Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now

Community Cookbook: Chilled, sweet summer pies are perfect for a hot day

A Strawberry Fluff Pie is a perfectly chilled and sweet summer pie.  (Getty Images)
By Dick Sellers For The Spokesman-Review

These chilled pies are light and refreshing, perfect for the hot, dry summer months typical of the Inland Northwest. There are two of those ubiquitous pudding/whipped topping desserts. Thank you, Mr. Jell-O, and thank you, Mr. Cool Whip! I like to make two pies: My favorite, Strawberry Fluff Pie, and its close cousin, Lime Fluff Pie, made with the same recipe. They look impressive side by side, fluffy red and fluffy green. It’s always interesting to see how many people can resist trying both.

Strawberry Fluff Pie

The festive strawberry flavor of this pie reminds me of Mom’s strawberry shortcake, one of my all-time favorite desserts. It turns out that gelatin pies are nothing new – just new to me. Store-bought ingredients make this rich-tasting, no-bake pie so easy that it must be cheating. The pie’s flavor is the same with or without the optional xanthan gum, which gives the filling its fluffy appearance.


1 (6-ounce) regular or 1 (6-ounce) sugar-free packet (8-serving size) strawberry-flavored gelatin

⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

½ cup boiling water

1 (5.3- to 6-ounce) carton strawberry-flavored yogurt

1 (12-ounce) carton whipped topping (about 4⅔ cups)

1 baked 9- to 10-inch deep dish pie crust

DirectionsPour the gelatin into a medium bowl. Add the xanthan gum, if used, and mix well. Whisk in the boiling water. Whisk vigorously for 2 minutes to fully dissolve the gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt, then the topping. Whisk until the filling is thoroughly combined and uniform in color. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Spoon the filling into the pie crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Notes: Other flavors, such as lemon, lime and even orange, may be substituted for strawberry. Xanthan gum is optional but highly recommended. It gives the filling its fluffy appearance while firming the slices a little. Xanthan gum can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores. It’s expensive but can be used in other specialized thickening applications, and a little will last forever.

Yield: Makes one pie

Moose Pudding Pie

Rest assured that no moose is harmed in the making of this pie. I thought it might be presumptuous to refer to this pie filling as “mousse,” a highly regarded French culinary creation. This filling isn’t that, so I’m just playing with words here. Moose Pudding is one of my favorite desserts and here it is, reincarnated as a pie.


1 (9-inch) deep dish pie shell

2 packages (4-serving size) instant chocolate pudding and pie filling

1¾ cup milk

1 (8-ounce) carton whipped topping


Bake the pie shell according to package directions. Be careful not to overbake it. Let it cool completely. Prepare the pudding and pie filling according to package directions for pudding, using 1¾ cup of milk (skip the 5 minutes of refrigeration). Mix with a large whisk, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl frequently. Add the whipped topping and mix thoroughly with a large spoon until uniform in color, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl frequently. Spoon the filling into the pie shell. Refrigerate for several hours (overnight is best) before serving.

Note: Other pudding and pie filling flavors, such as lemon, may be used. Ideas for decorating the pie include use of additional topping, shaved or shredded chocolate, sprinkled candies, and crumbled cookies.

Yield: Makes one pie

Dick Sellers is a freelance writer. Contact him at