No-Bake Double Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap Crust

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap CrustForgive my few weeks of absence, dear friends! I was off on a whirlwind of travel that brought me home to New Jersey to see family and then up to the North Shore of Minnesota for a cabin getaway. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably caught some of the photos. I’m back now and ready to take on summer with its bounty and its leisure in order to turn out some exciting content for you. Up first is this fantastic recipe from my grandmother, Hilda.

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap CrustIn the depths of summer, no one wants to turn on their oven, but almost everyone wants to still eat pie, right? The solution? No-bake fruit pies! They’re completely easy, homey, and taste just as delicious as their brethren who spend time baking in the oven. While blueberry is my personal favorite – and the one my grandmother makes for our family the most –  you could substitute peaches, strawberries, and combinations of all kinds of summer fruits in this. You may have to adapt the amount of fruit to switch it up, but play around and see; there’s no such thing as being grumpy over extra pie filling!

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap CrustWhile traditionally, I’ve made her no-bake blueberry pie in a standard, flaky pie crust, I noticed her original recipe called for a gingerbread crust, which somehow got lost over the years. Visiting family in New Jersey a few weeks ago, I came across a box of Anna’s Swedish Ginger Thins and thought, “Hey! Gingersnaps would work and would be even better than gingerbread!” And so it was.

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap CrustFor many of us, Anna’s are synonymous with Ikea because they’re sold there in such abundance. They’re thin and sweet with just the right amount of spicy ginger flavor and, you know what? They pair *so* deliciously with blueberries; cinnamon, ginger, and berries are natural friends. Of course, if you can’t find Anna’s, any gingersnap will do, just make sure you’re getting gingersnaps and not gingerbread, as I’m predicting the latter would be too soft and moist for this application. You want your cookies to be full of crunch and snap so that your crust holds up to the lusciousness of the berries and cream.

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap Crust

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap CrustThe filling comes together nice and quickly in this recipe and because you only cook one half of the berries, and then add in the remaining off the stove, the pie has the fantastic combination of textures from both the disintegrated, now jam-like, berries and the bright burst of ones just warmed through. It is so juicy, sweet and delicious and makes for a gorgeous, seasonal dessert.

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap Crust

No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap CrustWhen the pie has cooled, I like to top it with a thick layer of fresh whipped cream, but ice cream, or even vanilla yogurt, will also do just fine. This is a great way to have dessert despite a summer swelter and make something that looks, and tastes, like a true labor of love.
No-Bake Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap Crust
No-Bake Double Blueberry Pie with Gingersnap Crust
Yields one 9″ pie

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups of gingersnap crumbs, about one 5.25oz box of Anna’s (you can also use 2 boxes of Anna’s and omit the graham entirely)
1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter, melted
3 pints of blueberries, divided in half
1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
2 Tablespoons of water
Pinch of salt

Directions
In a food processor, pulse gingersnaps until you have 1-1/2 cups of crumbs, set aside. Repeat with graham crackers until you have 1/2 cup. Melt one stick of butter in the microwave. In a bowl, combine both sets of crumbs and melted butter thoroughly. Pour mixture into a 9″ pie plate and, starting at the bottom, in the middle, begin pressing the crumbs into the pan to form the base and sides of the pie. Be sure to press crust into the bend between the base and the sides of the pan and then press the crumb up the sides. Place crust in refrigerator to firm up.

In a mixing bowl, add 1-1/2 pints of blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and salt, and combine. Add fruit mixture to a 3-quart pot and heat mixture, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Once boiling, allow to do so for 2 minutes, stirring constantly now until it thickens some and many of the berries pop and split open. Remove from heat and immediately add in the remaining 1-1/2 pints of blueberries and stir together gently.

Remove pie crust from fridge and gently spoon in fruit mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until completely cold and firm. Top with fresh whipped cream if desired.

DIY Garden Markers

Let’s pretend it’s for real spring. Like, the kind of spring that blows in with warm days and cool nights, that lasts a few weeks before the temperatures really rise and the humidity of summer is upon us. Let’s pretend the 70-degree days of just this past weekend hung around, that it didn’t drop 40 degrees overnight, and that I didn’t, prematurely, put away the down comforter. Let’s pretend that I was able to spend part of the day outside today turning over my small gardening plot in the side yard, laying down new ground cover, and bringing home my plants from the store. Let’s pretend that it didn’t, instead, flurry this afternoon, forcing me to drag my slippers back out and abandon my pitcher of iced tea in the fridge for the hotter, steamier variety.

Sigh. Let’s just pretend.

You see, I wanted to take photos of these adorable DIY garden markers among the beautiful, green, thriving plants of a garden, but Midwestern weather and I are having a bit of a tiff right now, so that’s not yet possible. For some of you, it may have already happened, while for others of us it feels like a distant dream, but whenever your vegetable garden is planted, consider brightening it up a bit with this simple craft, no? Most of the items needed are available from your local dollar store and the rest, which can be found at a craft store, or even Amazon, will only run you a few dollars more.

