While we always have a serious sweet tooth, when the summer heat is beating down on us, the last thing we want to do is sit at home with a hot oven on blast. Thankfully, Claire Thomas from The Kitchy Kitchen has the perfect solution: This no-bake strawberry pie. Ripe and juicy berries are available by the bucket at SoCal’s best markets and this lemon verbena cream is the ultimate addition to the season’s tastiest fruit. Make sure to whip this up for the next summer BBQ you host or attend—we promise, this sweet treat will be the biggest hit of the party!
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
2/3 cup water
4 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 pie crust, store-bought pie dough
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
10 lemon verbena leaves (fresh or dried, and if they're hard to find, 4 lemon peels are fine)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Blend in water and 2 1/2 cups strawberries. Bring to a boil, stirring and roughly smashing the strawberries. Boil, stirring constantly, until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cool.
For the lemon verbena whipped cream, combine the sugar and a 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and add the leaves. Simmer for 3 minutes (until the sugar is fully absorbed) and turn off the heat. Let the syrup fully cool. This can be done up to a week in advance for extra flavor. Strain the syrup and add it to the whipping cream along with the vanilla. Whip to form soft peaks.
Add the strawberry mixture to the pie crust, and top with the remaining fresh strawberries. Dollop the whipped cream in the center, and spread, still revealing the strawberries at the edge. Garnish with chopped strawberries. Enjoy!