The other day we passed one of the best farms in the area and they had the first fresh-picked strawberries of the season for sale (and they are also organic!). We stopped and bought a quart and went on to our destination. We noticed that aside from the whole car smelling like strawberries, we were unable to control ourselves when it came to eating them. They were so, so delicious and also so cute - most of them only needed to be halved, and I even left some whole. There is absolutely no comparison between store-bought (out-of-season) strawberries, and the ones that are freshly picked. So, when we were on the way home, we stopped and bought some more.
We were having some people over for dinner the next day so I knew I wanted to include these delicious strawberries in the meal. I came across this recipe from Homesick Texan that was adapted from "Lady Bird" Johnson's recipe. I was really excited to make this dessert and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Everyone ate it up, and my husband especially enjoyed it. Honestly, it wasn't the most photogenic of desserts. The photos were rushed because I had guests and it was dark - it just looks like a weird pizza. But, trust me, it's really good! Below is my slightly adapted version of this delicious, summery dessert. I look forward to trying this recipe with blueberries and/or peaches as well.
Strawberry spoon bread with vanilla cream
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered (depending on size)
1/2 cup, plus 2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, preferably unbleached/raw
3 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and pulp scraped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
Place the strawberries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons (add more if they aren't very sweet) of sugar. Stir and set aside for about 45 minutes, or until juicy. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a metal bowl in the freezer.
In a cast iron skillet, warm 2 cups of milk with the cornmeal, whisking often until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining cup of milk and butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the eggs, baking powder, salt, and the 1/2 cup of sugar. Drain the juice from the berries, but reserve the juice for serving. Stir the drained strawberries into the batter.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the batter is set and golden, about 35 minutes. While it cools slightly, make the vanilla whipped cream. Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean pulp to the chilled metal bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Then fold in the maple syrup or honey.
Serve the spoon bread warm, topped with the cream and juice from the strawberries.
What was I cooking one year ago?: potato and Swiss chard hash with eggs
Two years ago?: cheese and onion salad with creamy chive dressing