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Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

by Caitlin Saniga

Strawberry and whipped mascarpone crostini

You’ve probably had strawberries and whipped cream before. But mascarpone cheese adds another level of luxury to the classic combination. Paired with the crusty, buttered toasts, it almost reminds me of an airier strawberry cheesecake.

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by Caitlin Saniga

What’s your favorite part of lemon meringue pie? Mine’s the meringue. And that’s basically what pavlova is: a big pile of meringue (topped with fruit). Fun fact: This dessert is big in Australia and New Zealand and is said to have been named after famous Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours through the region.

  • 5 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup sliced, pitted cherries
  • basil or mint for garnish, if desired

This was one of my first attempts at pavlova. I didn’t beat the egg whites nearly long enough, so my mound was fairly flat. When the pavlova baked, some bubbled over the edge of the pan. Don’t make my mistake! Beat the egg whites until they’re almost hard. When you “spread” the mixture on the baking sheet, it should be kind of difficult because the egg whites are almost solid. This will ensure that the mound remains standing through the bake time. Also! Notice the magnets holding down the edges of the parchment paper. I found this trick handy! But don’t forget to remove the magnets before baking.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Trace a 7- or 8-inch circle on parchment paper and line a baking sheet. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites in a standing mixer (with a whisk attachment if you have one) until foamy and thick, about 3 minutes. Pour in half of the caster sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture forms firm peaks, another 2 or 3 minutes on high.

Using an offset spatula, spread the meringue on the parchment, using the circle as a guide, to create a uniform mound.

This is what the pavlova looks like after a night of sitting in the oven. The top gets all crackled and crispy. It’s the best! Also, a note about caster sugar: It’s a super-fine sugar that dissolves quickly in liquids. If you can’t find any at the store, make your own by running white sugar through the food processor.

Using a fine-mesh strainer or sifter, shake powdered sugar over the meringue.

Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for another 35 minutes, until slightly golden, and turn off the oven, leaving the meringue to dry out overnight. Do not open the oven door! Use the oven light to check on things instead.

Serve the next day with the strawberries and cherries, and garnish with basil or mint. You should be able to slice the pavlova with a flat-edge knife. Store leftovers at room temperature, loosely covered with parchment paper for up to 1 week.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Urban Pantry

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The traditional Memorial Day picnic spread is great – it’s hard to argue with tradition. This year, however, we decided to keep the menu but ditch the recipes. Remember our Thanksgiving Twist guide from 2010? This is the summer version. We’re taking four traditional picnic menu items — fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers — and adding a new spin.

Although trying all of these new variations at a single party may upset a few people, you could just try one or two. Go ahead — shake things up a bit over the Tupperware this season.

Three-berry fruit salad with basil-mint syrup

by Caitlin Saniga

I love the idea that some of these ingredients can likely come from your very own garden. For me, I just had mint this time of year. But give it a couple of weeks, and I might have been able to use my basil and wild raspberries from the yard. I thought about using the mulberries from behind the house, too. This dish is very flexible. Use berries that are in season.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries or blackberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Whisk together the honey, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the fruit, basil and mint. Pour the syrup over the mixture, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Gal Time

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Layered citrus-apple salad with honey-ginger syrup

by Sarah Steimer

A little sweet and very sour – thanks to those grapefruit. If you’d rather people not have to pull the grapefruit rinds off themselves, be sure to slice those off before serving.

  • 1 grapefruit, sliced horizontally
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced horizontally
  • 2 clementines, peeled and separated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling if desired
  • 1/4 cup water

Layer with alternating grapefruit and apple slices. Add the clementine sections throughout.

Whisk together the minced ginger, honey and water. Sprinkle the syrup over the fruit. Refrigerate for at least one hour so the syrup has time to soak into the fruit.

