Bliss: Local berries, fresh whipped cream

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch
  • Strawberry season is underway in York County.
  • If you have to choose one element to use store-bought instead of homemade, pick the crust.

Dank, dark and dismal characterized the weather during most of May. Just like people, plants were not happy with it, either.

Fortunately, the local strawberry crop was not affected. I spoke with Brett Krosse, the farm manager at Brown’s Orchard, and he said the Earliglow strawberries would be ready for pick-your-own by the weekend. He added that Earliglow are one of the most flavorful varieties of strawberries.

Although strawberries are available year-round in the supermarkets, the taste doesn’t compare to freshly picked local berries.

After many bowls of strawberries and cream, I begin to look in my recipe box. One of my favorite berry recipes is Strawberry Cream Pie. It’s an easy no-bake pie that showcases the fresh strawberry flavor.

Please note that this is not strawberry Cool Whip pie. Aside from (or maybe because of) its mixture of strange ingredients, Cool Whip just plain tastes bad to me. No amount of added high fructose corn syrup and regular corn syrup can disguise the chemical taste. I know that opening a tub of the stuff is easier than getting out a mixer and whipping up some real cream, but the tradeoff is not worth the few minutes saved.

The graham crust is a different story. Store-bought crusts are acceptable, but making your own is not difficult. The end result will be much more attractive, presented in a real pie plate rather than an aluminum disposable one. Future generations will thank you for adding one less piece of garbage to the landfill.

With that, I will step down from my soapbox and hull some berries.

Strawberry Cream Pie

1 graham crust (homemade or store bought)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dash nutmeg

1 cup strawberry slices

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crushed)

5 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup sugar

To make the graham cracker crumbs, place the crackers in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and sugar. Using your fingers, firmly place the mixture in a 9-inch pie plate. Use the bottom of a glass to press the mixture down. Refrigerate for one hour.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in large bowl, mixing well until blended. Mash 3/4 cup strawberries and add to the cream cheese mixture.

In another bowl, add the confectioners’ sugar to the cream; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in remaining strawberries.

Pour into the crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Chill several hours or overnight. Garnish with additional strawberries if desired.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.