Tag Archives: strawberries

RECIPES: An Angel of a Gluten-Free Strawberry Cream Pie!

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Fresh Minnesota strawberries have always been a favorite of mine.  As a child on the farm, I spent many hours, nose down, elbows up, with pink stained berry juiced lips, fingertips, and knees in our berry patch helping to fill bowls and my belly with fresh strawberries.

In addition to the threat of ravishment by predators such as hungry children, our berry patch was constantly under surveillance and in immediate peril from the farm’s chickens. I have often wondered why no one ever put a chicken wire fence around the berry patch to keep the chickens out, and have concluded that it was either because of the patch’s large size, it seemed like a lot of work to haul the small roll of chicken wire from the shed all the way across the lawn and find enough sticks to hold it up, it would be an eye sore, or that we all believed that grandma enjoyed chasing chickens with her broom and it was a good source of exercise for her.

Grandma’s broom protected, from friend and fowl alike, a berry patch that produced oodles of strawberries.  Many large mixing bowls and gallon ice cream buckets were filled everyday during the height of the season.  Berries that were not consumed fresh or used in a dessert became jam or were preserved by canning or freezing.

In addition to our farm producing lots of berries, we also seemed to have a never ending supply of heavy cream and eggs.  This recipe for Strawberry Angel Cream Pie calls for only five ingredients, eggs, sugar, cream of tartar, cream and strawberries….which makes it gluten-free.

Strawberry Angel Cream Pie

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Crust: 
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar

In a large stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, beat four egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Gradually beat in, a little at a time, one cup of sugar.  Continue to beat until very stiff peaks form and meringue is glossy looking.   Spread meringue into the bottom and sides of a nine-inch pie pan.

Bake for 60 minutes.  Do not remove from oven.  Turn the oven off and leave the pie crust in the oven until completely cooled.

Filling: 

2 cups of heavy cream
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 cup of mashed fresh strawberries, sweetened to taste

In a medium-sized mixing bowl add two cups whipping cream.  With an electric mixer, beat until stiff. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Fold mashed fresh strawberries into the whipped cream.  Fold gently until the berries and cream are combined.  Pour into meringue pie shell and cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Garnish:

Fresh strawberries and/ or an additional cup of sweetened whipped cream.

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Additional strawberry recipes on this blog:

Praise the Lord, Leukemia and Pass the Strawberries

Honey, I Miss You and Jamming with the Queen Bee

Father’s Day Breakfast “WOW!”: Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast

Impressive Father’s Day Dessert: Chocolate Strawberry Cream Puffs

Sweet Heat: Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

Something Old, Something New: Microwave and Crockpot Strawberry Jam Recipes

Taming the Wild Strawberry: Mary Lincoln’s Strawberry Jam Recipe

Picking Berries and Fresh Strawberry Dessert

Great Aunt Ida’s Fresh Strawberry Pie

 

The memory of picking ripe strawberries and eating them as God intended, right out of the patch and warmed by the sun, was such a pleasant one that I wanted to pass it on to my children.  So, every June, when the berries became ripe, we made our annual pilgrimage to one of our local growers to pick fresh strawberries.

Good memories and traditions rarely happen by accident.  Someone, at sometime, made a conscious decision to make an effort.  Always choose to make that effort for the children in your life.  Sharing your time with children is the most important thing that you can give them, in addition to your love.  

And, don’t forget to support our local growers! 

 

 

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Honey, I Miss You and Jamming with the Queen Bee

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I am still hearing reports of fresh strawberry overflow in many a Minnesota gardener’s kitchen. We are really having a bumper crop this year and even small backyard patches are producing gallons and gallons of berries every few days.

One of the best ways to use up lots of surplus strawberries is jamming. That is why I blogged several different strawberry jam recipes last week such as  “Sweet Heat: Strawberry Jalapeno Jam”;  “Something Old, Something New: Microwave and Crockpot Strawberry Jam Recipes” and “Taming the Wild Strawberry: Mary Lincoln’s Strawberry Jam Recipe.”   If you haven’t read those posts, check them out.

