You know what is completely lovely? Pie and ice cream in the summertime. Kind of a no-brainer, but still worthy of the mention and a little recipe on here I think. Just thinking of a little plate heaped with shattering crust, stew-y fruit and cold cream feels hazy and dream-like. I’m not fanatical about crust all the time if I’m being frank. The filling is more of an attraction in a general way and what’s even more desirable is the creamy scoop that is casually finger flicked and served alongside, slowly slipping into a puddle on the plate. The pie is flaky, crumbly and jammy. The ice cream is smooth, fatty and cold. The one component carries the seasonal abundance and texture, the other adds lightness while simultaneously bringing out the rich aspects of undeniably homey dessert. Happy, happy union.
I do enjoy a strawberry pie quite a bit. It seems like the crop is at its mega-prime right at this very moment. We went driving around some of the more agricultural/wine country-ish areas of the region over the weekend. There were original plans to go to the beach, but this was all just as well. We stopped at an astro turf-covered stand that’s run by this rather quirky-seeming lady who wears floral jeans in a way that is decidedly unaware of movements/trends in the fashion world. She just likes them and that is totally fine. Her brother was sorting through some berries and as I was buying them up, they both mentioned no less than 6 times that I had to eat them right away because they didn’t use any spray or herbicide. Got it. All smiles and reassurances.
The rest of the day was spent tip toeing through the creepiest ever antique shop bargain basement (scored a totally sweet bowl though), having lunch at one of our favourite places, stopping at a local distillery for some white rye + bitters, and then putting those spoils to good use at the drive-in with some wonderful friends (and snacks, duh). Just going along wherever the wind blows. That’s summer. And that’s how I happened onto this pie + ice cream combination.
I love chocolate and strawberry together (seriously, who doesn’t). But I also enjoy hazelnut with both of those flavours, so I thought I’d go all out on this one. I made hand pies because I can’t resist that sweet half moon shape. Also, a portable dessert is rather convenient when you’re running from one incredibly fun/chill-breezy summertime activity to the next. The pastry is all whole wheat pastry flour and coconut oil, which gives a nice grainy heft and fragrance. The ice cream is my favourite part though. It’s maple sweetened full fat coconut milk at the base. I make it warm with vanilla and blend it up with a big scoop of wine-y + dark raw cacao powder. I toasted hazelnuts right to the edge of burnt (this makes them so easy to peel!), chopped them up and dropped them in right at the end of churning. Doesn’t even seem like it could be real, it’s so dreamy.
STRAWBERRY HAND PIES & CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT ICE CREAM
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: makes 12
NOTES: I used the coconut oil pie crust recipe from Food52 pretty much to the letter, aside from subbing whole wheat pastry flour in for the all purpose. Also, I didn’t use a food processor like they suggested–just a pastry cutter and my own two hands. The coconut oil should be cold, but not so cold that you can’t cut it into the flour. I like to put a 1/2 cup of little oil scoops into a bowl and chill it for about 1/2 an hour or so.
STRAWBERRY HAND PIES
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
coconut sugar/evaporated cane sugar to your liking (I used about 1/4 cup) + extra for sprinkling
squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch of coconut oil pie dough (made with whole wheat pastry flour if you like)
milk of your choice for brushing
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, coconut sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Set aside.
Generously dust a working surface with flour. Place the chilled disc of pie dough onto that surface. Roll it out as evenly as you can to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use a large-ish circular biscuit/cookie cutter to punch out individual crusts (my cutter was 3 7/8 inches). Lay the dough circles on the parchment lined sheet. Spoon the strawberries onto the centers of the dough circles. Fold one side of each circle over the fruit and pinch the edges shut by pressing the tines of a fork into the edges.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT ICE CREAM
With guidance from A Couple Cooks
SERVES: makes 1 litre
NOTES: This churns up a lot better if the mixture is cold when it goes into the ice cream maker. You could always just make sure to chill the cans of the coconut milk overnight too.
2 cans of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder would be fine!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of xanthan gum (very optional)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted + chopped
Whisk or blend together all of the ingredients except for the hazelnuts. Chill this mixture down properly if you need to. Pour it into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. In the last couple minutes of churning, sprinkle in the toasted + chopped hazelnuts. Once fully churned, scrape the ice cream into a container and freeze until ready to use.