rose-scented strawberry pie
The magic and mystery of cooking lies in the reinterpretation; we are influenced by our own culinary histories while at the same time want our food to be our own. I reminisce about the food I loved as a child, and always seem to find myself wanting to revamp those nostalgic flavors into something new and yet familiar.
This pie is like the chic, new age big sister to a midwestern summer favorite that my mom used to make when I was growing up: a no-bake strawberry filling is held together by gelatin and sweet rose-spiked syrup, and sits cozily inside a thick, buttery graham cracker crust. Top it with a generous spoonful of whipped cream (or, cough cough, Cool Whip?) and you have the most impeccable mid-summer treat.
The secret ingredients here are Health-ade’s Bubbly Rose kombucha and a splash of rosewater, which add a coy little extra something to the sweetness of the strawberry filling, transforming the nostalgic childhood favorite into something just a little more grown-up.
for the crust:
• 7.5 oz (about 1 3/4 cups) Graham Crackers (I used Pamela’s gluten free ones!)
• 6 tbsp. salted butter, softened or melted
• 3 tbsp. coconut or brown sugar
• 4 large medjool dates
• 1/3 cup salted roasted sunflower seeds.
for the filling:
• 32 oz strawberries, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1/2 cup Health-ade Bubbly Rose kombucha
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tsp. culinary rosewater (see NOTE)
• 3 tbsp gelatin powder
• whipped cream, ice cream, or anything creamy for topping
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine all filling ingredients and pulse/pulverize until crumbly and well combined. Press crust evenly into a 9” pie plate. The flat bottom of a drinking glass works well here to pack and press the filling down. Bake the crust until golden brown and slightly dry to the touch, 12-20 minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
In a medium saucepan, cook half the strawberries with the honey, kombucha, and lemon juice over medium heat until bubbling and syrupy, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the liquid, then quickly whisk in to fully incorporate it. Remove the liquid from the heat and stir in the rosewater. Using an immersion (or regular) blender, puree the filling until smooth. This step is optional but will result in a smoother filling.
Layer half of the remaining un-cooked sliced strawberries into the crust, then carefully and evenly pour half of the strawberry-rose syrup on top. Repeat with remaining strawberries and syrup. Refrigerate pie, uncovered, for at least 3 hours (or overnight), until filling feels firm to the touch. Slice and top with whipped cream, ice cream, or both!
NOTE: Rosewater has a very distinct, floral flavor that not everyone is a fan of. It can overpower other flavors too quickly, so feel free to add more or less depending on your taste preference.