Pretty, pink, party-ready: This easy strawberry icebox pie is simple to make and sure to delight you and yours! Use a graham cracker crust and serve it with whipped cream for a cool finishing touch. Easy as Pie, no-bake, do-ahead, and sure to please your people AND you!
Icebox Pies and Why We Love Them:
What is make-ahead, easy to prepare, no-bake, pretty, and downright delicious to almost every guest? Icebox Pies! These modern desserts go back only as far as refrigeration.
That means the 20th century, and really more toward the 1950’s and beyond, in terms of really catching on and making their place. Yes, iceboxes go back further, but in real Big Block of Ice in a Chilling Box times, no home cook was making treats like this.
Icebox pies use on-hand ingredients, fruit and chocolate, cream and often gelatin, and they vary as much as cakes and baked desserts. This one skips the gelatin step and uses a simple fresh jam + whipped cream method to get any cook ready to accept compliments and create smiles! You can make it and you and yours will love it!
Pi In Math Class and On Your Plate:
I love celebrations, humor, easy math and geometry, treats, strawberries, and pie, so this is my kind of day. Pi Day, also known (with tongue in cheek) as Pi(e) Day by the under-appreciated community of people who look for reasons to smile and enjoy this extraordinary ever-fascinating world.
I remember a few things from high school math class, including how to find the area of a square or a rectangle, my times tables, the fact that Pythagorus had a theorum: and that formula that helped me find the area of a circle, which was always on the test: A = piR2 (squared), the 2 being written tiny and up high, showing itself to be an exponent. Like this:
That’s all the math we have time for today, because you may want to go find, eat, learn about, or even make yourself some pie, the kind with an “e” on the end all the time. My Pi(e) Day pie needed to be an speedy one, given that tax season is upon us and I am determined to Get This Done well ahead of the deadline.
No-Bake Pie? Yes! And It’s an Anytime Pie, Too!
This Strawberry Icebox Pie requires no baking (except for a quick baking of the graham cracker crust or pastry crust if you make one yourself).
If you’re looking to make it as winter fades away, you’ll love having this perfect harbinger of spring. If it’s March or April, strawberry season is right around the corner — Actually, around a couple of corners (Geometry time, to see what angles those corners have….). And if it’s summer, fall or wintertime, know that you can make a great version using frozen strawberries!
Plan Ahead for This One (and it’s SO Worth a Little Wait!)
If you make this, plan ahead, because it needs a little stovetop cooking of strawberries and sugar, and cooling off of that ruby-red goodness, and then time to set up and chill out, really chill out, as in hours of chilling out if not freezing, before it’s ready to cut. Making it a day ahead is excellent; but if you want to speed it up, simply freeze it for a few hours and you’ll have a luscious frozen icebox pie. Still divine.
Nancie McDermott’s Strawberry Icebox Pie
Deep-Dish Pie vs. Two Standard Pies:
This recipe makes one generous, deep-dish pie, OR two everyday-sized pies, or one big pie and a few bowls of pudding! I used frozen strawberries because it’s not yet strawberry season here in North Carolina, and they worked just fine. I thawed them out as they cooked, and then stopped to mash them up once they were softened in the hot syrup. With fresh berries, I chop them before I begin, coarsely. You want some bits — need not be a puree.
Video: How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust
Give It Time:
Allow time for this lovely pink pie to set — It needs hours, not just minutes to firm up enough to slice and enjoy at its best.
If time is short, you can freeze it. Then cut it into pieces while it’s frozen. These you could enjoy frozen, or let them thaw enough to be cold and super-chill, more like a mousse.
Whatever you do, you’ll have an irresistible pink pie which is beautiful, delightful to look at, and so delicious.
Variations to Enjoy:
Raspberries work, nicely, as do blueberries, or a mixture of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
I tried this recipe with blackberries when working on Southern Pies, and was not thrilled. I adore blackberries, but they do have have lots of pectin along with seeds, and the texture was not as lovely as the strawberry original.
Putting it through a sieve to remove the seeds might make it worthy — usually I don’t mind them but here they got in the way. I’ll be trying this variation, blackberry strained to remove the seeds, and I’ll update this post to give you my thoughts.
- 1 deep-dish 9-inch graham cracker piecrust, or baked pie crusts of any description*
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ⅓ cup cold water
- 6 cups hulled, coarsely-chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen (3pints, about 1½ pounds)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and ⅓ cup cold water. Stir with a spoon to combine them well, dissolving any lumps. until smooth and evenly mixed.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the chopped strawberries, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine the fruit and sugar, and then cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring often, until the berries create a pool of sauce, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir up the cornstarch-water mixture; it will probably have thickened and separated a little. When smooth, add it to the pan. Cook, stirring often,until the strawberry sauce boils again, thickens up, and the berries are soft, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and vanilla, and setaside to cool to room temperature.
- To finish the filling, beat the cream in a large bowl until it is very thick and luscious, holding its shape in round medium peaks, but not cottony-stiff. Stir in the strawberry jam mixture and gently fold the cream and jam together to make an even, rich, beautifully pink mixture.
- Pile the filling into the graham cracker crust and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, until very cold and fairly firm. Serve cold, and if you have sliced strawberries, spoon a small pile of them alongside each piece of pie. Refrigerate any remaining pie for up to 1 day.
- Makes one deep-dish 9-inch pie, or 2 standard 9-inch pies
This recipe comes from Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, from Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan, by Nancie McDermott, Chronicle Books, copyright 2010. All rights reserved.