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AN EXTRAORDINARY BERRY
STRAWBERRIES:
THE ULTIMATE PROOF THAT SUMMER HAS ARRIVED.

Of all the fresh and juicy fruit that will come to market in the next few months, the big star is strawberry. Part of the reason is appearance -- the berries add bright color to so many desserts and summer plates. And part is because of the captivating flavor.

But there is also the fact that strawberries are a local crop. Homegrown berries -- the sweetest and most delectable of all strawberries throughout the year -- will be available in supermarket produce departments, roadside stands and pick-your-owns through the middle of July.

What can you do with strawberries? Better ask what can't you do with them. Once you've had your fill of eating the berries plain (with maybe just a dab or two of sugar if that seems indicated) or of cutting them into cereal or of slicing them onto plain cake or biscuits to make shortcake, you can get more adventurous.

NEWS' FAVORITE STRAWBERRY PIE
4 cups strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Dash salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 baked pie shell
Sort berries into two parts: perfect and less perfect. Mash the less perfect ones; add cornstarch mixed with water. Cook over low heat, stirring until very thick and clear.

Remove from heat; add sugar, butter, salt and lemon juice.

When mixture is cold, fold in remaining berries (if they are large, cut them in half). Place in pie shell. If desired, garnish with whipped cream.

FROSTY STRAWBERRY PIE
1 package (3-ounce) strawberry flavored gelatin
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 baked pie shell
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Gradually add ice cream, stirring until melted. Chill until thickened but not set.

Fold in strawberries. Pour into pie shell. Chill until firm -- 20 to 30 minutes. If desired garnish with whipped cream and additional fruit.

STRAWBERRY YOGURT CHEESECAKE
1 container (16-ounce) unflavored yogurt (without gelatin)
1 container (16-ounce) vanilla yogurt
2 egg whites
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup currant jelly
1 quart beautiful strawberries, stemmed
First make yogurt cheese: Allow yogurt to drip through a cheesecloth-lined funnel for about 12 hours. (Refrigerate during this process.) Discard the whey, or clear, liquid.

Add unbeaten egg whites to the yogurt cheese. Mix gently until well-blended. Pour into a lightly greased 7-inch pan that has been sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs.

Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 25 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.

Now make topping: Melt the currant jelly and brush surface of cake with a thin layer. Arrange berries upright on cake and spoon rest of glaze over all the berries. Chill to set.

FROZEN STRAWBERRY SORBET
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 quart strawberries, coarsely crushed
1 bottle fruity wine (Rose, Moselle)
Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 3 minutes and cool. Add lemon rind and juice, crushed berries and wine. Freeze until partially frozen.

Remove from freezer; beat quickly until mixture softens slightly. Return to freezer and freeze hard. Serve as a dessert or intermezzo between courses. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts sorbet.