Gourmet (June 2009)
Is it just us, or are strawberries freaking everywhere this year?
They are acres of them -- big, plump, bright red -- at our farmers market. (One vendor last week had set up a "Strawberries-Only Express Line.") They're tumbling out of two-for-one pint baskets at the grocery store. Sweet little pink and red ones have been showing up in our CSA bounty.
We've happily succumbed to the berry onslaught. We've been eating strawberries in every way we can think of -- in a citrusy salad, with shortcakes and cream. We made a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie, and we've even canned some strawberry freezer jam. Most nights, we've followed dinner with at least a bowl of strawberries dusted with a little sugar.
But are we suffering from strawberry fatigue? No way! And with these incredible Strawberry Dumplings, you won't be either.
This recipe is really quite basic -- it's essentially a quick strawberry jam topped with spoonfuls of dough. The effect is delightful! It's sort of akin to a sloppy, gooey strawberry shortcake. The sweet, fresh berries and the gorgeous clouds of soft dumplings make a heavenly pair. Add a swirl of cream and it's almost too much to handle.
(We actually didn't add a swirl of cream. In fact, we were so eager to eat this, we forgot about the cream completely. That's just one more reason to try this dish a second time.)
If you're looking for a really simple version of this dessert, or if strawberries aren't in season, we think you could make this work with a jar of strawberry preserves. That's essentially what you're making with the berries in the first step, anyway. Simmer the preserves, top with the dumplings, voila!
Also, we suspect that this recipe could easily be adapted with other fruit. As soon as peaches are available at the market, you can be certain that we'll be we'll be making Peach Dumplings.
The only drawback with these Strawberry Dumplings is that this isn't the most summery dish, simmering away on the stovetop for a half hour, served hot. So if you want, you could let it cool before you serve. But that would take a lot more willpower than we've got!
* Serves 6
* Active time:15 min
* Start to finish:40 min
* 1 qt strawberries, trimmed and thickly sliced (about 4 cups)
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 2/3 cup whole milk
Stir together strawberries and sugar in a 4-qt heavy saucepan and let stand, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 15 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter using a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Stir in milk until just blended, then add mixture to boiling berries and stir once or twice. Tightly cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, until dumpling looks dry on top, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand off heat, uncovered, 5 minutes before serving.