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If you’re looking for inspiration for using strawberries this summer, here is a collection of some of my favorite strawberries recipes.
If you have the chance to buy fresh, local strawberries, those are usually your best bet for berries with the best flavor. And if you have strawberries in your garden, lucky you!
But the strawberries I find shipped to my grocery store have gotten better lately, and I support eating strawberries whenever you want them, so if that’s what you’ve got, by all means use them here.
If you came home from a strawberry picking trip and find that you have more fresh strawberries than you know what to do with (even with all of the inspiration here), you can freeze them.
Just rinse them, hull them (that is, trim off the greens at the top and if there’s a tough bit there remove it too–with absolutely ripe berries, usually just lopping off the top with a paring knife will do it) and freeze them on a rimmed baking sheet in a flat layer before transferring them to zip top bags.
Frozen strawberries won’t be the prettiest when they’re thawed, but they work well in crisps and pies and jams and curds and milkshakes even if they’re less good in shortcakes and pavlovas and places where fresh strawberries shine.
You’ll find this list includes a few gluten-free desserts, and ranges in difficulty from an easy crisp to a fiddly-but-totally-worth-it show-stopping fraisier.
When strawberries are in season they're delightful to eat on their own or with a bit of freshly whipped cream, but you can do so much more with them than that! Here are 7 recipes perfect for when strawberries are in season (and they even work with out-of-season berries, even if they're rarely quite as good as the ones from the farm down the road...)
This strawberry rhubarb crisp is made with a mix of oat flour and old fashioned rolled oats. It's 100% whole grain and gluten free. (If you're making this for someone intolerant to gluten, be sure to look for certified gluten-free oats and oat flour because oats are often processed in facilities that also process wheat and can be cross contaminated.) The topping comes together in a few minutes. I sometimes like to take the extra step of browning the butter when melting it, but I leave that entirely up to you. I like the mixture of strawberries and rhubarb, but you could absolutely make this entirely with rhubarb with no other adjustments to the recipe.
These strawberry rhubarb turnovers are flaky, delicate handheld pies. The cream cheese dough needs time to chill. At least 2 hours but preferably overnight (especially if you're working in a hot kitchen), so get it going ahead of time. The filling comes together quickly and gets a bake in the oven to thicken first so that it doesn't make an unholy mess of the turnovers. My favorite coarse-grained sugar to use is demerara, which has a lovely caramelly flavor, but turbinado or raw sugar is also delicious and much easier to find. If you're serious about pie, you should definitely buy Paula Haney's book and visit one of her Hoosier Mama Pie shops if you're in Chicago or Evanston. Their pie is amazing (some might say damn fine).
These strawberry crumb bars are easy to make. The crust and topping are made from the same dough, which comes together in the food processor in about a minute. The lemon zest is nice with the strawberries here, but it is definitely optional, as is the coriander, which is incredibly subtle but enhances the strawberry flavor. The crust is crisp on the day these are made. The bars are still good for the next few days, but they definitely soften. If the weather is hot, store these in the fridge to keep them firm.
Strawberry pavlova is a traditional Australian dessert. This one gets punched up with a bit of smoky mezcal and citrusy lime. It's a dessert that can sometimes be too sweet, so I cut back on the amount of sugar you find in some versions, and I love to use lightly toasted sugar here. It's optional, but it brings in great caramel notes. You can, of course, skip the mezcal and/or the lime if it isn't your thing, but if you like smoky flavors you owe it to yourself to try the combination. This is a dessert that's best served soon after making.
This curd is, at heart, a lemon curd. It's still tart and bright and acidic, but the sweetness of the strawberries bring their lovely berry flavor notes to the party. This is a rare case where I use frozen strawberries. Fresh strawberries will absolutely work if you have them (but you won't need to simmer them first, just skip straight to the blender part). It'll help to have an instant read thermometer (I like the ones from ThermoWorks), a citrus squeezer, a heavy-bottomed sauce pan or saucier, a blender, and a fine mesh strainer for this recipe.
This strawberry shortcake makes one big biscuit-style shortcake that gets cut into wedges. It's a tender and flaky shortcake that's rich with butter and heavy cream and barely sweet. I usually slice the strawberries and toss them in sugar while the shortcake is in the oven, but you can make them a day ahead of time and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you prefer. Wait to whip the cream until you're ready to serve the shortcake. I prefer to use an all-purpose flour with a mid-range protein content like Gold Medal for the shortcake. This will work with a higher protein all-purpose flour like King Arthur, but it won't be quite as tender. (And southerners, I'm sorry to say I don't have easy access to White Lily, so I don't know how that will work here, but if you try it, do report back!)
This buckle is a rustic fruit-laden cake with a golden exterior and an almost custardy interior.
The buttermilk helps to tenderized the crumb and adds a tangy note to balance the sweetness of the cake. You can take the extra step of browning the butter when you melt it to add more depth of flavor.
You can adjust the fruit to what you have available. An all rhubarb or all strawberry buckle would be lovely.
The mix of cinnamon, coriander, and ground ginger is particularly nice with the strawberries and rhubarb.
I use pecans in the streusel here, but sliced almonds would also be delicious.
This strawberry galette is a rustic free-form pie.
The crust has a higher ratio of butter to flour than many pie crusts, which makes it extra flaky. This recipe works best with American butter and not higher fat European butters.
Tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) makes a filling with a smoother consistency than cornstarch, which is why I call for it here. You can find it with the alternative flours in most grocery stores. If you need to substitute cornstarch, use half the amount.
The strawberries get slightly dehydrated in the baking process, which concentrates their flavor in a delightful way.
I like to use a pinch of five spice powder in this, which just brings in a subtle whisper of spice to the galette. It's totally optional.
This strawberry fraisier consists of a light chiffon cake flavored with Lillet blanc, fresh strawberries, and a sliceable pastry cream stabilized with gelatin. The Lillet brings in lovely notes of wine and honey and citrus fruit, but you could substitute any sweet white wine or simply use water if you prefer. The cake can be made a day ahead of time. The pastry cream can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, and the whole assembled cake keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You need a 6-inch cake ring, a quarter sheet pan and food-safe acetate sheets. If you don't have a vanilla bean, you can substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The flavor won't be as complex, but it will still be good.