Strawberries star in shortcake, smoothies

A layered Strawberry Shortcake and a refreshing Strawberry Smoothie are great ways to take advantage of fresh berries.

Photo by Robin McDaniel

A layered Strawberry Shortcake and a refreshing Strawberry Smoothie are great ways to take advantage of fresh berries.

The weather may have been playing havoc with our lives lately, but something red and delicious should help soothe our senses. Strawberries are coming in locally, and it is time to use the delicious fruit in pies, shortcakes, jam, muffins and smoothies.

These two recipes are from The Food Network. They are as quick and easy as they are delicious. This “shortcake” is made with angel food cake and is layered, making it a quick and beautifully presented dessert, especially when layered in a trifle bowl. The Stawberry Shortcake is courtesy of Paula Deen, and the smoothie is a favorite of Emeril Lagasse.

Strawberries are low in fat and calories and are naturally high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.

Strawberry Shortcake

(Courtesy of The Food Network, Paula Deen)

1 angel food cake

For the custard:

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip, thawed

For the glaze:

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons strawberry Jello gelatin

1 cup water

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in 1/2-if the berries are extra large, cut into quarters

For garnish, whole fresh strawberries and mint leaves

Slice cake, horizontally into 3 equal layers. For the custard, mix together cream cheese, condensed milk and Cool Whip. Set aside

For the glaze, in a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch and Jello. Add water. Cook, stirring over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fold in strawberries.

To assemble: Place 1 layer of cake in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of glaze, followed by a layer of the custard mixture. Repeat layering in this order for the remaining cake, glaze and custard. Top cake with berries and mint leaves.

Fruit Smoothies

(Courtesy of The Food Network, Emeril Lagasse)

2 cups whole milk

1 banana, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces

1/2 pint fresh strawberries

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tablespoon honey

1 to 2 cups crushed ice

In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. Serve smoothies in cold glasses.

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