I Tried Jennifer Garner’s Favorite Strawberry Chiffon Pie and It’s the Perfect Labor Day Dessert

published Aug 24, 2023
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cracked round cake top with powdered sugar and sliced strawberries in center
Credit: Lena Abraham

If you follow Jennifer Garner on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen her, spatula in hand, sharing some of her favorite recipes in her Pretend Cooking Show. We tried her favorite summer mocktail recently to much success, so whipping up her favorite fruit chiffon pie seemed like a no-brainer. The recipe comes courtesy of her family’s copy of the 1989 Southern Living Cookbook, originally shared by Mrs. Clifford B. Smith Sr. of White Hall, Maryland. Although the published version calls for peaches, Garner says any fruit works, so I chose strawberries to take advantage of their waning season.

How to Make Jennifer Garner’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie

  1. To start, preheat your oven to 325°F and butter a 9” pie plate. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat room-temperature egg whites until foamy, using a hand mixer at high speed. Gradually add granulated sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Next, fold in crushed Saltines, chopped pecans, baking powder, and pure vanilla extract.
  4. Transfer this mixture to your pie plate and spread into a crust that comes up the sides in an even layer. 
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, until the surface of the crust is dry and cracked. Let cool completely. (Mine took about an hour to cool.)
  6. Meanwhile, make the pie filling: In another large bowl using a hand mixer, beat whipping cream until foamy, then gradually add granulated sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold in halved strawberries and spoon into the center of the cooled crust. 
  7. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

My Honest Review of Jennifer Garner’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie

This chiffon pie differs considerably from a typical chiffon pie, which usually consists of a classic pre-baked pie crust filled with a fruit-flavored mixture made with meringue and gelatin. This version has a meringue-like crust and a whipped cream filling. It reminded me of an Eton mess or a pavlova, pairing crackly and chewy meringue with fresh, juicy fruit and sweet whipped cream.

Cloud-like and creamy, this pie is a great summer dessert. The inclusion of Saltines and pecans gives the crust a savory-sweet edge and a satisfying texture. Unfortunately, even with the crackers, I found the crust to be a little too sweet for my liking, so next time I’d try reducing the sugar a bit — both in the crust and in the whipped cream filling. 

Two Tips for Making Jennifer Garner’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie

  1. If you’ve got time, toast the pecans. For an added layer of flavor, toast your pecans (or any other nut you prefer) before proceeding with the recipe. Just make sure to let them cool completely before folding them into your meringue.
  2. Swap out the fruit. Pretty much any fruit would be delicious in this pie, so don’t hesitate to try out your favorite combinations — or go with whatever’s in season!