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~ Creamy Dreamy No-Bake Strawberry Key Lime Pie ~

IMG_1104Here's a pie I seldom get the opportunity to make because, after making strawberry shortcakes, a batch of strawberry preserves, and, some strawberry dessert topping, I rarely have leftover strawberries.  That said, I keep this super-simple go-to recipe in my repertoire for times when I do have a few cups of seriously-ripe strawberries at that "use 'em or lose 'em" stage.  Read on:

The combination of strawberry & key lime is delightfully grown up.

All of us have encountered recipes similar to this, and you've probably even tasted them once or twice -- it originated on the box of Jell-O brand strawberry-flavored gelatin (and if memory serves me correctly, back in the 1980's, it was called "strawberry dream pie").  Back then, we had an elderly neighbor, Connie (an expert cross-stitcher), who served it to Joe and I and our boys, on her patio, on more than a few occasions -- my boys loved it.  When she and Curt moved back to their home state of Connecticut, from time-to-time my kids would ask for it, so, I "played around with it" and, oh my pie, the combination of strawberries and key lime is:  delightfully grown up.   

IMG_1040Before starting, it's important to note that my recipe yields a total of 6 3/4-7 cups of pie filling.  This means the capacity of the 9" pie dish you own needs to be confirmed and you need to plan accordingly -- if it's small, make two pies or make half the amount of filling.  To measure the capacity, use a 1-cup measure to fill the pie dish with water.  I own three brands in three sizes: 

9" round by 1 1/4" deep = 4 cups 

9" round by 1 1/2" deep = 5 cups 

9" round by 2" deep (aka "deep dish") = 7 cups


1  9" deep-dish graham cracker or chocolate cookie crumb crust, prepared according to my recipe's directions (Note:  Feel free to use a store-bought crust, like I did "in a pinch" today, but be aware, store-bought crusts are typically 8" in diameter with a 3 cup capacity, so, there will be pie filling left over.  Even if you make two pies, you'll still have some filling leftover.  Worry not, it's just fine -- portion the leftover pie filling into small custard cups, like I did today, and refrigerate it -- they're a fantastic dessert on their own.)

1  3-ounce box Jell-O strawberry gelatin

2  cups crushed strawberries, chilled (from 1 pound very ripe hulled and sliced or quartered strawberries)

3/4  cup boiling water

1/2  cup key lime juice

1 1/2  cups heavy or whipping cream, chilled

3/4  cup Confectioners' sugar

IMG_1050 IMG_1057~ Step 1.  Slice strawberries and place in work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Using 10 rapid on-off pulses, process strawberries into small bits and pieces.  Transfer to a 2-cup measure or food storage container and refrigerate.

IMG_1061 IMG_1065 IMG_1069 IMG_1071~Step 2.  Place Jell-O in a small bowl.  In a 1-cup measuring container, bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil in the microwave.  Add boiling water to gelatin and stir until until gelatin is dissolved.  Stir in the key lime juice.  Refrigerate until gelatin is thick but not set, 1 hour - 1 hour 10 minutes.

IMG_1074 IMG_1081~ Step 3.  When gelatin has been in refrigerator 55 minutes, place cream in a medium bowl along with the Confectioners' sugar.  Starting on low speed of hand-held electric mixer, gradually increase mixer speed to high and beat the sweetened cream to firm peaks.  Set aside and remove the 2 cups chilled crushed strawberries from the refrigerator.

IMG_1082 IMG_1086 IMG_1089 IMG_1094~Step 4.  Remove chilled and thickened gelatin from refrigerator and transfer to a large bowl.  On high mixer speed, beat until thickened and frothy, 4-5 minutes.  Remove mixer.  Using spatula incorporate all the whipped cream, followed by all the crushed strawberries, into the gelatin.

IMG_1096 IMG_1098~ Step 5.  Transfer the pie filling to prepared graham cracker or chocolate cookie crumb crust and refrigerate until well-chilled, 4 hours or overnight, prior to serving.  For clean cuts, place pie in freezer for 2 hours prior to slicing.

Chill 4 hours or overnight, then, freeze 2 hours prior to slicing:  

IMG_1115Thaw each creamy, dreamy slice 5 minutes, prior to serving:

IMG_1130Creamy Dreamy No-Bake Strawberry Key Lime Pie:  Recipe yields 2, standard-sized 9" pies/8 servings each, or, 1, 9" deep-dish pie/8-10 servings, or, 1, 8" pie/8 servings + 4 individual, 3/4-cup sized desserts, or 2, 8" pies/8 servings each + 2 individual, 3/4-cup sized desserts.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; 2-cup measuring container or 2-cup food storage container; 1-cup measuring container; spoon; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; soup-type ladle (optional)

IMG_4028Cook's Note:  "Mousse" is a fancy French term meaning  "froth" or "foam" because the technique involves incorporating whipped egg whites or whipped cream into a sweet or savory purée to give the end product its signature light, airy texture.  In the home kitchen, mousse is usually associated with an easy-to-prepare  dessert made from fruit or chocolate that is typically fortified with unflavored gelatin too.  Got strawberries?  Try my recipe for, ~ Pretty in Pink: Easy, Elegant Strawberry Mousse ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)


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