Now that it’s officially June, I am obsessed with strawberries. When June rolls around, I behave as though I haven’t seen a strawberry since, well, forever. (Full disclosure: I live in California, so this is not the actual case.) However, this reflex -- which I fully embrace -- stretches back to when I lived in Denmark.
Danish strawberry season is fleeting and fickle. It begins in June (hopefully), and stretches into August (potentially), but you can never count on the season’s start, end or (heaven forbid) existence, as Nordic summers can produce rain and chill as easily as the famous midnight sun. If you are lucky, the season cooperates, and strawberries will flower in late spring and grow, almost before your eyes, in June.
It’s a window of time when there’s no holding back; when the name of the game is to gorge on the berries while you can, ever aware that this moment may quickly pass. Any surplus that you can’t devour (bless you) or bake into a nightly rotation of berry-full desserts are frozen and preserved for later consumption as a nostalgic taste of summer sunshine during the dark winter months.
Now I live in California, and while there’s less urgency in stocking up on these summery berries, I still revel in the memory and indulge in over-consumption. And when I’ve tired of stuffing my face with fresh berries, I add them to easy desserts, such as this fruit crisp.
Strawberry Crisp With Orange and Cardamom
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 to 65 minutes, plus cooling time
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)
2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if small, quartered if large
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of salt
Make the topping: Combine the flour, sugars, cardamom, cinnamon and salt in bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the topping resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the almonds, if using. Cover the bowl and chill until use. (The topping may be made up to one day in advance.)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl and gently stir to combine. Spoon the filling into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or 6 to 8 individual ramekins. Evenly cover with the topping. Transfer to the oven and bake until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes for the baking dish, 30 to 35 minutes for the ramekins.
Remove from the oven and cool to lukewarm or room temperature before serving, to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
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