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Princess Mary’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie

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This Strawberry Chiffon Pie with a graham cracker crust is an iconic vintage recipe that’s soft, summery, and delicious. And the recipe carries with it a good bit of lost history. Serve it at your next summer gathering where it is sure to become a talking point!

Strawberry chiffon pie in a glass dish with a slice taken out of it.

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A Forgotten Strawberry Chiffon Pie History

So many dog-eared recipes occupying space in our recipe boxes have long-forgotten stories. I’m so thankful this recipe’s story came to light and will have new life on my table as a lighter alternative to my Summer Berry Vanilla Pudding Pie.

Victoria, BC’s Princess Mary Strawberry Chiffon Pie is definitely vintage but delicious enough to deserve some new attention.

I won’t tell you the year I was born, but this Strawberry Chiffon Pie has a connection with that day—at least in my history. And let’s just say it was a few more years ago than I wish.

The Story

On the day I was born, in the middle of an unusual Seattle heatwave, my mother, with a burst of energy, made this Strawberry Chiffon Pie, as well as a large steamed salmon. And yes, this was before anyone had air conditioning. My poor mother. Later that day, she went to the hospital, and I made my appearance. She says my dad ate very well that week.

This recipe was passed around among my mother’s friends in the day as it was a favorite dessert when dining at a popular restaurant. And, of course, I have a particular fondness for it on my birthday or frankly… any day. It was delicious then… and it’s amazingly delicious now. So thankful for the story behind the recipe card now worn around the edges.

Bringing the dog-eared recipe card to life begins with this story.

Princess Mary

Princess Mary was a passenger ship built in 1910 in Scotland. By 1911, she had made her first trip on the Nanaimo-Comox–Vancouver service. Later, she carried soldiers during World War I before being taken out of service in 1952. By 1954, the hull of the ship was lost at sea, but the remaining pieces were dry-docked in Victoria’s Harbor and converted into a restaurant.

Victoria B.C., Princess Mary, and Strawberry Chiffon Pie

Victoria is an easy trip from Seattle across Puget Sound. Many of my parents’ friends would jump back and forth between Victoria and Seattle, often dining in the popular Princess Mary dining room.

As of 2011, the storied Princess Mary, sadly, is no more. “The restaurant has been a Victoria landmark for generations, a place of fine seafood dining where families gathered to mark their birthdays and anniversaries. Romances were sparked on the dance floor, proposals made at the tables, marriages celebrated in the banquet hall.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Have you made any changes to the original recipe?

The original recipe contained whipped raw egg whites. I’m not into raw egg whites so I’ve updated and replaced the egg whites with meringue powder.

Can I substitute anything for the gelatine to make this pie vegetarian?

Yes! You can substitute agar agar flakes in a 1:1 ratio.

Slice of pie with the strawberry pie in the background.

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A Vintage Recipe: Princess Mary's Strawberry Chiffon Pie | 31Daily.com

Princess Mary’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie

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So many dog-eared recipes occupying space in our recipe boxes have long-forgotten stories. I’m so thankful this recipe’s story came to light and will have new life on my table. Victoria BC’s Princess Mary Strawberry Chiffon Pie is vintage for sure but delicious enough to deserve some new attention.


Units Scale

For the Crust:

  • 18 graham crackers (2 cups crushed)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For the Filling:

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, crushed (1-1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 4 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • Whipping cream
  • sliced strawberries


For the Crust:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor.
  2. Cream the butter in a mixer and blend in crushed graham crackers and 1/4 cup of sugar.
  3. Place the crumb mixture into 9-inch pie plate and press crumbs around sides and bottom to form a crust. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool.

For the Filling:

  1. Crush the strawberries in a medium-size bowl to make about 1-1/4 cups. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over the strawberries and allow to stand or macerate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, soften gelatin in cold water and dissolve in hot water. Let cool. Add the lemon juice and a dash of salt to the strawberries. When the gelatine has cooled, add it also to the strawberries and lemon mixture.
  3. Chill the strawberries until mixture mounds when spooned, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the gelled strawberry filling.
  5. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat the meringue powder, water, and 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the strawberry mixture and pour into prepared crust. Chill until firm.
  6. Top with additional whipping cream and sliced strawberries.


For a vegetarian pie, the gelatine can be swapped for agar agar in a 1:1 ratio. 

  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Chilling / Resting Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 320
  • Sugar: 31
  • Sodium: 149
  • Fat: 14
  • Saturated Fat: 8
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 46
  • Fiber: 2
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 33


  1. Was the ship named after Princess Mary – daughter of King George the 5th and Queen Mary and therefore sister to Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor and George VI?) Queen Victoria would have been her great-grandmother?

    1. Hi Darlin! I have tried to find the answer to that question for years and can find no documentation. The ship was part of a fleet of small steam ships built for the CPR in the early 20th century. I have assumed it was named in honor of the Royal family but I can’t verify that. The restaurant was a fun piece of history!

  2. This was amazing. Light, fluffy..just great all around. I wonder if you can use Mandarin oranges in place of the strawberries?

    1. Hi Megan! I’m so glad you like this vintage recipe. It’s special and fun to make. I don’t know why you couldn’t substitute Mandarin oranges for the strawberries. Now you have me thinking… great idea!

      1. So. I made the pie with Mandarin oranges instead of strawberries and…it was awesome! I drained a bit of the juice off of the oranges after mashing them pretty well whereas I did not have to with the strawberries. It was like a light, fluffy dreamsicle. Thanks again for this fantastic recipe!

    1. There are a couple of substitutions you can use, although I’ve not tried either in this recipe. First, pasteurized egg whites are a great substitution and are available in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. The second substitution is egg white powder, which can be found at amazon.com or I often use bobsredmill.com. Follow the package instructions and measurements for substituting 2 raw egg whites, as was called for in the original recipe.

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