I just love strawberry season. There’s an just something about the smell of fresh berries. It reminds me of my childhood. You know, back when I was a young hooligan and used to steal strawberries out of my dad’s strawberry patch. My brothers and me would swim all day, then wander into the strawberry patch whenever the mood struck us. We would eat them hot, right off the vine. Then we’d all feign innocence when Dad came home after work and complained how useless his efforts to make a strawberry batch were. We’d all hide our red stained fingers and blame the extreme heat, or squirrels. We had no idea if squirrels actually ate berries at the time, we just wanted to shift the focus off ourselves. Just in case Dad was getting suspicious.
Blueberries we used to pick wild when we got the chance during our month long vacations. We always took really long vacations growing up. I think one year we were gone for 6 weeks. We’d find places to camp and if we were lucky there would be blueberries nearby. Honestly there are times I think back and wonder if our parents ever fed us since we were such little scavengers. But once you taste berries in the hot sun there’s no turning back. It just amps up the flavour and adds a level of naughtiness to eating them. Which you all know I’m all about indulgence and silly schemes. I think that’s why I look back so fondly on those childhood memories. All of my favourite emotions tied up in a tasty treat. Sheer perfection.
When I signed up to participate in the 4th of July Holiday Food Party I just knew I had to make something with strawberries and blueberries. Red berries and blue berries. It has perfection written all over it. I’m not American, I’m actually a Canuck. But we live so close to the border that I sort of consider myself an honorary American most days. We are very Americanized in our area. Likely from being so close to the border. I think it’s about 20 minutes to the Ambassador Bridge from our house. So it’s a hop, skip and jump to go shopping state-side. Although I don’t go as often as I’d like. The line-ups can be a bit overwhelming and I am not a patient kind of gal.
I decided to go simple with the strawberries. They are just macerated with some sugar and orange juice. It’s super easy to do and takes the sweetness over the top. The strawberries soften up and become the perfect treat.
The blueberries I decided to make into a sauce. I love blueberries but sometimes they can be slightly bitter. I figured making a sauce would a fun experiment. For visual appeal you could just macerate your blueberries and skip the sauce step. That way no stove has to be turned on and this would become the perfect no bake parfait. So don’t feel like you have to be overzealous like yours truly. If you want to leave the blueberries whole just macerate them the same way you do the strawberries. Easy peasy, and orange juice squeezy.
Some people macerate berries in alcohol. Due to a tummy condition I’m not allowed to have alcohol so you won’t see me use it too often. Occasionally I’ll cook with it in but not that often. Straight up alcohol is hard on me so I just avoid using it for things like this. I opt to use orange juice. If you’re thinking “well Lunie, that won’t work”, well, you’d be so wickedly wrong it’s not even funny. I know for a fact it’s legit. Want to know how?
Last year I was making a recipe that called for me to macerate berries in alcohol. I do not really keep alcohol in the house, and my car was in for service. So running out to grab some was not an option. I did what any self-respecting cook would do. I tweeted Mr. Mario Batali to ask him if there was a substitute. And to my wonderment the lovely Mr. Mario Batali tweeted me back. So there you have it folks. If you don’t trust me then trust Mario. The man is a god. If he says orange juice works, well then it freaking works people. It macerates LIKE A BOSS. < I have no idea what this means but it sounds hip right!
Okay so whip these American bad boys up and serve them for your special party. You can even put a nice sign on them that says “Mario Approved These Berries”. Your guests will be super impressed.
- 6 mini sponge cakes (I used store bought, too hot to bake)
- 6 cups strawberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 oranges, juiced really well
- 4 cups of blueberries, remove any stems
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 oranges, juiced really well
- 2 teaspoons of corn starch, less if you want it runny
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Cut sponge cake into small pieces. Set aside for when you are ready to assemble.
- Make sure you hull and wash your berries. Slice into pieces and put them in a container. Cover with sugar and orange juice. Mix really well. Cover and pop in the fridge for about 4 hours.
- Combine the blueberries, sugar and orange juice. If you want the mixture smooth, give a whir in a blender or magic bullet right off the bat. Place the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 or so minutes. If it's a nice dark colour now you can add the corn starch. If not cook a few minutes longer. Then add your corn starch. Turn heat to low and let it simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes as it thickens. Here's a tip about corn starch, start small and work your way up. If you think 1 teaspoon is enough, use it, let it simmer and see how it looks. If you're happy with the consistency you're done. If you're not happy with the consistency you can add another ½ or full teaspoon and allow it to simmer again. Customize it to how thick, or thin, you like it.
- Now remove from heat and allow to cool. Pop it in the fridge while the strawberries set and both mixtures will be at the ideal temp at the same time.
- Place your bowl and beaters in the fridge for 30 minutes, or the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes prior. I usually pop my measuring cup and a spoon in their too.
- Set up your mixer.
- Combine the heavy cream and sugar in the bowl and turn on low until it mixes a bit. (if you start on warp speed you and your walls will be wearing whipped cream) Once it starts to thicken just a touch you can increase speed till you get all the way to warp speed. Beat it on high till it's fluffy.
- You can either do this right as you assemble or cover this and pop it in the fridge till everything else is ready.
- Divide your sponge cake into 12 piles.
- Pop 6 piles into the bottom of the parfait glasses.
- Now spoon the strawberry mixture over the sponge cake. It's cool if it's got liquid, that is going to make your sponge cake taste like strawberry heaven. Spoon evenly and then tamp it down a bit with the dull side of knife, or a honey dripper. (honey drippers are perfect tools for SO many things)
- Now add a layer of whipping cream. Tamp this down and smooth it out.
- Add a layer of sponge cake again.
- Now you add a layer of the blueberry mixture. It's okay if it's a bit runny. It will soak into the sponge cake and make it taste like blueberry heaven.
- Now top off with a hit of whipping cream and some full berries.
- Chill for about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Serve with a big old American (but slightly Canuck) smile!
Make sure you visit all the other Holiday Food Party Peeps to see what they whipped up for you for the 4th of July. These people never fail to impress so you’re going to want to visit each and every person.
1. Berry Cheesecake Crumb Tart from Hungry Couple NYC
2. California Burgers from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
3. 4th of July Ice Cream Cones from Roxana’s Home Baking
4. Red, White & Blueberry Parfaits from Cravings of a Lunatic
5. Red, White & Blue Deviled Eggs from Created by Diane
6. Summer Berry Pizza from Magnolia Days
7. Sparkling Pineapple Cake Martini from The Messy Baker
8. Red, White & Bleu Mac ‘N Cheese from Juanita’s Cocina
9. Red, White & Blue Vanilla Bean Spritzers from Pineapple and Coconut
10. Red, White & Blue S’mores Pies from Big Bears Wife
11. Lemon Raspberry Sugarless Cookies from What Smells so Good
12. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Squares from Chocolate Moosey
13. Berry Trifle from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
14. Watermelon Mojito Ice Pops from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Happy 4th of July Weekend everyone. And Happy Canada Weekend to all my fellow Canucks. Hope you are enjoying a cold one, or ten this weekend.
Hope you have an amazing holiday. Eat like there’s no tomorrow, drink there’s no bottom, and laugh like there’s no one judging. We totally are, but this will make for awesome blooper videos after the holidays are over.
Toodles and smoochies! xx