I was pleasantly surprised recently when I learned that there are some local berries ready to be picked at Norris Farms near Hokes Bluff. These are some of the best strawberries I have ever eaten, rich in flavor.
The first thing I did was wash a few berries, dip them into sugar and pop them into my mouth. Tasted like dessert to me.
Sometimes I will slice the berries and put the sugar over them. After they have been in the refrigerator for an hour or longer, I pour some cream over them and just grab a spoon.
I decided to make a simple strawberry pie like the one I first tasted years ago in an area restaurant. It had been several years since I had made one of these pies. It was just as good as I remembered.
Although I enjoy strawberries in many ways, my all-time favorite is cobbler. My mother made some wonderful cobblers, but, according to my family, her strawberry cobbler was the best. When I was growing up, I would see my mother pull out that old bent pan, and know we were about to enjoy her strawberry cobbler.
The following strawberry cobbler is an easy one-crust version. It might be juicier than you prefer, but this is the way mother made it. The filling will thicken slightly after it cools, if you can wait that long to eat it. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a bowl of this cobbler and you have a memorable delight.
Regardless of how you enjoy them, if you have local strawberries, you are in for a tasty treat.
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
11/4 cups self-rising flour (yes, this is right ... I have found this makes a better-tasting crust)
1/3 cup shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the strawberries and water in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish or pan. Combine the sugar and flour and mix well. Sprinkle over top of berries. Dot with butter.
For the crust: Combine the flour and shortening in the bowl of a food processor (or you can use a pastry blender). Pulse a few times until mixture looks like cornmeal with a few small lumps of shortening (about the size of a pea). Add the ice water gradually until mixture forms a ball. Remove from processor onto a lightly floured surface and roll to a square that is about 1/8 inch thick. Mine is usually not a neat square, but that doesn’t matter because you can always roll the edges toward the crust, forming a rim, or you can cut it to fit. Top fruit with crust. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
Baked 9-inch deep-dish pie crust
Whole strawberries, hulled (try to use strawberries that are about the same size)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 box (about 3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
1 cup water
Fill the baked crust with the whole strawberries (stem end down). Combine the sugar, cornstarch and gelatin in a saucepan. Mix well. Add the water and stir to mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cook until thick and clear. Pour over the strawberries and refrigerate until set. Before serving, top with Cool Whip.
E-mail Prudence Hilburn at email@example.com