One thing I have learned during the stove outage is that it is very difficult to make dessert without a stove and oven. Not impossible, of course, but difficult. You need to bake cakes and most pie crusts. Fillings sometimes need to be cooked on the stove. Even the custard for ice cream needs to be cooked. Since the breakdown, I have made a cheese plate with grapes and sliced pears. The grandchildren thought that was too fancy and not sweet. I have served ice cream from the store, but that doesn’t count. This week was my turn for dessert for Sunday family dinner. I looked through several recipe books but had difficulty in finding a cooking-free recipe that sounded delicious. This comes from Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Baking Book (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984). I have freed the original recipe from the oven by using a packaged graham cracker crust from the grocery shelf. I have also added gelatin so that the filling holds its shape. Key tips that don’t appear in the recipe and that you should follow include making certain that you beat the egg whites so they form stiff peaks. Any less and the filling will collapse. If you need it, a pinch of cream of tartar might help. The cream should also be beaten so that it holds peaks. Chilling overnight is highly recommended.
Mile-High Strawberry Pie
- 5 egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 10 ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 9-inch prepared graham cracker crust
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced in half
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar if you are using it. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until they hold stiff peaks.
- Set aside ½ cup of juice from the frozen strawberries before beating the berries and remaining juice into the egg whites. Continue beating until the mixture becomes fluffy and stands in soft peaks.
- Place ¼ cup of the reserved juice in a small bowl, sprinkle with the gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin has bloomed. Meanwhile, heat the remaining ¼ cup juice in the microwave, about 15 seconds on high. Stir the hot juice into the gelatin mixture, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Beat into the egg white mixture.
- Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold into the egg white mixture.
- Pile the mixture into the prepared crust. Chill overnight in the refrigerator. Arrange fresh strawberries over the top and serve.