Today I am blogging my last two strawberry jam recipes this picking season. One recipe uses natural honey instead of processed sugar and the other is my personal favorite a strawberry freezer jam that comes from the kitchen of my mother-in-law.

With all of my other allergies to foods, pollen and just about everything that grows it figures that I would also be allergic to bee stings.  In the summer when the bees are flitting about a-pollinating, I  have to wear a fanny pack containing my trusty epi-pen everywhere I go.

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As a fashion statement I can understand the ridicule necessary to prevent a general public fanny pack fad, but I will address those who have life-threatening allergies and may be too fashion forward to carry their epi-pen.  It is better to look like a nerd than be dead.  Every summer people die from food allergies or bee stings because they did not have their epi-pens with them.  Your vanity isn’t going to do you much good in the hereafter and is of little comfort to your survivors. Keep your epi-pen with you! It really is a matter of life or death.

While I probably could eat honey, I choose not to.  So, I have never made jam with honey. Knowing that many cooks prefer to use honey as sweetener instead of processed sugar, I wanted to provide that option for strawberry jam making.  I spent some time looking for a strawberry honey jam recipe that looked like it would be fabulous.  I liked this one that combines tart apples with the strawberries and honey.

Old World Garden Farms’ Strawberry Honey Jam Recipe

6 pounds of fresh strawberries (sliced in half or quarters if berries are very large)
3-3/4 cups raw honey
2 small granny smith apples. (grated with skins on)
1-1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Into a large stockpot add cleaned, hulled and sliced fresh strawberries. Add grated apples, lemon juice and honey to the strawberries and stir to combine.

Stirring occasionally, heat mixture on high until boiling.  As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until the strawberries become soft.   Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries until they are unrecognizable.  You can use an immersion blender for this instead of a potato masher.

Simmer for another 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The longer the mixture cooks the thicker the consistency.  This jam does not get as thick as a jam made with sugar or pectin.

Jelly

When the jam has reach desired thickness, place in freezer safe jars or containers, or can using a water bath for 10 minutes.

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Lois Turgeon’s  Strawberry Freezer Jam

 

strawberry freezer jam 2 in jar

I have saved the best strawberry jam recipe for last.  My favorite strawberry jam has always been my mother-in-law’s freezer jam.  It is bright red, tart and preserves the taste of fresh strawberries for my breakfast toast for months after picking season has ended.  I could and have eaten it by the spoonful and used it to top vanilla ice cream.

2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
4 cups sugar
3/4 cups water

1 packet of pectin

Crush strawberries and 2 cups sugar and let set 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

Stir together pectin and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. (Pectin may start out lumpy.) Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Once at a boil continue to cook for one minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved

and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes. ( A few sugar crystals may remain.)

Pour into containers leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing.

cover.

Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set.  Refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or store
in freezer for up to one year. Thaw in refrigerator.

 

 

Father’s Day Breakfast “WOW!”: Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast

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If you are looking for a breakfast “Wow!”  for Father’s Day look no further. I highly recommend making the man you are honoring Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast.

This recipe elegantly uses those delicious seasonal strawberries, while filling up the heartiest man’s appetite.

Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast

1 carton (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 slices bread (sliced ½-inch thick) (you can use  French bread, a buttery brioche or Texas Toast–choose whatever your family likes.) 
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Additional powdered sugar, sweetend whipped cream and maple syrup

In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix well.  Spread 2 tablespoons of the mixture on eight slices of bread. Cover with remaining bread slices.  (Looks like a cheese cake sandwich.) 

In a medium-sized bowl beat together eggs and milk. Soak sandwiches for 1-2 minutes per side in egg/milk mixture.

Remove from milk/egg mixture and place on a hot buttered griddle.  Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through.

Lightly dust each french toast serving with powdered sugar. Top with sliced fresh strawberries and a dollop of sweetened whip cream.  Have warm maple syrup ready and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

 

 

 

Something Old, Something New: Microwave and Crockpot Strawberry Jam Recipes

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Yesterday I blogged about the old. I wrote about the history of the domestication of the wild strawberry, told about how the popularity of the strawberry spread from Europe to America.  I then provided a very old strawberry jam recipe from the kitchen of Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary.

