Although the first day of summer 2015 officially isn’t until June 21st, Memorial Day weekend (the last weekend in May) actually signals the start of the season for many of us. Berries are the perfect late spring/early summer fruit to help usher in the warmer months. Here are a few favorite recipes that spotlight these red and blue gems, bursting with sun-ripened sweetness!
Strawberry Pretzel Dessert
With a salty pretzel crust, cream cheese, gelatin and fresh strawberries, this dessert casserole is a crowd pleaser. Start by crushing an eight-ounce bag of thin, salted pretzels and preheating your oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine your crushed pretzels with ¾ cup of melted butter and ¼ cup of granulated sugar. Press the ingredients into 9×13 baking dish and bake in your preheated oven for ten minutes until set. Once done, set aside your crust to cool.
In a separate bowl, cream together one eight-ounce block of softened cream cheese with a cup of granulated sugar and two cups of whipped topping using an electric mixer. Layer this creamy spread on top of your cooled crust.
Next, dissolve two small boxes (or one large box) of strawberry flavored gelatin in two cups of boiling water. Add one and a half cups of cold water to the mix and let it cool in the refrigerator for an hour or until it begins to gel. Meanwhile, slice three cups of fresh strawberries (or more if you prefer), add them to your partially set gelatin, and pour it on top of your casserole. Refrigerate your dish for thee hours or until fully set, then cut your dessert into squares and enjoy!
Red, White and Blueberry Trifle
A Trifle is a layered dessert that has a little bit of everything! This dessert is stunning, and ridiculously simple to make. If you don’t have a trifle dish, substitute a large glass bowl. The key is to be able to see the luscious layers!
We like to use boxed white cake mix, prepared according to the directions on the box. Or if you prefer, you can use a store-made sponge cake. Cut your cake into two-inch chunks and form your first layer at the bottom of your bowl or trifle dish. Next, whip up two large boxes of instant vanilla pudding and add a layer of pudding to your trifle. Top with sliced, fresh strawberries, and then a layer of whipped topping. Continue layering, but this time use fresh blueberries. Continue until you reach the top! Scoop to serve.
We recommend using refrigerated piecrust (unless you are a die-hard “make your own crust” kind of baker). Place the bottom crust in your pie plate and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine four cups of fresh blueberries, two tablespoons of lemon juice, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a dash or two of cinnamon. Mix well and add to your bottom crust. Top with a few thin pats of butter here and there, and then add the top crust. Crimp the edges and cut four evenly placed slits to vent your pie. Place foil around the edges to prevent burning. Bake your pie for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Cool before serving.
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