Well, it’s official. It is summer here in Michigan. Even though I know it’s not officially summer until June 21, when I can find strawberries ripe enough to make strawberry shortcake, then it’s close enough to call it. Being in Michigan has its upsides and downsides. Downside-we are about 2-3 weeks behind in the fresh produce department. Upside-we have SO MANY options when it comes to fresh produce. Especially in the berry and cherry department. There are lots of berries, along with different types of cherries, that grow well in the not too hot Northern climates. As soon as those incredible, tiny (when compared with grocery store types), and super sweet strawberries appeared in my CSA basket, I couldn’t wait to make this classic pie crust strawberry shortcake.
Something else that is official? I think I am officially a Northerner. I have lived in Michigan for close to five years now. I own a home. I married a native Michigander. BUT, until now it hasn’t been official. Until now, I have never, not once, felt like it was TOO HOT. Northerners, or at least Michiganders, are babies when it comes to the heat. Taste Tester complains about the heat ALL THE TIME. To which I would say something along the lines of, “you don’t even know what hot is.” (sidenote:Have I become my father?). BUT, this year, whew, it’s been hot. And I have felt that, perhaps, it was indeed TOO hot. And it wasn’t really that hot when I said it was too hot. Which means, I am officially a baby about the HEAT. And it’s only June. But it has been a particularly dry and hot summer thus far. The upside of my northerner-ness is that I am now pretty tough when it comes to the cold. Just ask anyone who has been to my house in winter. So, upsides and downsides.
The upside to not being a born and bred Northerner is that I have some great food memories unique to my family and region of origin (So. ILL what up?). I have never seen this particular variation of strawberry shortcake anywhere. Granted, I didn’t do a Pinterest search because I am sure it exists there in infinite better-looking variations. But, I didn’t search for the recipe because I wanted this to be a 100% original version of the pie crust strawberry shortcake I grew up eating. Except I omitted the sugar. Because it’s unnecessary. But other than that-and the addition of whole wheat flour-it’s an original family recipe. So, it’s an original recipe I adapted to make healthier. If you have never experienced strawberry shortcake in this fashion you will be instantly hooked.
Like my new home state, this pie crust strawberry shortcake has its upsides and downsides (seamless transition right there!). Mostly all upsides. It’s super easy to make. And super fast. Like, you could make it on a weeknight fast and easy. It’s super fresh-tasting. It’s cold which is so refreshing when it’s hot outside. It has ZERO sugar. If you omit the pie crust, it’s NSNG friendly. If you omit the whipped cream and make some kind of nut flour crust, it could be Paleo. But, best of all, it doesn’t FEEL healthy. It doesn’t FEEL like you are depriving yourself of anything. Especially in the summer, when I crave all things light, I would easily choose this over a whole array of other desserts. If you bring this to your next pool party, I promise you every person there will thank you when they have to shimmy into their swimsuit. This pie crust strawberry shortcake is seriously the perfect summer dessert.
The downside about this strawberry shortcake (or any strawberry shortcake for that matter), and I do believe this is the only one, is that it tastes the very best when it’s ice-cold. The strawberries and pie crust components do not necessarily HAVE to be refrigerated. At least not for food safety purposes. BUT, if it’s hot out, those strawberries are going to head south pretty quickly.
If you are having an indoor party, these should be able to sit out on the counter for an hour or two with good results. However, these strawberries and cream are going to be the best straight from the fridge (or cooler). So, this may not be the best dish to bring to your 30 person backyard BBQ, but if you are the host, or you have a cooler, it can be a real winner.
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- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup vegetable or grapeseed oil
- Milk (low fat, whole, non-dairy, any milk will work)
- 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, washed and chopped
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Prepare the pie crust by measuring flour into a medium size bowl.
- In a liquid measuring cup (the kind with a pour spout), measure ⅓ cup oil, then add milk until the total liquid reaches the ½ cup mark.
- Combine with flour and mix.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and roll flat. I like to roll it out directly onto my silicone baking mat, because this pie crust dough is very sticky and hard to transfer, especially if you plan to use cookie cutters to cut shapes. In lieu of a baking mat, you can also use parchment paper or any surface that can go straight from countertop to oven.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until just browned. This is very thin so watch it carefully, it can go from perfect to burnt in less than 1 minute.
- While the pie crust bakes, mash the strawberries.
- Place pre-chopped strawberries into a bowl and mash with a biscuit cutter or potato masher. (see photos above) Mash to desired consistency and store in fridge until ready to serve.
- Whip the cream.
- This makes 4 generous servings or 6 average servings. To serve, spoon berries into a bowl and top with pie crust scraps and whipped cream. YUM!