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The slacker among slackers

June 17, 2010
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I don’t have a picture of food. . . don’t have a recipe. . . but I do have a link to the most awesome of awesome blogs that boast both. This really is the neatest idea that I’ve seen lately.

http://www.theydrawandcook.com

In other news, I’ve tried the Cooks Illustrated Strawberry Ice Box Pie, and it was beyond amazing. I brought it to the annual family reunion, and it was soup by the time that we got there. . . but the bastards ate it all anyway. Ha ha ha ha. . .

Icebox Strawberry Pie

From Cook’s Illustrated / Cook’s Country – June 2009

Serves 8

In step 1, it is imperative that the cooked strawberry mixture measures 2 cups; any more and the filling will be loose. If your fresh berries aren’t fully ripe, you may want to add extra sugar to taste in step 2. Use your favorite pie dough or use our recipe (related). Chill the heavy cream in step 4 to help it whip more quickly.

Filling

2 pounds frozen strawberries (see related tasting)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 pound fresh strawberries , hulled and sliced thin
1 (9-inch) pie shell , baked and cooled (see note)

Topping

4 ounces cream cheese , softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

1. COOK FROZEN BERRIES Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium-low heat until berries begin to release juice, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jamlike, about 25 minutes (mixture should measure 2 cups).

2. ADD GELATIN Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to simmer, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. ADD FRESH BERRIES Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)

4. MAKE TOPPING With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.

STEP BY STEP

Don’t Make This Mistake

In step 1, be sure to accurately measure the reduced strawberry mixture: You’ll need exactly 2 cups. Scrape the strawberry mixture into a large liquid measuring cup. If it measures more than 2 cups, return it to the pan to cook down. It may seem fussy to stop to measure, but the pie will not set or slice properly if you have more than 2 cups of the strawberry mixture.

MEASURE METICULOUSLY

Icebox Strawberry Pie

With a red filling so bright it hurts, berries big enough to be plums, and poufy whipped cream, diner-style strawberry pies always look inviting. But these no-bake desserts often taste more like plastic than pie. We wondered if better ingredients could deliver a pie that lived up to its looks. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

* We used 2 pounds of frozen berries (which worked well for cooking and cost less than fresh) and cooked them down in a dry saucepan until they released their juices and the mixture was thick, concentrated, and flavorful.
* Be sure that the reduced berries measure 2 cups exactly; if the mixture measures any more, the filling will be loose.
* Because strawberries are low in pectin, the natural thickener found in citrus fruits and many other plants, we added some lemon juice, which perked up the flavor and tightened the texture of the filling a little. To thicken the filling further, we added a bit of unflavored gelatin, which produced a clean-slicing, not-too-bouncy pie.
* After stirring in the gelatin—which we combined with the lemon juice and water—along with sugar and salt, we then stirred in fresh strawberries off the heat. This gave us the big berry flavor we wanted.
* Diner strawberry pies typically get a squirt of Reddi-wip, but we made our own. We whipped cream cheese into real whipped cream along with vanilla and sugar for a slightly tangy topping that balanced the sweetness of the berries.
* Use our No-Fear Pie Crust recipe or use your own.

No-Fear Pie Crust

From America’s Test Kitchen ( Cook’s Illustrated) the episode: Easy As Pie

The pastry can be pressed into the pie plate and refrigerated for up to 2 days or double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. Once baked and cooled, the shell can be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Makes one 9-inch Pie Shell.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened but still cool
2 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool

Instructions

1. Lightly coat 9-inch Pyrex pie plate with cooking spray. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl.

2. With electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl, stopping once or twice to scrape down beater and sides of bowl, until completely homogenous, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and combine on medium-low until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 20 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until dough begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds. Reserve 3 tablespoons of dough. Turn remaining dough onto lightly floured surface, gather into ball, and flatten into 6-inch disk. Transfer disk to greased pie plate.

3. Press dough evenly over bottom of pie plate toward sides, using heel of your hand. Hold plate up to light to ensure that dough is evenly distributed (see photo 1 at left). With your fingertips, continue to work dough over bottom of plate and up sides until evenly distributed.

4. On floured surface, roll reserved dough into 12-inch rope. Divide into three pieces, roll each piece into 8-inch rope, and form fluted edge (photos 2 through 4). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly prick bottom of crust with fork. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. (If large bubbles form, wait until crust is fully baked, then gently press on bubbles with kitchen towel. Bubbles will settle as crust cools.)

Step-by-Step

No-Fear Pie Crust

1. Hold the pie plate up to the light to check the thickness of the dough; it should be translucent, not opaque. Pay attention to the curved edges.

2. Roll the reserved dough into three 8-inch ropes. Arrange the ropes around the perimeter of the pie plate, leaving small (about 1-inch) gaps between them.

3. Squeeze the ropes together.

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