Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer’s Bounty

My kitchen has been overflowing with heartfelt connection lately.

I find nothing more fulfilling than spending a late morning with with a close friend stirring up something seasonally delicious for lunch.

Sometimes we even discuss the big questions in life as we share our favorite recipes.

Three years ago, for instance, my friend Deb was wondering “Can a CEO of a Fortune 100 company change out of her power suit and into some comfy sweats and learn to write a novel?” Now we know the answer is yes, for she is here today to hear my truthful feedback about the very polished 350 pages she emailed into my Kindle a few weeks ago. She knows she can count on me for honesty, for that is how deep friendships are forged.

As we rinse and hull some strawberries and pat crumbs into a pie pan I tell her there are only two words in the whole manuscript that don’t work for me. I’m beaming with pride in both her writing and her ability to reinvent herself. My sincere raving is balm to her soul.

Sometimes, of course, our conversations are less celebratory and more about weathering life's changes, but they are always deeply comforting.

And, look how stunning our pie turned out to be! So quick and easy to make, the beauty of it creates such excitement in guests that I can’t stop making it. Three pies in three days!

Another friend, Trish, so loved the pie I made for her party last evening she filled my arms with these hydrangeas from her garden.

Sharing food and friendship is as good as it gets!


For six servings

We used a fluted spring-form pan for the pie in the photo because it makes the pie easy to cut and serve once the side of the pan is removed. The plate is garnished with a nasturtium and a rose geranium leaf.

4 boxes (2 quarts) medium size strawberries

¾ cup sugar

2½ tablespoons cornstarch

½ cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup sugar

5 tablespoons butter, melted

Whipped cream for serving

Rinse and hull the strawberries. In a mixing bowl, mash about one box (one-fourth) of the berries (I use a sturdy pastry cutter for this). Set aside the whole berries.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the water, lemon juice and crushed berries and cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened. Let cool.

Meanwhile, make the crust. Stir together the crumbs, sugar and butter and press evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch pie dish. Bake in the center of a 350-degree oven for 8 minutes to firm it and make it sturdy and easy to serve. Let cool slightly.

Now, add the whole berries to the strawberry sauce, coating them evenly. Arrange, tops up, in the crust. One even layer of strawberries makes this easiest to cut into slices. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE: The crust may be made a day or two ahead. Store it in a plastic bag at room temperature. Make the strawberry filling the day of serving.


  1. Ooooh, that pie is DIVINE!
    Diana, have you ever cooked with rhubarb--pies, or jellies, anything?? Other than a basic rhubarb crisp, I haven't really done much with it. I look forward to any creative ideas you might have to share. :-)

  2. I have a son-in-law who loves rhubarb, but like you, have only made a crisp or two. My favorite jam cookbook, Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber, has several promising recipes like Plum and Rhubarb jam, Rhubarb jam with Acacia Honey and Rosemary and Rhubarb and Whole Strawberry Jam. Now you've inspired me to make some!

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  4. I don't know about simple but this certainly looks special - no spectacular.

  5. This is stunning and I bet, delicious! Strawberries are everywhere...I will have to give it a try. I have yet to make a strawberry pie.