Today I want to blog about the new–making strawberry jam using a microwave oven or crock pot.  While, I am a great proponent of going old school in the kitchen there have been many times in my life, like when I had small children or was working full time, that making use of modern appliances meant the difference between using up produce or letting it go to waste.

These recipes for using a microwave oven or crock pot to make strawberry jam are a great way to go if you are pinched for time.

Microwave Strawberry Jam

This recipe is great for cooking up small quantities of berries that you don’t want to go to waste, but aren’t large enough for a full scale jamming operation.

2 1/2 cups cleaned, hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

In a large and deep microwave bowl of at least 10 cups, combine ingredients. Gently toss together until strawberries are evenly coated with sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the strawberries to juice.

Place the microwave safe bowl on top of a plate, to protect your oven against boil over. Cook on high for intervals of 5 minutes each.  Stir gently after each cooking interval. In a 1650 Watt microwave oven total cooking time should be about 15 minutes.  Adjust cooking time accordingly depending on the power of your microwave oven.

If the mixture begins to boil over the top of your bowl, carefully remove from microwave and put into larger bowl and continue.

The jam mixture is done when it thickens slightly and gets syrupy. It will thicken as it cools. (If the jam is too thin after being refrigerated it means that it was not cooked long enough.  Return it to the microwave and cook for several minutes longer.) 

Pour hot jam into a jar and let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.

Crock Pot Strawberry Jam

You will need crock pot that holds at least six quarts for this recipe.

4 pints of fresh strawberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1 packet of powdered fruit pectin

Clean, hull and quarter strawberries.  Put into the crock pot. Add the remaining ingredients and gently stir together until berries are evenly coated.

Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 1 hour then stir well. Cook an additional hour and still well once again.

Increase heat to high and cook for and additional 2 to 3 hours until the jam reaches the desired consistency.

Pour into jars and store in refrigerator for up to two months or in the freezer up to one year. For long-term storage process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes and put into sterilized jars and seal.

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To check for jam doneness place two or three small-sized plates in the freezer before starting to cook your jam.  You want them to get really cold.  When you think your jam is done, place a spoonful of the hot liquid on the cold plate and wait for a minute or two. Then, run your finger through the middle of the jam puddle to see if the jam is getting thick enough to not run back into the stripe you just made with your finger.  Tip the plate to see if the jam runs. If the jam is still runny looking or just not as thick as you would like it, cook it longer. 

Always remember to support your local growers!!!

 

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Taming the Wild Strawberry: Mary Lincoln’s Strawberry Jam Recipe

 

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I like historical biographies.  I find learning about how past generations lived, practiced medicine and government, and of course what they ate fascinating.  I am a avid collector of books and have picked up some very old books for pennies at garage sales.  One such book is titled, “My Boyhood,” by John Burroughs, copyright 1924.

Mr. Burroughs was born on the family farm in the Catskills, in Delaware County, New York on 1837.  He was the seventh of ten children and grew up to be a distinguished author and respected conservationist. In his book, “My Boyhood”  he acknowledges his friendships with many of the rich and famous of that time period including:  Walt Whitman, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison.  In addition he describes personally seeing many famous Civil War figures such as William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant and President Abraham Lincoln.

What engaged my interest in his book was not Mr.Burroughs’ social, political, scientific or literary contacts, but his descriptions of every day life growing up in early 1800’s New England.  He discusses in great detail the work and farming techniques used at that time. However what really surprised me was his description of the variety of foods served at his family’s table.  He describes the many fresh foods available and the techniques used to transport fresh produce long distances without refrigeration. As a young boy, he was no stranger to celery, peaches, oranges, lemons and strawberries.

During the 1800’s  strawberries went from being a seasonal wild berry treat that was gathered in the woods, to a domesticated delicacy highly desired by Europe’s aristocracy. Soon the general public heard of this tasty red fruit and they wanted to dine on the same sweet treat. Before long there were “strawberry trains” transporting fruit from rural growers to urban consumers.

