I want to reblog this strawberry pie recipe, because it is a classic and a must make during every strawberry season!
June is strawberry season in Minnesota and this dessert is easy to prepare, tastes great and is always a crowd favorite. This recipe comes from my great Aunt Ida Kronbeck who used to cook for the family she worked for when she was a servant girl on Summit Avenue in St. Paul back in the early 1900’s. My grandmother had worked as a servant in the same home prior to her marriage.
Ida once explained the social hierarchy of working as a servant in a mansion. How they were to be seen and not heard. Servants from her end of the avenue did not socialize with servants from the,”big houses” like James J. Hill’s. She went on to describe “the funny accents” of the rich fancy ladies from back east. Quite the observation coming from a young lady raised in a Swedish speaking household. She also told how cold it was sleeping in the unheated attic of a big house during the cold Minnesota winters and what it was like to wake up with frost on your blanket.
One of my favorite memories about her is from the night my cousin Michelle and I took her to the James J. Hill House on Summit Avenue for a special program where historical actors read letter from Summit Avenue servants. She was in her nineties at the time and we thought that she would enjoy the trip down memory lane. Before the program started we wheeled her around the bottom floor of the great mansion that she had, “walked by it so many times, but never thought to see what was inside.” After we were seated, we noticed she had tears rolling down her face. Concerned we asked her what the matter was?
“When I was a girl on our farm, one day this fellow came out from the big cities to buy a boar pig from our dad. He said he was the agent for a James J. Hill and that his boss wanted him to buy another boar big. Oh, how we chuckled at a braggart like that! We thought it was so funny that he needed to puff himself up by saying his boss wanted two boar pigs. Whoever heard of someone having so much money they could afford two boar pigs.” At that moment we realized she was laughing so hard she was crying. She concluded with, “I guess he could!”
After the program was over the staff at the mansion took her for a personal tour of all the rooms. I believe she enjoyed seeing the kitchen the most. We spent quite awhile there as she explained to the staff what some of the kitchens tools were and how they were used.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons strawberry jello
1 baked and cooled pie shell
In a small saucepan, bring the first three ingredients to a boil until thick and clear. Boil at least one minute stirring constantly.
Add 3 tablespoons of jello and let cool. Cut up fresh strawberries (about 2 pints) and put into baked pie shell. Top with a row of whole strawberries, placed with the bottoms of the strawberries pointing up. Pour jello evenly mixture over berries.
Cool in refrigerator with whipped cream.