Hello again everyone! The summer months sure are flying by, aren't they? Its hard to believe that in just 4 days I will be a married woman!!! Gonna be a good weekend :)
But enough about that and let's get talking about that dessert. (I have to apologize for the quality of the pic... I had to do it myself and, well, my skills stop at the kitchen :p)
I came home to my parents' a few days ago and one of the first things we did was go to a U-Pick for some fresh strawberries. We left the field with almost 20 cups of strawberries!!! The very first thing my dad asked for was a pan of strawberry squares and I couldn't say no :) But if you follow along on this blog at all you know I avoid using any packages in my baking and prefer to do everything from scratch - and those strawberry squares have gelatin in them to keep them nice and firm once they cool. So I done a bit of googling to find a gelatin substitute and what I actually found out was what gelatin is made out - bones, hooves, and connective tissue! (I am done with anything jelly and jiggly) It was time to find another way to make these squares.
So I put myself to work in the kitchen and whipped up a nice syrup, added my berries, and thickened it all with some cornstarch and water, and with my fingers crossed I put the squares in the fridge and hoped for the best.
Although they don't cut out with the same clean edges as the jelly version, they are so tasty and bone-free that my dad forgave me :) What do you think?
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar (could easily be reduced to 1 cup)
3 cups berries (I used whole fresh, but frozen would work too)
2 tbsp cornstarch
- Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring often.
- Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add berries and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Mix cornstarch with enough water to make a liquid, not a paste. Add to berry mixture all at once and stir quickly.
- Continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
- Put a large sieve over a large bowl. Pour berry mixture through sieve. (This will separate the berries from the syrup and remove any lumps of the cornstarch mixture.
- Let cool for 30 minutes.
Graham Cracker Bottom
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Mix together all three ingredients and press into a 9X9 glass baking dish.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or just until it starts to brown.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
Chantilly Whipped Cream
500 ml whipping cream, cold
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
- In a cold bowl with cold beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form (it will take a while so don't give up!)
- Add the icing sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Keep cold until ready to use.
- Place cooled strawberries from sieve on top of graham cracker bottom.
- Pour enough syrup over the berries to cover. (The leftover syrup is excellent for crepes!!!!)
- Let set in fridge until stiff.
- Cover with whipped cream. (The leftover cream is excellent for crepes!!!!)