The strawberry craze soon jumped the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in American.  In 1843 strawberry farmers in Cincinnati, Ohio, were finally able to ship their first train load of berries using refrigerated rail cars.  The method of refrigeration, packed ice, helped to greatly extend the strawberry season well into the summer months. Soon,”strawberry lines” were established and trains transported the fruit to the western prairies. Hosting a “Strawberry Party” became the rage in Victorian American homes.

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The Abraham Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois

Mary Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, loved eating berries, especially strawberries and was known for hosting strawberry parties in their Springfield, Illinois home.  Her strawberry parties were not small affairs, in one of her letters she mentions that almost seventy people had attended her last party.  She continued the tradition of strawberry parties when her husband was elected president and she became First Lady.  She even had a dress designed whose fabric was embroidered with bunches of berries.

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Mary Lincoln modeling her “Berry” dress

No food was left to waste in a Victorian home or garden and strawberries were no exception to this rule. Even with modern refrigeration berries can become over-ripe and spoil very quickly.  Cooks, during ages past, processed the fruit that was not eaten fresh into jams, jellies, preserves, and vinegar.  Strawberries were also dried to be used the next winter in breads, muffins, cakes and puddings.

In addition to collecting historical biographies, I also collect cookbooks. A cookbook that is very special to me is entitled, From Lincoln’s Table, A President’s Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan, authored by Donna D. McCreary and contains Mary Lincoln’s Strawberry Jam recipe.

Mary Lincoln’s Strawberry Jam

1 quart fresh strawberries
1 quart sugar
Juice of half a lemon

In a large deep heavy-bottomed cooking pot combine strawberries and sugar. Bring to a slow boil while stirring with a wooden spoon. (If you don’t have one carved by Abraham Lincoln, you can substitute one from your closest convenience store. If it is a hot day just be sure to water your saddle horse good before you head into town.)  Stir the mixture gently and try to keep the berries whole. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to boil for 15 minutes, stirring only occasionally.

Remove from heat and let cool.  Gently stir in the lemon juice.  Skim off any white foam that may have gathered at the top of the jam.  Pour finished jam into hot, sterilized jars and seal using a boiling water-bath method.

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The actual wood-burning stove that Mary Lincoln used to cook Abraham Lincoln’s meals and make her homemade strawberry jam. 

Blogger’s Note: I really hate the thought of strawberries going to waste and plan on posting additional strawberry jam recipes throughout this week.  

 

 

Picking Berries and Fresh Strawberry Dessert

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Strawberry season has arrived here in Minnesota and it is expected to be a bumper crop. Every time I bite into a sweet ripe red berry, I think how great and forgiving God must be. Not only does he love me in spite of my many imperfections, he loves me so much he created food that naturally tastes as great as strawberries.  As sinful as mankind can be, if I were God, everything would probably taste like sauerkraut and fried liver.

Not only do I love eating strawberries….I love picking strawberries.  I loved picking them with my grandmother when I was just a small tot in her big patch just east of her little house.  I adored picking them on our farm in the patch nestled in the woods behind the horse barn. But most of all, I loved picking strawberries with my children when they were young.

My children and I would pick strawberries together every spring at a strawberry farm in Hugo, Minnesota.  The farm was conveniently located only a few miles from our home.  We would get up early in the morning to get to the patch to pick before the hot sun would warm up the berries and make them mushy.

The owners of the patch would give each of us a big cardboard flat to put the berries in and then we’d trot out into the fields to fill them.  Eating berries as you picked was permissible, but my kids would eat so many ripe berries while we were picking that I always thought the owners of the farm should have weighed them before they started picking and then again afterwards.

We used to pick many pounds of berries to eat fresh, make a dessert or to freeze–preserving a little taste of spring for when we were stuck in the house during the next cold white winter. We would pick for elderly neighbors that were no longer able to pick their own berries and were repaid with jars of homemade strawberry jam.

I encourage everyone to enjoy one of God’s greatest culinary gifts to mankind–fresh berries. There is no comparison between a berry picked right off a plant and one purchased at a store.  If you have never picked your own berries, you don’t know what you are missing.  Get out there and support your local growers and pick strawberries!

