Monday, May 31, 2010

Hurray for Strawberry Season!

There is no better argument for eating in season than a June strawberry. There is no comparison between what goes by the name "strawberry" in those #1 plastic containers that come shipped from California year round and a real strawberry. The flavor and smell of a real strawberry are swoon inducing. Deep red, juicy and super sweet... biting into one is like biting into summer.

When strawberry season rolls around (the month of June in Connecticut) you know that Summer has arrived. Strawberries get to be the first and to me are the king of the berries. I get so excited for them because their season is so short. I feel that I must hurry up and eat as many as I can because once they are gone they are gone and I'll have to wait for next June to have them again.

I am a strawberry purist. If I am going to eat a strawberry during it's season, I am not cooking it. No muffins, cakes, crisps, pies. I like my strawberries the way nature intended them, eaten raw. The most "cooking" I'll do to a strawberry is to macerate them in a little bit of sugar. This pulls those lovely strawberry juices out to create a nice sauce. No cooking required. I have a bunch of strawberry recipes I will be trying out this June, but the one I am sharing today is an old favorite. The nice thing about this dessert is that if you are in a rush, you can buy most of the components (pound cake, lemon curd) at the grocery. But take the time to make it from scratch. You won't be disappointed! This pound cake recipe makes two cakes and freezes really well so you can make that ahead and just defrost the morning you plan on serving this.

Happy Strawberry Season!

Grilled Pound Cake with Lemon Cream & Strawberries

One cake and two pints of strawberries should get you at least 8 servings

1 pound cake (recipe to follow) sliced about an inch thick
Lemon cream (recipe to follow)
2 pints strawberries, quartered
1-2 TBS sugar (depending on how sweet your strawberries are)

Toss strawberries with sugar and let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat grill. Place slices of pound cake over medium heat and grill until lightly brown with nice grill marks on both sides. Don't burn them!!! About 2-3 minutes per side.

Place a slice of cake on each plate. Top with a couple spoonfuls of lemon cream and then a few more spoonfuls of strawberries and their juice. You could also throw a sprig of mint on top if you have one laying around in your garden for a little more color. Enjoy!!! YUM!!!!

Pound Cake
from Ina Garten

Makes 2 loaves

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.

Cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, 1 at a time.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans, place them on a baking rack and allow them to cool completely. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Lemon Cream

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Set a strainer over a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, combine half of the lemon zest with the lemon juice, sugar, egg, egg yolk, salt and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Immediately strain the curd into the bowl. Whisk in the remaining lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of butter. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, softly whip the cream. Fold the lemon curd into the whipped cream and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. This can be made up to 2 hours before serving.


  1. Don't forget about that ice cream maker... fresh strawberry ice cream is wonderful!

  2. are we to incorporate this wonderful berry into a birthday dessert for your sister? I just finished my first quart of local strawberries, just plain and simple, no sugar needed, sweet berries, and a dollope of fresh whipped cream!! YUM is right!