This past weekend, I came into 16 pounds of fresh, delectable strawberries. (From Florida. We’re still a couple months off strawberry season here.) I made a list of things to can right away. Strawberry syrup! Strawberry-lemon marmalade! A spring conserve with strawberries, pineapple, raisins, and nuts! Oh, the fun! What was left over, I put away to freeze for breads, cakes, pies, and whatever else strikes my fancy.
Meanwhile, I was making two batches of French-style cream cheese and a batch of mascarpone. French-style cream cheese is a creamy-rich delight. Richer than the usual cream cheese, and very smooth. Mascarpone is a cream cheese often used in Italian pastries. If you don’t make your own cheeses, you’re missing out on a world of cheese. What is available at the store is a mere drop in the bucket to what you can create at home. There are so many nuances in soft cheeses, and so few are actually available in your average grocery store. But at home, oh at home! You can have French-style cream cheese. Swiss-style cream cheese. Mascarpone. Bondon. Fromage blanc. And, oh, so many more. You can pay top dollar for these cheeses in speciality stores–or throw some cream in a pot at home with a packet of culture and make your own. Mostly while you’re sleeping.
Strawberries and cream cheese go together like they were born for each other, so I started dreaming about getting them married right away. I came up with a concoction that was suitably decadent, putting all my strawberry and cream cheese dreams together and sending them on a biscuit honeymoon. I used my Quick Mix–but you can use any baking mix. I’ve also included the scratch recipe if you don’t want to use a baking mix at all. I used my homemade French-style cream cheese, but you can use any type of cream cheese from the store.
How to make Strawberries & Cream Coffee Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, butter, or lard
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2/3 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces strawberry jam
Note: To use a baking mix, replace first 5 ingredients with 2 cups baking mix, adding a tablespoon of sugar.
Place first 5 ingredients (or 2 cups baking mix plus sugar) in a large bowl and cut in the shortening, butter, or lard with a pastry cutter.
Mix in strawberries.
Place dough on a floured surface. Sprinkle more flour on top and roll into an approximately 12 x 8 rectangle.
Spread cream cheese down the center then top with jam.
Make cuts, about an inch and a half apart, all along both long sides.
Criss-cross cut strips of dough over the top.
Pinch ends to seal.
Transfer to a greased baking or 13 x 9 casserole pan. (If you’re planning to take this somewhere, you might want to use the casserole pan.) I use two big spatulas to move it.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or till nicely browned. Just look at that!
And we haven’t even put the icing on top and cut into it yet. Just wait, it gets even better!
Powdered Sugar Icing:
Combine 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and enough milk (one to two teaspoons) for drizzling consistency.
Make long, lovely slices. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacks. Don’t tell anyone you made it and you can have the whole thing!
Add some ice cream and it’s even dessert.
And it’s delicious.
Note: This dough spreads out as it bakes, making one giant, sweet, delectable strawberries and cream coffee cake delight. If you don’t want it to do that, roll the dough into an 8 x 8 square and transfer it to a bread pan for baking to retain a loaf shape. Me, I like the long, gorgeous coffee cake slices it makes in free-form, making it turn out more like a pastry.