Fresh Strawberry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a small mixing bowl combine ingredients.  When combined into a dough, pat firmly into the bottom of a 9 X 13-inch pan and bake twenty minutes.  Chill crust in the refrigerator.

First Layer:
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Cool Whip

Mix together in a small bowl until smooth. Spread evenly over chilled crust. Return to refrigerator and chill.

Second Layer:
1 cup of sugar
3 Tablespoons of corn starch
1-1/2 cups of Sprite or 7-up pop
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 (3-ounce) package of strawberry jello.  (Wild strawberry flavored jello is best.)
1 quart of more of sliced fresh strawberries
Sweetened whipped cream
Large fresh strawberries for garnish

In a medium-sized saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, Sprite and water.  Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add jello.  Cool completely.  Then gently add the sliced fresh strawberries. (Do not mush up your berries by stirring too robustly or for too long.)  Put strawberry mixture on top of the cream cheese layer.  Refrigerate for several hours.

Cuts into squares and top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and garnish with additional whole strawberries.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium-sized mixing bowl with a hand mixer whip cream on high speed until it thickens.  Slowly add in sugar.  Beat until peaks form.  Add vanilla.  Mix only until vanilla is combined.  (Over mixed whipping cream makes butter.  If you have not made whipping cream before, buy two pints of cream.  If you over mix the first pint and the cream becomes yellow and separates, you have a spare pint of cream to start over and  succeed with.  Should your cream become over mixed and separate into a thin buttermilk and yellow butter curds…do not panic.   Drain off milk.  Squeeze butter curds together with your hand to get out any milk that may be hiding.  Salt, shape and wrap your freshly made butter in plastic and store in the refrigerator until you want to use it.  Then, start over again with your spare pint of cream and quit whipping when it looks like the dessert cream you have had before.)

 

Praise the Lord, Leukemia and Pass the Strawberries

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Throughout my life I have been active in Christian education as a director/teacher of a Christian preschool, member of a variety of church boards,  Sunday school teacher for over thirty years,  confirmation teacher,   junior and senior high youth group mentor and co-coordinator of vacation bible school with my good friend Dana.

For several years Dana and I led the Vacation Bible School (VBS) program at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Circle Pines, MN.  We had over 60 students enrolled for our week-long, half-a-day summer christian education program.

Our program planning always left plenty of room for group worship activities, art, music, physical movement, storytelling and snacks. Prior to the start of  VBS, we would advertise our program theme using huge original hand-painted cartoon posters.  The posters would then be raffled off to a few lucky students at the end of the week.  They were highly sought after and the children that won them were pretty excited to take them home.

I recently posted that my three-year-old grandniece’s leukemia had returned.  For me, her battle with this disease has brought back many memories of a little girl with big, bright eyes and a constant smile who was one of our bible school students. Her name was Kelly.

Kelly was as an adorable of a bundle of energy as any young child.  Her mother Sue was a good friend of mine and always helped teach Bible School and Sunday School classes.  It was great fun to watch her and her brother Timmy grow up. Unfortunately, as the years went by my family and I began attending a different church and we lost track of many of our friends at St. Mark.  For years I did not see Sue or Kelly.

Then one day while shopping I saw Sue in the store and she was horribly distraught. When I got to her, she frantically explained that Kelly was in the hospital being treated for leukemia.  She had been in remission, but it had be short-lived.  Kelly’s cancer had returned. The plan was to get her into a second remission to be followed by another bone marrow transplant.

Sue’s news from the hospital that morning had not be good.  She literally ran out of the store to get to her hospitalized daughter.  As she ran, she shouted over her shoulder that they were having a fundraiser and that the plan was that Kelly would be there.

I immediately contacted the fundraiser organizers to see what I could do. The fundraiser was going to be held within a week or so and I wanted to be involved.  I volunteered to face-paint the children and for the silent auction donated an original oil painting, had my boss at the time, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Richie, donate a certificate for a personal tour of our state capitol with him as a guide and a second certificate donation for a lunch at the Governor’s mansion with the governor was collected from Governor Mark Dayton.

