By Ann Cipperly

Now that spring has arrived with warm breezes, thoughts turn to cleaning patio furniture, gardening and serving delicious springtime desserts and salads with fresh strawberries. Strawberries are probably everyone’s favorite fruit. They are a good source of vitamin C and low in calories.

When purchasing strawberries, select ones with a natural shine and fresh looking with a green cap. Check the bottom of the container for red stains indicating deteriorating berries. When washing strawberries, rinse them quickly in a colander under cold water. Never soak them.

Although no one knows where strawberries received their name, one version tells of Anglo-Saxon children stringing berries on straws and selling them.

Roman writers mention the consumption of wild strawberries. In the late 16th century, strawberries were noted as a dessert to be eaten with cream or wine.

In America, Indians were fans of the Virginia strawberry. The Natchez Indians designated “strawberry moon” as one of the 13 months in their calendar year. Widespread cultivation of strawberries in America did not occur until the mid-18th century when the Erie Railroad began operating. It was reported that 80,000 baskets of strawberries were delivered to New York City in 1847.

Carol Duncan’s Strawberry Shortcake Served in a Martini Glass is an easy, attractive dessert to serve for entertaining. If you don’t have time to bake a pound cake, this recipe works well with one purchased from the grocery store. The strawberry sauce and whipped cream can be prepared ahead. You can assemble the dessert in a dish of your choice and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

The Strawberry Shortcake is a good recipe to have on hand when you need a dessert that looks festive, and is quick and easy to prepare.

The Strawberry Trifle is also made with a pound cake or an angel food cake. These can be homemade or purchased and will work well. This is one of my daughter-in-law AJ’s favorite, and I always try to have one in the refrigerator ready when she visits. I will bake pound cakes in loaf pans and freeze to have one available for making this dessert.

You can also slice a pound cake or angel food cake and fill it with whipped cream and berries for the Springtime Strawberry and Cream Cake.

The Strawberries Filled with Cream and Cheesecake Filled Strawberries are nice additions for a tea or shower.

One of the best salads is Chef David Bancroft’s Strawberry-Walnut Salad. While you can try making it at home, it is scrumptious at Acre. I especially enjoyed it served with his salmon.

The Strawberry and Orange Salad from Mary Counts of Pannie-George’s Kitchen is also excellent.

Whether you relish strawberries in salads, pies, cakes or other treats, serve strawberries for family meals and when entertaining this spring and summer.

Strawberry Shortcake Served in a Martini Glass
Carol Duncan
3 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup sugar (or more to taste depending upon sweetness of strawberries)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 loaf of good quality pound cake (homemade or Sara Lee)
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Mix 1 cup of strawberries with 1/3 cup sugar, orange juice, 2 tsp. vanilla and 2 tsp. lemon juice and pulse in food processor.
Slice remaining strawberries into 4ths and mix with the strawberry/vanilla, juice mixture. Keep refrigerated if using later.
Slice pound cake in to 3/4 inch slices and then cube.
Whip heavy cream, 3 Tbsp. sugar and ½ Tbsp. vanilla in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form.
To assemble: Layer pound cake cubes in martini glass then top with about 2 Tbsp. of strawberry mixture; top with whipped cream and garnish with mint sprig.

Strawberry-Walnut Salad
Chef David Bancroft
This is my favorite salad at Acre. It is even better with salmon added.
6 oz. bag baby spinach
1½ cups candied walnuts
6 strips crispy bacon
1 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1½ cups sliced strawberries
8 oz sherry-honey vinaigrette
Sherry-Honey Vinaigrette
1/8 cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup honey
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ Tbsp. white truffle oil
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
Add all ingredients for vinaigrette to mixing bowl and whisk together well before serving (or blend in food processor).
Arrange plates according to desired serving size and portion spinach equally. Portion each salad topping evenly amongst your plates in layers.
Last, make sure vinaigrette is emulsified, and drizzle evenly over salad. Serve immediately and offer fresh cracked pepper! Serves 4 to 6.

Strawberry Trifle
1 quart strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound cake or angel food cake, cut in cubes
2 1/2 cups vanilla pudding (can use instant pudding mix)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped and sweetened with 2 Tbsp. sugar or more
Wash strawberries; save 6 or 8 to garnish. Hull remaining strawberries, slice; add sugar and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Place one cake layer in a one quart glass bowl. Pour half the berries over cake, then pour half of the pudding and half of the whipped cream. Repeat layers.
Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving garnish with strawberries.

Strawberry and Orange Salad
Mary Counts
Pannie-George’s Kitchen
This is an excellent Salad.
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable oil
½ small red onion, finely minced
1 ½ Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. paprika
1 1/2 lb. fresh spinach and 1 ½ lb. arugula, washed and torn into pieces
Note: May substitute mesclun mix or add watercress. May also add fresh herbs such as mint or tarragon.
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced
2 cups orange segments
1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
For dressing, combine vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk in oil, onion, poppy seeds, dry mustard and paprika; set aside. Combine greens, water chestnuts, strawberries, oranges, and nuts in a salad bowl. Add a little of the dressing at serving time; toss gently. Serve the remaining dressing on the side for those who want extra dressing. Note: May prepare dressing a day ahead and refrigerate. Be sure to whisk well before using. Dressing keeps for about a week in the refrigerator. Salad serves 12.

