Fresh Berry Desserts

Fresh berry desserts are the simplest way to put together a sweet ending to a perfect dinner party menu or brunch menu

 

strawberries and ricotta cream

Strawberries with Ricotta Cream



This Easy Strawberry Shortcake serves a large crowd.  Use frozen Southern-style buttermilk biscuits or ready-made biscuits from the grocers deli case.   Bake or reheat according to package directions and cool slightly before using. 

Also try pound cake, angel food cake or other pastry such as plain or orange scones

I do not recommend canned, refrigerator type biscuits because they can be too soft and squishy

Easy Strawberry Shortcake for a Crowd
Serves 24

6 pints strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
3-6 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional, if berries are sweet enough)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
***Biscuits or other pastry.  See above
3 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar, superfine if available
Dash of vanilla

Place prepared strawberries in large bowl and toss with the sugar, zest, juice and vanilla.  Refrigerate for up to 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.  Allow strawberries to stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before assembling shortcakes

For cream: Place the cream, sugar and vanilla in a large chilled stainless steel mixing bowl.  Beat on low speed until the sugar is dissolved and soft peaks form. 

For ready-made biscuits: Slice biscuits in half.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of strawberries on bottom half of biscuit, spoon a small dollop of whipped cream on top of berries.  Position top half of biscuit on the side.

For cake slices: Thinly slice and use one piece for the bottom and one piece for the top.  Finish as for biscuits.  
 

Enjoy this simple, sweet strawberry pie when berries are at their flavor peak.  Don't like cream cheese, just omit

Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe
Makes 1 9-inch pie

1 9-inch fresh or frozen, ready-made pie crust 
6 cups strawberries (about 1 1/2 quarts)
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened



Prepare pie shell as directed on package.  Cool completely. 

Wash, drain thoroughly, and hull strawberries.  Mash enough berries
to measure 1 cup. Stir together sugar, salt and cornstarch. Gradually stir in
water and crushed berries.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil and stir 1 minute.   Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and allow strawberry mixture to cool.  With an electric mixer beat cream cheese until smooth.  Spread evenly on bottom of cooled, baked pie shell.  Arrange remaining berries on top of cream cheese.  Pour berry mixture over top. Chill at least 3 hours or until set.

Fresh Raspberry Pie: Substitute 6 cups raspberries for the strawberries.

Fresh Peach Pie: Substitute 5 cups sliced peaches (7 medium) for the
strawberries.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS: Crush berries in a deep 1 quart glass bowl.  Combine sugar, salt and cornstarch in small bowl. Stir  into crushed berries.
Microwave at full power 3 to 6 minutes stirring every  1-1/2 minutes until mixture is thickened.

 


This blackberry sherbet doesn't need an ice cream maker.  You will need a blender or food processor and a little patience


Fresh Blackberry Sherbet

Makes 1 quart
 
4 cups blackberries, rinsed 
1 3/4 cups sugar 
2 cups  buttermilk

Stir together the blackberries and sugar in a bowl.  Let stand for 30 minutes to sweeten and soften the berries.  

Process the blackberry mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Press through a fine strainer into a bowl, scraping the outer bottom of the strainer.  Discard the solid mixture. 

Taste and add more sugar (up to 1/4 cup) if desired.   Stir in buttermilk.  Pour mixture into  a 13x9-in. baking dish.  Cover and freeze 1 hour or until edges begin to firm. Stir and freeze 2 hours longer or until firm.   Just before serving, transfer to a food processor; process 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

 

This quick and simple blueberry dessert can be made with any soft, fleshly fruit such as peaches


Fresh Berry Dessert
Serves 4

1/2 pint fresh blueberries, washed and picked over.  Also try with strawberries or raspberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, or to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small, nonreactive saucepan, combine blueberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until blueberries begin to break down and juices boil and thicken, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and transfer to a small bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl of ice water, and stir mixture occasionally until cold or chill cooled mixture in the refrigerator for about one hour

In a separate bowl, combine cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form; fold in 1/3 cup of the cold blueberry sauce. Divide among four dessert dishes, and spoon remaining sauce over tops.


  

This easy Strawberries and Cream dessert recipe includes Chantilly Cream which is softer then regular whipped cream.  If you overbeat, stir in a little more cream to soften. 

Ricotta cream also makes a great topping for strawberries, mixed berries or peaches and can be served as a dessert or side dish

 

Strawberries and Cream
Serves 6-8

2 pints strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
Dash of vanilla extract

Place prepared strawberries in large bowl and toss with the sugar, zest, juice and vanilla.  Refrigerate for up to 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.


Chantilly Cream

Makes about 1 cup
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other flavoring such as vanilla, almond or orange extract or other fruit liqueur
4-5 teaspoons powdered or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

With a whisk or electric mixer, beat the cream until it forms soft, fluffy peaks, but not stiff.  Beat in the sugar and any flavoring on a low-speed.  Fold in the cinnamon.  
 
This dish can be served as an alternative to whipped cream with any fruit as a side dish or as a dessert

 

Ricotta Cream
Makes about 2 cups

Put 16 ounces ricotta cheese in a food processor and add 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of rum, the grated zest of a lemon and 3 tablespoons of honey or sugar. Process until smooth.  Pour over the strawberries and chill until serving

  

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