Tag Archives: summer dessert

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

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Summer seems to be flying by. I could’ve sworn it was June just yesterday, that the kids were about to get out of school, not start back up again… Vincent’s going into his senior year of high school and Silas into his last year of elementary school. I’m not sure how that happened so quickly.

Regardless, summer produce is still in full swing (thank goodness!). Strawberries luckily make two robust appearances around here — late spring/early summer and then again in the late summer. (I prefer the latter, as the berries always seem a deeper red, sweeter and more delicious!) A good old-fashioned strawberry ice cream celebrates both the loveliness of summer and the wonderful abundance of these beautiful berries. While this recipe does require an ice cream maker, and just a little while to throw together between the chilling and churning, the strawberry ice cream that results is absolutely creamy and delightful (and totally worth your efforts)!

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Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Makes a little more than a quart of ice cream.

4 egg yolks
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons half and half
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 pints fresh strawberries, hulled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

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In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

Put the half and half plus half of the sugar in a medium sized pot. Heat over medium heat, being sure the mixture doesn’t boil, occasionally stirring until the sugar dissolves, (5 or so minutes). Set a fine-meshed sieve over a large heatproof bowl.

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Once the half and half mixture is hot, whisk a little of it into the egg yolks to temper them. Whisk all of the warm egg yolks into the hot half and half. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula as you heat the mixture over medium heat (keep scraping the bottom and stirring until the mixture thickens and you can coat the back of a spoon). Again, make sure the mixture doesn’t come to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour through the mesh sieve over a large heatproof bowl. Add the heavy cream to the mixture and stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or until thoroughly chilled).

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Place the strawberries in a large bowl and mash them a bit with a potato masher. Add the remaining sugar. Let the strawberries macerate in their own juices, stirring occasionally until the sugar has disintegrated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the berries to the chilled cream mixture. Add the vanilla and salt. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (but up to 2 days in advance).

Freeze the custard according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

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Fresh Peach Buckle

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The season creeps in slowly. In early summer, I find an abundance of different melons, strawberries, plums, apricots, grapes, citrus fruits in our food co-op. Then all of a sudden it seems peaches are in full-blown abundance. I wait all year for local Rolling Hills Farm peaches to arrive. These organic beauties are grown locally — they have been, equally as long as I’ve been alive. It’s true that these peaches will be around well into October, and later in the season they’re even sweeter and larger than they already are, but I cannot wait that long. It’s hard enough to wait for them to ripen perfectly after I’ve purchased a couple!

Of course when I found myself with a large number of peaches on hand, I knew I wanted to make a cobbler. Or at least a cobbler-like thingie for dessert that night. There are a number of dishes that resemble similar things… Cobbler, tart, pie, slump, buckle, crisp… When I saw the following recipe for a raspberry peach buckle, my first inclined response was, what the hell is a buckle?! 

Turns out a buckle is essentially a one layer cake that usually has berries or fruit mixed in. Sometimes it has a streusel-like topping. While the original recipe included raspberries, I decided to leave them out. The peaches in this cake leave a deliriously moist, tender cake that is equally delicious nearly just out of the oven, or at room temperature the next morning!


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Fresh Peach Buckle

Recipe adapted slightly from Tracy Benjamin [Shutterbean]

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
3-4 large peaches, pits removed then each cut into 8-10 wedges
2/3 cup sliced almonds

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Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, then set it aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and almond extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

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Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half the flour mixture, then the yogurt, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing well in-between each addition. Fold in the peaches. This will seem a little haphazard, but all is well…

Butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon the batter into the pan, trying to evenly distribute the peaches. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (45 minutes to 1 hour). Let cool slightly.

Serve while warm for best results.

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Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

As a kid, I don’t remember much of a fondness for strawberries. I grew up enjoying mangoes picked from the front yard, bananas and mountain apples from the backyard. Also, lychee was at the top of my preferred fruit consumption list. Among grapes, pineapple, nectarines, and peaches. Strawberries were an afterthought. Living in the Pacific Northwest, however, berries show up seasonally and there’s no avoiding them: strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, raspberries… I don’t care too much for cooked fruit, unless it’s in a pie or turnover-type dessert. However, my friend Olivia used to make some dank raspberry blondies with candied pecans. Knowing that baked fruit can indeed be delicious, I was intrigued when I saw the following recipe: roasted strawberry buttermilk cake.

The recipe sounded straightforward (always a plus in my book). Fresh strawberries, especially this time of year, are so sweet and delicious fresh. However, if you’ve got the time and don’t mind running your oven in the summer, roasting them adds a completely different dimension. The strawberries soften, turn sugary and candy-like. It’s ridiculous, as far as simplicity and taste are concerned. Really.

Skillet cakes are equally amazing, both in their appearance and easiness. There have been times I’ve done all the batter-preparing straight in my cast-iron skillet (I didn’t do that this time around, but suppose you probably could), creating minimal amounts of dirty dishes for later. This cake is quite moist, soft, and simple. The strawberries that are spooned around the top prior to baking sink down into the batter slightly, creating a beautiful and tasty cake. According to Joy the Baker, you can substitute whatever fruit is ripe, for the strawberries – I’m excited to try that, although for the first time around, this strawberry cake was dynamite.

Do yourself a favor and make one. Or gift this cake to someone you care about. It’s so worth it. So are they. And you.


Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes 1 – 11” cake


For the roasted strawberries:
12 oz. strawberries, hulled and cut into chunks
3 tbsp. good quality maple syrup
4½ tsp. olive oil
pinch of salt
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

For the cake:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1½ cups buttermilk, shaken well
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 recipe of roasted strawberries
3 tbsp. turbinado sugar



Preheat the oven to 375º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (Make sure the pan is rimmed, as the strawberries will get really juicy and leak out otherwise.)

Prepare the strawberries: In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Toss the strawberries in this mixture then spread evenly, in one layer on the parchment paper. Roast for 40 minutes, occasionally stirring. The juices will thicken slightly, but make sure it doesn’t burn! Pour the strawberries and all the juice that is released into a bowl, then drizzle in the balsamic vinegar, stir gently until the vinegar is evenly dispersed. Set the strawberries aside to cool while you prepare the cake batter.

Prepare the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Butter an 11” cast-iron skillet. (If you don’t have one, use another oven-proof skillet of the same size. A 9 x 13” pan can also work, but the cake will not be as thick and the cooking time will likely be shorter.)

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl (I just use the measuring cup I measure the buttermilk in), whisk together the vanilla extract, eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing just enough to combine everything. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Spoon half the strawberries onto the top of the cake as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar onto the top of the cake and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a few dry crumbs. Pay attention, making sure you don’t over-bake the cake, as it’ll dry out quickly.

Spoon the remaining strawberries and their juices over the top of the cake and serve warm. Any leftovers can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 3 days.