The County Cookery Strawberry Pie

Janie Tippett’s Strawberry Pie requires no baking--except for the crust. Fresh local strawberriess are the best, of course.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of what will be a monthly column devoted to local foods, local recipes and the local people who make good food happen.

This column is shepherded by Lynne Curry and the Wallowa Slow Foods organization. We hope you enjoy it!

Janie Tippett’s Strawberry Cream Pie

Makes 6 to 8 servings

A beautiful, delicious pie. This recipe is best when you use your own home-grown strawberries or those purchased from someone locally.

— Janie Tippett

Ingredients:

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ cup water

1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed, or unsweetened frozen strawberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1 fully baked nine-inch pie shell

2 cups fresh whole strawberries

Blend together the sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan and stir in mashed strawberries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice and cool to room temperature.

Beat the cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl until smooth. Whip the cream until it holds peaks. Fold in the whipped cream. Spoon the cream mixture into the pastry shell and arrange the whole strawberries over it. Spread the cooked strawberry mixture over them, and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Talking pie with Janie Tippett:

How long have you been making this pie recipe?

Oh my gosh. Probably for 20 years. I do a lot of experimenting. This one seemed to click, so I keep making this one. I usually just use my homegrown strawberries. That’s the secret! I don’t have any homegrown strawberries right now. The ones I made my jam from I got those from Cove. They’re so sweet.

I do my own creative stuff and use nectarines and strawberries. You can do it with peaches. It’s really good with wild blackberries also. Of course, my all-time favorite is the huckleberry cream pie. You just make it the same way. Oh my gosh, is it good!

Is it for special occasions?

The reason I make it is because if I get the fresh fruit in season and there happens to be an occasion, that’s when I do it. (By the way, frozen blueberries work great in this pie.) I generally serve it when I’m having more of a lighter meal, I serve a pie. But not always. I have big eaters in my family.

Do you miss writing Janie’s Journal for Agri-Times Northwest?

I still belong to two writing groups. I do an essay a week. I have to write and I have to take pictures. After 31 years, you gotta do it. Like this morning, I just went over to the garden and weeded and came home with a handful of Swiss chard. I have my own chickens, so I just scrambled up these eggs and put the fresh Swiss chard in and had to take pictures. So, it’s on Facebook.

That’s what people liked in my column, too. I love to take pictures of food. It has to be fresh. It’s the freshness of the ingredients that makes the food good. And the simpler you can make it…I could put all kinds of spices in my Swiss chard, but you can’t beat pullet eggs. And the pullets are eating alfalfa, so their yolks are yellow. Just freshly ground pepper and salt, Swiss chard and eggs. You can’t go wrong.

What’s your life look like these days?

I’m going to be 86 in September. So, I just pretty much do what I want to do. I have the place on the creek and go down there a lot and write and entertain. Always got family. I live between two sons and this whole herd of great grandchildren. I haven’t slowed down a whole lot. I’m pretty laid back.

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