Photo by Abigail Bradshaw
I simply cannot get enough strawberries into my belly around this time of year. I’ll take them any way I can get them, which sometimes means coming up with creative uses for this classic spring berry. Given that I recently discovered cornmeal’s double-life as a delicious cake ingredient, I put together a “strawberry-shortcake-done-soooo-right” recipe … and ate myself into a minor coma “testing” the final product. The buttermilk ice cream has a tangy perfection that pairs well with the sweet strawberries and the hearty cornmeal cake. I suggest making the three components of this recipe over the course of a couple of days for a delectable springtime dessert.
(adapted from Epicurious)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- the zest of one orange
- 3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and generously butter a 9 inch cake round cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high — the cake will rise towards the middle, so allow for that in the baking environment.
2. Sift together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and orange peel together until smooth.
4. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture is well-incorporated and fluffy. One at a time, add the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
5. Add the buttermilk and vanilla, and again – beat until smooth.
6. Put away that electric beater and fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula until just mixed.
7. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Cool the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan. Let it cool completely, and cover it until you’re ready to serve it with the ice cream and strawberries!
Hint: you can substitute a package of Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix for the dry ingredients, but cut down the sugar to only one 1/2 cup if you do so, and increase the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.
- 2 16 oz packages of frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare a pan with as much protection as you can against the stickiness that will ensue from the roasted berries! I used a silicone mat on the bottom of my pan as well as tinfoil over the top.
2. Allow the strawberries to warm up just a bit — just enough to where they won’t harden the butter again too quickly. Pour the strawberries into a medium bowl.
3. Mix together the butter, maple syrup, and salt if applicable. Pour the butter/maple syrup mixture onto the strawberries and mix well, then transfer to your prepared pan and flatten the berries into one layer to allow for the best roasting.
4. Every 15 minutes, stir the berries around — continue this for about 45 minutes to an hour. The end result will be the consistency of chunky strawberry jam. These berries are best hot right out of the oven, so I’d suggest waiting until the last minute to serve these up!
Buttermilk Ice Cream
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste, available at specialty food stores)
1. Prepare an ice bath in your kitchen sink (or most convenient ice-bath area) and a slurry with the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk.
2. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, remaining buttermilk, and whipping cream over medium heat.
3. Allow the mixture to heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 30 seconds or so, and then remove from heat.
4. Take about 1/2 cup of the hot buttermilk mixture and combine it with the egg yolks — stir well to prevent cooking the eggs and creating chunks.
5. Once combined, transfer the egg yolk mixture, the cornstarch slurry, and the vanilla to the buttermilk mixture and bring the whole concoction back over medium heat.
6. Stir as the ice cream base begins to thicken up — another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a 1-gallon freezer bag, and submerge in the ice bath for 30 minutes.
7. After completely cool, pour the base into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making ice cream.
8. Freeze the completed ice cream for at least 1 hour before serving, and 4 or more hours for the best consistency! I usually make the ice cream a few days before I plan to serve this dessert, the cake the day before, and the roasted strawberries on the day of the meal.