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Dash of Class: Enjoy strawberry season

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By Nora Sweat

Strawberry season is upon us.

I am sharing two recipes from my own collection and my mom’s recipe for strawberry pie. It is the type pie that you find in restaurant chains. I also love my mom’s strawberry cake.

Plus, you can enjoy that flavor all year long by preserving strawberries. I remember my mom making strawberry jam, cooking and cooking over the hot stove. Many people say the taste is different from the so-quick freezer jam recipe, which has a fresh-from-the-garden taste. I am sharing the recipe again.

The final recipe is for a wonderful meringue torte. The trick is to make sure you get no egg yolk in with the whites and beat the egg whites to soft peaks and stiff peaks as the recipe says. I always told students that soft peaks were like little mountain peaks that fall over when you lift the beaters out of the mixture and stiff peaks are like little mountain peaks that remain upright when you lift the beaters.

I remember making Schaum Torte in high school home economics class, taught by Joan Thro. It is a German recipe which also has a meringue shell. If you follow the directions, they are not hard to make and are so elegant. Just fill with sweetened strawberries and follow with a dollop of whipped cream.

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenews enterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Strawberry

¼ cup cornstarch

4 cup whole strawberries

1 1/3 cup sugar

1¼ cup cold water, divided

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Red food coloring

1 baked pie crust

Wash, cap and drain berries. Dry on paper towels. Bring to a boil sugar, 1 cup water, salt and lemon juice. Mix ¼ cup water with ¼ cup cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling mixture. Cook until thick and clear, and then cool. Add red food coloring until it is desired color. Don’t overdo it. Add berries to sauce and then pour into baked pie crust, or you can place berries in the crust and place them bottoms up and then pour sauce over for a more attractive pie. Refrigerate and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Strawberry Cake

1 package white cake mix

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

¾ cup oil

½ cup water

½ cup frozen strawberries

3-ounce package of strawberry gelatin

4 eggs

Combine all ingredients and bake in two nine-inch layer pans, greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees until it tests done. Cool and remove to plates. Frost with the following icing recipe.

Strawberry Icing

½ cup frozen strawberries

2 tablespoons butter

1 1-pound box powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, mix all the ingredients until creamy. Frost the cake between layers, on side and on top.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 cups strawberries

4 cups sugar

¾ cup water

1 package Sure Jell

Crush the strawberries; combine with sugar and stir. Let stand 10 minutes. Combine water and Sure Jell; boil hard for one minute; pour into berry mixture. Stir for three minutes. Fill jars with jam and freeze.

Nora’s Note: I use a pastry blender (used to make pie crust) to mash the berries and I have used a potato masher. You want to have some big bits of strawberries still in the mixture.

Strawberry Meringue Torte

3 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup marshmallow crème

1 cup reduced-fat whipped topping

5 cups fresh strawberries, halved

1/4 cup strawberry glaze

Line a large pizza pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.

Spread into a 10-inch circle on prepared pan, forming a shallow well in the center. Bake at 225 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Turn oven off; leave meringue in oven for 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in marshmallow crème. Fold in whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, spread filling into meringue shell. Top with strawberries. Drizzle with glaze. Yield: 8 servings.

Nora’s Note: Instead of parchment paper, you can use a brown paper bag.

Source: Taste of Home, 2013