It has been hot here in Sonoma County for the past couple weeks and I needed to make a cool summer dessert for a luncheon event. I headed down to the farmer’s market to see what inspired me. I picked up a few baskets of strawberries and also a bunch of basil. The amazing smell drew me in. There is nothing like fresh local strawberries on a hot day and a strawberry basil custard pie would fit the bill. I paired the filling with a vanilla wafer crust and a mascarpone whipped topping.
Vanilla Wafer Crust
- 60 vanilla wafers
- 1/3 cup of melted unsalted butter
Strawberry Basil Custard
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 3 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup of cornstarch
- ¾ tablespoon of vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup of sugar
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup of mascarpone cream
Preheat the oven at 450
Use a food processor to grind up the vanilla wafers into a fine pieces resembling sand. Other recipes have sugar added to the crust, but I feel that the vanilla wafers have enough sugar in them already. Once the vanilla wafers are thoroughly ground up add the melted butter to the processor, and process till it the wafers and butter are well combined.
Once they are well combined dump them into a well-greased pie plate of your choice. I chose to use a glass pie plate for this pie, so you could see the lovely golden color of the crust on the side. Press the mixture into the shape of the pie plate and make sure that it evenly goes up the side of the pie plate. I used a measuring cup to press the mixture and it worked well to get it evenly up the sides.
Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes until turns a slightly deeper golden brown.
Set the crust aside to cool once baked.
The custard recipe for this pie could also be used as a pastry cream recipe if so desired. Combine the milk, sugar, strawberries, and basil into a bowl. Use an immersion blender (or you could put this directly into a blender) and combine. It should look and taste similar to strawberry milk. If you don’t enjoy the taste of basil it can always be omitted.
Next beat the egg yolks till they are light and frothy. Add the eggs to the milk mixture and combine well either with the emersion blender or blender. Then add in the cornstarch into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a large saucepan and heat the mixture over medium constantly stirring for 20 to 25 minutes till it thickens. It is very important that you constantly stir or you will get a lumpy mixture. I usually a whisk to stir and test the mixture on a wooden spoon.
Once the custard has thicken nicely pour the it directly into the pie crust. Cover the pie with cling film to prevent the top from a skin.
After the custard is thoroughly chilled you can prepare the cream topping.
You can use either a powdered sugar or granulated. I usually use powdered, but I had run out, so granulated it was. Combine the sugar and cream into a mixer (or you can always use a hand mixer or do it by hand). Whip the cream till it forms firm peaks. At this point you can add in the mascarpone slowly to mixture, so that you do not deflate the cream. Before putting the cream top of the pie processed the remaining strawberries that I had and placed them on top of the custard. Then I piped on the whipped cream.
Now it is ready to serve!