Fresh strawberries alone make a wonderful dessert, but as soon as you start adding whipped cream or ice cream or maybe a little crunchy streusel topping or a biscuit, then you start building something even more special.
I’ve been eating plenty of strawberries with shortcake, drop biscuits and scones this spring for our most recent Year of Baking story about strawberry scones and shortcake, which you can read at austin360.com/yearofbaking. But I haven’t yet made a cobbler.
Dee Dee Sanchez, the pastry chef at Jack Allen’s Kitchen’s, bakes desserts that change with the seasons. A few weeks ago, she was making strawberry rhubarb cobbler, but now that rhubarb is phasing out, she’s making a strawberry-only cobbler under a buttery streusel topping. At the restaurant, they bake these in ramekins and serve the cobbler with Amy’s Mexican vanilla ice cream, but you can use a larger pan at home and serve with whatever’s on hand, including whipped cream or even a drizzle of heavy cream.
2 lbs. Texas strawberries, hulled, washed and cut into quarters or halved if berries are small
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. Mexican vanilla
For streusel topping:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oats
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss berries, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.
Grease a 9-inch-by-13 inch pan. Set aside. In large bowl, mix streusel ingredients together using fingertips and rub together until butter is incorporated, keeping streusel crumbly and light. Small chunks of butter are good, but no larger than the size of a pea. Do not knead into a dough.
Place strawberry mixture and juices in baking pan. Crumble the streusel topping loosely over top of strawberries and to edges of pan. Bake on top of a sheet pan to avoid any strawberry filling bubbling over edges of pan. Bake for about 45 minutes until streusel is golden brown and edges are bubbly. Cool for about 10 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream. Serves 12.
— Dee Dee Sanchez, pastry chef, Jack Allen’s Kitchen