Thursday, February 23, 2012

No Bake Strawberry Pie

There's nothing better than an easy, no-bake dessert that uses fruit as it's base. This dessert is so simple, you can put it together while dinner is cooking and it will be ready by the time dinner is done.

In my case, the strawberry pie came as an opportunity from excessive strawberries. When a fruit is in season and grown locally, I feel the need to stock pile. On returning from one grocery trip with 2 new cartons of strawberries, I noticed there was already a carton that we hadn't made much of a dent in. The thought of wasting food is just as horrid as out of season fruit flown in from gas guzzling refrigerated planes and trucks. Ripe fruit gets put to use one way or another; thankfully, this time it worked out for our benefit. 

Most strawberry pies are loaded with added sugar to help form the gelatinous structure with the lemon juice and cornstarch. I've recently discovered pitted dates (in the dried fruit or baking aisle) add a more mild sweetness compared to refined white sugar while maintaining structure in some recipes. In some cases, you'll still need sugar, but not in this version. You won't find any redeeming nutritional value in white sugar. In dried dates though? Well, there is 280mg of potassium in a standard serving, that's about the same amount you'd find in half a banana. Plus, pitted dates are a great source of iron and fiber. To think you can add this nutritional boost to a dessert is fabulous. 

I tossed chocolate chips on at the end, and the result was incredible. If you like strawberries and chocolate together, I think you'll like this combination as well. 

No Bake Strawberry Pie

1 prepared regular or graham cracker pie crust
4 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup whole strawberries
2 teaspoons lemon juice
5 large pitted dates, soaked in hot water 15 minutes
1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (Ghiradelli Semi-sweet morsels)

1. Layer sliced strawberries in prepared pie crust.
2. Drain date soaked water. Add whole strawberries and lemon juice to dates. Blend using an immersion blender until a thick sauce is created. A traditional blender would also work, but I find an immersion blender produces less clean up. 
3. Pour sauce over sliced strawberries.
4. Top with chocolate chips and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.

Note: Even if using a prepared graham cracker crust, bake it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes to help it stay crisper longer when adding fruit, or other thinner consistency ingredients.

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