If you’ve got sweet, ripe berries, let them shine in this fresh strawberry ricotta tart. Essentially, a no bake strawberry pie (except for the graham cracker crust) the creamy filling blends cream cheese and ricotta with citrusy orange and a little sugar for a lightly sweet filling that pairs beautifully with the ruby red fruit. Let the pie set up in the refrigerator — like those old fashioned strawberry ice box pies that your grandmother used to make.
This strawberry pie with graham cracker crust has a little back note of citrus throughout. It’s in the crust, the cream cheese ricotta tart filling and even in the strawberry glaze.
Ingredients For Graham Cracker Crust
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Orange Zest
- Melted Butter
To Make The Graham Cracker Crust
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and half of the orange zest (from one orange) in a bowl.
- Mix until very well combined. (The orange zest is a little wet and may clump, so be sure to stir and blend until it’s evenly distributed).
- Add the melted butter and stir until every bit of the graham cracker mixture is moistened by the butter.
- Press the crumbs into a pie plate and use your hands or the flat side of a dry ingredient measuring cup to achieve an even, flat layer on the bottom and sides.
- The crust is the only thing in this strawberry icebox pie that needs time in the oven and it only takes 8 -10 minutes in a 375° oven to set. Let the crust come to room temperature before filling it.
- NOTE: You can also buy a ready made graham cracker crust and skip the baking part in order to make this a true no bake strawberry pie.
Filling For Cream Cheese Ricotta Tart
The filling for this tart contains just 4 ingredients:
- Ricotta cheese (I used part skim ricotta)
- Cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- Fresh Orange Zest
To Make The Cream Cheese Ricotta Filling
- Because the filling isn’t cooked, you’ll want to pulse the sugar in a food processor to make it extra fine. Pulse several times until you see the sugar start to form clouds of “dust”.
- Add the other half of the orange zest to the sugar and pulse 8 to 10 more times until the sugar is a nice orange color and the zest has been completely incorporated.
- To the sugar mixture add the ricotta and cream cheese and pulse until the filling is smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the cream cheese ricotta filling to the cooled graham cracker crust and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Tips On The Glaze For No Bake Strawberry Pie
- The stewed strawberry glaze needs to be refrigerated, so you’ll want to make it in advance (just after you transfer the pie and filling to the refrigerator)
- The glaze for this pie isn’t a stiff, gravity defying blob. It’s made with fresh strawberries a little sugar, fresh citrus juice, water and cornstarch (to thicken it slightly and give it body).
- When it’s done cooking the stewed berries will still be fairly liquidy, but will thicken a bit more in the refrigerator.
- Even so, it’s meant to be more loose than rigid, coating the berries and dribbling slowly over the filling. Sounds pretty good, right?
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. I’m a bit lazy and usually go with the overnight method because I’ve done the major preparations the day before and the next day is a quick assembly.
Assembling Strawberry Pie With Graham Cracker Crust
- Spread about half of the strawberry glaze over the cream cheese ricotta layer.
- Hull and slice the remaining strawberries. (I sliced them from the top down to create little heart-shaped cross sections for layering).
- Arrange the sliced berries over the strawberry glaze.
How To Arrange The Berries
- Start with sliced berries and point the bottom tip toward the center of the pie. Overlap the berries starting at the edge and moving toward the center.
- Turn the pie 180° and do the same thing, pointing the berries to the center of the pie.
- Rotate the pie 90° and overlap the berries again until you reach the center.
- Turn the pie 180° and again, overlap the berries.
- Fill in each quarter of the pie with the remaining cut berries — all pointing toward the center.
To finish the pie, lightly brush the strawberries with the remaining glaze, using a pastry brush or just spoon the glaze over the pie. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I put a few of the prettiest whole berries on top as a crowning touch to my strawberry icebox pie, but a bit of whipped cream spooned on each slice would be nice, too.
Best Eaten Within A Few Days
This pie is cool, creamy, fruity and delicious. The orange flavor in the crust, filling and glaze isn’t dominant, but it is noticeable. Because of the fresh berries, this pie is best eaten within two days, but that really shouldn’t be a problem, right? Try this fresh strawberry ricotta tart for Easter or Mother’s Day — or whenever you’re over run with fresh strawberries.
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Fresh Strawberry Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
FOR GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
- 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 orange
- 1/3 cup melted butter
FOR RICOTTA CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
- 1 1/4 cups part skim ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 orange
FOR THE STRAWBERRY GLAZE:
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries stems removed, cut into quarters
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- juice of one orange (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup water
FOR FRESH STRAWBERRY GARNISH:
- 3 cups fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Zest the orange with a microplane and divide it into two portions. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and half of the orange zest from one orange. Stir well to combine, breaking up any clumps of the zest so it's evenly distributed.
- Add melted butter to the crumb mixture and stir until completely mixed. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9" pie dish and pat it evenly on the bottom and up the sides. (I use a stainless steel measuring cup for this to pat the bottom and sides flat.)
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes or until slightly golden and set. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
FOR THE RICOTTA CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
- Add the sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until the sugar becomes very fine and develops a cloud of sugar dust when you remove the lid. Add the remaining orange zest to the sugar and pulse 8-10 times until fully combined and the sugar is lightly yellow in color.
- Add the ricotta and cream cheese to the sugar mixture and pulse until very smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the cream cheese mixture to the baked and cooled graham cracker crust. Smooth the top with a spatula and place in the refrigerator to set (several hours or overnight).
FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING
- In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar and juice from the orange. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 3-4 minutes to break down the fruit and allow the sugar to melt.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and mix to combine. Add the cornstarch slurry to the strawberry mixture and boil until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate.
ASSEMBLE THE PIE
- When the filling has set and the topping is chilled, assemble the pie. Using about 1/2 of the cooked strawberry filling, spread the filling over the cream cheese filling. Slice the strawberries and arrange neatly over the strawberry filling. Use a pastry brush to glaze the fresh strawberries with additional strawberry filling.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.