Saturday, September 18, 2010

The strawberry pie that wasn't

It’s been a cold and rainy weekend. The kind of days you spend indoors, maybe cooking. Luiz believes if I am going to cook I should plan on cooking a dessert as well.

It’s strawberry season. Here’s a quick and easy (and fool-proof – or so I thought) recipe for a fresh “light” strawberry custard pie. The ingredients are readily available at any grocery store.


2 packages of banana and cinnamon cookies (or any Nilla Wafer substitute of your choice) – you will not use all the cookies. It will probably take a little more than one package to get the 1 ¾ cups of finely ground cookie meal that you need.
2 Tbl. sugar (or Splenda)
¼ cup walnuts (almonds or Brazil nuts work fine)
4 – 6 Tbl. melted butter


2 pkgs. Vanilla Pudding mix (“Light” if you like)
1 liter of whole milk


1 – 2 pints of ripe fresh strawberries


Pre-heat your oven to about 400 degrees F.

You want to crumble the cookies and walnuts and then work them in a food processor until finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, just place them in a bag and roll over them with a rolling pin to crumble them into a fine meal. Or – just whack ‘em with a wooden spoon until you get the desired texture. Remove any large bits. Add sugar and mix well.

Melt the butter and work it into the cookie meal with a fork until evenly distributed. The meal should now be moist. Do not hesitate to add more butter if the meal is too dry, but do not overdo the butter and get a darkened, wet, oily mush.

Press the meal evenly into a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Bake the crust in the pre-heated oven for about 9 – 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the edges. Let cool.

Prepare the pudding mix as directed. Luiz likes to add a couple packets of Splenda to make it a bit sweeter (if you are not diabetic you could add sugar). Your call. When the pudding is done, put it in the fridge to cool down a bit before you transfer it into your prepared crust.

When everything is cooled down, remove any skin that may have formed on top of the cooled pudding and pour the pudding into the crust and place the pie into the fridge to chill. It will take several hours.

In the mean time, clean the strawberries and slice them once through the middle lengthwise making cute triangles of half strawberries. Chill. (Some people – read: Luiz – will want to sprinkle some sugar or Splenda over the strawberries to push their sweetness/flavor. Go for it.)

When the pie is chilled, arrange the strawberries in a circular pattern beginning at the center and working outward, overlapping the previous circle as you go.

Keep chilled until ready to serve. Enjoy!

But wait – I have a confession to make. The pudding does not set up well enough to be sliced into firm pie pieces with structural integrity. It is a mushy mess. It tastes GREAT, the flavor combination is perfect, but it does not pass as pie.

Here is my proposed solution: Use individual dessert cups/bowls. Put the crust mixture into the bottom of the cup/bowl. Top with the pudding. Then top with the strawberries. Eat with a spoon like a parfait.

If any reader has a suggestion for how to firm up the package pudding mix (like with eggs or with gelatin) please do share the key. I would prefer to serve this as a pie.

It was my intention to submit this to Danielle’s Cooking in Brazil blog but since it was such a flop I’m just running it here. Stay tuned Danielle, I have a Brazil-friendly recipe for Toll House chocolate chip cookies I will share soon.


Anonymous said...

Oh, yum.

I'm keeping an eye out for that Toll House recipe. I've been craving them for weeks!

Danielle said...

mmm! this looks great! I don't care if it doesn't cut into pretty pieces.

I'm looking forward to the cookie recipe :D