Archive for: strawberries
Strawberries are not always an easy fruit to bake with because they lose some of their texture when they’re in the oven. One way around this is to puree your strawberries and then incorporate the puree into whatever you’re baking – just as I did in these Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins. The light pink muffins are packed with fresh strawberry and topped off with a generous layer of streusel topping. They’re the perfect coffee cake to enjoy on a spring or summer morning.
The muffins pack a lot of strawberry flavor into a little package, with a whole cup of strawberry puree right in the batter. They’re soft and moist, with a tight crumb that is strong enough to support the buttery brown sugar and vanilla streusel that tops them off. The fresh strawberries naturally color these muffins. I used egg whites rather than whole eggs in this recipe because the yellow of the yolks will actually give the muffins an orangey, rather than a pink, hue and I wanted that natural color to come through as much as possible. I’ve had a lot of strawberry baked goods, but the combination of strawberry and streusel topping has got to be near the top of my list of favorites because it is absolutely delicious.
I used a generous amount of streusel to finish these off. It is sweet from all the brown sugar, but I added a pinch of salt that balances that sweetness and makes it “pop” next to the tender muffin. If you find that you have extra streusel, just pile it even higher and do your best to get it all on top of the muffin. If any streusel tumbles off while baking, you can just consider the crispy crumbs to be an edible bonus for the baker!
I used fresh strawberries to make my puree and highly recommend that you do the same. If you only have frozen berries, you need to defrost them completely and drain them well before pureeing them. The frozen berries likely contain extra water (at least from being defrosted) and that can water down the strawberry flavor of your muffins. These muffins will keep well in an airtight container for at least a day or two, so you could easily make them the day before you want to serve them if you want to bake ahead.
Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May every year and that usually means we get perfect spring weather to celebrate. We can have brunch outdoors with friends and family, and we have a lot more fresh fruit and veggie options to choose from than we would earlier in the year. Strawberries tend to really come into their own right around Mother’s Day, so while I wouldn’t call strawberries a Mother’s Day tradition for me, they are something that I almost always incorporate into a Mother’s Day meal – whether I’m using them as a main component, part of a fruit salad or just as garnish for some mimosas.
- A great brunch is one of the most popular ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, and a batch of Strawberry Goat Cheese Scones are a great addition to any menu. The sweet strawberries work very well with the savory goat cheese, giving these scones a gourmet feel. They’re delicious on their own, but can also be served with honey or strawberry jam.
- Strawberries are easy to incorporate into cupcakes, and Fresh Strawberry Mini Cupcakes are a good choice when you want to serve a crowd, but getting a little chocolate into the picture makes dessert a little more indulgent, and so I like these Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream for this holiday. They’re filled with a fruity, homemade buttercream and they are sure to be more popular than a box of generic chocolates.
Chocolate covered strawberries are one of the tastiest treats that you can make with fresh strawberries, but this chocolate and strawberry combination can be used in other types of desserts, as well. This Double Chocolate Strawberry Tart is definitely inspired by the idea of a chocolate covered strawberry – though in this dessert, the strawberries are on top of the chocolate!
The tart starts with a Chocolate Shortbread Tart Crust. This buttery crust is filled with a very simple chocolate cream cheese filling. I love this filling because it is very easy to prepare and has a subtle cheesecake flavor to it that goes well with all kinds of other flavors, including fresh fruit. Melted dark chocolate gives it a good chocolate flavor while still keeping it light and not as heavy as a ganache filling can be. The tart is finished with a flower-like array of thinly sliced, fresh strawberries. You get a perfect mouthful of crisp crust, creamy filling, chocolate and berries in every bite.
I made this dessert as 4 individual tarts for single servings (or sharing), but you can use the shortbread crust recipe to make a 9 or 10-inch tart shell, as well, and you can assemble these ingredients into one larger tart to serve a crowd. The tart is best when served just after you add the berries, as the fresh berries give off too much juice to store the entire tart for a long period of time. You can, however, prepare the tart shells a day or two in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature. The day you are ready to serve them, fill the shells with the chocolate cream filling and store the filled crusts in the refrigerator for up to a few hours. Add the strawberries just before serving.
I like this tart served very simply, but to dress it up you can add a dollop of whipped cream to each one. You can also melt some apricot jelly and use it to “glaze” the strawberries for a super-shiny finish, though I think that perfectly ripe strawberries need no embellishment.
When strawberries are in season and my local farmers markets are overflowing with them, I can’t resist taking home basket after basket. The problem with this is that I can end up with almost more berries than I know what to do with! Fortunately, I haven’t quite run out of ways to use strawberries yet, and these Fresh Strawberry Mini Cupcakes are my current favorite application.
The cupcakes are bright pink and have a strong strawberry flavor. With a dollop of vanilla buttercream on top, they taste like strawberries n’ cream. All of this berry flavor comes from pureed strawberries, which serve as the liquid in this recipe (where most cupcake recipes will call for milk). Choose fresh, flavorful berries that have a deep red color to them for the best results because there is no food coloring in them, just a lot of fresh berries!
These cupcakes are very moist and tender. That moistness comes from a mixing method that is a little different from that of other cupcakes. For these, cold butter is rubbed into the dry ingredients to create a very sandy mixture, then the eggs and dry ingredients are added. This creates a tight, fluffy crumb and delicious texture to the cupcakes. This can be done with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, but I find that the process goes very quickly if I whip up the batter in the food processor, so you might want to try that option when making these at home.
I made these as mini cupcakes and the recipe will yield two dozen miniature cupcakes – the perfect bite-sized treats (they also happen to be strawberry-sized) for a party. You can also bake these as full sized cupcakes, but the recipe will yield about 9 full sized cupcakes, not a full dozen.
Strawberries are at their very best for only a few weeks each year. You can find great strawberries on either end of the growing season, from a patch that hit their stride early or from some that blossomed later than usual, but the ones that are really worth eating are those that you get during the height of the season. I freeze some strawberries for use during the off-season, but I think an even better way to enjoy strawberries into the fall and winter is to make a couple of batches of Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream and stock your freezer with them.
This strawberry ice cream is a very simple recipe, made with lots of fresh strawberries and a egg-enriched custard base that produces a very creamy finished product. To make it, the fresh berries are pureed with sugar, then added to the custard base. It may seem as though their is quite a lot of sugar in this ice cream, especially considering that you are using already sweet berries to start with, but there are two very good reasons for this. First, the sugar helps keep the ice cream creamy and soft, much smoother than it would be with less sugar. Second, when foods are cold their flavors are more muted, so adding a little extra sugar to the ice cream base helps the strawberries to stand out after the ice cream is churned.
Instead of infusing the milk mixture with a vanilla bean when making the custard for this ice cream, I opted to use vanilla extract. I only wanted a little bit of vanilla flavor in my ice cream and didn’t want anything to compete with the flavor of the strawberries. The result is a sweet and very creamy ice cream that is bursting with fresh strawberry flavor. I got my strawberry puree to be very fine, so there were only traces of the whole fruit in my finished ice cream. If you want to add in some strawberry pieces, finely chop a few berries and stir them into the ice cream after it has finished churning and before you put it in the freezer.
This ice cream will keep well in the freezer, stored in a well-sealed container, for a couple of months. If you plan on having enough ice cream to enjoy through the holidays, however, I’d recommend making two or three batches. It makes 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream, which is a size that most at-home ice cream makers can handle easily.