Strawberry Season in the Kitchen

For spring or early summer desserts, you can’t beat recipes made with fresh strawberries! For the best tasting strawberries, buy from your local Farmers’ Market or farm stand, and opt for organic if you can. 

One of my favorite ways to eat strawberries is to dip the strawberry into a little sour cream and then brown sugar. So simple and so tasty! If you want to take it a step further, these no-bake Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries are not only elegant, but they are a breeze to make and the perfect addition to any brunch or dessert menu! It’s all the sweetness of a cheesecake with a refreshing twist of juicy red strawberries. 

CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES

 

Makes 20 strawberries 

20 medium-to-large fresh strawberries 

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 

3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk 

¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 

1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Wash and dry strawberries. Cut tops off the strawberries. Hollow out the center using a small melon baller. Trim bottoms of strawberries so they can stand upright. 

Beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest and lemon juice in a mixer bowl until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a quart-size resealable food storage bag. Snip tip from corner of bag. Pipe mixture into strawberries. 

Tip: For Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries, substitute 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract for the lemon zest and lemon juice. Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries are best served the day they are made. 

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake is easier than you think, and it’s the best way to showcase freshly picked California strawberries. You just can’t beat warm, crumbly buttermilk biscuits topped with juicy strawberries and sweetened whipped cream! 

To make tender, flaky biscuits, it is necessary to have a light touch. Biscuits benefit from minimal handling. When using a biscuit cutter or glass, it’s important to press straight down and then lift straight up. If you twist, there’s a good chance the edges will seal, making it difficult for the biscuits to rise properly. 

FRESH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES 

Makes 7 shortcakes

STRAWBERRIES 

1 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered 

¼ cup granulated sugar 

Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon 

BISCUITS 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 tablespoon baking powder 

½ teaspoon fine sea salt 

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 

½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, frozen and cut into pieces 

⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk 

1 large egg 

1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 

FOR STRAWBERRIES: Combine strawberries, sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes to release some of its juices; refrigerate until ready to use. 

FOR BISCUITS: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place flour, baking powder, salt and ¼ cup sugar in a food processor container; cover and pulse to combine. Add frozen butter and pulse a few times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the egg with ⅔ cup buttermilk. Pour over the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated (being careful not to overmix). The dough should be shaggy and crumbly. 

Turn dough and crumbs onto a floured cutting board, and with floured hands, bring the dough together and gently knead a couple of times. Form dough into a round and then flatten to ¾-inch thickness. With a floured 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter, cut into rounds (pressing straight down and lifting straight up). Gather scraps, and repeat the cutting process to form 7 rounds. 

Place 1-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of buttermilk, and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. 

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden on top (bottoms should be golden brown). Cool for 10 minutes. To serve, split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon strawberries and their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with whipped cream. Cover with shortcake tops. Serve immediately. 

Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, frozen butter can be grated and stirred into the flour mixture. 

Shortcakes are best served warm the day they are made but will hold for 1 to 2 days if tightly covered at room temperature. Reheat in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 3 to 5 minutes.

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