Stuffed Strawberries

Holy Week and Easter rushed by filled with beloved ritual and family filling all the spaces, so the 10 days since my last Kitchen Keepers post have seen plenty of food preparation, but not much time for photographs or writing.  I did want to share the simple but lovely dessert which finished our Easter brunch.  After a morning filled with early services, church breakfast, church at 10,  bell ringing and choir singing, I was glad I had planned ahead for HoneyBaked ham and turkey breast.  Ben contributed Crispy Potatoes and Fennel (recipe previously shared here), and I set out baby carrots and tzaziki sauce for munching while we finished our spread with baby green peas and tiny cheese souffles.  Our dessert was a hit, just the right taste of bright and sweet in beautiful strawberries, fancied up a bit with cream cheese and Triple Sec.

Stuffed Strawberries

20 large ripe strawberries

1 package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup Triple Sec

Wash strawberries and gently pat dry.  Trim stem end of each straight across so it is flat. Set the berry down and at the tip make a cross cut with a sharp paring knife.  Spread the berry out to make a flower shape.  Mix cream cheese, sugar, and Triple Sec well until blended and smooth.  If you have a pastry bag, you can fill with the mixture and pipe into berries, but I put the cream cheese into a small sturdy Ziploc bag, sealed it, and cut diagonally across one lower corner to make a very small hole.  This works well for piping the filling into each berry.  I served 2 berries and a shortbread cookie in a stemmed glass to each guest. Garnishing with fresh mint is a nice touch.  These would be pretty to serve at a wedding or baby shower.

Dutch Baby

Favorite breakfasts at the Parker house may include different dishes according to which family member is asked. But this easy to make and bake pancake is on everybody’s list! It is also one of my favorites to make for holidays and house guests, so it was previously featured on my blog  when I made it for a Fourth of July breakfast!

A Dutch Baby is a puffed pancake with blueberries, rasperries, and strawberries. We enjoy a variety of pancakes of various origins, but this is voted family favorite. Nearly 25 years ago, our friends Bob and Dorothy Thomas made one for a dessert. Once I tasted it, I hastily scribbled the bones of the recipe on a torn piece of paper, which is still the one I pull out when I get ready to make it. Even though I know the simple ingredients and preparation by heart, I like to connect with the memories by handling this tattered little note. It may be simple, but because it rises and puffs and is always beautiful with any assortment of fresh fruit, it is a great way to make guests feel special, whether served at breakfast, brunch, or a lovely dinner dessert.

1/3 cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour

Begin heating oven to 425 degrees. Put butter into an 8 inch round iron skillet and place in oven. While butter is melting, put eggs, milk, and flour into blender jar and mix throughly. Take hot skillet out of oven and pour batter directly into melted butter. Do not stir. Place back into oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and browned. I cut it into fourths and top with fresh berries or peaches and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. If you wish, add a dollop if whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Optional: Add vanilla or a dash of nutmeg for flavor. We like it plain.

Strawberry Jam with Rosemary and Black Pepper

Maddie and Skye went out to Froberg Farms and helped me pick strawberries last year.  They were best eaten immediately, but of course we picked way more than we immediately used, so several pint bags went into the freezer.  This morning I decided to make preserves with them, because Joe likes strawberry preserves.  He always says his mother made wonderful strawberry preserves.  This time I didn’t even try to make them like she did.  I picked several sprigs of fresh rosemary from my herb garden to chop finely, ground black pepper on top, and the lemon and small amount of sugar were all that was needed more than all my frozen strawberries  As they bubble in the pot (2 pots, actually as I had 8 pints of berries), I wish the little girls were here to help me stir.

  • 4 pints fresh (best) strawberries – I used frozen this time 
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary

Put all ingredients in soup pot or Dutch oven,  and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Then lower heat toand simmer about 30 minutes. Cook until thickened. Pour into pint jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks.  Wonderful on waffles or as a spread for toast or scones.  Also good on Blue Bell ice cream!.