A summer dessert that is one of my favorites is a fruit Betty. I chose to use strawberries for this because nothing says summer like a fresh, perfectly ripe strawberry. You need to do very little to them to make a dish shine. This is a great dessert for a summer bbq or family gathering. It’s easy to pull together ahead of time, and heat and serve!
1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar, divided in 1/2
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Vanilla cake crumbs (use a favorite recipe or, to save time, choose a store bought pound cake!)
Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with the sliced strawberries and let it sit for 30 minutes, or until the juice starts to come out of the berries. Separately, mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the cornstarch until it is evenly disbursed and there are no clumps.
Once the juice has started to come out of the berries, put the berry mixture in a sauce pot and cook over medium heat. After a little more of the strawberry juice has been released, sprinkle in the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Continue to cook until the berries and sauce have come to a boil, and are bright red and thick. Take off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and transfer into a container to cool.
Prepare a cake pan or baking dish with a light layer of butter or pan spray. Sprinkle a generous layer of cake crumbs into the prepared pan. Top with a layer of the cooled strawberry mixture. Repeat this process again, with another layer of crumbs and berries. Finish with a final layer of cake crumbs, and a drizzle of melted butter over the top. Bake the Betty at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the top crumbs are golden brown and toasted. Best, in my opinion, served warm with a scoop of ice cream!
Jenny Smart, Martis Camp Pastry Chef