Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quick Strawberry Preserves

This is a quick old fashioned recipe for strawberry preserves that uses no pectin. Making preserves is a great way to use up extra, less than perfect, or even frozen berries. These preserves really capture the strawberry flavor without being overly sweet. They bear little resemblance to the high fructose corn syrup variety found in the supermarket. Once you try these preserves, you'll never want the grocery store preserves again!

This recipe only makes about three cups of preserves, so I skip the canning and just use it fresh. However, it does freeze well if you wanted to make more at one time.

3 1-pint baskets (about 6 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled. Frozen strawberries will also work.
2 cups sugar
Lemon juice from one lemon


Place hulled strawberries in heavy large saucepan and mash coarsely. Cook strawberries over medium heat until beginning to thicken, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 2 cups sugar and stir until dissolved. Increase heat to medium and boil gently until mixture thickens and mounds on spoon, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.

Skim any foam that rises to the top. You can skip this step, but your preserves will be much nicer looking without the foam.

Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Cool. (Preserves can be prepared 1 week ahead. Refrigerate in airtight container.)Makes about 3 cups.

Serve the preserves over ice cream, on pancakes or muffins, spread between the layers of a cake, mixed into yogurt...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Baking with Strawberries

The classic flavors of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb have always worked well together and here they are quite delicious as a topping for this light, buttery coffee cake. As the name suggests it is meant to be eaten in the morning with a cup of coffee which is delightful, but served with a cream sauce or ice cream it makes a lovely simple dessert.

I first made this last Spring and have now waited longingly for a whole year to make it again, finally that day has arrived

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

3 cups fresh sliced rhubarb or 13-ounce package frozen
16oz strawberries, sliced- you can use frozen
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, softened

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.

For filling:
Combine rhubarb, strawberries, and half the sugar in saucepan; simmer, covered, about 5 minutes. Add remaining sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch to fruit mixture. Cook and stir until thickened. Set aside to cool.

For topping:
combine all ingredients until crumbly; set aside.

For batter:
Combine dry ingredients.
Cut inbutteruntil mixture makes fine crumbs.
Beat together the milk, eggs and vanilla.
Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
To complete: spoon the batter into prepared pan. Spoon cooled filling over batter. Sprinkle topping over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees fo 40 - 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
Cool slightly before cutting.

16 servings or this can be easily halved