Friday, April 17, 2009

Warm Weather Delights!

We have had a few beautiful days here in the Valley. My crocuses are still blooming, some daffodils are unfurling and the tulips are edging up from the ground ever higher. I've also gotten out for a couple of runs - now officially sanctioned by my doctor (yay!). While I've only run a few times, I've already noticed my appetite growing.

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I definitely have a sweet tooth. But lately I've started to worry about eating too much sugar. Especially now that I'm expecting my body to perform again as a runner. So, I did some reading and found that agave syrup is a good sugar substitute with a lower glycemic index rating, so it takes the body longer to process (read: less sugar highs/lows). It's also minimally processed, so it's a bit healthier than regular granulated sugar.

My first venture with the agave syrup was a strawberry pie. I was a little nervous because I've had some sugar substitute disasters in the past. But I was quite happy with the result. I thought the pie was just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and still be refreshing - perfect for a warm Spring or Summer day.

Strawberry Pie
6 gingersnap cookies
3 graham crackers
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and divided
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. agave syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crush gingersnaps and graham crackers into fine crumbs using a food processor. Add butter and pulse to combine.
Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie pan.
Bake 10 minutes to set.
Meanwhile, mash up 1 lb. of the strawberries.
Place in a small saucepan, add water and bring to a boil.
Stir in cornstarch and agave and boil 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly to break up any clumps of cornstarch.
Remove from heat and let cool 15-20 minutes.
Halve remaining strawberries and place on top of the pre-baked pie crust.
Pour strawberry/agave mixture over the top.
Chill at least 4 hours before serving.
Top with whipped cream, if desired.


Jennifer said...

Hello from RI! I have a few recipe with agave nectar--it is great. We even use it instead of maple syrup

TheGourmetGirl said...

The Healthy Irishman is working with me to become a Healthy Gourmet.
Endless Possibilities follows that journey.
Agave is one of the ingredients he told me to have in my pantry. It is also a new ingredient for me and I'm excited about the article that will be in GGM in May. This is an amazing plant.
Strawberry Pie is perfect for this time of year for we Floridians. Can't wait to give it a try.
Thanks for posting.

Jenn said...

Agave, eh? I've seen it, but I don't think I've really tasted. But from what I hear it's pretty good. I gotta try it sometime.

That pie has my name written all over it. Save me a slice!!!

sandla said...

nice recipie

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

how do you use the agave? are there directions on it? like xxx agave per 1 cup sugar? I want to try it, but I'm scared. lol

this looks great- strawberries and gingersnaps are awesome together!

ValleyWriter said...

LK - the agave I bought did not have directions on it - but I'd read that it was sweeter than sugar - similar to maple syrup. When I cook with maple syrup, I use 3/4 c. of maple syrup for every cup of sugar called for. I did the same thing for this recipe and it worked out great.
Of course, you also have to adjust for the fact that the agave is a liquid - so use about 1/3 less of whatever liquid the recipe calls for.

i bake for you :) said...

Oh, that sounds delicious! I love strawberries! I haven't had them in months!

Tangled Noodle said...

This strawberry pie is a great sign that summer is on its way! Great to hear that you are back on the run again (in a good way!) Thanks for this easy, delicious and healthy recipe!

AshD said...

lovely!! and the agave is a great touch! my aunt makes a similar pie, less favorable for the waistline, as she incorporates eagle brand milk... none the less, a staple summer recipe! kudos!

Anonymous said...

Why bake it? You're killing the enzymes.. just mix strawberries with agave, layer into a crust made of raw nuts and dates or something similar.. bam, raw strawberry pie.. much better for you, especially if you're running.

ValleyWriter said...

Anon - the only thing that gets baked is the crust to set the gingersnaps. Mr. ValleyWriter doesn't "do" nuts in sweet things - so no nut crusts for us!