- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

My children and I differ on how we love strawberries. They favor them out of hand, blended into smoothies or dipped in chocolate.I yearn for those loving strawberry desserts of yesterday: ripe, fresh local berries, sweetened just enough, but not too much, with granulated sugar, then left to rest on the counter in a glass bowl until the sugar has pulled juice from the berries, making its own sweet sauce.

My mother would spoon those berries and juices over poundcake or pile them on split and buttered biscuits.

M y children and I do agree that it’s about time to savor some fresh strawberries. When local berries come into season later this spring, it’s a fun family outing to go picking berries so you can tote them home and turn them into strawberry preserves or the warm and inviting strawberry crisp that follows.

Nina Long is a photographer who prepares this easy crisp using fresh or frozen strawberries.

It’s a recipe she first tasted at her husband’s family reunion. It either feeds a crowd or offers leftovers you can reheat the next day.

So you have plenty of room for the hot crisp, begin with a light springtime pasta medley of fettuccine, linguine and angel-hair pasta tossed with steamed fresh asparagus, carrots and peas and perhaps a splash of cream and good Parmesan cheese.

Add a green salad and garlic bread, then bring on those berries.

Nina’s strawberry crisp

6 cups fresh whole strawberries, rinsed, drained and capped

1 18.25-ounce package plain yellow cake mix

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

Vanilla ice cream, optional

Place strawberries in bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan.

Cover strawberries with half of the dry cake mix.

Cut butter into half-inch pieces, and scatter half of them over the mix. Cover with remaining cake mix, then scatter remaining butter pieces on top.

Place pan on rack in center of preheated 350-degree oven.

Bake crisp until it is golden brown and crisp on top, 60 to 65 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Spoon warm crisp into bowls, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (if desired), and serve.

Makes 18 to 20 servings.

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