The best part about these, aside from being really cute and totally unique, is that a few thick coats of Mod Podge make them washable and able to stand the test of time by not peeling or chipping. They’ll last for years to come, fairly safe from the elements (I can’t yet promise that they won’t fade), which also makes them a really wonderful gift! Did someone say, Mother’s Day?

I just labeled my set with a marker and some cute handwriting, but I can see using a fancy paper cutter, like a Silhouette or a Cricut (oh, how I yearn for one or the other!) to create more elegant lettering, should you have access to one. Depending on fonts, colors, and pattern of paper, the sky is really the limit in how you customize these for your own. Charlotte made the green ones below to match her manicure. How femme is that?!

Since it seems I still have a few weeks to go in prepping my summer garden, I’ll be sending this batch to my mother and grandmother in hopes my good deeds will have me rewarded with some sunshine and warmth. Hopefully, they’re up for the task of growing more than tomatoes and basil this year! What’s on your list to grow this summer?

DIY Garden Markers
Supplies:
Wooden spoons
Acrylic craft paints
Foam brushes
Paper plates for your paint palette
1 piece of scrap paper for the label’s pattern
Craft glue
Mod Podge, original
Scrapbook paper
Scissors
Sharpie marker

Use the outline of a wet spoon on scrap paper to create a pattern for your labels.

Directions:
To create your DIY Garden Markers, first paint your wooden spoons with two coats of acrylic craft paint. As you finish the last coat of your final spoon, place the spoon on it’s back onto the piece of scrap paper to make a mark, as seen in the image on the right. This mark will serve as your pattern for spoons’ labels. Finish painting the final spoon and allow to dry. Cut out the pattern for the label and then use it to carefully cut shapes out of the scrapbook paper for each spoon. When all of your labels have been cut out, use the marker to write the name of each vegetable. Adhere a label to the back of each spoon with craft glue, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go. After each spoon has had it’s label affixed, paint the entire spoon from top to bottom with a fairly thick coat of Mod Podge. Continue applying first coat of Mod Podge to all spoons. When finished, begin again with the first spoon and apply a second coat. You will want to apply a total of 3-4 coats per spoon. When finished, allow the spoons to dry completely. I suggest waiting at least 12 hours before using.

 

A Visit Home & My Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake

3 of the 13 dozen eggs I dyed for a (flustered) family friend’s Easter event.

My blogging has been a bit lagging lately only because I had to make an unexpected trip home to my mother’s house, my childhood home. Everyone and everything is fine, so it’s been a good visit, filled, so far, with lots of laughter and food. Time spent home is generally happy, as I get to see some of my most favorite people – my mom, grandma, and bestie who comes in from the city to lounge around in the country with us. Here are some photos of what being home has looked like so far.

Love at First Sight: New-to-me vintage desk!

My mom and grandmother are my two best sources for being inspired to make my own home a space that nourishes and makes comfortable anyone who comes through the door. For as long as I can remember, they have both always gone above and beyond to demonstrate love, care, and friendship through their domestic prowess. People who have come for a meal at my mom’s house, or who have stayed the night for a visit or en route to another destination, have always commented on the warmth they felt at her table, at the comfort felt at slipping into a bed made fresh with sheets and blankets hung to dry in the sun.

I’m a work in progress (still trying to learn their love of cleaning), but by example, they’ve taught me how to build my own sense of “home” with the intention of making it as welcoming to others as it is for me. Oh, how this dream will only be further realized when I, someday, have a guest room of my own and don’t, instead, need to make up the couch for visitors. Apartment or house, no guestroom or 3 guestrooms, though, there will always be my mother’s strawberry shortcake to welcome in friends both old and new.

This isn’t strawberry shortcake in the traditional sense of the dryer, flakier, individual biscuit-like cakes, but a moist, vanilla, 13×9-inch cake with strawberries and cream layered on top. I love conventional shortcake, but since this is what I grew up calling “shortcake,” this is where my heart is.

My mother has always made this cake with a mixture of fresh and frozen strawberries; the former for the texture and the latter for the moistness they give the cake. I’ve made it on my own with entirely fresh and just sliced the strawberries 2 hours before serving with a little sugar, which produced a natural syrup that did the same job as the frozen berries. Depending on what you have access to and when you want to make it, this cake can be an any time of year stunner.

Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake
Yields one 13×9-inch cake, ~12 servings

For the cake:
1-1/4 cups of flour
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups of white sugar
3/4 cups of milk
3 Tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

For the topping:
1lb. frozen, sliced strawberries, thawed
2lbs. fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of white sugar

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°, grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan, and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat eggs for 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium speed for an additional 4-5 minutes until light and airy. Add the flour mixture slowly and beat on low speed until combined.

In a small saucepan, heat and stir milk and butter together until the latter melts. Drizzle into batter along with the vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake completely.

In a chilled bowl, add heavy cream and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy and soft peaks form. With the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the surface of the cake and pour frozen strawberries and juice over the top of the cake. Add the juice slowly, so that you can account for how much you want to use. Add the fresh strawberries to the top and then cover with the freshly whipped cream. This will last in the refrigerator, covered, for 5-7 days.