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nostalgia and strawberries

When the kiddies head back to school, I breathe a sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate kids. Hate is too strong of a word. But I strongly dislike how they loiter around the city in the dead days of August. With firmly planted grimaces on their faces, they run around the malls or bookstores, attempting to amuse themselves by distracting everyone else. I don’t know about you, but I’d like a little quiet as I am trying to absorb all that highly important celebrity gossip in the magazine section of my bookstore.

When the last days of August come, I am relieved to notice that the long lines at my local Starbucks are gone, and the lunch cafes are quiet. I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic for my old back-to-school days though. This time last year, I was prepping for my last semester at college, eagerly awaiting that hard-earned diploma. Now, my days are spent in a cubicle where I pass my days helping the government run. While I love my freedom, I miss the daily school routine. I miss walking on to campus, seeing all the diverse people, and learning new things. I have always been a sucker for schools though, as I am a bona-fide nerd.

You know what I don’t miss? The stress and anxiety school brings. The late nights spent studying for yet another test. The crowded parking lots. The frustrating professors. Ridiculous school politics. When I think of all these things, I realize that I’m glad my time at college has ended. Eventually I will return to get my masters, but for right now, I am enjoying my time. To celebrate this freedom, I made this droolworthy recipe for strawberry dumplings. You might have seen this recipe on Jen’s Simply Photo Flickrstream or from Deb who featured the recipe on Smitten Kitchen. if the allure of a simple strawberry dessert with a biscuit topping wasn’t enough to draw me in, then the photos from both those ladies surely would have!

Normally, I eat fresh strawberries all summer long. Fresh, with maybe a sprinkle of raw sugar, they are the perfect snack or dessert in the hot months. But I’ve been craving fruit desserts and this one came to my mind. Warning, my take on this recipe didn’t turn out as beautiful as others, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t tasty. First of all, I cut the recipe in half because I didn’t want it to go to waste. Dumplings don’t really last and I hate throwing things away. I think the topping was supposed to be more cobbler-like but that’s ok. I used heavy cream in place of whole milk, which I’m sure changed how the topping came together in the pot. I must have ignored some of the directions because my biscuit topping wasn’t as clumpy as others.

What I loved the most about this recipe was how quick it came together. Mix the dry ingredients, combine the milk, pour in to a saucepan filled with strawberries and sugar, and let it bubble away. 15 minutes later, dessert is served. My friend and I sat out on my patio, overlooking the August sky, and greedily dug in to our own servings. To be honest, we polished off the whole thing that night, in between glasses of wine and memories of summers past. I highly encourage you all to enjoy these passing August nights, and share some laughs with a friend over dessert. Be thankful for where you are and who is around you. Nothing is as sweet as gratitude…

Strawberry Dumpling
Printable recipe
Origin: Gourmet magazine
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
● 1 qt strawberries, trimmed and thickly sliced (about 4 cups)
● 2/3 cup sugar
● 1 cup all-purpose flour
● 2 tsp. baking powder
● 1/4 tsp. salt
● 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
● 2/3 cup whole milk, (I used heavy cream)
● fresh whipped cream, to serve

Directions:
Stir together strawberries and sugar in a 4-qt heavy saucepan and let stand, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 15 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter using a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Stir in milk until just blended, then add mixture to boiling berries and stir once or twice. Tightly cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed,

Stir together strawberries and sugar in a 4-qt heavy saucepan and let stand, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 15 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter using a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Stir in milk until just blended, then add mixture to boiling berries and stir once or twice. Tightly cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, until dumpling looks dry on top, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand off heat, uncovered, 5 minutes before serving.

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August 24, 2009 - 6:40 am

sarah the baker yoon - what a delightful post amanda! but i’ve gotta admit, in my sad little disposition, i’d rather be in school and not have a care in the world! or maybe i’m just in this hump stage where i just need to pull through and then it’ll be a little easier. :) anyways. hope you enjoy what’s left of summer!!

August 24, 2009 - 7:02 am

Emily - Oof. I have a grimace firmly plated on my face because I have to go back to school this week. Maybe I’ll make this recipe to cheer myself up.

August 24, 2009 - 9:17 am

heather - oh wow. decadent and fresh at the same time. I agree with sarah the baker yoon, I wish I were going back to school! after completing my master’s program in May, I don’t know what to do with myself!

cheers,

*heather*

August 24, 2009 - 9:23 am

zoe - I love eating fresh strawberries by themselves too, but it’s nice to bake with them once in a while. Looks delicious!

August 24, 2009 - 9:30 am

juju73 - These look absolutely delicious!!!!

August 24, 2009 - 9:39 am

whitneyinchicago - It is so nice to not be going back to school today! 3 years of law school will do that to ya, haha.

Lovely recipe and photos as always.

August 24, 2009 - 10:08 am

Squill - Mmmm… I cannot find any strawberries at the market but this looks like it would be delicious with any other berry. Divine!

August 24, 2009 - 11:29 am

Ann - I’m trying to grab onto the last strawberries of summer as long as they’re cropping up – so I’m going to try your recipe! Speaking as someone who just went back to school after finishing a bachelor’s three years ago, I really appreciate it now more than I ever did before, I think.

August 24, 2009 - 11:31 am

Sprouted Kitchen - yum! i love things that all kind of mush together like your final picture. Sweet, savory, creamy, perfection!!

August 24, 2009 - 11:48 am

MollyCookie - This looks great, but I really love your bowls. Where did you get those? Are they ice cream bowls? They are so neat.

August 24, 2009 - 11:49 am

Trisha - That looks beautiful! A great way to use up the last of the summer berries before moving on to apples and pears.

August 24, 2009 - 7:26 pm

Linda - This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

August 24, 2009 - 8:08 pm

lola - that looks amazing!

August 24, 2009 - 8:52 pm

tracy - ummmm YESSSSSS!!!! beautiful photos amanda! i love them all!

August 25, 2009 - 4:48 am

diva - wow this dessert is beautiful and i love the way you write. it touched me a little since i’m sorta in the same position. i kinda got outta it though because i decided to pursue a masters but once i’m properly out of college, i’ll be in the government slaving away and wishing i was free like a bird. :(

August 25, 2009 - 8:31 am

Indigo - What is it about strawberries that always brings back such nostalgia? I’m exactly the same. They always remind me of summers past…
I’m starting my second year at uni in a few weeks, but I miss school too – even though it drove me mad when I was there. Looks like we can’t win!

August 25, 2009 - 2:15 pm

mmhuynh - Wow looks like the perfect summer dessert!

August 26, 2009 - 9:59 am

Sara - Oh gosh, I can’t wait to try this!

August 27, 2009 - 8:10 pm

Hannah - This looks so perfect.

August 28, 2009 - 7:21 am

Amanda - Thanks everyone for the lovely comments!

sarah- why did we ever graduate?! haha we should have stayed!!

Squill- you could use blueberries or raspberries or even nectarines! Try anything fresh and soft. I’m sure it will turn out great…

Sproutedkitchen- that mushy part is the best, in my opinion! I reheated it for breakfast the next morning, witha drizzle of milk instead of cream… It was perfect :)

September 28, 2012 - 7:04 am

Diane - This post reminded me of my daughter. She has just finished up her last semester of college and I’m sure she is wishing she was going back to school too. Job hunting is not fun! This strawberry dessert looks delicious!

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