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The Kitchy Kitchen Recipe: No-Bake Strawberry-Lemon Verbena Pie

strawberrypie300Strawberries are wonderful at the peak of their season. Ripe, juicy, fragrant, sweet, and tender. My favorite part of the pie, though, is the lemon verbena whipped cream. It’s the ultimate summer herb, imparting a citrus/mint/basil/earthy perfume to whatever it touches. Light, creamy, fresh, citrusy, and sweet, and all on a flakey butter pie crust, it’s the dessert epitome of summer, and will be gone in a second. From The Kitchy Kitchen.

For one 9-inch pie

2⁄3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
1 quart fresh strawberries, quartered, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

LEMON VERBENA WHIPPED CREAM
1/4 cup white sugar
10 lemon verbena leaves (fresh or dried, and if they’re hard to find, 4 segments of lemon peel are fine)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 Pie Crust recipe, or if you’re short on time, store-bought, prebaked in a 9-inch pie tin.

1. For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Blend in 2/3 cup water and 2 1/2 cups of the strawberries. Bring to a boil, stirring and roughly smashing the strawberries. Boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, a minute or so.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, butter, lemon juice, and orange zest. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge.

3. For the lemon verbena whipped cream, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Add the leaves. Simmer for 3 minutes, until the sugar is fully dissolved, and turn off the heat. Let the syrup cool completely. This can be done up to a week in advance for extra flavor.

4. Strain the syrup and add it to the cream along with the vanilla. Whip to soft peaks.

5. To finish the pie, pour the strawberry mixture into the pie crust. Top with the remaining fresh strawberries. Dollop the whipped cream in the center and spread, but reveal the strawberries at the edge. Garnish with sliced strawberries.

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