We recently found ourselves in possession of a half-flat of strawberries over here. How does one come to possess a half-flat of strawberries you might ask? Welllll, we might have been over-excited to finally see these little red jewels make their blushing debut at the farmers market, and we might have over-bought. I am not afraid of a challenge though, especially not one as delicious as using up six pints of strawberries in as many days.
The first thing I did with the delicate, sweet berries, beside pop of few of them into my mouth, is mix them with some rhubarb, sugar, and cornstarch. I then put that mixture into some cute little ramekins and buried it under a buttery, slightly salty crumb topping. Into the oven they went where they baked into a jammy, stewy, deliciously unctuous crumble.
I halved this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble recipe from 101cookbooks and split the goods into four personal-sized portions. Top with ice cream or whipped cream, of course.
After dessert, I was satiated enough to start thinking about other, non-dessert ways to use my cache of berries. And my thoughts went straight to breakfast. My go-to breakfast the past few months has been a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with defrosted frozen mixed berries. It’s healthy and just a little sweet. I could (and did), of course, add fresh strawberries to my yogurt, but I wanted something slightly more daring (I lead an exciting life).
First, I turned to this Rhubarb Compote from Cucina Nicolina. I’ve been making this compote on a weekly basis ever since rhubarb showed up in the market a month or two ago. This time, I substituted one stalk of the rhubarb for a half pint of strawberries and made a dreamy Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote that is just perfect swirled into my favorite yogurt.
I wasn’t done with breakfast though. I also tucked some strawberries and my remaining rhubarb snugly into a parchment paper pouch, following this recipe from a recent Bon Appetit, and roasted them in a hot oven. They softened into a lightly sweetened slump that settles over a mound of morning yogurt like a thick, delicious blanket…the only blanket I might like better is the down comforter on my bed that I have to leave to eat said yogurt in the morning.
Almost halfway through the half-flat, I was gaining steam. Another issue of Bon Appetit (I was a couple behind) revealed a quick and easy Strawberry Jam recipe that did not require actual canning – no water bath, no pectin, no fuss. A shredded Granny Smith apple provides the thickening agent and the jam keeps in the fridge for two weeks – far longer than you will manage to keep it around, I assure you.
On the day I found myself with less than two pints left, I looked out my window to find another gray, wet, chilly Seattle day. Juneuary, the seasoned locals apparently call it. But not me. Me and my strawberries were going to make it feel like summer, come hell or high water (or incessant rain). To accomplish this feat of suspended disbelief, I turned to my friend Eve Fox and her recipe for childhood summers spent in the sun: Strawberry Mint Lemonade. I made a double batch.
Less than a pint of strawberries left, and I had saved the best for last. You see, David has a weakness for biscuits. And I have a weakness for whipped cream (I will seriously just eat a bowl of it on its own if someone doesn’t hold me back). Strawberries + biscuits + whipped cream? That equals strawberry shortcake.
Not just any strawberry shortcake though. Weeks previously I had bookmarked the recipe for James Beard’s Strawberry Shortcake that Food52 was generous enough to share with the world. It has a secret ingredient. I always love the idea of a secret ingredient – an unexpected twist that makes a recipe unique and is passed down from generation to generation. My imagination of a secret ingredient and the story behind it rarely is satisfied by reality though. There are tons of recipes that say they have a secret ingredient, but it is something common sense that isn’t actually a secret at all. This is not one of those recipes. This secret ingredient is everything I want a secret ingredient to be – weird, unexpected, from a mom who discovered it years and years ago. And, most importantly, it totally makes a difference in the recipe!
These shortcakes are truly the best I’ve ever had. They are very rich, while at the same time being impossibly light. They have an extremely delicate crumb, while still holding together enough to be the vehicle you need to shovel strawberries and whipped cream into your face. See? The best. You will have to make them yourself to find out what the secret ingredient is…or just click on this link, but I promise you will want to make them yourself.
And thus ended my journey down a road paved with strawberries. I had used them all up. Sad! I think I will buy another half-flat this weekend…
If you find yourself in a similar position of overabundance this summer – or in the more rational position of having a pint or two of berries – you won’t be disappointed if you give one of these recipes a spin. What’s your favorite strawberry recipe?