That evening, after running into Sue,  I sat and prayed for her “little Kelly” who was now a young woman in her early twenties. I fondly remembered how much Kelly always loved those cartoon posters from Bible School.  I couldn’t remember if she had ever won one, so after working all day, I spent my evenings drawing and painting a mural of her favorite Disney characters. We quickly got the painting framed so that it could be given to Kelly at the fundraiser as a gift from all of the event organizers and volunteers.  We all just wanted to help brighten up her hospital room.

Kelly’s story did not have a happy ending for her family here on earth. Kelly was too sick to attend the fundraiser. Her mother took her cartoon painting to her hospital room.  I do not believe that Kelly ever saw it, as she had slipped into a coma. Kelly died shortly after the fundraiser.

The memories I have of Kelly are of her zeal for life and great energy.  I don’t believe I ever saw that child walk.  She always trotted or ran, just as I am sure that she ran into Christ’s arms the second that he called her home.

It is because of the brave cancer soldiers like Kelly and her family that little ones like my niece and her family today have more hope than ever of being cured of leukemia. The advancement in cancer treatment in just this past five years since Kelly has been gone has been amazing and in some cases miraculous.

One of the other special events Dana and I included in our VBS programming was the fresh strawberry feed snack on the last day of school.  Our Bible School always took place in June when the strawberries become ripe for the picking here in Minnesota. So, on that last morning of school, while Dana, Sue and the rest of the teaching team held down the fort, I went strawberry picking.  I would pick dozens of pounds of fresh strawberries then rush back to church, with scarlet strawberry juice stained knees, to help wash them and set up our strawberry snack attack party.

Learning about a loving God, Children and strawberries just seemed to go together. After all, children and fresh strawberries are two of God’s creations that are perfect just the way he makes them. Those Minnesota strawberries we consumed were almost as beautiful and delicious as all of those darling little faces stained with berry juice!

A good strawberry recipe compliments the berry and should never overshadow or complicate its natural taste.  This cake recipe is  an old-fashioned Swedish Almond White Cake and was shared with me by my sister-in-law Heidi.  Topped with fresh strawberries this cake recipe is the perfect dessert for any special occasion held during strawberry picking season.

Swedish White Almond Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
4 egg whites (beaten to form stiff peaks)
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and lightly flour two eight-inch round cake pans.

In a small mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a medium-sized metal or glass mixing bowl, beat the four egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Mix in the almond extract and set aside. (Never use plastic anything when whipping egg whites, they will not form into stiff peaks if you do.)

In a large-sized mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together.  While mixer is running on low, slowly add dry ingredients alternately with water. Thoroughly combine into a smooth batter. Then, with large medal spoon, gently fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.  Keep folding until all of the egg whites have been combined into the batter.

Pour one half of the cake batter into each cake pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in the middle.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from cake pans and cool completely.

Frost cake with sweetened whipped cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium-sized mixing bowl with a hand mixer whip cream on high speed until it thickens.  Slowly add in sugar.  Beat until peaks form.  Add in vanilla.  Mix only until vanilla is combined.  (Over mixed whipping cream makes butter.  If you have not made whipping cream before, buy two pints of cream.  If you over mix the first pint and the cream becomes yellow and separates, you have a spare pint of cream to start over and  succeed with.  Should your cream become over mixed and separate into a thin buttermilk and yellow butter curds…do not panic.   Drain off milk.  Squeeze butter curds together with your hand to get out any milk that may be hiding.  Salt, shape and wrap your freshly made butter in plastic and store in the refrigerator until you want to use it.  Then, start over again with your spare pint of cream and quit whipping when it looks like the dessert cream you have had before.)

To make cake:

Put one round cake on a cake plate.

Top with about 1/2 inch of whipping cream and a layer of freshly sliced strawberries.
Top with the second cake layer.  Generously frost cake with whipping cream.  Decorate the top of the cake with more sliced strawberries.

I always have some additional sliced, sugared and juiced strawberries in a bowl to spoon over the cake.

Allergy Alert:  Make sure to tell your guests if you use real nut extracts.  If you have a guest that has allergies, you can use and imitation almond extra.  Nobody wants a dessert or entree to kill, so be heads up on nut and food allergies.

Remember to support your local growers!