Strawberry Cream Pie Not Setting


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I tried to replace the heavy whipping cream in no bake strawberry cream cheese pie with coconut cream, hardened, the same amount, packed. The filling ended up runny and never fully set. What can I do to have a thicker filling next time? I cannot eat heavy whipping cream or sweetened condensed milk, as my stomach is very sensitive to dairy the closer it is to liquid (for whatever reason. Solid dairy tends not to bother me as much.)
I appreciate any help!
 
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J13

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I cannot eat heavy whipping cream or sweetened condensed milk, as my stomach is very sensitive to dairy the closer it is to liquid (for whatever reason. Solid dairy tends not to bother me as much.)
I appreciate any help!
Here is a vegan strawberry cream pie recipe. It creates a kind of pudding (strawberry flavored in this case, but I think you could flavor it as you like). Note that I have not tried this recipe and can’t say if it will succeed, but it seems to have thought up ways to solve the problems you ran into with the liquid-y coconut cream base. Like adding cornstarch.

https://healthiersteps.com/recipe/vegan-strawberry-cream-pie/
 
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I tried to replace the heavy whipping cream in no bake strawberry cream cheese pie with coconut cream, hardened, the same amount, packed. The filling ended up runny and never fully set. What can I do to have a thicker filling next time? I cannot eat heavy whipping cream or sweetened condensed milk, as my stomach is very sensitive to dairy the closer it is to liquid (for whatever reason. Solid dairy tends not to bother me as much.)
I appreciate any help!
It would be helpful if you posted the original recipe. Not knowing what ingredients were used, especially the thickener, And the mixing melted it’s difficult to help you solve the problem.
 
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Here is a vegan strawberry cream pie recipe. It creates a kind of pudding (strawberry flavored in this case, but I think you could flavor it as you like). Note that I have not tried this recipe and can’t say if it will succeed, but it seems to have thought up ways to solve the problems you ran into with the liquid-y coconut cream base. Like adding cornstarch.

https://healthiersteps.com/recipe/vegan-strawberry-cream-pie/
Great, that is helpful. I have just happen to have three cans of coconut cream and Trader Joe’s freeze dried strawberries in my pantry. So I’m going to test this recipe on Sunday. Reading through it should have set up.

I just want to confirm, you used coconut cream and not cream of coconut correct? Because they are not the same, and the difference would definitely have an effect on the texture.

This is coconut cream. It is unsweetened
3E26BA69-7562-4704-A2E8-A28B317039A0.jpeg



This is cream of coconut. It’s the same ratio of coconut pulp to water coconut cream, but the differences cream of coconut has sugar in it. And the added sugar would definitely have an effect on texture because sugar is hygroscopic. Hygroscopic means it pulls water out of its environment. So too much sugar in the recipe would prevent it from setting up.


53F09239-07BE-4822-9E8D-445BB2116297.jpeg
 
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Great, that is helpful. I have just happen to have three cans of coconut cream and Trader Joe’s freeze dried strawberries in my pantry. So I’m going to test this recipe on Sunday. Reading through it should have set up.

I just want to confirm, you used coconut cream and not cream of coconut correct? Because they are not the same, and the difference would definitely have an effect on the texture.

This is coconut cream. It is unsweetened
View attachment 2421


This is cream of coconut. It’s the same ratio of coconut pulp to water coconut cream, but the differences cream of coconut has sugar in it. And the added sugar would definitely have an effect on texture because sugar is hygroscopic. Hygroscopic means it pulls water out of its environment. So too much sugar in the recipe would prevent it from setting up.


View attachment 2420
Yes, i used this kind:
 
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Yes, i used this kind:
I used 2 cans of it, and had chilled it in the fridge for a few hours before use. Though, there was still some liquid at the bottom, so I wonder if that was because it needed to be chilled longer or it was just residual coconut milk.

*** also my can said unsweetened at the bottom but same brand
 
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I used 2 cans of it, and had chilled it in the fridge for a few hours before use. Though, there was still some liquid at the bottom, so I wonder if that was because it needed to be chilled longer or it was just residual coconut milk.

*** also my can said unsweetened at the bottom but same brand
Ahhhh. OK I see what the problem is. You used the correct coconut, its the amount.

If you look at the photo of the can of coconut cream I have note the weight of the can: 5.4 fluid ounces. Two cans of this brand would be 10.8 fl oz.

Now look at the weight of the Thai Kitchen can. Thai Kitchen brand is 13.66 fluid ounces. Two cans of Thai Kitchen brand would be 27.32 fl oz.

The recipe is really poorly written. She wrote 2 or 3 cans, about 2 cups.

My guess is she purchases a similar brand to mine didn’t even consider that other companies package in larger cans. And in fact this 5.4 ounce packaging is unique. Thai kitchen is one of the most popular brands and in fact most Coconut cream is purchased in cans of that size. When I go to the Asian market to purchase coconut cream, all the coconut cream is the large 13.66 size. Not the small 5.4 oz size.


