it forms a soft ball and leaves the side of the pan. Don’t overwork the dough or you will end up with a tough crust. Use your fingers to pat the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. If you are good at such things, you can press the dough over the rim of the pie plate and then form the dough into a neat, decorative design on the edge. I’m not so good at that, so I just use my finger (or a fork) to make an indentation on the top edge of the crust. Use a fork to dock the crust – poke holes along the sides and bottom of the crust to allow steam to escape and keep it from puffing up. Bake 10-12 minutes until it is golden brown. If you have pie crust shields, you might want to use them to keep the edges from over-browning, but it’s not necessary. Just check the crust after baking about 9 minutes to make sure it turns golden and does not burn.  Remove crust from the oven and let it cool.

Strawberry Filling:
6 cups fresh strawberries
½ cup water
2½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter

Fresh whipped cream, optional garnish

Wash and drain the strawberries. Save a few pretty ones for a garnish. Remove the hulls from the rest. Crush 2 cups of the strawberries and set aside. Cut the remaining 4 cups of strawberries into halves, quarters, or slices (whatever you prefer; I just don’t like slicing into a pie with large, whole berries). In a medium saucepan, stir together the water and cornstarch. Mix well. Add the sugar and stir in the 2 cups of crushed strawberries. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until clear, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter. Strain the mixture using a strainer, chinois, or a clean piece of cheesecloth. Arrange the 4 cups of strawberries in the cooled pie shell. Pour the warm glaze over the strawberries. Make sure all the strawberries are covered with the glaze. Refrigerate several hours until set. Garnish with whole strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Serve. This is not a pie that ages well. It is best to make it the day you plan to eat it. It gets a little soggy and isn’t as pretty the following day. It still tastes delicious. Yes, I’ve had leftover strawberry shortcake pie for breakfast the next day! Makes 8 servings.

*Healthier Version: I think this could easily be made gluten-free by using the gluten-free baking mix from King Arthur Flour of Pamela’s Products. I just haven’t tried it yet. Also, I noticed at Publix there is a “new” Gluten-Free Bisquick. I have not tried it either. I stuck to the original Bisquick because I wanted the taste from the childhood. You could also make your own crust; a crumb or nut crust would be delicious. Or even use a spelt crust (I saw them recently at Garden Cove and Earth Fare). To make it vegan, I think margarine or coconut oil could be used to make the crust (just gotta check the biscuit mix to make sure it is vegan). The rest of the recipe only has 1 tablespoon of butter to make the glaze “glossy!” I think coconut oil or margarine would make it plenty glossy.

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  1. April 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I love bisquick strawberry shortcake so as soon as my diet is over, I’m making this!

    • April 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      It is one of my favorites even though we don’t make it very often. I think you will like it :-) Way to go sticking with your diet!

  2. April 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    That looks so very good!

  3. April 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Can’t wait to make this, Katie. I haven’t commented in a while but I want you to know, I read every blog post. You are a good, entertaining writer. Thank you. And I’m happy that you still enjoy your tree painting. Think I’m done with trees for awhile!

    • April 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you, Helen. That means so much coming from you. Yes, I still adore the tree painting, it is usually the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning (unless of course I wake up on my right side :-). It is like waking up in the woods!

  4. April 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you for telling folks about us in your blog. We don’t do pick your own anymore, but do have berries for sale at the farm and the little red houses, as you mentioned. Also, please let me know ASAP if you are interested in our CSA for this year. Thanks so much.

    • April 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks for letting me know that you do not offer pick your own anymore. I’ll update the blog in a few minutes. Wish you were able to sell in Huntsville. I think it is time for me to send an email or make a phone call about our ridiculous zoning laws!

      Thank you, but I will say “no” to the CSA this year because we have just doubled our garden. Hoping it will keep us supplied this summer. But I will keep you in mind for the future. Previously, I belonged to two different CSAs and they are great for folks who do not garden or who want to supplement their garden.

      Next blog post will be my experimental Strawberry-Habanero Pepper Jelly with your fresh strawberries. Good luck with your growing season this year!

  5. May 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I’m so glad you are gardening! I’ll be interested in the strawberry-habanero jelly. Sounds like a kick! I hear this can also be made with jalapeños. We do have a strawberry LRH (little red house) in Madison on Hughes Rd. in front of Hartlex Antiques, and we plan to have a limited amount of berries there today around 11 am.

    • May 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Yes, jalapenos would also be wonderful in the jam. I use them in my pepper jelly. We already have two almost ready to pick in our garden. We are having fun gardening this year.

      My latest post includes a photo of our garden and a Spring Salad with your strawberries in the salad and strawberry jam in the dressing: https://theflamingpotholder.com/2012/05/19/spring-salad/

      Thanks for the update about the LRH in Madison today. Not certain I will make it there today, but I told some friends near Madison. Hope they will stop by. We have thoroughly enjoyed our 5 gallons of berries this year :-). Thanks for doing what you do!

  6. May 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I love this but have never actually made it. Thanks for the recipe!

    • May 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      You are welcome! Sure hope you like it :)

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