Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spring = Strawberries

                                                           “Let me take you down….”

We’re in the heart of the local strawberry season. It arrived late this year due to tentative weather but there are plenty to be had. Enjoy them now. Don’t be terrorized by huge, flavorless strawberries from California!

Strawberry Muffins

This is a good all-purpose muffin recipe. When blueberries are in season you could substitute them for the strawberries. You could substitute the 1 cup of  cake flour for 1 cup of corn meal for corn muffins.

For one dozen muffins:

2 Grade A large eggs
½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plain cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup (loosely packed) fresh strawberries, halved or quartered depending on their size

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray or fill each space with a cupcake paper. Set aside.
2. Sift the flours and the baking powder together and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the milk and butter until blended. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and combine; it’s fine if there are lumps in the batter. Fold in strawberries. Divide the batter, filling each muffin cup 2/3’s full. Place the muffins in the oven and bake for 12 minutes; turn the muffin pan and continue baking for an additional 13 to 15 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy.

Strawberry- Rhubarb Crisp

A crisp is a quick alternative to a crumb pie when you don’t have the time but it is just as rewarding. Plus you don’t have to worry if you can serve it without it falling apart.
This makes four individual-sized servings or you could bake it in a 4 cup capacity baking dish

2 cups strawberries, halved or quartered depending on their size
½ pound rhubarb stalks, sliced into ½ “ pieces (2 cups)
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons apple cider, orange juice or water
2 Tablespoons corn starch

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the strawberries and the rhubarb into a mixing bowl.  Add the sugar and the juice/water and stir to combine. Set aside for 20 minutes to let the juices come out. In the meantime, make the crisp topping.
2. Before baking, add the cornstarch to the fruit and mix until dissolved. Spray the baking dishes with non-stick spray. Divide the strawberry-rhubarb mixture between the serving bowls. Top each portion with some of the crumb mixture. Place the dishes on a baking tray and place them into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and rotate the tray and continue baking for an additional 15 to 2o minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, or not.

Crisp Topping
This will make more than you will need. Freeze the leftovers in a sealable storage bag for use at a later time.
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1. Place the flour, sugars and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, lightly mix together. Add the butter and mix until small crumbs begin to form. Set aside until needed. (Alternately, this can be mixed together by hand, cutting the butter into the flour/sugars with a fork or pastry blender.)

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