Strawberry season is upon us!
Here on the east coast, come summer, we visit various farms to pick fresh, organic fruit. Every year we stay for hours and come home with way too many berries. I am one of those fomo visitors who has a bucket practically spilling over and yet, as I make my way back to the booth to pay, I make multiple stops because I see that one berry I couldn’t bear to leave without. And there are many one berries I feel this way about, lol.
Picking season won’t be here for another week or so but we have already started to get some beautifully ripe strawberries at the farmers’ markets. One thing I am super strict about when it comes to berries is that I believe you should only cook or bake with them when they are beyond the point of tasting good fresh - and at no point before that! This past weekend I was rummaging around the market for lilacs and heard one of the farmers telling a customer, ‘strawberries taste best when they are fresh, not cooked’ and I was like YES, you get it!
So let’s talk about what we are going to do with these ruby jewels. I regularly make a blueberry dutch baby for my family from a recipe I came up with last year, when blueberries were in season. It’s a lil different than your usual dutch baby recipe because the butter is reduced and I used whole wheat flour. We loved it so much I’ve made it every time we wanted something a little different for our weekend breakfast. Made it again about a month ago when strawberries had just started coming in from CA, and I briefly considered using them instead, but I really don’t like chunks of strawberries within a bake, especially once it cools and they get all wet and weird. I’d rather use them as a topping because that is how they taste best, imo (and that farmer’s!). Taking this idea one step further, I decided a whipped cream would best complement the two layers. And then I thought… well what if I made it all a bit more like cheesecake?!
So I got to work testing and here we are. I made the dutch baby with lots of cinnamon and replaced the sugar with honey to make it taste like the graham crust layer of a cheesecake. I added cream cheese and lemon to my whipped cream. And guys, I really did not think this would be the star of the dish because it was almost an afterthought, but this cream cheese whipped cream is incredible! I don’t sweeten mine too much because I depend on the sweetness of the strawberries, and tbh, I would just sit and eat a bowl of these together while the dutch baby is baking.. so, um, make a lot of this if you imagine this will be you too!
Strawberry Cheesecake Dutch Baby
‘cheesecake’ whipped cream
1/2 package cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
*This can be made a few hours in advance.
Beat the cream cheese with the sugar, salt, lemon juice, zest and vanilla until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
Add ½ cup heavy whipping cream and sugar, beat until very soft peaks.
Add other ½ cup heavy whipping cream and beat until medium peaks, no more.
If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge.
1 cup strawberries
1 teaspoon sugar
*This can be made up to an hour before using.
*Farmer’s market and farm strawberries are usually so sweet I never feel I need that much sugar on them, but if you are using the grocery store variety you may want a bit more sugar to encourage the fruit’s natural sugars to emerge. Also, some people like a squeeze of lemon on their berries.
Chop strawberries and place in bowl. Sprinkle on sugar and toss. Set aside.
graham cracker dutch baby
¾ cup minus 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
¾ cup whole milk
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 425.
On a stove, melt the butter in a 9” cast iron pan and swirl it around so it covers the sides.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs by hand until smooth. Add the flour, whisk until lumps are gone.
Add milk, salt, cinnamon, and honey. Whisk to combine.
Pour batter onto prepared buttered pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes. It will puff up and be huge and as it cools it will flatten.
Once a bit cool, add whipped cream and strawberries. Sift over powdered sugar, if using.