Strawberry Season

 I was in the grocery store the other day and noticed the mountain range of strawberries in the produce section - which reminded me of my greatest baking achievement  - California Strawberry Pie.

There was a tiny little restaurant in St. Louis (where I spent my high school years) called "The Elsah Landing Restaurant".   Daily they offered a variety of soups, bread and most importantly, PIES.  One pie in particular, California Strawberry Pie, was undeniably the best. I've got the "Elsah Landing Cookbook" in my possession - and decided to bake the strawberry pie this past weekend.  My friends unanimously agreed that it was superior even to my apple and grape pie (which was high praise).  SO I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

This pie is delicious when you make it - but the NEXT DAY it is even more delicious (especially for breakfast) - as all the ingredients really come together.


1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked.  Now - I am certainly capable of making my own pie crust - but I was lazy and bought a frozen one which I baked for 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees (until it was just lightly browned).  It worked just fine.

1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder (sounds gross but trust me)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup boiling water

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Combine dry milk, sugar and water with butter in a blender jar.  Blend until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice.  Chill.

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 Tablespoon sugar, optional (but I say yes)

Spread chilled mixture over bottom of prepared pie shell.  Arrange strawberries on top.  Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 Tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Beat cream until almost stiff.  Gradually add sugar.  Beat until stiff.  Spread over fruit filling.

Fresh mint leaves

Fresh Strawberries

Garnish each serving with a mint leaf and a strawberry.

For over achievers - here is their recipe for the pie crust:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Crisco

2-4 Tablespoons ice water

Spoon flour lightly into cup.  Level off.  Sift flour and salt together in bowl.  Cut in Crisco with pastry blender until mixture forms particles slightly larger than grains of rice.  Sprinkle with ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Toss gently with fork until all particles are uniformly moistened and will barely stick together.  Shape mixture into a ball.  Roll out on lightly floured pastry cloth and place in pie pan.  Prick dough generously with fork.  Bake at 425 degrees fro 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

Enjoy - and let me know how it goes!

R. Nichols


  • This is a raspberry toppnig, but you can easily subsitute strawberries for the raspberries.Warm Raspberry Muscat SauceThis sauce is delicious poured over ice cream or cheesecake!3 tablespoons unsalted butter3 tablespoons light brown sugar1/4 cup Muscat winepinch of cinnamon1 cup of raspberries1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet.2. Add brown sugar and stir occasionally over medium heat until dissolved.3.Stir in the Muscat and cinnamon and boil for 1 minute. 4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter.5. Mix in the raspberries and let cool slightly before serving over ice cream or cheesecake.

    Posted by Vanity on September 24, 2012
  • My favorite pie of all time. While trying to find the recipe over the past years, I had been “faking” it with a can of sweetened condensed milk plus lemon juice for the filling. Looking forward to trying the original version for comparison.

    Posted by Georgie on May 23, 2012
  • all i want to say is u are a angel i have been looking for this recipe for years over the internet and coulidnt find it i didnt know what cookbook it was in i use to work for elsah and i enjoyed all the wonderful foods but this was my favorite than you so much

    Posted by kimatha ingram on July 18, 2011
  • I have not tried this recipe (yet!), but did want to come on here and say that my mother will be having a very lovely Mother’s Day thanks to you :)

    As she is a handbag-aholic, I purchased the handbag shopper notecards and had mom’s name personalized on top. I then took your advice and purchased a bar of the currant marine soap from Fresh, along with some other little treats.

    She will love them dearly :) Thank you :)

    Posted by Lesalee on May 04, 2011

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