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Have a berry good time

Ralph Daily, Wikimedia Commons

Strawberry shortcake can be enjoyed with sweetened biscuits, angel food cake, pound cake or whatever you choose.


Strawberry season is in full swing, and if you are lucky, you have access to some farmers markets or roadside stands where you can buy the freshest and ripest berries. If you are very lucky, you can harvest your own homegrown strawberries.

I used to be able to do that, but nowadays I just can’t win against gophers, every sort of bug and insect, birds, raccoons, deer, you get the picture. I have tried all the usual tricks for deterring all of those critters, but one way or another, the berry thieves always win. So, now I get my berries at a roadside stand that is set up right at the field where they are grown.

I often wonder how many berries the farmers lose to gophers and birds, raccoons, possums, etc. I guess there’s enough to share?

Hope you enjoy some fresh strawberries this spring and summer.

Old-fashioned strawberry shortcake

Have shared this before, but it is always popular.

6 cups sliced, fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the shortcake:

3 cups flour

5 tablespoons sugar, divided

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For topping:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine strawberries with sugar and vanilla; mash slightly. Let stand at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 400. For shortcakes, whisk together flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the cold butter until crumbly. Add buttermilk; stir just until combined (do not overmix). Drop batter, 1/3 cup at a time and 2 inches apart, onto an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons heavy cream; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake in preheated oven until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

3. For topping, beat heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. To serve, cut shortcakes in half; top with strawberries and whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

Strawberry ice cream

This recipe is a custard style, with egg yolks.

6 large egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups crushed fresh strawberries, sweetened

1. Place egg yolks and milk in the top of a double boiler; beat mixture with a whisk. Add sugar and salt. Cook over simmering water, stirring until mixture is thickened and coats a metal spoon. Allow to cool.

2. Add the vanilla, cream and strawberries to the cooled mixture. Pour into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

3. When ice cream is frozen, transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2 to 4 hours before serving. Makes 12 servings (about 1 1/2 quarts).

Strawberry shortcake sundaes

1 quart vanilla ice cream

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, plus some whole ones for garnish

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Dash of salt

Pound cake or your favorite shortcake

Whipped cream

Strawberry sauce (recipe follows)

1. Beat ice cream in a bowl just until softened. Fold in 3/4 cup strawberry sauce, leaving several streaks. Transfer to a loaf pan; cover with plastic wrap. Freeze at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.

2. Toss strawberries with sugar, lemon juice and salt in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes.

3. Slice pound cake 1/2 inch thick, then cut out 2 1/2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Place 2 scoops of ice cream in each serving glass. Add a pound-cake round, more strawberry sauce, and some sliced-strawberry mixture. Top with another scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, and a whole berry; serve.

Strawberry sauce

1 pound strawberries, quartered

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Stir together berries, sugar, salt and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, mashing with a potato masher and stirring frequently. Cook at a low boil, stirring more often as mixture thickens, until sauce clings to a spoon, about 10 minutes.

2. Skim foam from top. Let cool completely. Makes 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Iced strawberry tea

1 pint fresh strawberries

4 cups of your favorite chilled tea

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1. Set five whole strawberries aside. Puree remaining strawberries in a blender and strain the puree into a pitcher.

2. Stir in the tea, sugar and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Chill for at least an hour. Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with the whole berries. Makes about 5 cups.


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