Springtime Strawberry and Cream Cake
Homemade or store-bought pound cake or angel food cake
1 qt. strawberries
2 cups whipping cream or Cool Whip
½ cup sugar if using whipping cream
Slice pound cake or angel food cake. Slice half of strawberries. Beat heavy cream until stiff; add ½ cup sugar.
Spread half of whipped cream over cake; spread sliced strawberries over cream.
Add top layer; cover top with whipped cream. Garnish top with whole berries. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberry, Candied Walnut and Feta Salad
1 bunch romaine lettuce or pkg. spring mix or spinach
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups strawberries, sliced
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Candied walnuts
In large bowl, combine lettuce with strawberries, feta cheese and candied walnuts. Add dressing to taste and toss or serve on the side.
Candied Walnuts
1½ cups walnuts
1 stick butter
2 cups brown sugar
Melt butter in saucepan or sauté pan over low heat. As butter begins to soften, add brown sugar, stirring constantly. When brown sugar begins to bubble on medium heat, continue stirring for two more minutes. Add walnuts and stir until coated with sugar. Pour sugared walnuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool completely. Break walnuts apart before adding to salad.
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place ingredients in a small bowl except for olive oil. Whisk ingredients and slowly whisk in olive oil. Store in refrigerator.

Glazed Strawberry Pie
1 qt. strawberries
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup boiling water
1 baked piecrust
Whipped cream
Mash enough berries to make 1 cup. Mix crushed berries with sugar, salt, cornstarch and boiling water; cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Cool. Arrange remaining whole berries in piecrust. Pour sauce over berries. Serve with whipped cream.

Strawberries Filled with Cream
Peg Weiss
16-18 large strawberries
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Cut the green stems off strawberries so they will stand upright when placed on serving tray. With a small sharp knife, cut an “X” in each strawberry, cutting almost to the bottom. The cut should be such that the strawberry will open up but not fall apart.
Make the filling by whipping mascarpone cheese and whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Pipe or spoon the filling in the strawberries. If not serving immediately, cover and place in refrigerator until serving time.

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries
1 lb. large strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
3-4 Tbsp. powdered sugar (4 tbsp for a sweeter filling)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Graham cracker crumbs
Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife, if necessary (some may already be hollow inside). Prep all strawberries and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.

Fresh Strawberry Bread
Lindsey Beno
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
3 cups flour
1¼ cup sugar
4 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
In one bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix together. In another bowl whisk together eggs, canola oil, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gently add strawberries.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Place batter in two greased 4 x 8-inch baking pans in 350-degree oven for one hour or until done.

Strawberry Pie with Meringue Crust
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
23 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 qt. strawberries, sliced
To make crust, beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar; mix. Fold in vanilla, crushed crackers and pecans. Bake in a greased pie pan in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool.
Beat cream until stiff; add sugar. Sweeten strawberries if desired. Fold into cream. Pour into cooled crust. Chill two hours or a day ahead.

Double Crust Strawberry Pie
2 refrigerated rolled piecrusts
2 cups strawberries, sliced
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ stick butter
Dash of cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional
Place one piecrust in pie plate. Place berries in crust. Mix sugar and flour; sprinkle over berries. Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place other piecrust on top and seal edges. Brush with egg white if desired and slit crust for venting. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Strawberry Tart
Cookie crust:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar; add egg yolks. Slowly mix in flour. Pat dough into the bottom of a tart pan, pie pan or pizza pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Shortcut: Use 1 roll sugar cookie dough. Slice and pat into pan.
2 1/2 cups sweetened whipped cream or Cool Whip
1 cup sour cream
Combine whipped cream and sour cream; spread over cooled cookie crust. Arrange whole strawberries over filling.

Strawberry Cheesecake
20 graham crackers, crushed
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
Three 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press into bottom of springform pan. Chill.
Beat cream cheese; add sugar and beat in eggs one at a time. Fold in vanilla. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until center is set. Cool 15 minutes. Prepare topping.
Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread over cheesecake. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes until set. Chill. Cover top with strawberries.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
3 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups sliced strawberries
Whole berries for garnish
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
3 cups whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first four ingredients in medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter, sugar and lemon rind until smooth; add eggs one at a time. Add lemon juice and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Do not overbeat. Stir in poppy seeds. Pour into three greased cake pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until tests done. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans.
Prepare frosting. Combine ½ cup sugar, eggs and lemon juice over double boiler, whisking until thick, about five minutes. Add white chocolate; stir to melt. Set aside to cool. Beat cream with remaining ¼ cup sugar until stiff; add vanilla. Fold into chocolate mixture.
Place one layer on cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting; top with 1 cup sliced strawberries and ½ cup frosting. Repeat with second layer. Top with third layer. Frost cake. Garnish with whole berries.