Strawberries Archive

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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Friday, March 20, 2009

cream cheese pound cake + strawberry coulis

cream cheese pound cake, dusted

Meet my new favorite pound cake. I have had this cake bookmarked for, oh, 100 years or so and while some recipes that I unearth from their 100-year queue are the kinds of disappointments that did not improve with age, this is of the opposite variety: Why did it take me so long to make this? Here, let me kick myself a few times.

crackly top

I’d argue that it was fear. Pound cakes are of British origin, dating back nearly 300 years and their name came from the fact that original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter (four sticks), sugar (two cups), eggs (eight large) and flour (four cups), with no leaveners other than the air that was whipped into the batter. They tend to be a bit heavy and dense but it’s hard to argue that this type is not for you when anything else is not a true pound cake.

strawberriesstrawberry couliscream cheese pound cakecream cheese pound cake

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

pink lady cake

pink lady cake

I know what you’re thinking: another dessert, Deb? Are you trying to kill us? But let me explain; you see, when your house guests fill your fridge and freezer with sausage and cheese and bread and you buy some wonderful Satur Farms arugula (now available at Whole Foods! Oh, how happy this makes me.) and make daily vinaigrettes with your new French Dijon, it turns out you don’t have to cook dinner at all. For days. And that’s pretty much where we’re at with things that do not involve sugar.

pink lady batter

Alas, they left us with no dessert, and more poignantly, no pretty pink princess birthday cakes (the nerve!), and so when the call arose on Monday to make one for Liz’s (of spaghetti and meatball photography fame) birthday, I jumped in with two feet.

Because everyone has a pretty pink princess in their life, be she four or 34, and when that pretty pink princess has a birthday, you need a cake that is appropriate. And there is nothing more darling and swell, more coquettish and eyelash-batting, than a pink lady cake. Simply nothing.

creating a pink lady cake

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