Today I’m sharing my contest winning recipe for this Strawberry Shortcake Pie. It is a no bake cream cheese pie that uses fresh strawberries and strawberry jello to get the most intense fresh strawberry flavor. Its piled high with whipped cream and topped with crunchy strawberry shortcake crumbles. I wanted to recreate the taste of the Good Humor Ice Cream strawberry shortcake bars I remembered as a kid.
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I am so competitive it is crazy. When a co-worker recently mentioned in casual conversation that her church ( its called Cowboy Church- this is Kansas after all) was having a Chili Cook off and Pie baking competition I nearly spit my coffee everywhere!
A pie baking competition? At that moment there wasn’t anything on earth I wanted more than to bake the winning pie. I was all in! Never mind how busy I already was, I was going to make time for this.
The first step was to decide what kind of pie to bake. It seemed easy enough. It just so happened, I was already churning a recipe idea around in my head. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and incorporate them together.
So what was I obsessing over in the middle of an icy cold January in Kansas?
More specifically, fresh strawberries topped with a crunchy strawberry shortcake topping that was reminiscent of the ice cream bars I had as a kid from the ice cream truck.
I dove headfirst into the plan of baking a pie for the cream pie category that was all the good things. Shortbread cookie crust, creamy cheesecake filling with the texture of fresh chopped strawberries, topped with sweet, thick whipped cream that was generously sprinkled with those ice cream truck strawberry shortcake crunchies.
What I envisioned was spectacular. Except for one thing…..
I also entered another pie in the competition. Because I’m over the top like that. You see, there were two categories. One for a cream pie, and one for a fruit pie. Long story short, my boyfriend is quite a hobby chef. He makes….UH-MAZING red beans and rice, has expertly fermented his scratch-made sauerkraut and talks at length about how he won a pie baking contest 25 years ago. He called it his Tart and Tangy Apple Pie. I have never seen any pictures of this “alleged” winning pie, but I have had a taste when he decided to remake it a while back. It IS good: fresh, tangy, perfectly spiced and delicious.
I had the brilliant idea to recreate his winning apple pie and enter it into the fruit pie category alongside my strawberry shortcake pie.
We would let the judges decide who makes the best pie in this relationship. ( I told you I’m competitive!) Normally two pies wouldn’t be a big deal. The church was also doing a fundraiser and asked for each pie entry to submit two pies of each flavor, One for the judges and one for the guests to buy. Four pies? No problem.
I decided to bake my pies the morning of the pie competition because everyone knows that the best pie is a fresh pie!
So when my alarm went off at 5 am that Saturday I got busy! Everything was going great. The apple pies were in the oven flaking up and doing their thing. The strawberry pies were getting topped with creamy goodness and I was feeling great. I had 30 minutes to finish my strawberry pies while the apple pies finished baking and then I had to get on the road to get them to the church on time. I figured I’d pull them right out of the oven and pop them into the trunk of my car. They could cool on the 45-minute drive to the church.
Until…..my stabilized whipped cream topping wouldn’t set up!
My cream was cold, I measured correctly, etc, etc. I just couldn’t get the topping for the second pie to come together.
( side note- I suspect the cream wasn’t fresh enough. I’ve tested and retested the recipe for a stable whipped cream that wont get runny or limp over time. I’ve included that recipe below) So my wonderful boyfriend did that thing that guys do SO WELL when there is chaos in the kitchen. …. ….They offer to run to the store and get that one thing you forgot or need more of. It’s always so nice. I love him more every time he does that and saves my little baking crisis.
He was back in a flash with more cream and powdered sugar and VIOLA!!!
The pies were saved and I was off to deliver these beauties to the church in the most amazing smelling car I’ve ever driven.
Those warm apple pies cooled as we drove and filled my car and my spirit with a warm happy glow. If you’d like to check out his Tart and Tangy Apple Pie recipe, I’ll link it here when its ready to post.
In the mean time, please enjoy this Strawberry Pie recipe. Its like a taste of summertime- any time of year.
