Local Strawberry Blessings

strawberries It’s that time of year in Ontario – where beautiful, delicious produce is fresh and plenty, something that we are blessed to have locally. Red and juicy berries are one of my favourites, when they’re in season.

We use strawberries a lot in the Never Enough Thyme kitchen – on salads, in scones, or with goat’s cheese and brie on a crostini. While there’s nothing quite like fresh strawberry jam on toast, these tasty little morsels are versatile.

I came across a recipe this past winter for “Strawberry Blessing” and saved it until the local berries were ripe for the picking. Keeping a recipe that long was a challenge for me as I love developing the original and creating a new one.

The first time I test a recipe, I try to stay true to the original guidelines, and make notes as I go along. For instance, this recipe is made with mascarpone, an Italian sweet cheese; but sweetened cream cheese would have a similar result.

Enjoy the local strawberry blessings, however you choose to use and eat them! This instance is my take on the delicious dessert – perfect for a summer barbecue or potluck.

Strawberry Blessing

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups strawberry jam
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/3 cups whipping cream
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ¼ pound mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound of berries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 16 lady fingers

Instructions

  1. In a pot, mix 1 cup of jam, water, and orange juice and whisk together.
  2. Bring to a simmer and allow to cool.
  3. Add the Grand Marnier.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the whipping cream, 6 tbsp. sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  5. In another bowl, whip mascarpone cheese until soft and smooth.
  6. Add in the lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon and whip together.
  7. Add the whipped cream, with a small amount first to allow the mascarpone cheese to get smooth. Then add the rest of the whipped cream.
  8. Slice strawberries, add sugar, and chopped mint.
  9. Line a 9×9 pan with plastic wrap. Spread half of the cheese mix over the plastic wrap. Add a layer of sliced berries. Spread the other half of the remaining strawberry jam over the cheese mix.
  10. Dip lady fingers in the jam water and place over the jam, rounded side down.
  11. Place another layer of cheese mix, berries, jam, and more lady fingers.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 4 hours.
  13. Unwrap and flip onto serving platter. Decorate with berries and mint, then serve.

 

Image: rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net