Strawberry Sweet Cream Fruit Pizza Pie
It’s a delightful surprise when you find a new local grocery that sells fresh produce right down the street from your home. My girlfriend and I were on our way to Spanish class last week (I like to keep myself busy) and had some time to spare before. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked like fruit stands outside a storefront. This required investigation; sure enough, it was a wonderful market that had fresh and organic produce, as well as other ethnic foods, all at reasonable prices. Needless to say I’ll be going back and may have a new favorite store for produce. There was regular as well as uncommon fruits like plantains, lychee and dragon fruit (I’ve never had dragon fruit and am excited to add it to my culinary pallet). Strawberries are in season (yay!) and the store had fresh cartons for sale. Now I have all these strawberries, hmm what to make?
Strawberry Sweet Cream Fruit Pizza Pie to the rescue! This recipe has been in my family for years, so long in fact that all I had was a hand-written note with minimal instructions. I needed to expand and develop it into an actual recipe that others could follow; all beneficial practice for my journey into the culinary world. I remember my mother making these as a special dessert and I’d beg her for it all the time. Now that I’m an adult I can bake this whenever I want, however this is the first time. Funny how that works, you say you’ll eat as much candy as you can when you grow up, then you do and maturity and common sense kicks in. I like to think I’m a kid at heart, but still moderate my desserts and generally stay on the healthy side. There are no regrets and this dessert is more than worth the few added calories to your day. It’s a reasonable price to pay for a blissful state of taste bud happiness.
This recipe is easy to make and will impress others with its beautiful final presentation and sweet creamy fruit flavors. The crust is firm, yet still chewy and slightly sweet, creating the perfect base for this dessert. The cream cheese sauce is slightly tangy with fresh lemon juice and zest. A sweet strawberry puree tops all this off with fresh strawberry slices on top. Crushing the strawberries for the puree was the difficult part for me. I suggest using a Cuisinart to puree it. I went with a more old-fashioned method and used a hand potato masher. This was just another way to bring me back to nostalgic memories of this childhood dessert. Try it out and maybe you’ll have a new family favorite as well.
National Strawberry Shortcake Day was June 14th. View my Strawberry and Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe as well.
I shot this in natural light at 1/200 sec, f/ 1.8, ISO 100 with a 50 mm macro lens.
This recipe is gorgeous and a joy to photograph. Strawberries are such a vibrant red and capture light wonderfully, with round edges and dimples from the seeds. I wanted different photographs along the recipe making process, from just the strawberries themselves to mashing to the final presented dessert in different forms. I made sure to carefully arrange the sliced strawberry garnish, with alternating rows of internal slices and outside round edges to create an appealing radial pattern. An overhead shot on a green background creates a strong complimentary contrast. Close-up photographs with a white background emphasize the elegance of the recipe, and the strawberries pop out of the image. This dessert does not cut as cleanly as other pies and the topping tends to spill over the edge, which is why I chose to focus on the whole pie, rather than individual slices.
Strawberry Sweet Cream Fruit Pizza Pie
- 1 cup butter 2 cubes, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 pint size baskets about 4 cups fresh large strawberries; plus 1 basket (2 cups) for topping
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350º F.
To make crust: Mix softened butter, flour and powdered sugar till well combined (will form a thick dough). Pat into bottom of slightly greased 9-inch round pie or cheesecake pan (bottom of pan only, not sides). Bake 15 minutes at 350º, or until slightly firm in center. Take out of oven and cool to room temperature.
To make strawberry filling: Remove leaves and puree or crush 2 baskets of strawberries to make 2 cups strawberry puree. Place strawberry puree, ½ cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in medium saucepan over medium heat stove. Stir and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens. Take off heat to cool.
To make cream cheese base: Mix softened cream cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.
To Assemble: Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over baked crust, then spread strawberry puree mixture evenly over cream cheese. Slice leftover basket of strawberries and arrange on top of puree in desired pattern.
Cover and cool in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.
– This recipe has been in my family for years. It was a handwritten recipe that has been expanded upon. The source (if any) is unknown.