“S” Is For Spring And Strawberries

My favorite fruit is hands-down the strawberry. I love them prepared in just about any form–with yogurt and granola, on cereal, baked in a pie, tossed in a salad or just plain. April marks the early part of strawberry season (though they’re best during the summer), and the day the price per pint dropped below $4.00 at Whole Foods, you better believe I started celebrating.

So in honor of world’s best fruit, which also happens to be a great addition to any brunch dish, we bring you two delicious recipes that work equally well for a low-key Saturday or your next entertaining venture.

First up: Strawberry Parfaits (via Cooking Light)

Ingredients

  • 4  cups  sliced strawberries, divided
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1  cup  fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2  cup  (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  water
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  cup  amaretti cookie crumbs (about 8 cookies)
  • 1/2  cup  frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
  • 2  tablespoons  slivered almonds, toasted

Directions

Place 2 cups of strawberry slices and granulated sugar in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Set strawberry puree aside.

Combine ricotta and next 4 ingredients (ricotta through vanilla) in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Spoon 2 tablespoons cookie crumbs into each of 4 parfait glasses. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons strawberry puree, 1/4 cup strawberry slices, and 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture; repeat the layers. Drizzle the remaining strawberry puree over each serving. Chill for 2 hours. Top each parfait with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds.

I’m a big advocate of the simple granola/plain yogurt/fruit parfait, but the added sugar in this is pretty incredible.

Next? Fresh Rhubarb and Strawberry Crepes, courtesy of Bon Appetit. If you don’t like rhubarb, you could do this with any fruit combination.

Ingredients

For the crepes:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter plus additional for brushing

For the filling and sauce:

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 juniper berries
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 cinammon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 2 cups quartered hulled strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier

For the topping:

  • 1 cup creme fraiche or 2/3 cup whipping cream mixed with 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons powered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For crepes:
Sift flour and salt into large bowl. Whisk milk and eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Whisk in 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Heat crepe pan or 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush pan with melted butter. Pour in 2 tablespoons crepe mixture, swirling pan to coat bottom. Cook crepe until golden on bottom and set in center, about 30 seconds. Turn crepe and cook until golden spots appear, about 15 seconds. Transfer crepe to paper-towel-lined ovenproof plate. Repeat with remaining batter, placing paper towels between crepes. Cover tightly with foil. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.

For filling and sauce:
Bring first 7 ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rhubarb is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add strawberries and Grand Marnier. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Discard spices. Strain mixture into medium bowl for filling, saving liquid in bowl for sauce. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover sauce and filling separately and chill. Rewarm sauce and filling before using.

For topping:
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl until peaks form. Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat covered crepes in oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Place 1 crepe on work surface. Spread 1 rounded tablespoon warm filling down center of crepe; roll up. Repeat with remaining crepes. Place 3 crepes on each plate. Drizzle with sauce. Top with dollop of whipped crème fraîche.

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