When you see strawberries in the dead of winter, it’s a striking sight. With all of the beige food that we’ve been eating these last two months, I had almost forgotten that such colors existed. And as soon as I held them in my hands, I was able to forget about the snow that was pummeling our city and think of warmer, happier times.
These strawberries came to us in our CSA box a few weeks ago, which were brought up from Georgia. And while they were stunning to look at, I wasn’t prepared for such luscious fruit. I was thrown for a bit of a loop, so I sent them to the refrigerator until I figured out what to do.
But they just sat there. For almost a week.
By the time I opened the fridge to take them out, they had turned a bit soft. They still looked delicious, but they needed to be treated with a little extra love. And that love came in the form of this wonderfully simple, rustic dessert.
I must admit, I haven’t done much with strawberries in the past. Normally they end up in fruit salad or with some vanilla ice cream.
What I was really looking for was a quick pastry recipe. I grew up on cookies, brownies, and lemon bars. Even now, when I go home to visit my parents I can always expect a plate of freshly baked treats. And, when I was getting prepared to cook up something with these berries, I knew that I wanted something that would comfort me, something that would bring me back to my childhood. This recipe did the trick.
Strawberry Crumb Bars
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
3 cups fresh strawberries, quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the strawberries. Sprinkle the strawberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (This took an extra 10 to 15 minutes in my oven.) Cool completely before cutting into squares.