Strawberry Pie Bars

I had my eye on this recipe way before I even went strawberry picking…and these pie bars met every expectation. 🙂 This recipe is from Joy the Baker. Wonderful!

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into bite-size chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for topping
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over two edges of the pan about two inches. This will make the pie bars easier to remove after it’s baked. Lightly spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. For the crust, place the butter, sugars, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon and mix on low-speed until just combined.
  5. Scatter two-thirds of the dough into clumps in the prepared pan, flour your fingers and press the dough across the bottom of the pan and up the sides of the pan about 1/2-inch. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and set aside to cool while you prepare the topping and filling.
  7. In a small bowl combine the remaining crust and pecans. Stir until combined and set aside.
  8. In a medium bowl toss together the sliced strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and spices. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes until some juices develop in the bottom of the bowl.
  9. After the juices have developed, add the melted butter and the instant tapioca. Stir to combine. The tapioca will look coarse within the mixture but it will dissolve in the oven.
  10. Spread the strawberries evenly over the crust.
  11. Pinch medium pieces of remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly over the top of the strawberry mixture (they won’t cover the top completely but do your best to cover).
  12. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the topping is brown and the strawberry mixture is bubbling. (If there are still tapioca bits, take the pan out of the oven and gently stir those berries in so the tapioca gets moistened.)
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  14. Chill in the refrigerator to easily remove the bars from the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Note: The bars can be stored, wrapped individually or covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Speaking of strawberry cocktails… the added bonus of this amazing fresh strawberry ice cream is that the sweetened vodka-based macerating liquid makes a wonderful base for a celebratory summer cocktail. Nice! 🙂

The texture and color of this ice cream was absolutely incredible. It was the perfect use for my precious, freshly-picked strawberries. The ice cream recipe is from Martha Stewart Living; I included a recipe for the bonus cocktail below.

For the Ice Cream:

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (about 3 cups), plus 8 ounces more, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for macerating
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup vodka or silver tequila
  1. In a blender or Vitamix, puree halved strawberries with lemon juice and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (You should have 1 1/2 cups of puree; reserve any excess for another use.)
  2. Combine milk, cream, 2/3 cup sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture into a bowl set in an ice bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in strawberry puree. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  5. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vodka. Add chopped strawberries and macerate at room temperature at least 2 hours, or in the refrigerator, covered, up to 12 hours.
  6. Process puree mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When it has the texture of soft serve, drain macerated berries (reserving syrup for another use) and fold into ice cream.
  7. Transfer to a loaf pan and freeze, wrapped in plastic, at least 4 hours and up to 1 week.
  8. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

For the Bonus Cocktail:

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • fresh juice from 1/4 large lime
  • 3 oz strawberry-vodka-sugar macerating syrup
  • tonic (for a sweeter cocktail) or seltzer (less sweet), as desired
  1. Combine lime juice and macerated strawberry syrup in a glass.
  2. Fill with ice and top with tonic or seltzer, as desired.

French Strawberry Cake

A friend shared this wonderful recipe with me knowing that I go strawberry picking every June. I couldn’t wait for my fresh picked berries to make it though. 😉 It was such a crowd pleaser, I will have to make it again with my special berries! It’s a summertime version of French Apple Cake. We ate it for dessert but it would also be fabulous as a coffee cake.

This recipe was adapted from Foodtastic Mom, via The View from the Great Island. I used 3 large eggs instead of jumbo eggs and modified the baking time. The recipe suggests baking the cake in a springform pan or a cast iron skillet. Next time, I’ll have to try the skillet version. Amazing!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  1. Set oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly spray a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with cooking oil spray. (Alternatively, a 10-inch cast iron skillet can be used.)
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  4. Cream the soft butter with 1 cup of granulated sugar in a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl a couple of times.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the vanilla.
  6. Stir the sour cream and buttermilk together, and then add the flour to the mixing bowl alternately with the wet, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until combined, but be careful not to overmix.
  7. Fold in the berries and turn into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top. Sprinkle the surface of the cake liberally with the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake no longer jiggles in the center and the top is golden and slightly crackled. This cake is meant to be custardy in the center. The exact cooking time will depend on the pan size you use. You can insert a toothpick in the center to test. (I baked mine for 38 minutes in a 9-inch springform pan.)
  9. Let cool briefly, and then unlatch the spring and remove the outer ring. I like to run a spreading knife along the edge first to loosen any parts of the cake that are sticking to the pan. If using a skillet, serve the cake right out of the pan.
  10. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Notes:

  • This version uses half sour cream and half buttermilk, but you can use all sour cream, all buttermilk, half and half, full fat yogurt, or full fat milk for this cake.
  • Other berries or fruit can be substituted for the strawberries.

