Sweet Strawberries!

There are few things I love more than a day in a field of strawberries - the sun shining in a big blue sky while I fill baskets with my little boys.

I have so many fond memories of taking them when they were just crawlers and this past week was awesome because at 3yo and 5yo, they could both help me collect the delicious bounty of berries.

I always think that my fam can eat all the berries in a day or two because we are so excited, but fact is, even two baskets are a lot. What a great excuse to try recipes to find the very best ones to showcase these juicy, fresh strawberries! I’m sharing them with you today. Enjoy!

Strawberries and Cream Biscuits (Source: SmittenKitchen.com)

2 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold, unsalted butter
1 cup (about 130 grams) chopped very ripe strawberries (I quarter small or medium ones and further chop larger ones)
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together. Add butter, either by cutting it in with two knives or a pastry blender (alternatively, you can freeze the butter and grate it in on the large holes of a box grater; a tip I learned from you guys) cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, breaking it up until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal with tiny pea-sized bits of butter about. Gently stir in the strawberries, so that they are coated in dry ingredient, then stir in heavy cream. (I like to use a rubber spatula to gently lift and turn the ingredients over each other.) When you’ve mixed it in as best as you can with the spatula, go ahead and knead it once or twice in the bowl, to create one mass. Do not worry about getting the dough evenly mixed. It’s far more important that the dough is not overworked.

Generously flour your counter. With as few movements as possible, transfer your dough to the counter, generously flour the top of it and with your hands or a rolling pin, gently roll or press the dough out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch circles with a floured biscuit cutter or top edge of a drinking glass, pressing straight down and not twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut. Carefully transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple inches between each.

You can re-roll the scraps of dough, but don’t freak out over how wet the dough becomes as the strawberries have had more time to release their juice. They’ll still bake up wonderfully.

Bake the scones for 12 to 15 minutes, until bronzed at the edges and the strawberry juices are trickling out of the biscuits in places. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Do ahead: Biscuits are generally best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you’re prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than one day in advance, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the froze, unbaked scones, just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie (Source: SmittenKitchen.com) IMAGE BELOW

An additional note about texture: The cream cheese base of this pie gets firm but not rock-hard in the freezer (a good thing), but the whipped cream topping can get very firm, almost popsicle-like. If this isn’t to your liking, you can add the whipped cream right before serving, or only let it firm up 10 minutes in the freezer, enough that it can stand up to the wet strawberry topping but not be fully frozen.

Crust
1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 10 crackers)
3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
2 pinches sea salt
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream topping
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Strawberry sauce
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Make crust: Heat oven to 350°F. Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. I like to use the outer edge of a heavy measuring cup to press in neat, firm sides but nobody will be the wiser if you just use your fingertips. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 9 to 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, you can even transfer it to the freezer to get it started on the chilling process.

Make cheesecake filling: Beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy, then slowly beat in condensed milk until smooth. Beat in zest and vanilla. [This step updated to ensure everyone avoids lumps.] Pour into cooled crust and freeze for 6 to 8 hours, until firm.

Make whipped cream topping: Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the frozen filling and return to the freezer until firm, usually less than an hour.

Make strawberry topping: Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon, cornstarch and water in a medium, heavy saucepan. Let macerate for 15 to 20 minutes, then cook over medium-low heat to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, then remove from heat and chill sauce completely. You can hasten this along by stirring it in a bowl set over a bowl of ice water. Chill strawberry sauce in fridge until needed. (We won’t be freezing this part.)

To serve: Using a hot, wet knife, cut pie into wedges and drape each with strawberry sauce. Eat, repeat.

-Amber

Amber Saleem