Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fresh Berry Dessert Won't Come Up Short

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fresh Berry Dessert Won't Come Up Short

Article excerpt

ONE OF THE assistants at my cooking school recently came to work delighted by some successful, last-minute entertaining she had done over the weekend. When my friend and her husband spotted a small ad that invited the public to pick fresh strawberries at a local farm, they decided to ask several friends to join them. After an hour in the fields, the couple invited the group to come to their house for dessert.

My young colleague had baked a hazelnut shortbread before their departure, and upon arriving cleaned her fresh berries and made a cream filling to go with the cake. Everyone loved sitting down and relaxing after the harvest with a special dessert and some iced coffee.

The hazelnut shortcake my assistant prepared was an old recipe that she had lightened slightly. She replaced regular sour cream with a low-fat variety and used 2 percent milk instead of whole. In the original confection, cream cheese is blended with sugar and then whipped cream is folded into it. For this version, nonfat cream cheese is used and combined with the whipped cream. One other change the "berry" chef made was to combine some blueberries that she had on hand with the strawberries for an extra burst of color.

This dessert would make a great ending to a menu of grilled chicken, steak or fish, or you could let it stand alone as the piece de resistance for a warm-weather dessert party.

***** SUMMER BERRY-HAZELNUT SHORTCAKE For shortcake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (see note)

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1/3 cup 2 percent milk

Nonstick cooking spray For filling:

1 pint strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced

1 pint blueberries, cleaned and picked over

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (colored portion of rind)

1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

4 ounces nonfat cream cheese

1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or Cointreau) or 1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream

2 to 3 mint sprigs (optional)

To prepare shortcake: Place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in bowl. …

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