The filling didn’t set up because there was twice as much coconut cream in the filling.
 
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Interesting, I never would've thought of that! I'll try the asian supermarket next time and look for a can that size. I got the Thai Kitchen ones from Walmart.
 
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Interesting, I never would've thought of that! I'll try the asian supermarket next time and look for a can that size. I got the Thai Kitchen ones from Walmart.
Those small little cans I purchased are from Whole Foods. They’re not from the Asian market. I was saying that the Asian markets sell the large cans like the ones you purchased. So I was surprised that she used the small cans, because the small cans are not common. She just wrote her recipe out badly.

I actually just made the pie. It should thicken up fine. The filling was already pretty thick as soon as I finished mixing it. I made it in my small springform pan.

So this is how her recipe actually should have read.
  • 16 oz. dairy-free or regular cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 10.4 fl oz to 16 fl oz (1 1/4 cups to 2 cups) chilled coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, only hardened cream, liquid discarded* (see note for heavy cream alternative)
  • ½ – ¾ cup pure cane sugar or coconut sugar (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 oz. bag freeze dried strawberries, ground into powder
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil (103g)
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon (use more or less to taste)
  • fresh strawberries, for serving

The other thing she should’ve noted on her recipe was freeze dried strawberries, all freeze dried fruit really, contain a Silica gel packet. And those packets always fall to the bottom of the bag. So when Emptying freeze dried fruit into a blender or food processor care must be taken to take that silica packet out of the blender before pulverizing the freeze dried strawberries into powder.

B8C9DCEB-B682-494E-8EB9-7D5A64767019.jpeg
 
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I just remembered that I didn't use freeze dried strawberries, I took fresh ones, ran them through my nutribullet until smooth, and poured them in.
 
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I just remembered that I didn't use freeze dried strawberries, I took fresh ones, ran them through my nutribullet until smooth, and poured them in.
OK that would also cause problems as well. Strawberries contain an extraordinary amount of water. So between accidentally adding twice as much coconut cream and the fresh strawberries, there was so much water in the filling it was not able to set.

The nondairy cream cheese and the coconut cream both have thickeners in them. There’s just enough to keep the pie filling thickened if no additional liquid is added to the recipe. That’s the reason freeze dried strawberries are used, all the water is taken out of the berries. You get the fruit flavor without the water. Then the coconut oil is used as the emulsifier to pull everything together.
 
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Could I do it with real strawberries if added more of one thickener?
Well anything is possible I suppose, All thickeners all require some form of heat. Since tapioca and cornstarch require very high heat, gelatin is probably the best choice since you would only need to dissolve it.

So you could try adding gelatin to the coconut cream. Can’t guarantee that this is going to work but you could give it a try.

Place a 1/4 cup of water in small saucepan Sprinkling a envelope of plain unflavored Knox gelatin over water. Let it stand for about five minutes. It’s important that you sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface of the water and not just dump it in.

Don’t drain off the coconut cream. Add the coconut cream to the saucepan. Stir it to the gelatin and heat the mixture. Heat until the gelatin fully dissolves. Cool it completely before you add it to the recipe.

Make sure you measure out the coconut cream so you only use 16 oz (2 cups—do not use two cans
 

J13

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The other thing she should’ve noted on her recipe was freeze dried strawberries, all freeze dried fruit really, contain a Silica gel packet. And those packets always fall to the bottom of the bag. So when Emptying freeze dried fruit into a blender or food processor care must be taken to take that silica packet out of the blender before pulverizing the freeze dried strawberries into powder.
:eek: Yikes! :eek: I did not know that! Thank you so much for warning. I haven't used freeze dried fruit for anything yet, but I am seeing a lot of recipes lately that call for it. Good to know.

And your detective work on this was AWESOME! I'm going to send you a deerstalker hat. :D You did it Holmes! So...was the cream pie good?
 
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:eek: Yikes! :eek: I did not know that! Thank you so much for warning. I haven't used freeze dried fruit for anything yet, but I am seeing a lot of recipes lately that call for it. Good to know.

And your detective work on this was AWESOME! I'm going to send you a deerstalker hat. :D You did it Holmes! So...was the cream pie good?
Freeze dried fruit is a great way to add fruit where water can undermine the structure. Things like Swiss meringue buttercream, mousse, or homemade marshmallows, or chocolate based desserts. Trader Joe’s has a nice variety for a good price, so I keep some in the pantry.

I am lactose intolerance, for some reason it’s very common among celiacs. So I keep a lot of non-dairy and lactose free products as well. I ended up using the Tofutti nondairy cream cheese in this recipe. Not my favorite non dairy cream cheese for eating, but it usually makes a good cheese cake. But this no bake cheesecake had a strange tangy coconut taste and not much strawberry flavor. I wouldn’t make it again. :eek:
 

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