I should not have to convince you to make these mini pies. I mean, look at them!
My mouth is watering up as we speak. And I should know. I ate one of them.
Not really portion sized? Too much of a good thing? I think not! These creamy, crunchy and berry tasting pies are far from too much of anything. On the contrary, they are just enough of everything!
Wild strawberries are one of nature`s many treasures, and this year it was my dad and I who did the treasure hunting (Have I told you yet that my dad was a pirate when he was young? No? Well, he was (damn right he was!) and he sure knows how to find the treasures worth our while!).
A few days ago after waking up way too late (days off are for sleeping, right?), my dad and I agreed to go for a walk.
Of course, we just had to eat breakfast first.
Drink our juice and relax. Enjoy the sun. Read a bit.
Our family name is equivalent with “We take our time”, and when going on trips you can trust us leaving at least a few hours after the set time, so it took a while before we were ready. Once we hit the road, however, we were high in spirit and had a good pace. The sun was shining and a cool breeze was rustling through the treetops. In other words, it was one of those perfect Norwegian summer days.
On our route we passed the trail going off to our family`s secret spot for wild strawberries. We had been there a few days before, but the small berries were still not quite ripe at that point. Now that my dad and I were hitting it off with our inner workout gurus, was it really worth the detour? We decided it was, and Boy did we make the right choice!
Beneath the lush overgrowth of grass and flowers, countless red strawberries revealed themselves. Once our eyes knew what to look for, we spotted wild berries everywhere, and they were enthusiastically captured in my quickly emptied water bottle. Running between stones and trees, we harvested beautiful and ripe strawberries, while our grins grew bigger all the while. We didn´t even notice the swarm of mosquitoes having a feast on us, the nettles burning our fingers from time to time, or the snake….wait…we did notice the snake…Anyway, the treasure hunt paid of, and we ended up with my bottle completely full of small edible rubies.
The rest of the trip passed by with me eagerly suggesting the different ways we could use the berries, while my dad nodded and agreed to most of my thoughts. After some discussion (or rather me informing my dad what I though was the best idea), we decided that pie was the way to go. Raw, of course (you do not want to mess up the flavorful berries by heating them).
At the end of the trip I knew exactly what kind of pie to make. The hard-to-grasp-how-amazingly-delicious-a-pie-can-be kind of pie. The one that makes your heart skip a beat. The one with a crunchy almond crust, topped with smooth vanilla cream, sweetened to perfection, and finished off with an enormous amount of fresh, sun-kissed strawberries. Am I hearing grumbling stomachs and watering mouths? I think I am! Oh, and just for the fun of it, let`s not make one, but several. And let`s make them mini!
Wild strawberries have been around since the Stone Age. They are native to Europe, but throughout the centuries, they have spread around the world. The old Romans used the small, red berries for their purifying qualities. They believed them to be beneficial for the liver and spleen, throat infections and melancholia. It was also said to cure bad breath. Culpeper agreed with the Romans, stating that wild strawberries are “singularly good for the healing of many ills”. He recommended strawberries for arthritis and rheumatism.
Looking at the nutritional value, it is no wonder that the wild strawberry get such high praise. Rich in vitamin A, C and E, it also contains zinc, potassium and copper, as well as phytonutrients and bioflavonoids. In vitro studies have found that strawberry extract can reduce cell proliferation of colon –and breast cancer cells. Other studies have shown reduction of the reproduction rate of cancerous cells in the liver. I guess the old Romans were on to something after all!
Wild strawberries have also been found to be highly beneficial for the heart and cardiovascular system, because they inhibit the formation of platelets, as well as the oxidation of cholesterol. Additionally, they have a diuretic effect, and are therefore efficient in lowering the blood pressure.
To sum it all up, you can eat this pie and feel totally awesome about it! It provides you with healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, it is filling, and it is delicious. So, I urge you (before the berry season is over – it passes quickly) to go hunting for treasures. It is definitely worth your while!
1 ½ cup (3 ½ dl) almonds
110 grams dates
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
A pinch of salt
1 cup (2 ½ dl) cashew nuts
½ cup (1 ½ dl) coconut cream*
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 tsp vanilla powder
About 200 grams wild strawberries
Making the crust:
Add the almonds to the food processor and crush them until they are finely grounded. Add the dates, coconut oil and salt, and let the food processor run until everything is well blended. If making mini pies, divide the crust in smaller sections, and press it into the forms. You can also make one bigger pie, it is entirely up to your preference. I used 4 inches (10 cm) big pie forms and got three pies total.
Making the Vanilla Cream
Add the cashew nuts to the food processor, and let it run until the nuts are smooth. Add the coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla powder, and let it run until everything is well blended. Put the cream on top of the crust.
Top the pie with lots of wild strawberries.
* Coconut cream is like coconut milk, but with reduced amount of water. To get coconut cream from a box of coconut milk, place it in the fridge overnight. The coconut milk should then have separated into a thick layer of coconut cream and another of water. Use the cream in the recipe. Alternatively, you can buy coconut cream from the store.