I grew up in Baltimore in a very food-centric family. Every year as the mercury climbed and the spring blossoms gave way to summer greenery, I remember my mother, aunts and grandmothers sitting around the breakfast room table talking about the upcoming warm weather harvest – Maryland’s strawberries, corn, tomatoes, and crabs. This time of year, I also recall that throughout our travels in many other states my husband, Nick, and I have sampled these food items and both of us agree that Maryland’s are the most delicious. A simple joy of staying home at this time of year is enjoying these treats at the height of their season -- nothing compares to Maryland strawberries, Maryland corn, Maryland tomatoes and Maryland crabs...I’m so excited this season is upon us!
One of my fondest childhood memories is of summer days when I tagged along with my dad to work in the city. I recall the A-rabs, men with pony-drawn carts whose deep voices bellowed, “Marrrrr-ynn berries, come git ya Marrrrr-lynn berries, Marrrrrr-lynn berries, git ’um now,” echoing through the streets. Dad and I would stock up, buying several pints of strawberries―one or two for the ride home and the rest for breakfast and my mother’s delicious strawberry cobbler cake.
Maryland strawberries are different from any berry I’ve tasted. Imported strawberries and those from other parts of the country aren’t as potent in flavor or as rich in color as ours. Imported or out-of-state berries usually have white centers and are lighter in color. Maryland berries are deep red both inside and out, and are much sweeter and juicier, so much so they are actually thirst quenching! The Maryland strawberry season is brief, so don’t let it slip by before turning this aromatic sweet treat into this delicious strawberry cobbler cake and a few more of my favorite strawberry ideas and combinations:
- Top cottage cheese or yogurt with strawberries and slivered almonds or granola.
- Strawberries are a colorful addition to hot and cold cereals as well as pancakes, waffles and crepes.
- Add strawberries to fresh fruit smoothies
- Toss strawberries with assorted mixed green greens, add crumbled blue cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.
- Dip strawberries in chocolate fondue.
- Slices of strawberries are delicious over sour cream and topped with brown sugar.
- Make fresh fruit kabobs, alternately skewer strawberries with fresh seasonal fruit.
STRAWBERRY COBBLER CAKE
I love making this dessert, which is as much a cobbler as it is a cake, hence its name. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or vanilla yogurt.
4 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed, washed and quartered
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
½ cup milk
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place berries in an 11 x 9-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop butter chunks into flour mixture. Cut in butter with two knives (making slicing motions) or use your fingertips to incorporate until mixture is somewhat crumbly.
Add milk and stir until fully combined.
Dollop batter over strawberries (the batter is thick and more like a dough than batter); the final topping and the baking process will evenly distribute the batter.
In a medium bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Stir until cornstarch has dissolved and pour over batter.
Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake cobbler/cake for 45–50 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm just as it is or with desired topping.