Kale & Caramel’s Roasted Strawberry & Basil Cream Pie

The first time I met Lily Diamond was at a brunch a couple years ago with a few other bloggers up in LA where we talked about her just starting the book process and me half alive from finishing up mine. She told me the book was centered around herbs and edible flowers and each one had their own chapter and I was instantly sold (I always have half bunches of herbs I want to eat and with my luck I would assume a flower was edible then have diarrhea for a week). We talked about ideas for coping with the process, shared an eggs benedict pizza and talked about how underwhelming the dessert was.

We’ve been friends ever since.

One of my favorite things about Lily (besides how funny and charming she is without even knowing) is her ability to pair together foods and memories that somehow go so perfectly hand in hand when they in fact shouldn’t. Her writing is so thoughtfully done with bits of humor that let you know she is in fact a human and not some robot that’s trying to use the most flowery of words to sound smart. Her book is all of this and beyond, beyond being new ways to use herbs, face masks and sprays to help you chill out.

This is one of the first recipes I opened to and with both strawberries and basil coming into their own for the season I figured it was a perfect to share with you. It’s the perfect millennial pink (the actual shade of pink not just any shade that people have been attaching the title to, neon pink it’s not ur day) without any food coloring and it showcases how to use an herb in a way you wouldn’t really expect and gives me ideas for other infused whipped cream combos.

Mission accomplished, Lily.

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Cream Pie
From Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table
Makes 1 9″ Pie*

*obviously this is a pie recipe but the combo of graham cracker crust, roasted strawberry cream filling ad basil infused whipped cream would be perfect for individual trifles (with cubed up pound cake instead if graham crackers if you must) or you could really go buck wild and alternate layers of whipped cream and filling with graham crackers for an icebox situation that would knock several socks off I’m sure.

For the Basil Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh basil leaves (a generous handful) + a few baby leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon honey

For the Graham Cracker Crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
13 1/2 graham crackers (1 1/2 sleeves)
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Roasted Strawberry Cream Filling:
2 cups strawberries, plus 5-7 for garnish
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey

To make the whipped cream:
Heat up the cream in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat just until you start to see steam rise up (don’t bring it to a boil) then crumple the basil leaves and add them, cooking for 1 minute more, then remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes strain out the basil and set the cream in the fridge to cool. Once cooled you can add the honey, whip it to soft peaks, then set aside in the fridge.

To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF and melt down the butter in a small saucepan. Grind up the graham crackers in a food processor or blender, making sure you don’t over process into a flour, then mix that together with the butter, sugar, and salt. Press into a 9″ pie dish then bake in the oven until lightly golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, and leave the oven on for the strawberries.

To make the filling:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, hull and halve the strawberries, and toss them with the sugar on the baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, until the berries have significantly softened and there’s juicy goodness happening. Let them cool for 10 minutes then blend in a food processor or blender until you get a smooth puree then set aside to cool completely. Once the puree’s cooled, whip the cream until you get soft peaks, then set aside in a bowl while you beat together the cream cheese and honey. Once combined add the strawberry puree a little at a time so it’s evenly combined (my cream cheese wasn’t 100% softened so I had to do this, but even still if I’m adding any liquid to cream cheese I’m extra paranoid so I add it slowly to evenly combine it).

Once the mixtures evenly whipped fold in the whipped cream then add it to the cooled pie shell and top with the basil whipped cream. Let the pie set for at least 2 hours before topping with the reserved strawberries and whipped cream and serving.

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