Posted by: Jim E | April 13, 2011

Strawberries Are Here…Give A Cheer…Shortcake Not Far Behind…

Okay, so I’m not a poet…but yesterday April 12, 2011…our peripatetic strawberry lady is back…she said she would have been back a day earlier but the heavy storms that came through kept her away…so get the word out…on Hiway 10 just west of Robinson High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas, “just a hop, skip and a jump” from where you live…there she will be for the next month or so…she said this was a little earlier than normal…but I distinctly remember her saying, “See you the middle of April.”…I don’t forget such an important happening…home grown, local strawberries…you just can’t beat ’em…and here she is…I will add a few pictures of the strawberry “stand”…well, it is a vehicle…but why quibble…they’re strawberries, who cares how they got here!!!…

So we ate a few as we paid for them…and ate a few more on the way home…ate a few more when we got home…froze some and then ate a few more, just to keep up our strength…when we were there she talked about how she made “smoothies”…she said she takes the strawberries just as they are (you know you should not wash strawberries until you are ready to eat/use them)…but she takes them as they are and freezes them in a bag…washes them when she takes them out…doesn’t hull them or anything for the smoothie…she washes the berries and then puts the whole thing in the blender…”green” and all…she says, you get all the nutrients that way…well, now…that’s new one on me…but Judie tried it last night…can’t see or taste the “green”…so maybe that’s the way we will do them…

Well, I don’t mess with the smoothie thingy…I just cut them up…(without the “green”) and put them on ice cream…juice and all…no need for sugar…Oh my, it was wonderful…I seemed to cut up “too many”…but I took care of them too…”on the side” is the way I took care of it…kinda inhaled them too (dripped some on my shirt, but I’m sure that’s what it’s there for)…there is something special about the first fruits of spring…and strawberries are the first I believe…Oh, there are radishes…green onions…etc…but somehow, though I love them both…they don’t seem to have the same “ring” as do strawberries…(now rhubarb, that’s another thing, more on that later)…

And soon, very soon, Judie will get out the recipe that we found last year for “Roasted Strawberries”…yup, that’s right, “Roasted Strawberries”…I turned up my nose too, the first time I heard the term…but they are wonderful…they keep their bright red color…they are super sweet and they last for a few more days in the ‘frig…and the recipe for shortcake…my, oh, my…they are especially good…I may just add the recipe at the end if I remember…

Okay…now to rhubarb for a second, another very early spring fruit (or whatever it is)…I love rhubarb…anyway you fix it…I love it raw…in pie, crisp, cake, sauce, jam…just any old way…I had it lots when I was a kid…we had a patch beside Grandpa’s garage when I was small…Mom used it all the time…it seemed in Minnesota, rhubarb was ubiquitous…ahh, everywhere…every yard had a patch…most didn’t know they had it or what to do with it…many thought it was poison…and maybe the leaves are…I don’t remember…but not the stems…it is a easy and wonderful plant to raise…kinda like asparagus, it keeps coming back until the season is over…in fact as a kid I heard it called “pie plant”…so you know what it was mostly used for…pioneers brought it across the country and planted much like “Johnny Appleseed” planted apple trees…and rhubarb spreads and gets thicker as it grows…it is so good…

Well, all that information that you probably didn’t want to know, for this…Judie made me a rhubarb pie the other day…(none left, by the way, supper, snack and breakfast and gone, sorry)…my Grandpa was a great one for pie…and he too loved a piece for breakfast…with coffee…every breakfast needs dessert!!!…but this was not just any rhubarb pie…I call it rhubarb/custard pie…but the real name is “Peoria Rhubarb Cream Pie”, it is wonderful…disappeared in less than 12 hours…an amazing pie…to be able to disappear like that…it’s, well, it’s, magic…here’s a picture and the recipe… This recipe was originally from a Midwest Living cookbook called “Recipes From Great Midwest Cooks”. I’d used a different rhubarb recipe for years but once I tried this, it became the “go to” rhubarb pie recipe in our home.
Added Note: You can also add about a cup of sliced strawberries to this for a delicious change of pace.

Peoria Rhubarb Cream Pie

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Pastry for single crust pie

1 1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. flour
3/4 t. nutmeg
3 beaten eggs
4 C. sliced rhubarb

1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. butter

In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 C. sugar, 1/4 C. flour and nutmeg. Add eggs, mix well. Gently stir in rhubarb. Turn into pastry lined pie plate.

In small bowl, combine 1/2 C. flour and 1/4 C. sugar. Cut in butter until you get course crumbs. Sprinkle over pie.

Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 20 more minutes or until golden brown.

Okay, one more thing on strawberries…in Minnesota we don’t get strawberries until sometime in June…Oh, maybe the middle but sometimes later…so this is very early for us to get strawberries…and these are just beautiful…and so tasty…okay for the “Roasted Strawberries”…I will try and add the recipe…it’s a little long but worth it…and I will sign off…sorry so long…but it is so worth it…you will see if you try it…(I seem to be getting a rash???…just kidding!!!)_

Roasted strawberries? Never heard of it. Whipped cream biscuits? I love whipped cream, I love biscuits. Whipped cream topping that includes sour cream? I couldn’t resist.

Roasting the strawberries makes them sweeter and deepens their ruby red color. The whipped cream in the biscuits adds a velvety sweetness. The sour cream in the whipped topping adds a delicate tang and body. This is now my designated shortcake recipe. So good!

This gem is in my 2007 Fine Cooking Annual cookbook.

Roasted Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream Biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy (whipping) cream, divided, plus more for brushing

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 quart ripe strawberries, cleaned, hulled

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

These biscuits work up pretty quickly. They’re best fresh out of the oven, but I ate them a couple of days afterwards, and they still tasted wonderful, though the texture was not optimal.

About an hour before you want these beauties, preheat your oven to 425F. Grease a large baking sheet (I used parchment paper; it’s so much neater), set aside.

In a large bowl, add the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup of the cream until the cream can hold soft peaks. Keep a careful eye here, you don’t want butter. Lift the beaters, the top of the peaks will fold gently fold over. Add the vanilla and beat until just combined.

Make a well in the center of your flour mixture. Add the whipped cream, and using a fork, stir until the mixture begins to hold together. (This is the secret of successful biscuits; try not to overwork the dough!) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a half dozen times or so. Pat the dough until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Using a three-inch cookie cookie cutter, cut out a total of six biscuits. Gather the scraps as necessary and reshape. You could also just pat the dough into a nice rectangle and cut with a sharp knife.

Use a bit of cream to brush the tops of the biscuits. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and then bake until golden brown about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a cooling rack.

Roasted Strawberries

Increase the oven temperature to 450F. In a medium bowl add the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Toss to coat strawberries with the sugar. Place strawberries and the sugar into a square or oblong casserole dish or baking sheet. Place into the oven, stirring every five minutes or so, for about fifteen minutes. Berries will be soft, sweet, and fragrant.

Whipped Cream

In a small mixing bowl, add the remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream, sour cream, and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until soft peaks are formed.

To serve, split each biscuit horizontally (using a fork as if splitting English muffins), and laying the bottom half on a serving plate. Spoon on some strawberries and luscious roasted strawberry syrup, a generous dollop of cream, crown with the biscuit top. A little extra whipped cream and strawberry probably wouldn’t be too overindulgent.



  1. O.K. Jim when are you going to send me at least 2 quarts of strawberries and some rhubarb?????
    Barb –in So. Ill

  2. Nutmeg in the crust, sounds wonderful. Great recipe. Nothing like fresh berries.

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