It's hard, however, to gauge just how much one should put away. How many bags of shredded zucchini can you use before the next year's haul is at hand? (The answer, I'm coming to find, is approximately one, by the way - shame on me!). So I find myself looking for ways to finish off the flavors of last year, before my freezer becomes the time capsule of fruits and veggies past.
Also, it just seems a little odd to bring in pints and quarts of new sun-warm fragrant berries while that icy prior generation looks on still in hibernation.
No worries, though. This pie turned out beautifully using last year's berries (which were hulled and frozen the day they were picked).
(adapted from Gourmet Magazine's recipe for Fresh Strawberry Pie with Whipped Cream)
The recipe specifies the importance of using only perfectly ripe berries, but I found that my perfectly ripe frozen berries were just a luscious.
For the crust:
1 package honey graham crackers
2 Tb. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tb. sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grind the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Add the sugar and butter and process until evenly incorporated. Press the crumb mixture in the bottom an up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake the crust in the oven until golden - about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.
For the filling:
2 Lbs. hulled and quartered frozen strawberries (hand-picked when perfectly ripe is ideal, of course)
3/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. fresh lemon juice
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) unflavored gelatin
In a large bowl combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and allow to stand, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Place a sieve over a large measuring cup and gently strain the liquid from the berries. Set the reserved berries aside. If necessary add enough water to the strawberry liquid to equal 1 1/2 cups. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Allow the gelatin to soften for a minute or two, then bring the mixture to a bare simmer, stirring to dissolve the gelatin. Remove the mixture from heat and, in a metal bowl, combine it with the reserved berries. Place the bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken (the original recipe says until the mixture begins to mound, but I found this an odd term - it should be thick and just beginning to gel). When the mixture has chilled sufficiently, spoon it into the prepared, cooled, crust and refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours (up to 24).
Serve cold with fresh whipped cream if you have it handy.
*I have altered this recipe specifically for the use of frozen berries, if you are making the pie using fresh, follow the original recipe for the pie filling through the link provided (the macerating time and liquid amount have been adjusted here to allow for the thawing and excess liquid of the frozen berries).