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Eat Like a Freshman: Fresh Strawberry Pie

UW Housing’s Rheta McCutchin had a simple recipe for a cardinal-and-white treat: take a little bit of pastry and add strawberries, strawberries, and more strawberries, then top with whipped cream.

Ingredients:

1 9-inch pie crust, deep dish, refrigerated (Pillsbury)

2 quarts fresh strawberries

3 packages Equal

20 ounces frozen strawberries

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon red food coloring

1 package (about 1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons sugar

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust a deep-dish pie plate with flour and fit the crust into it; prick with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool completely.

Wash and core the fresh strawberries. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle with Equal. Put in a refrigerator for 24 hours.

Mix frozen strawberries with sugar and then let thaw in the refrigerator. Drain the juice into a saucepan and put the formerly frozen berries in a food processor. Puree. Add food coloring, gelatin, and cornstarch to the saucepan. Bring to boil and cook a few minutes. Whisk in the pureed berries. Pour over the fresh berries and then pour all the filling into the pie shell. Place in the refrigerator to set.

Whip the cream, vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Scoop onto slices of pie when serving.

Review:

The first thing you’ll notice about this recipe, compared to other ELAF recipes, is that preparation takes several days: the fresh berries have to macerate; the frozen berries have to thaw and macerate; the filling has to set into something of a jelly. All this takes time. Plan ahead. The actual work isn’t so difficult: a little boiling, a little stirring, and a lot of whipping. But make sure you start the project a couple of days ahead of dessert.

The second thing you may notice about this recipe is that it takes a lot of strawberries: two quarts fresh and 20 ounces frozen. That’s more than three pounds of fruit, which is a challenge to even the deepest of deep-dish pie pans. You’ll need to pile the filling in a heap, and still, this pie literally overflows with strawberry flavor. (Pro tip: wear a Badger T-shirt when you eat this so that, when you spill, the stains won’t show.)

Finally, you may feel impatient after all the waiting and decide to use either Cool Whip or aerosolized whipped cream for your topping. Don’t. Homemade whipped cream takes yet more patience, but it’s worth the effort. The berries may get star billing in the summer, but genuine whipped cream steals the show.

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