Valentine’s Day is this week and that means red, pink, and white will be plastered everywhere, chocolates in heart boxes will be flying off the shelves, the women will be expecting red roses from the men of their lives, and the kiddos will be buying Valentine’s to pass at school hoping to get one from their own crushes of the moment. With all of this influence of St. Valentine on our lives it is no surprise that everyone in the food and beverage industry will be coming up with the next best thing to serve for Valentine’s Day.
Traditionally, my boyfriend and I always have strawberries so I wanted to incorporate strawberries in whatever I decided to make. I remembered an old icebox pie that included strawberries but it also included dreaded jello which I really don’t care to use since it leaves such an artificial taste. I ultimately decided to make the strawberry pie into mini heart shapes since I found a great deal on heart-shaped pans at a local market. If you can’t find a mini heart pan you can always use a larger disposable heart-shaped pan that are often sold in major supermarkets this time of year or just a regular pie pan if you care to make it at a different time of year. Just be sure to double all of the recipe ingredients except for the pie crust if you do decide to make this into a larger size pan.
The great thing about this Strawberry pie is not only the taste but it is a lot more cost effective than usual recipes involving strawberries. I used frozen strawberries and cooked them in a saucepan until they reduced into a thick, jam-like consistency that increased the quality of flavor but also allowed me to use less fresh strawberries, which are expensive. To thicken the filling so that it is the proper consistency and not too bouncy, unflavored gelatin is mixed with some lemon juice, which not only helps the gelatin thicken further but also perk up the flavor of the strawberries. With a little bit of sugar and salt this pie had supreme berry flavor at a budget friendly price and perfect to share with your honey on the big day.
Note: This recipe makes 6 individual mini heart pies. If you elect to double the recipe and cook in a larger pie pan the recipe will serve 8 clean slices. To save time I use store-bought pie dough but you can certainly whip up your own if you have the time. Be sure to reduce the filling adequately (about 1 cup) otherwise it will be too lose and won’t set up in the refrigerator. If the fresh strawberries you purchase don’t look ripe enough, you may want to add a bit more sugar to taste. The pie is best served the day it is made but can be stored for up to 24 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Strawberry Heart Pie
- 1 pound Frozen Strawberries
- 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp. Water
- ½ tbsp. Unflavored Gelatin
- ½ cup Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- ½ pound Fresh Strawberries; hulled & sliced thin
- 1 (9-inch) Pie Shell; baked & cooled
- Whipped Cream; optional
- Press the pie crust into the individual heart cups of the pan. If the crust breaks, patch together with a dab of water on the finger and a gentle massaging motion to meld the dough back together. If using a traditional pie plate, unfold pie crust as described on the box or recipe. Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
- Cook the frozen strawberries in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. The berries will begin to release their juice. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jam-like, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in a small bowl. Set aside and let the gelatin soften and thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir the gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into the cooked strawberry mixture and return to a simmer for about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Using a spatula or spoon, fold the fresh berries into the cooled filling. Spread evenly into the cooked heart shells or pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
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