Strawberry Shortcake Huckleberry Pie!
It’s that time of the year again. It’s strawberry season in Ontario and it’s time to gorge yourself on fresh local, Canadian goodness! Take the time to add strawberries to your morning cereal, oatmeal, ice cream and snacks since they are at their peak freshness now. They’ll never taste better than they do now!
Some of you might not know that it is strawberry season since you see strawberries in the supermarkets all year round. The companies that supply us with strawberries throughout the year include Driscoll’s, Berrymex or Los Pinos, and they manufacture and export strawberries to the US and Canada to feed our desire for fresh berries, tomatoes, and cucumbers. They also supply companies such as Haagen-Dazs and Yoplait.
But maybe you should think about where your berries come from. These large companies are not paying their workers a liveable wage (workers are earning 6 dollars US per 12 hour work day) and living and working conditions are often substandard. Just recently, in the Mexican State of Baja California (not the same as California, USA), San Quintin, half of the 75,000 agricultural workers have gone on strike to demand a higher wage and better access to basic health care services.
Here are some links to media coverage of the strike:
Anyhow, I just wanted to leave you all with one final thought: If we supported local Ontario farmers instead of large export companies, we could really benefit our Canadian economy and increase jobs in our own country. If every household in Canada spend 10 dollars a week on local products or in local businesses, we could put back 2.4 billion into our economy every year. That’s 10,000 new jobs in the long term!
Onto my recipe…
Today, I have prepared a vegan, gluten-free recipe in which is use candied strawberries as a topping to a refreshing lime, avocado and pistachio “cheese”cake base.
-Juice of two limes, zest of 1 lime
-2 medium to large avocado’s (I accidentally dropped the other half onto my toast this morning 😉 )
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
-1/3 cup coconut oil
-1/3 cup pistachios coarsely ground
-1 quart local Ontario strawberries
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1/4 cup water
-Juice 2 limes and get the zest from 1 lime. Also, take out the flesh from the avocado’s. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Add the inside of the vanilla bean or the vanilla extract (or both!)
Add the maple syrup and the coconut oil (melted in microwave).
Blend all the ingredients thoroughly with a hand blender. Spread into a small casserole dish or tupperware container (dimensions 20cm by 10cm, depth 3cm). Put in the refrigerate overnight or in the freezer until it firms up.
In the meantime, prepare your strawberries for the garnish. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Remove pits and slice berries thinly. In a saucepan, add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Once the mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Drench berries in syrup and place on a baking tray with parchment paper. Bake at 200 degrees F for 1 hr.
After baking: Now they have a gummier consistency like candy! Add back to the sugar water mixture so it’s easier to decorate your cakes!
Finally, when your “cheese”cake has firmed up, cut into squares and cover with coarsely ground pistachios for texture. Add candied strawberries as a topping, and enjoy!
To give my desert a Canadian flair, I used the Canadian colours of flag (white and red) by topping the outer cakes with vegan coconut whipped cream!
Enjoy, and Happy Canada Day!