Is there anything like the taste of the first deep red strawberries of the year? Sweet-tart and juicy, local strawberries ripened on the plant before picking are a perfect example of the advantages of eating local foods. Berries shipped in from California and elsewhere and ripened in a box are just not the same quality.
Deep red color and fruity fragrance add to the sensory pleasures of this early local berry. This recipe takes advantage of all your favorite features of strawberries to celebrate their peak season. A special crust was chosen because it is both easy and complementary to the taste and texture of the strawberries. It’s not intended to be the usual flaky type, though you could use your favorite recipe for that, too. I hope you’ll try this one first, though. I think you’ll find it works well.
- FOR CRUST:
- 6 tablespoons butter (Breckenridge Farm, Everson)
- ⅓ cup honey (Guilmette's Busy Bees, Everson)
- 1-1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, Burlington)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- FOR FILLING:
- 4 cups fresh strawberries (Spring Frog Organic Farm at Holistic Homestead, Everson)
- ½ cup honey (Red Barn Lavender, Ferndale)
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
- Optional: ½ cup heavy cream, whipped (Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden)
- PREPARE CRUST:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt first 2 ingredients together. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Blend dry ingredients into creamed mixture till very thick and smooth. Press in 9-inch pie plate. Be sure edges go to the upper edge of the pan. Flute edges, if desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes until just browned.
- PREPARE FILLING:
- Wash the strawberries and remove the stems.
- With half the strawberries, finely chop them or chop in a food processor. Cut the other strawberries in half only.
- Place the chopped berries into a saucepan and warm over medium heat (about 5 minutes).
- Mix in the honey and vinegar and continue warming until heated well (another couple of minutes). Blend with a stick blender, or mash with a potato masher, until thick and slightly lumpy.
- Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch, and cook another 2-3 minutes until mixture thickens and falls off a spoon slowly. Remove from heat.
- Gently stir in the remaining strawberry halves, and scoop into pie crust. Let cool in refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- Slice and serve, topping with whipped cream, if desired.
Bellingham Farmers Market, Railroad at Chestnut, Bellingham
Community Food Co-op, Cordata and Westerly, Bellingham
Guilmette’s Busy Bees, 3828 South Pass Rd. Everson
Islander, across from the ferry dock, Lummi Island