P.S. I wrote this post the day after I dropped off the pies. I told myself that…win or lose I would share the recipe. I mentioned that it was a co-worker who initially got me involved in this, right? Well we did not work the same shift until 3 days later. The next time we worked I popped into her office and ” casually” ( i.e. I’m dying here… please tell me how I did!) mentioned the pie competition and chili cook off. I’ll be darned if she didn’t play along and say ” some girl nobody knows won the whole thing!” Then she pulled out my awards and cash prize! That’s right. $200 cash money! All the happy feels!
Not only did my Strawberry Pie win the cream pie category, but that awesome cook of a boyfriend of mine won the fruit pie category!
And now you can make the exact same pies. Feel free to brag on us a bit. Let your customers, family, friends and co workers know…. this right here is an award winning, first place, $100 cash prize pie! Charge extra for it even!
Click here for the link to the award winning Tart and Tangy Apple Pie!( link coming very soon, I promise. )
Strawberry Shortcake Pie
- Food Processor, Mixer, Piping bag, Large Star tip
- 11 oz Pecan Sandies Cookies crushed
- 5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter melted
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz Cream Cheese room temperature
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 oz Strawberry Gelatin
- 1/3 cup Water boiling
- 3 ea Ice Cubes
- 2 cups Heavy Cream Cold
- 1 pkg Dream Whip
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 pkg Instant vanilla pudding 5.1 oz box
- 1/4 cup All purpose Flour
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 pkg Strawberry Gelatin 3 oz box
- 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter softened
To make the crust
- Using a food processor, place all of the cookies in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until cookies are uniformly processsed into fine crumbs
- Add melted butter and stir by hand to combine. Mixture should looks like wet sand.
- Press crumbs into pie plate. You can use the bottom of another pie plate to help evenly distribute and flatten the crust.
- Place crust in refrigerator to harden for approximately 30 minutes.
To make the filling
- Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, whip softened cream cheese. After 1-2 minutes, scrape bowl and beater and add 1 cup sugar. Continue mixing until there are no lumps of cream cheese. Continue scraping and mixing until there are no lumps and the cream cheese is smooth. Set aside
- In another small bowl, dissolve strawberry jello powder into 1/2 cup boiling water. Mix continuously until fully dissolved. Add 3-4 ice cubes and stir until gelatin starts to thicken. Remove any unmelted ice cubes and discard.
- Slowly stream the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese while mixing and scraping to avoid any lumps.
- Fold in chopped strawberries.
- Pour filling into prepared crust. Allow to set up in refrigerator for 1-2 hours before continuing.
To make the strawberry shortcake topping
- In two small bowls measure:Bowl #1- 1 packet gelatin, 1/4 cup flour and 4 tbsp softened butter.Bowl #2- 1 packet pudding, 1/4 cup flour and 4 tbsp softened butter.
- Using a fork, mix ingredients of each bowl together to form a streusel consistency.
- Place crumbles on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Gently mix to distribute the two flavors.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. It will melt together and have a cookie consistancy.
- Allow to cool and harden. Break the pieces and place in refrigerator for about an hour.
- In the bowl of a bowl of a food processor pulse until mixture has large crumbs. Do not over mix and make fine crumbs.
To make the stabilized whipped cream
- For best results, pre-chill the bowl of your mixer in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to whipping cream.
- Place 2 cups heavy cream, 1 packet of Dream Whip and 1 cup powdered sugar in bowl of mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Whip on low speed for 1 minute, them increase speed to medium and continue to whip for 3-5 minutes until thick. You should be able to see the whisk lines and stiff peaks in the cream.
To assemble the pie
- Place stabilized whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Piping in rosettes, fill the top surface of the pie with whipped cream. Alternatively- you can create a more rustic look and top the pie with spoonfuls of whipped cream and spread with spatula.
- Sprinkle topping crumbles generously over the top of the whipped cream.
- Keep pie refrigerated until serving.
Before you go, check out one of my most popular posts on how to improve your pie crust! Yes, Allyson. Show me how to make a better pie crust!