After a mildly wild night out, filling my belly with Oaxacan food and micheladas, I later found myself lying in bed with Lily’s book, armed with a glass of water, my sushi page markers, and a passionfruit candle burning away on my nightstand. I first met Lily while meeting up for brunch with a few other blog buddies a few years back. We’d been seated and chatting away when in walked this woman in the cutest overalls and the most gorgeous head of red hair. Throughout the rest of the meal I gravitated towards Lily’s smile and easy laughter and her way of making you feel like you could just tell her anything and she’d never ever judge you. She talked about jumping into the *i am writing a cookbook* literary fire and I remember being so amazed by her unique understanding of food. Oh, and her last name too because how cool is it to be named Lily Diamond???
Lily is without a doubt one of the sweetest, truest, and open-hearted women I’ve met and it was a complete joy to see her shine at her book signing. I hope you’ll all enjoy Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table and this recipe from the book for a very amazing cream pie!
I can’t say I’ve made very many cream pies in my baking career, but this one right here was a whole new experience. It’s simple and light, which really lets the natural flavors of the strawberries and basil shine through. I’m the kind of person that only ever knows how to use basil in savory dishes dishes like pesto and pasta and pizza. Though, I have recently learned it tastes wonderful with a little mint in a green grape and orange smoothie. But that’s as far as my scope of uses for basil reaches when it comes to the sweet side.
Roasted strawberry and basil sounds nothing less than delicious, yet I’ll admit I didn’t realize just how delicious the two would work together (I demolished one tart entirely on my own, standing over my kitchen counter with a large fork). I am in complete awe of this pie. Seriously. My favorite way to describe it is this: the most gentle and loving hug for your soul.
Roasted Strawberry and Basil Cream Pie
From Lily Diamond’s Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table
Note: This recipe is meant for a 9 inch pie. I doubled the graham cracker crust and filled a large tart shell with the extra cream filling.
for the basil whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp honey
for the graham cracker crust
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) salted butter
13 1/2 graham crackers (1 1/2 sleeves)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
for the roasted strawberry cream filling
2 cups strawberries, washed and stemmed, plus 5 to 7 strawberries for garnish
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
1. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat. When steam rises, slightly crumple the basil leaves, add them to the cream, and reduce the heat to low. Stir and compress the basil with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and let the basil steep for 30 minutes, covered. When the basil has finished steeping, strain the cream and discard the basil. Let the basil-infused cream cool, then whip with the honey until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until they have a sandy texture. Don’t over-blend into a flour. Pour the crumbs into a large bowl and mix in the sugar, butter, and salt. Mix until you have a wet sand-like blend. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely on a rack.
3. With the oven still at 375°F, cut the strawberries in half. Place in a large bowl and toss gently with the sugar. Arrange them on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender, puree, and set aside to cool completely. Whip the heavy cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside. In a second bowl, whip the cream cheese, cooled strawberry puree, and honey until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry cream cheese mixture until incorporated and even in color.
4. Once the pie crust is completely cool, spread the strawberry cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the pan. Spoon the basil whipped cream in a smaller circle over the top of the strawberry filling, leaving a 2-inch border. Garnish with fresh strawberry halves and small basil leaves. Chill, covered in plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours. Slice and serve with extra strawberries and a sprinkle of minced fresh basil leaves and small, whole leaves for garnish.