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Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts of all time! Instead of serving with whipped cream or ice cream, I often elect to drown the shortcake in milk. It is divine. I’ve adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 8

Ingredients:
6 cups Strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup and 2 Tb Sugar
3 cups All-purpose flour
4 Tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Tsp. Salt
12 Tb. Unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), diced into small pieces
1/2 cup Skim Milk
2 Eggs, large

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Toss strawberries with 2 Tb. sugar and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Add butter and stir until combined. (Alternatively you can use a mixer and pulse until the mixture has pea-sized specks of butter–about 10-12 pulses)
4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Pour over flour mixture and stir until mixed (Note: the dough is rather sticky)
5. Spoon batter on to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until slightly golden brown. Cool and serve with strawberries, milk and if you choose ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

It is too hot hot hot to cook… I think the heat index tomorrow is 110 degrees here in Durham. This leads me to an important observation:

Ice Cream for Dinner!!!
peach ice cream & triple berry sorbet
source: The Parlour’s facebook page

(followed by a salad for dessert)

If you are from around here, I highly recommend visiting Durham’s mobile-school bus turned ice cream truck, The Parlour. Please accept my apologies for no picture of the fabulous decadence that I have previously consumed. I seem to have forgotten to take them as a result of the heat delirium/ice cream bliss.

Last week in honour of the new season of True Blood our dear friends Steve and Sam had us over for a viewing party. Steve, another master baker scientist extraordinaire, made a delicious trifle. It was divine and reminded me of the mini-trifles Maureen made for our engagement party (Thanks Maureen!). Steve was gracious to share his recipe, so here it is!!

Peach Trifle (otherwise known as English Trifle, or True Blood food for humans)
Supplies
1 Trifle Bowl — the presentation is one of the best parts of this dessert, so the trifle bowl is essential.

Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce — standard size) package yellow cake mix [or double this recipe]
12 oz. raspberry jam
1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches [or fresh peaches, if they are in season]
1/2 cup sherry or brandy
1 (6 serving size) vanilla pudding mix [or homemade vanilla pudding!]
3 cups milk
2 cups  heavy whipping cream
Sliced toasted almonds

1) Prepare the cake layers in 2, 9-inch round cake pans per the box’s instructions, i.e, 2 separated cakes for layering

2) Once cooled, place one layer in the bottom of the trifle dish. Cover with 1/2 jam, 1/2 peaches, 1/2 liquor, and some of the juice from the peaches.  Use up to 1/2 of the juice — this will determine the moistness of the cake — and 1/2 of the juice will yield a very moist, almost sloppy trifle.

3) Place the next layer of cake on top of all the ingredients that you just added.   Repeat the placement of the jam, peaches, and liquor in the same manner on top of the second layer of cake.

4) This step is optional in my opinion, but the classic recipe calls for it.  I think that the trifle is excellent without the pudding layer.  Prepare the vanilla pudding according to the package using the 3 cups of milk.  Pour the hot pudding over the top of the trifle; let cool.

5) When pudding is cool and set, whip fresh whipping cream and spread on top. Decorate with toasted sliced almonds.

Keeps well in the fridge, or eat it all at once if you are trifle obsessed! Goes well with coffee and vampires too.

Joey loves pie. I was in Montreal for a conference over his birthday, so I made a strawberry rhubarb pie as soon as I returned (along with the help of HP, aka the master baker). I was able to use the rest of the frozen strawberries, which made for quite a mess. I wanted to make pie crust, but didn’t have time–so I ran to Fresh Market to pick up frozen pie crust, which came to the rescue!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Makes 2 pies

Ingredients:
8 cups of strawberries, remove tops and sliced (If using frozen, defrost on the countertop for a few hours before slicing)
5 cups rhubarb, sliced and trimmed (use vegetable peeler to remove the rhubarb skin)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup cornstarch (add 2 Tb more if using frozen strawberries as there is excess liquid)
1 Tb cinnamon
1/2 Tsp salt
4 store bought pie crusts (or use your favorite recipe)
2 Egg yolks + 1 Tb water, for glaze

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Fold in strawberries and rhubarb. Spoon filling into the pie crusts. With the remaining top crusts, cut into strips. To make a lattice pattern, place ~12 strips all in one direction and then place ~6 strips in the other direction. You may have to combine the scraps and roll out with a rolling pin in order to have enough strips. For fun, make leaf patterns on crust. The easiest way to do this is to use a knife to cut out a leaf shape. Draw a line down the center of the leaf and then make indentations along each side of this line. Place two leaves near each other on the edge of the crust and place a “berry” in between. Use a fork to crimp the edge of the crust. Mix the egg yolks with water and use a pastry brush to spread glaze on top of the lattice and decorations.

Place pies on a large cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake for 60-90 minutes or until the pie is set and the crust is brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

“Bleeding” strawberry juice from the frozen strawberries. Using frozen strawberries in pie is certainly messy!

Sorry for the delay, Joey Joe Joe had to get emergency surgery while in California so I had to go meet him and now we’re in Austin..earlier than expected for a friends wedding. Anyhow, I went strawberry picking a few weeks ago with friends. We picked over 10 lbs of berries; thus we froze many of them and also made freezer jam!

First, freezer jam.We followed this recipe as we bought Sure Jell Pectin (http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/30-minutes-homemade-surejell-50137.aspx). Next time, I think we’ll try to find a recipe with less sugar because the jam is a little sweet.

Ingredients:

5 Jelly Jars
2 cups Strawberries, crushed
4 cups Sugar
1 box Pectin
3/4 cup Water

Rinse jelly jars, lids and seals with boiling water and let dry on a clean towel. Rinse strawberries, cut off tops and cut in half. Place strawberries in a bowl and crush. Measure 2 cups of the crushed strawberries and place into bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar and stir. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small saucepan, mix pectin and water. Over high heat, bring to a boil and stir constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute stirring continuously. Add pectin water mixture to strawberry mixture and stir until sugar is dissolved. Immediately fill jelly jars to 1/2″ from top. Wipe off tops of jars and place lid on top. Leave jars on counter for 24 hours and then place in freezer. Jam stays fresh in the fridge for 3 weeks and in the freezer up to 1 year. Enjoy!!

As we picked boatloads of strawberries, we had a lot left over for freezing and eating. To freeze strawberries, follow the following steps. Cut tops of strawberries. Rinse and let dry. Place wax paper on a cookie sheet or lasagna pan (shown here). Place strawberries point side up on the wax paper with space between each strawberry. Cover with wax paper and place in freezer. It will take about 15-24 hours for the strawberries to freeze. Once frozen place in a  freezer bag, and then back in your freezer. Another option is to  slice strawberries and mix with sugar, place in freezer and then use as a yogurt or cereal topping! When you are crazing fresh strawberries, place frozen strawberries in your refrigerator to defrost. Use to make pie, just eat, or top with yogurt–and enjoy!