Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

Lately, my four-year-old has been giving me fits. He won't eat his food and he tries to snack all day long. All conversations end octaves higher than they began, with the accusing statement flung in my face, "You're mad at me, aren't you?" And sobbing ensues. It's getting out of hand. He has MEGA middle child syndrome, and for good reason. He has an older brother that gets special attention because he needs extra help with speech and hyperactivity. He has a younger brother with a rare condition and special doctor visits and therapies. Max, on the other hand, needs no special attention except the usual special attention that a four-year-old needs. And he reminds me every day that he needs it. Either with tantrums or other ways of acting out,
like forgetting he is potty trained. I try to make special efforts to take only him with me to the store, or to water the garden and feed the chickens (his favorite chore). The other thing I like to do, to remind him he is special and I love him, is to make something especially he enjoys. This is probably anything with strawberries. He absolutely loves them. My husband is also in love with strawberries so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. It was a no-brainer.
I discovered this book at Barnes and Noble, and it's name alone confirmed that it would be something I would enjoy. The Farm. This man, Ian Knauer grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, loves his veggies, and makes tons of things from scratch.  Other things I want to try: His green beans, cloud biscuits, tomato jam, homemade ketchup, tomato sauce.... He should be a role-model for all of us. I don't even need to talk about his time in the test kitchens of Gourmet. My husband must have seen the light in my eyes because he instantly became concerned that he would wake up one morning to find I had run off to meet the farmer from Pennsylvania. I assured him that what I was experiencing was the kind of crush that only happens when there is an amazing union of delicious food and amazing writing. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it reminds you of a junior higher and 'n sync in 1999. The last time I was crushing this bad was when I was reading Nigel Slater's book Tender. There is just something amazing about a man writing about vegetables.
So yeah. You need Ian Knauer's book and you need this strawberry cream cheese pie.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
adapted from Ian Knauer

For the crust
1/2 recipe of pie crust (any one of these would work beautifully)

 Blind bake the crust at 400 for 25 minutes (use pie weights or parchment and beans) remove the weights and continue baking for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool.

For the filling:

2 lbs of strawberries, divided, washed and sliced
3/4 cup of sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons lemon (juice from half a lemon)

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
zest from 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (juice from the other half)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine half the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice in medium pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil mashing and mixing. Boil for about two minutes, stirring, until glaze is clear.
Once cooled combine with remaining strawberries.

Combine cream cheese, lemon zest, and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice in a medium bowl, using a hand mixer. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream and continue mixing until smooth and glossy. Spread over the bottom of the cooled pie crust and top with strawberry mixture.
Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  1. Love "The Farm " !!!

    Duncan Campbell

  2. Laural!
    I thought my grandmother invented this pie! We have it every Easter! Next time you make it, you can use your own Cream Cheese!

  3. Hmmm... you have me thinking. The cultured buttermilk I made this weekend is REALLY thick, practically like cream cheese without having been drained. Maybe I can use it like this but substitute our abundance of peaches?

    1. That sounds delicious! I don't know about the lemon flavoring in the cream cheese plus the acidity of the buttermilk, maybe you could soften it a bit, like add some caramel or brown sugar. Let me know how it turns out!


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