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The devil is in the delicious

Summertime living is easy… right? To me, summer is a season of good times and great food, and also a season to relax a bit. I love my kitchen, but a sunny day really should be spent outdoors, so what is a hungry girl to do? Luckily, summer also means plentiful produce that can be eaten mostly in its natural form – no muss, no fuss. As an added bonus, such treats are usually packed with vitamins.

For a festive occasion like the Fourth of July, I do like to dress up my produce a bit – fresh ears of corn slathered in seasoned butter, or a squeeze of lime and a dash of chili powder on a cold slice of watermelon. These little touches amp up flavor without adding work or stress. Meat off the grill alongside one of these beauties and perhaps a spoonful of pasta salad or coleslaw from the deli is absolute summertime perfection. I can serve and eat a delicious meal, clean up, and still have time to get in a long, leisurely stroll before the fireworks start.

The fruity treat featured here is one that a friend of mine made for me on a summer day decades ago. We ate them at a bridal shower given in my honor and of all the delicious things my friends made for me that day, this is the one I remember the most. For a long time, I just called them “the strawberries.” I recently heard another cook call this dessert “deviled strawberries.” I found this name delightful and descriptive, so that’s what I will call them from now on.

The filling for this treat is simple to make and not overly sweet. If your berries are tart, the sweet, rich cream will balance the flavors. On the other hand, if your berries are super juicy and sweet, the cream won’t overpower the flavor of the fruit. In short, this is a fairly perfect dish. Slicing the strawberries in half and piping a bit of cream on top really makes the berries look deviled, and the in-tact stem provides a convenient handle. Leaving the berries whole creates a slightly larger cavity for the cream, which makes this a bit more decadent.

If using a piping bag is not your thing, simply dollop the cream in a bowl and serve it with strawberry dippers (and possibly some vanilla wafers or graham crackers, too.) No matter how you serve these, it is simply elegant and elegantly simple. After all, you need something you can make quickly – those fireworks aren’t going to watch themselves.



Deviled Strawberries

  • 2 pounds of strawberries – split through the stem or cored and tops removed, according to your preference
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sour cream

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate the cream. Whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and sour cream. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Place the completed mixture in a piping bag and pipe on top of strawberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to four hours.

Article and photos by Lisa Crockett





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