Today is the day. The pie is here.
Not just any pie either – the ULTIMATE Summer Strawberry Pie. Where are my strawberry lovers at?! 🙋🏼🙋🏾🙋🏻
I for one cannot get enough of fresh summer strawberries, especially strawberries from just-picked fruit stands, warm from the summer sun, juicy, and delightfully sweet. I can’t get enough of them in jam, popsicles, cupcakes, sangria, coconut cake… and in a crisp, slightly sweet graham cracker crust.
This is what summer should be. An easy, no-bake pie, full of summer’s sweetest fruit, topped with whipped cream. A version of this pie has been my favorite since I was a little girl. Every summer I’d pick fresh berries – either from my Grandpa’s garden or a roadside stand in Iowa – and go to town devouring each and every last one.
As a little one, this pie was made with the one and only – Strawberry Jell-O. However, as I got older and a little more conscientious about what I was putting in my body, jell-o wasn’t necessarily something I could muster up putting in my pie. Not only that, but I became much more conscious about eating animal products, so gelatin was out.
How then, do you make a no-bake strawberry pie that stays together if you refuse to use jell-0 and/or gelatin? Are you ready for this?
With Agar Agar.
Stick with me now. Agar Agar is a plant-based alternative to gelatin. It’s made from algae, and while it’s not a perfect substitute for gelatin (it doesn’t get quite as jiggly), it has very similar properties and allows us vegetarians and vegans to enjoy Summer Strawberry Pie, too! I’m not an agar expert by any means; in fact, it’s taken several years for me to get it down. It isn’t as simple as a 1:1 ratio with gelatin, and it can become more firm than gelatin, so substituting it in a recipe takes a little forethought.
You can get Agar in flake form or powder form. I’ve only used this flake form before, which is what this Summer Strawberry Pie calls for. The proportions will be different if you buy Agar powder, as it’s more concentrated in powder form. I’ve seen Agar starting to pop up in regular ol’ grocery stores, but if it’s not in yours yet, it can be found at Whole Foods, an Asian specialty store, or of course on Amazon.
OK – so onto this Summer Strawberry Pie because it’s EVERYTHING YOU NEED! This pie is more or less kicking off my “Simple Summer Recipes” series. When I’m traveling abroad in just a few short weeks (more coming soon…) I’m going to be sharing some super simple summer recipes for you, because summer shouldn’t require you laboring in the kitchen. And what better way to kick off this summer than with the best summer pie out there. Bold statement, but I’m sticking by it.
As y’all know, the graham cracker crust creates the perfect no bake solution for your summer pie. The strawberries are macerated – which means they sit in sugar for a little bit and become softer, more sweet in flavor, and provide a thick strawberry juice. The strawberry juice, boiled with agar agar, results in the jell-o like consistency for the pie; it’s then mixed with the super sweet strawberries, placed in the crisp graham cracker crust, and chilled until settled.
TALK ABOUT EASY! Now your quick weeknight dinners grilling on the deck are going to have an easy dessert to end the night on the right note.
Each bite of pie incites an “it’s summer” dance – of course, no judgement if you follow through with such a dance. I definitely do. And with homemade whipped cream on top… 😳 … your summer just got a whole lot sweeter.
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Summer Strawberry Pie – a sweet, no-bake summer dessert made without gelatin!
- Mix sugar and 5 1/2 cups strawberries in a large bowl to macerate the strawberries. As they sit, occasionally stir the strawberries. The strawberries will release their juices. Let them sit for approximately 45 minutes, until 3/4 cup of strawberry juice is released.
- Meanwhile, puree the remaining 1 1/2 cups strawberries; set aside.
- Bring water, strawberry juice, and agar agar flakes to a boil. Whisk occasionally and boil for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Stir in pinch of salt, strawberry puree, and quartered strawberries. Pour evenly in graham cracker crust and chill for at least 4 hours.
Best served the day of with a large helping of homemade whipped cream!