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In Anticipation of Deelish

Connie Mooreberries and pineapple

Recently we were given a recipe for a spring dessert. While the construction of the finished cake didn’t turn out for us as the recipe indicated (it was supposed to be a roll), the flavor was described absolutely on spot. The cook used the word "deelish".

We hadn’t heard that word for over fifteen years. Our dear friend Gladys Rood used it just about every time we gathered together for a meal. It was her way of putting a five-star rating to a food. And the cake recipe given to us was just that — deelish.

A yellow cake mix was embellished with finely chopped fresh strawberries. As it turned out, we had to layer the baked cake rather than roll it as it was just too tender to stay together. The filling and frosting were to be whipped fresh cream with more chopped berries. We used what we had — Dream Whip. It turned out wonderfully fruity and creamy and berry good.

While in anticipation of the finished dish, we thought of cooking to come as spring yields local grown strawberries and rhubarb. Favorite recipes abound but here are a few older ones that have stood the test of time. Feel free to embellish, shape differently; add your own touch to them. That’s how recipes become endearing — old standbys, new ideas, traditions of food that family and friends wait in anticipation of. Spring cooking can be deelish!

Pineapple Cream Cake with Berries

Cake:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple w/juice
1 cup chopped pecans

Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter
2-1/2 to 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fresh strawberries

In mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add eggs and pineapple with juice. Beat until well-blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into greased 13x9-inch pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan.

For frosting, in a bowl, beat cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and vanilla to make a spreadable frosting.  Spread over cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Recipe source: family recipe box.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp

5 cups fresh rhubarb and strawberries (Total fruit is 5 cups — you can have mostly rhubarb or mostly berries or an equal amount of both.)
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
1/2 to 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter cut in small pieces
1/4 chopped nuts, optional

In a 9-inch round deep baking dish, place fruit. Add amount of sugar to suit your tastes. (Rhubarb can be very tart, so take that into consideration.) Sprinkle tapioca over fruit and stir all thoroughly.

In small bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon. With fork, cut in the butter pieces. Stir in nuts if using. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until fruit is cooked and juices bubble up into a crisp golden brown top. Serve warm with ice cream.

Strawberry Sauce

4 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Wash, hull berries. Slice in half for quicker cooking. Place water, sugar and cornstarch in large saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Add berries. Stir. Cook over low heat until berries release juice. Using potato masher, break up berries, crushing to lumpy sauce consistency. Continue to cook over low until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Pour into glass bowl. Serve warm over cake, biscuits, ice cream. Cover and chill for a cold sauce that is good on toast, biscuits, over fruit compote or chopped apples.

Fresh Fruit Parfaits

Strawberry sauce (see above recipe)
Fresh apples, kiwi, grapes, pineapple, cherries
Favorite whipped topping or fresh whipped cream

In parfait glasses place a spoonful or two of any fresh fruits which have been washed, stemmed and cubed. Spoon cold strawberry sauce over, then a spoon or two of whipped topping. Repeat until glass is full. Can garnish with sliced or chopped nuts if desired. Chill till serving. If desired substitute prepared vanilla pudding for the whipped topping.

Quick Fresh Berry Torte

Strawberry sauce (see above recipe)
Prepared, baked 13x9-inch cake
Prepared large box vanilla pudding
Prepared whipped topping
Coconut, sliced almonds, fresh strawberries

Lots of possibilities for this dessert. Here are a few. Early in the day or the day before, prepare the berry sauce, chill. Prepare the cake and cool completely, leaving it in the pan. Prepare the pudding. Layer the sauce, pudding, whipped topping on top of cake. If pan is deep enough, repeat layers. Garnish top with coconut, sliced almonds and whole fresh berries. If you want to, use a good seedless strawberry jam in place of the sauce. It is still good to have a few fresh berries for the top. Or cover the top with sliced fresh berries.

This torte can be made with a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Just press half of the dough into circle on cookie sheet, repeat with other half. Bake at recommended temperature until dough is cooked through. Cool and carefully slide each layer onto flat surface. Use one layer as bottom of torte and the other for a middle layer. Cut with sharp knife to serve.