One Year Ago: Berry Breeze and Blueberry Muffin Tops with Streusel Topping

Two Years Ago: Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins with Orange Streusel

Three Years Ago: Dori Sanders’ Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

Four Years Ago: Alton Brown’s Berry Muffins

Five Years Ago: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

Fresh Strawberry Gelato

I am always a little apprehensive to make strawberry ice cream. In the past, I’ve tried various strategies to keep the berries from becoming icy and hard in the finished product. Pureeing the berries in this gelato was the perfect solution. My beautiful freshly picked berries may have helped too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Katrina and Carmelo Turillo, owners of La Divina Gelateria in New Orleans, via Bon Appetit. I didn’t strain the puree, chilled the base overnight in the refrigerator, and churned the gelato for 25 minutes in my ice cream maker. I may add some vanilla extract next time. It was excellent!

Yield: Makes about 4 cups
  • 3/4 cup sugar (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Stir sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and cream.
  3. Whisk over medium heat until gelato base thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Pour into bowl.
  4. Immerse bowl in prepared ice water to cool, stirring occasionally.
  5. Puree strawberries in processor. Stir into gelato base.
  6. Mix in pomegranate juice.
  7. Chill 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Transfer to container. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and the container lid; freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

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Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake

IMG_4627Our special springtime family tradition is to go strawberry picking. We love it. 🙂 This year, our favorite berry picking farm limited the quantity each person could pick because a cold snap in the early spring damaged a lot of their plants. I had to go pick on two separate occasions!

There is always a lot of pressure to put our pickings to good use. Along with my mandatory strawberry jam and pancakes, I also made strawberry muffins and this amazing dessert – my new addition this year. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Gerard Craft. I made half of the recipe and modified the baking time accordingly. We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream. It could also be a very special breakfast. Fabulous!!

I’m joining Angie’s party with this one over at Fiesta Friday #125 co-hosted by my friends Quinn @ Dad What’s 4 Dinner and Elaine @ Foodbod. Check out their wonderful blogs & the fiesta!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved (4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/4 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons, unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 large eggs (It’s a little tricky!)
  • 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

For Serving:

  • vanilla ice cream, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds and let stand until the berries release some of their juices, about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the fruit filling into a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients with your fingers until a coarse meal forms; press into small clumps. (I set this mixture aside in the refrigerator.)
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
  6. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
  8. Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl.
  9. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
  10. Spoon the batter over the fruit filling, spreading it to the edge. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  11. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  12. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve the crumb cake warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead: The crumb cake can be refrigerated overnight. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: The fruit filling can also be made with a combination of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

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If you like this you may also like:

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

There is still time! Fresh blueberries are still available!! I regret not posting this wonderful cake sooner- my apologies…. I first read about this blueberry cornmeal cake on Sue’s blog, Birgerbird. She described it as one of the best desserts she had ever tasted, and I know that she has tasted some delicious desserts! 😉 I have had it on my “to make” list ever since. It lived up to my expectations. My family and I devoured it. Mmmmm…. We ate this delicious rustic cake for dessert but it would also be wonderful for a special breakfast. It’s not overly sweet and has a fabulous crumb from the cornmeal. Berries and corn are a wonderful match.

This recipe was adapted from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeband and Laurel Almerinda. I weighed the ingredients when possible which I have found not only ensures a better result but also decreases the preparation time. I modified the recipe to use a 9-inch springform pan, and substituted sour cream for the plain yogurt in the batter.

The authors recommend making this cake with gooseberries- I have to remember that when I receive my CSA gooseberries next season! Strawberries can be used as well. This cake can also be modified for the holidays by adding the zest of one orange, cranberries, and both brown and white sugar. Nice!!

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

  • 195 g (3/4 cup plus 1 1 /2 T) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 190 g (3/4 cup plus 3 T) granulated sugar, plus 2 T for sprinkling the top of the cake
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 T canola oil
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 200 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 120 g (3/4 cup) cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 T (270 ml) whole plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 130 g (1/2 cup plus 1 T) whole milk ricotta
  • 150 g (1 cup) fresh blueberries

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line and grease (I used cooking oil spray) a 9-inch round springform pan of a 10-inch round cake pan.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 190 g granulated sugar, and salt on medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
  5. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  6. Pause mixing and add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not over mix!
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the blueberries and sprinkle with the remaining 2 T granulated sugar.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 1 hour 10 minutes in a standard oven, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake! (I am obsessed with not over baking…)
  9. Allow to cool 15 minutes in the pan.
  10. If using a springform pan, release the sides of the pan and remove. (safer & easier!!) If using a cake pan, place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Gently pull the parchment from every nook and cranny of the cake, being careful not to break the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the plate.

Note: This cake is best served the day it’s made but keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

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Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

I had to make this wonderful dessert when I received rhubarb in my CSA share… even if I did have to go buy strawberries. 😉 The two together always make a delicious and tangy filling.

The topping on this crisp is out of this world- very generous, delightfully clumpy, and perfectly sweet. My non-dessert-appreciating friend had a SECOND helping! Yay! This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Rollie Wesen.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pound strawberries, preferably organic, hulled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

To Serve:

  • vanilla ice cream, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° on convection.
  2. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 3/4 cup of the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In another bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the strawberries; discard any rhubarb juice. Add the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla to the fruit and stir well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix the ingredients together until large crumbs form.
  6. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer (or up to 30 minutes longer in a standard oven), until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned.
  8. Let the crisp rest for 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Note: The topping can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

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