Tag Archives: Strawberry Baked Dessert

It wasn’t my fault…it was the Pregnancy Haze!

I’ve heard about the pregnancy haze, the bouts of forgetfulness, your brain clogging up and the clumsy mishaps. But, I didn’t think it would happen to me. Just like an elephant, I never forget a thing! Yet, those hormones overtook my system and I can’t believe the consequences of what occurred when the pregnancy haze casted its net on me.

Last week, my husband and I were invited to dinner at our friends’ house and to choose some baby give-aways to take home. With my overflowing basket of strawberries still around, I happily volunteered to make a dessert. I wasn’t going to make anything fancy, just something light and easy. That usually means I would bake my “go-to cake”, a Buttermilk Cake with fruit topping. This cake goes well with a variety of fruits, such as apples, pears and berries. The strawberries would make a fine accompaniment to the soft and moist texture of the cake and adding a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on the side, wouldn’t hurt.

Dinner was delicious and the menu was perfect for such an unusually warm Spring day. Our friends quickly pan-fried some blocks of tofu coated in Italian seasonings, then baked it in the oven, layered with herb-seasoned tomato sauce and mozzarella. There was also some home-made garlic bread and a mixed green salad. I should have taken pictures of the food. It was so tasty, I allowed myself to two helpings. Heck, I’m pregnant, no shame in going after some seconds!

After the dinner plates were cleared, our hostess asked me if I was ready to serve the dessert. The cake was sitting in its platter and the cream just needed to be whipped. It took just a few seconds to get the fresh whipped cream ready and as soon as that was done, I began to remove the covering on the cake. As I did that, the plastic wrap stuck to my fingers, as well as some of the cake topping. I tasted the sticky coating that remained on the tips of my fingers and suddenly my mouth felt like I had swallowed a glass of ocean water!

“That’s strange,” I thought to myself. I traced my finger over a small part of the cake, tasted it and there it was again, that salty flavor took over my palate. I brought the cake over to the table and ask my husband and another friend to taste it. They both lightly swiped the top of the cake and tried it. “Does it taste salty to you?” I asked. They both shook their heads “No,” and I was relieved. For a quick moment, I thought I might have wrongly executed the last part of the recipe, which is to take a tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle it over the fruit and batter before baking it in the oven.

Sugar and Salt: how could I go wrong?

The cake was sliced up and triangles of it were passed around along with the cream. Hannah was the first to dive into the dessert. Suddenly, her head begins to move from side to side and she announces “Oh, yeah. No, no… salllll-ty!”

Note to pregnant self: This is where you keep the sugar!

I took a bite of mine and indeed I had mistaken the salt for sugar when making the cake. Hannah suggested we cut the top of the cake off and dab the whipped cream on top. It worked, but it wasn’t my best sample of the cake, which happens to be my husband’s favorite. I couldn’t help but profusely apologize about the ruined dessert. Fortunately, our friends were both forgiving and understanding. Not to mention, that this was a very unusual display of my baking skills. My baking track record has been clean until this strange disastrous mishap. I just couldn’t believe what I had done, for sure I thought I dipped that measuring spoon into a container of sugar, but I was embarrassingly proven wrong. The only explanation for such an error of judgment could be an attack of the dreaded pregnancy haze!


Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
(adapted from Bon Apetit’s Berry Buttermilk Cake)

Heat oven to 400˚F/200˚C
Grease an 8 inch circular baking pan

Ingredients:
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick softened butter (50 grams)
2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon of SUGAR
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat the softened butter with 2/3 cup of white sugar. Beat at high-speed until light and fluffy. Then add the vanilla and lastly, the egg.

At low-speed, begin to add a little of the flour mixture and then alternate with the buttermilk. Continue to pour small doses one by one, ending with the flour mixture. Careful not to over mix the batter.

Pour mixture into the pan. Then decorate with the strawberries. Evenly sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of SUGAR over the fruit and batter. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and serve with sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sprinkle with SUGAR!!!

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I’m in the Mood for…

… a strawberry custard like tart. Why? Because when I left my house this morning to meet a friend and turned the corner, I walked into a farmer’s market that popped out of nowhere! Surprises like this, usually result with some spontaneous unintended purchase. On this particular day, it was a basket of luscious red strawberries.

I guess I am a sucker for good packaging. I left home with a plan to stop at the supermarket on my return home. Strawberries, however, was not on my shopping list. Raspberries were.

But alas, there was not a raspberry stand at the farmer’s market and this basket of crimson berries was calling my name. I knew I could just adapt the Brown Butter Raspberry Tart I was reading about in Bon Appetit the night before.

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, I love my berries. When I see them packed in their baskets, I know that summer is near. And when summer is here, my second favorite dessert after a cup of ice cream is anything made with fruit. With such a huge number of strawberries on hand, this might just be a 1 in 3 part series about strawberries.

Brown Butter Strawberry Tart
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

Crust: (for a 9-inch tart pan)
7 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus a tablespoon
pinch of salt

Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in cubes
1 1/2 cups of sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375/190 degrees and place the rack in center of oven.
It is recommended to use a rubber spatula to mix the melted butter, sugar and vanilla
in a medium bowl.
Toss a pinch of salt into your flour and add it to the butter mixture.
Stir until well combined.
It will look like breadcrumbs.

Crust:
Using your fingertips, begin to press the dough evenly around the sides of the pan.
When all the sides are covered, begin to work your way towards the bottom,
pressing it down evenly and smoothly from the sides.
Bake crust for 18 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Filling:

Whisk the sugar, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the flour and vanilla.
Put the diced butter in a heavy sauce pan.
Cook over medium heat, until the butter has a copper tone to it.
Be careful not to burn it!
Transfer the butter to a heat-resistant glass, best if it is a measuring cup to be sure you melted half a cup.
Gradually pour the browned butter to the other mixture and whisk until well-blended.

Place 1 cup of sliced strawberries in a circle around the cooled crust.
Pour the browned butter mixture over the berries.
Add the remaining strawberries to the top of the mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the center comes out clean.
Enjoy and think of the sunny summer days ahead!

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