Last week my dearest Jonas turned 28, happy birthday hon’! He is so fortunate to have his birthday in the summer time where most of my favourite dessert ingredients are growing like crazy and most stores and farmers markets are drowning in red, sweet summer berries and edible flowers, yay! So you can imagine how eager I get while planing the birthday cake of the year.
There are so many variations of berry pies and cakes. I have already made a few here like the Nordic Pancake Cake or Strawberry Muffins. But when living in Denmark there is one specific summer berry pie that all of us love beyond anything and that is the classic danish strawberry pie!
The original bakery version calls for a crust made out of shortcrust pastry filled with mazarin and a chocolate layer. It is then topped with a very sweet vanilla cream and further topped with strawberries and a pink layer of sweet gel. Well well nothing shameful said about this classic version, we have all been there and loved it, but it is safe to say that a slice or two of this will result in a sugar-high and for most of us a bloated belly!
So now the fun part starts. Since I decided that this years boyfriend birthday cake should be a strawberry pie I started adapting my already existing strawberry pie recipe I made a few years back into something that will suit my current food preferences. Out with the flour and refined sugars and in with healthy fats, nut flours and natural sweeteners.
I took one layer at each time. Substituted the shortcrust pastry for an almond based pie crust. Made a date remonce to replace the sugary mazarin. Used a high quality chocolate and simply ignored the sweet and weird gel coating. One, two three I had myself one tasty and nourishing strawberry pie.
This pie might seem a little complicated due to all the different layers. But I promise you it is honestly very simply and can be made in advance. The pie crust literally takes 15 min to make, the date remonce is only 1 min in a blender away. The chocolate almost melts itself. And hereafter you have the entire crust ready to set in the fridge for a couple of hours or days if you please. A homemade custard is almost easier than buying one, Everything goes into a pot, thickens while heating and then it is done. Whipped cream and strawberries are the last two thing to be made, © voila, you have one pretty and damn tasty summer pie!
I actually think this years birthday cake is the best I have made so far (and I have had 8 years to practise, pew). And as I have mentioned in the title, I am not only using this post to celebrate my now 28 years old true love. I am also celebrating my other true love: The classic ‘now improved’ danish strawberry pie. May both of these loves last a lifetime
Danish Strawberry Summer Pie
For a vegan and paleo alternative simply replace the vanilla and lemon cream with whipped coconut cream flavoured with lemon and vanilla – and use the vegan alternatives for fat (here coconut oil) and plant based milk.
120 g almond flour (ground almonds)
4,5 Tbsp coconut sugar/honey or another volume equivalent sweetener as. sukrin gold
4,5 Tbsp coconut oil or butter – soft or melted
2 Tbsp coconut fibers (defatted coconut flour) – Alternatively use 4 Tbsp reg. flour eg. wheat or buckwheat
4 Tbsp milk of your choice
1/2 tsp ground vanilla
A pinch of salt
100 g pitted very soft dates, soak if necessary
1 tsp oil (e.g. coconut, almond)
1/4 tsp ground vanilla
1 tsp apple vinegar (alternatively lemon juice)
4 Tbsp apple juice or water
Vanilla & lemon cream
4/5 milk of your choice (200 ml)
2 Tbsp sweetener of your choice
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp ground vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp organic lemon zest
100 g dark chocolate (min 70%)
300 g – 400 g strawberries (rinsed, top removed and cut in halves)
Preheat the oven to 175 °C /350 °F (with fan). Mix all ingredients for the pie crust and mix until your have a firm dough. Press the dough into a (22/24 cm) buttered spring-form or, making a little rim of dough all the way around. Bake in the oven for 13-15 min until golden. Remove and set a side to cool – until the crust has gone from soft to hard and crispy.
Pepare the date remonce by blending all of the ingredients together using a handheld blender, or simply mash it thoroughly with a fork. Add 1 tbsp juice/water at a time until you have a creamy texture.
Get the lukewarm or cold pie crust and gently spread out the remonce until it covers the entire surface (minus the rim).
Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Pour it onto the crust, now layered with remonce, and gently tilt the crust around to cover the renounce layer with the chocolate. Place the crust in the fridge until completely chilled. You can keep the crust in the fridge for a day or two if you are preparing the cake in advance.
Next step is to make the vanilla & lemon cream. You begin by making a custard. In a pot whisk together milk, egg, sweetener, corn starch and vanilla. On medium heat gently warm up the custard mix while you stir it all the time. After 5-10 min the custard starts getting thicker, and as soon as it has reached a creamy texture like yoghurt, you remove it and pour it into a bowl. Set a side to cool completely (you can place it in the fridge if you are in a hurry).
Now whip the heavy cream into a soft foamy cream. Stir in the lemon zest. Add two dollops of whipped cream to the now cold custard and mix in together. Then add the mixed custard cream to the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold it together until just combined (you need to add this little extra step to keep the cream as fluffy and airy as possible).
Remove the crust from the spring-form and place it on a serving plate. Pour the vanilla & lemon cream onto the chocolate covered pie crust. Top the entire thing with as many strawberries as possible and dress it with edible flowers (e.g. elderflowers) or a little pistachio or chocolate if you wish.