This recipe has a long history in our family. I first baked this dish with my daughter in December 1998, on sunny Saturday afternoon while eating her home made guacamole. For such little effort, the results are amazing. It became a dish that I took to many places, cooking it in various kitchens of various friends and family, a dessert easily whipped up yet looks so wonderfully complex and amazing.
No one eats baked strawberries, right? Yet, they are so delicious. I recommend 1 punnet of strawberries for every four to six people, depending on whether you want a lot of strawberries, or are happy to use it in a sauce like manner, drizzling it over whatever is on hand. It is especially good with the very best icecream.
This recipe is perfect for the end of season strawberries that perhaps are not as perfect as the mid summer ones.
Serve with whipped (unsweetened) cream, Marscapone cheese, creme fraîche, or vanilla icecream.
Serve for breakfast surrounded by muesli.
Serve on pancakes, or over crumpets or icecream.
Be daring and serve with a wonderful Chocolate Pudding or dessert.
Drizzle it into the middle of halved and stoned summer stone fruit.
Maybe even blend any leftovers into a yummy sauce.
It is quite a sweet dish, so a little goes a long way. Think strawberry shaped strawberry jam mouthfuls. It is also quite hot when it comes out of the oven (due to the sugar), so allow it to cool a little before serving. It can be served hot, warm, cool or cold.
They are perfect with Indian-style “French” Toast,
and with breakfast, topping some Overnight Oats.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 25 – 30 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
0.25 – 0.5 cup vanilla sugar, other flavoured sugar, or plain white sugar (add less or more as your taste dictates)
Choose zero or more of the following
1 – 2 Tblspn strawberry or similar liqueur
a slice or two of fresh ginger, chopped finely
1 piece crystallised ginger, chopped finely
0.5 vanilla bean (if not using flavoured sugar), halved with the seeds scraped into the baking dish
a grind or two of fresh black pepper
sprig of rosemary
honey instead of sugar
Please don’t underestimate the intensity of strawberry flavours – make sure any ingredient that you use is compatible with strawberries.
Heat the oven to 180C.
Place strawberries in a single layer in a very shallow baking dish (not a metal dish). You can hull them (remove the green top) or leave the green top on.
Sprinkle with the sugar. There will appear to be a lot of sugar for the amount of strawberries. Don’t worry – this is pure indulgence!
For variety, add one or two of the optional ingredients.
Bake for 30 minutes but begin watching them at about 20 mins. The strawberries will lose a lot of their juice, creating a strawberry syrup as the juice combines with the sugar. You can remove them from the oven when they are hot and soft but still retain colour and shape, or leave them longer. The fruit will darken and collapse a little but the flavour will intensify. Either way, they are amazing.
Serve hot, warm or cold with icecream, cream or mascapone.
The basic recipe is just strawberries and sugar. And that works very well.
For variation, there are a number of things you can add. However, a word of caution. Only add 1 or 2 additional ingredients otherwise the complexities of flavour become overwhelming. Baked strawberries have an intense flavour. I suggest that you cook it without any additional ingredients before beginning to adjust flavours.
Tonight, for a special occasion, I used a punnet of strawberries, some dried cranberries, white sugar, a small piece of vanilla bean and a pinch of black pepper. It was served with some of Maggie Beer’s icecream. Heaven in a bowl.