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Bon Appétit: The Strawberries are Here!

May 10, 2016 09:00AM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

Bon Appétit

by Scarlett Cook

The Strawberries are Here!

We’ve waited all winter long for fresh local strawberries and they are finally on their way.  I know that the ones that the grocery store sells have gotten better over the years, but they pale in comparison to ones picked locally.  Nothing signals that summer is on the horizon more than a warm, plump, juicy strawberry.  Strawberries are absolutely delicious on their own, but the things that you can do to them are endless.

To make sure that your berries stay at their best, once you get them home, look over them carefully and set aside any that are too ripe to last more than one day.  Eat those first and then put the others in the fridge.  Strawberries will usually last 2 – 3 days chilled.  To make sure that you can keep them at their best, spread them out on a back sheet lined with paper towels.  

Wash just before you will use them as this hastens their demise and leave the hull on so that the berries won’t absorb water


Roasted Strawberry Shortcakes with Vanilla Biscuits

Makes 6 servings

Biscuits

1 3/4 Cups plain flour

3 Tablespoons sugar (plus extra to sprinkle on biscuits)

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/4 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup heavy whipping cream

2 Teaspoons vanilla

 

Berry Topping

2 Pints strawberries, washed and hulled

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 Cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 425˚.  Grease a large baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Beat 1 cup of the whipping cream just until you have soft peaks.  Beat in the vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and the whipped cream and stir the mixture with a fork just until it begins to form a dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough several times just until it is well combined.  Pat out to a 1/2” thickness.  With a 3” cutter, cut out 6 rounds; gathering the scraps and re-patting if necessary.  Brush the biscuits with cream and sprinkle with sugar and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.  Let cool on the pan on a wire rack.

After the biscuits are out of the oven increase oven temperature to 450˚.

Toss the berries with the 1/2 cup sugar.  Transfer to a baking dish with sides.

Roast strawberries for about 12 minutes, stirring twice.

When ready to serve, beat together the remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream, sour cream and powdered sugar until the mixture forms soft peaks.

Split each biscuit and place bottom halves on plates.  Spoon generous portion of warm berries over each one, add a dollop of cream, replace the tops and drizzle with any leftover juices from the baking sheet.  Serve at once.

 
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Makes about 2 cups

1 Pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Pinch of lemon zest


Stir together the strawberries and the rest of the ingredients.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes.  Do not refrigerate.

This is good over ice cream, pound cake or just about anything!

 

Meringues with Strawberries and Lemon Curd

Makes 8 servings

3 Large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 Teaspoon salt

1/8 Teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 Cup packed dark brown sugar – with no lumps

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 Pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 Tablespoons sugar

6 Tablespoons lemon curd – homemade or purchased (found with the jams & jellies)

 

Preheat oven to 225˚.  Trace four 3” circles onto sheets of parchment paper, leaving at least an inch between them.  Place paper on two large baking sheets.

Beat egg whites on medium high speed just until foamy.  Add salt and cream of tartar and beat just until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle brown sugar into egg whites and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  Beat in vanilla.

Spoon the meringue onto the circles on prepared sheets, starting in the middle of each circle and working outward.  Use the spoon to shape meringues into a nest shape.

Bake for 2 hours or until meringues are crisp but not brown.  Turn off oven and let the meringues cool in the oven for at least an hour.  Then cool completely on the baking sheets on wire racks.

The shells can be prepared and store in a tightly covered container for several days, but they are best not made on a damp day as they will become sticky.

 

To serve:

Stir together the strawberries and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Spoon lemon curd into meringues and top with strawberries.

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