Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Strawberry bliss

Photos and recipes by Aimee Broussard

With good reason to celebrate the peak of strawberry season, I’ve got you covered with a handful of recipes for an entire day of red berry deliciousness.

From freshly whipped Strawberry Butter for those springtime weekend waffles to porch sipping with a Strawberry Limeade in hand or perhaps a simple spinach salad with a perfectly topped Strawberry Vinaigrette, you’re going to want to keep fresh strawberries close at hand this season. Lucky for you, we live in an area where they are abundant!

And what kind of friend would I be to not include an easy Strawberry Shortcake recipe? Not a “berry” good one, that’s for sure. While the instructions may appear slightly daunting, a tasty reward awaits upon the completion of these entertaining showstoppers.

High five for strawberries!


HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY VINAIGRETTE
½ lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a Mason jar or serving vessel. Use on a simple salad of spinach, toasted walnuts, and even more strawberries.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES
Cake:
2 cups all-purpose four
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup light sour cream
Strawberry Layer:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, chopped
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Cream cheese layer:
2 cups heavy cream
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp. clear vanilla extract
For Cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray, then line with parchment paper. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then add vanilla. Add 13 of dry ingredients, and mix until just combined, then add ½ of sour cream. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream, scraping down bowl periodically and mixing until well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake until center is no longer jiggly and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 to 24 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut into 12 rounds (use a biscuit/cookie cutter the size of the individual dessert dishes you will be using).
For Strawberry Layer, toss chopped strawberries with sugar. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
For Cream Cheese Layer, in a large mixing bowl, beat heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. In a separate mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract; continue to whip until light and fluffy. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped heavy cream; combine well. Transfer mixture to a piping bag or a large plastic zip-top bag.
To assemble, add a spoonful of strawberries to the base of each dessert dish. Add a cake round. Place a layer of cream cheese mixture (piped with a piping bag or snipped plastic zip-top bag) over cake round. Add another spoonful of strawberries, being sure to allow syrup to drip down sides. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
Makes 10-12 servings.

WHIPPED STRAWBERRY BUTTER
1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
Place strawberries with sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat. Allow strawberries to simmer for 10 minutes. Allow strawberry mixture to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip softened butter until pale and fluffy. Add cooled strawberry mixture to butter, and whip until well combined.
Makes 4 servings.
Use on your favorite waffle recipe, followed by slices of fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a sinfully delicious strawberry breakfast treat.

STRAWBERRY LIMEADE
1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lime (plus more for garnish)
1 (2-liter) bottle Sprite
Place strawberries in a large saucepan with 4 cups water; bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain strawberries into a large pitcher. While strawberry juice is still warm, add sugar and stir until dissolved, then add lime juice.
When ready to serve, fill each glass with crushed ice, and fill 13 of the glass with strawberry syrup. Finish by filling remainder of glass with Sprite. Garnish with a sliced strawberry and lime.
Note: The strawberry syrup is good for up to a week or so in the refrigerator. Adding the Sprite just before serving will give the limeade the fizz factor.
Makes 6-8 servings

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning author. Her recent cookbook Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties debuted exclusively on QVC. Join Aimee for weekly recipes with a side of Southern hospitality on her blog, aimeebroussard.com.

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