Strawberries Archive

Thursday, June 24, 2010

strawberry-rhubarb pie, improved

strawberry rhubarb pie slice

Do you have a favorite pie? I always think of pies falling in two categories, the prom queens, the blue ribbon prize winners, the ones that the president can’t keep out of his thoughts, and the rest of them. In the latter category there are the soggy bottoms, the overly-gelled fillings, the mortarboard crusts, the treacly sweet and those flawlessly latticed, magazine-ready specimen that turn out to have [insert your least favorite pie filling here] under their pretty lids.

all butter crust
last gasp strawberries and rhubarb

I was invited to participate in a “cooking smackdown” yesterday on The Takeaway, a morning radio show (produced by WNYC, The New York Times, BBC, WGBH and Public Radio International) in which a pie of my choice would go up against a cherry pie from New York Times columnist and collaborator on more cookbooks than I can count on two hands and all of my toes, Melissa Clark and my first reaction was: nope, no way. Because as far as I’m concerned, cherry pie is at the top of the pie heap; it’s epic, it’s iconic and it even has a metal song this kid likes to watch me head bang to dedicated to it. Strawberry-rhubarb pie? Not so much.

chopped rhubarb, sliced strawberries

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Monday, June 7, 2010

strawberry-ricotta graham tartlets

strawberry ricotta grahams

I know what you’re thinking, “Really, Deb? Tarts again?” And I realize that it might seem that I’m in a tart rut, what with those rustic rhubarb tarts and the distinctly tart-looking strawberry brown butter bettys and now these strawberry ricotta tarts. But you see, they’re all very different animals parading under the guise of tart-dom and really — because I am allowed to choose favorites, did you know that? — these are the best ones yet.

to bake
graham tartlets

Because they’re fake tarts. There’s no agonizing crust or shell to deal with, no tart rings or fluted removable-bottom pans, no fillings that need to be whipped just so and crossing your fingers that it doesn’t leak, explode or turn to mush in the oven. In fact, the bases aren’t tart shells at all, they’re essentially graham crackers, which means that they’re essentially cookies, which means that they’re essentially brilliant.

graham stack

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

strawberry brown butter bettys

strawberry brown butter bettys

Me and strawberries are going through the wringer this week. It started with a large, plank-like shortcake with cream cheese, sour cream and a buttered center. It was a dud, an all-caps level DUD. I should have known better than to try a recipe from a dubious source, and also to mess with a perfect thing. Next came a strawberry-striped tweak on my favorite crumb cake, except it didn’t really stripe and when released from the pan, stood briefly on the counter, sighed then slumped wobbily to the side. Filed under: delicious dud hanging out in the freezer, waiting for the next barbecue invitation. Third came a [we’ll talk about it later] which I was attempting for the [that too] and it is all sorts of magically tasty if you can look back the large crater in the middle, as if strawberry filling had recently erupted from within it. Filed under: another delicious disaster and lordy, my freezer is getting full. Recipe four was tasty, but I’m debating whether it’s worth burdening your time to discuss; I will ponder this over my next serving but recipe five, recipe five is the real reason we’re here today.

wonder bread
squisssssssh

It started with an apple brown betty, and my recent realization that I have never tried one. Butter + crumbs + sugar = what is wrong with me? Obvious that. Then I found a link I’d bookmarked eons ago to tiny brown bettys, molded in muffin tins, a web recipe from the late Gourmet Magazine. [Moment of silence.] And where it said “good-quality sandwich bread”, I read “Wonder Bread” because I can get it at the bodega. Where it said, “Gala or Fuji apples”, I read “South Jersey strawberries” because I can’t stop buying them. Where it said, “light brown sugar and cinnamon”, I read “dark and lemon zest” and I took “unsalted butter, melted” to mean “browned butter”. Because that’s what I always do. And I’ve never regretted it.

south jersey strawberries

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

strawberries and dumplings

drizzle the dumplings with cream

Have you met my favorite chicken and dumpling dish? Well, let me introduce you to its sweet summer fling: strawberries and dumplings, or in this case, strawberries so tiny, one took a nap inside a soda cap and dumplings so plump, they nudged and piled upon one another like newborn puppies. Yes, in case that didn’t give it away: the cuteness of this dish nearly killed me dead.

in a soda cap, for scale

I caught this “Dessert of the Month” from Gourmet.com last week, and knew it had to be ours. I won’t lie, as soon as it becomes remotely summery around here I spend more of my time scheming ways to avoiding cooking than I do actually fixing things. Quick-stewed strawberries with an easy dough scooped on top? Sold, to the laziest bidder!

tiny south jersey strawberriesstrawberries, decapitatedstrawberries, maceratingmaking dumpling doughforming the dumplingsdumplings, all plumped

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

strawberry shortcakes

strawberry shortcake

Let me guess: It’s Sunday. If you’re lucky, you’ve got at least a whole extra day left of a summer-summoning holiday weekend and if you’re even luckier, and the weather is a little more barbecue, pot-luck or picnic-friendly than it is where I am in the mountains of North Carolina, and maybe, just maybe, you’re trying to figure out what you can bring that won’t take you any time to make.

egg yolk shortcake doughshortcake dough

Well, Smitten Kitchen is here for you! A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times’ ran an article on shortcakes, no not those little “foam discs” that you find next to the strawberries at the grocery store, but lightly sweetened cream biscuits — rich and buttery, coming to a crunch at the edges (often hastened by a sprinkling of coarse sugar), just the perfect cake to offset some lightly sweetened whipped cream and slightly macerated berries. Drooling yet? I was and the accompanying recipe was quickly moved to the top of the Cook This Now or Lose It Forever list. (Top Gun, anyone?)

shortcakebrushing shortcakes with creamsprinkled with sugarshortcakes, cooling

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