Serve drizzled with additional honey, if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Alfresco Refreshed is our spin on four traditional picnic staples: fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers. You can find all the recipes here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Do these puffs look familiar? I used the same pate a choux recipe here that I used for my sausage profiteroles a few months ago. I had some trouble getting the puffs to rise the first time I made profiteroles, but this time around, I knew exactly what consistency to look for. Remember, if you’re cooking on a day that’s even remotely humid, you should start with just 2 whole eggs. My trick is to start with 2 whole eggs, beat them into the mixture, break the third egg into a cup, and use a hollow egg shell half to scoop out little bits of egg to add to the mixture. That way, I can be as precise as possible.

Pate a choux:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 large egg white

Whipped cream:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (Add it gradually, tasting as you go, until you achieve the perfect mild sweetness.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit:

  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

To make the pate a choux:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside. Combine the butter, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and the water just comes to a boil.

Remove from the heat, add flour, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to heat; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan as you stir, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously until they are completely incorporate and the pastry is smooth. (It might be best to break the third egg into a dish, split the yolk with a knife, and add it in spoonfuls to the mixture. You might not need to use all of the final egg to achieve the correct consistency.)

Transfer the pastry to a pastry bag fitted with a small coupler (or a zip-top bag with the corner cut off to form a small hole). Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the pastry into a mound on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue piping until all the pastry is used, spacing pastry about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Combine the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of each mound with the egg wash. Smooth any rough spot on the top with a water-dampened finger. Bake until the puffs are golden brown all over, about 30 minutes. (Start checking at 20 minutes.) Remove from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice the pastry puffs crosswise, and set aside.

To make the whipped cream:

In the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on high until a semi-firm consistency is reached, about 3 minutes.

To make the strawberries:

Sprinkle the sugar over the sliced strawberries and stir to combine.

To assemble the cream puffs:

Put a few slices of strawberry and a dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of each pasty. Top cream puffs with pastry lids.

Serve immediately or chill up to 3 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook — The Original Classics

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by Caitlin Saniga

The original recipe called for only 1 teaspoon of grated lemon peel, but in the words of my Aunt Karen, "If you have a lemon, you peel the lemon."

For fruit:

  • 1 1/4 pounds firm but ripe peaches (about 5), peeled, pitted, cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
  • 12 ounces strawberries (about 3 cups), hulled
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • grated peel from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter an 8-inch square baking dish or 9-inch round casserole dish. Mix the peaches, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl. Let stand until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the prepared dish.

For the topping, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the egg yolk, lemon peel, vanilla and almond extract. Add flour mixture; mix just until moist dough forms. Spoon dough atop fruit, spacing evenly. Bake until juices bubble thickly and topping is golden, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted (with the help of Aunt Karen) from: The Bon Appetit Cookbook

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

I've had variations of spinach and strawberry salads, but I put my own spin on this.

  • a few handfuls of spinach, rinsed
  • about 5-6 strawberries (depending on size), sliced
  • sliced almonds
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry pepper jelly
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

Combine oil, jelly and vinegar for the vinaigrette.  To note: I’m guessing on the amounts, so play around until it tastes good to you.

Toss the spinach and strawberries. Sprinkle almonds and cheese on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette immediately before serving.

Makes about two servings.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

Totally OK for these to be messy and not that attractive because they are delicious.

Amount is totally dependent on how many you make, the original recipe was for 20. which is absurd.

  • graham crackers
  • peanut butter ice cream (I had vanilla and chocolate in my freezer, I let them soften a little and mixed in some peanut butter instead of buying more ice cream).
  • strawberry jelly
  • strawberries, sliced thin
  • peanuts, chopped

Break graham crackers into squares. Spread jelly on each cracker and place strawberry slices on top. Freeze for about a half hour or so. This way when you add the ice cream the jelly won’t slide off the cracker.

Add the ice cream once the jelly has frozen, enough so it’s about an inch thick. Top with another jelly cracker – you want jelly on the top and bottom of the ice cream, otherwise all you will taste is peanut butter.

I've been getting really good strawberries at the farmer's market.

Roll the sides of the ice cream in the crushed peanuts, pressing it gently into the ice cream with your hands. Pop back in the freezer so the ice cream and nuts can set. Serve with napkins and milk.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

Photos: Sarah Steimer

*Throughout June, “Freeze These” will feature our favorite frozen dessert recipes — all of which can be found here.

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