Originally created 06/26/02

Sweet taste of patriotism



Desserts, just as much as other treats and confections, can take on a patriotic air for special occasions.

All-American Strawberry Clouds, assembled candy-cup form, can dress up party tables for the Fourth of July and beyond, whenever summer celebrations suggest.

Color comes from red strawberries, white chocolate and whipped cream, and blueberries. A main ingredient is the chow mein noodles which give crunch.

Making the dessert in individual paper baking cups means it can easily be carried to a picnic, beach or backyard barbecue. Another possibility: Get candy cups and ingredients ready ahead of time and invite guests to assemble their own desserts as desired.

ALL-AMERICAN STRAWBERRY CLOUDS

Preparation 25 minutes, chilling time 1 hour)

1/2 cup crispy chow mein noodles

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (6 ounces) blueberries

3 cups (about 1 pound) stemmed sliced strawberries

Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. Place about 2 teaspoons chow mein noodles into each. Melt chocolate chips according to package directions; spoon about 1 tablespoon into each cup to cover noodles. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set.

In mixer bowl, combine cream, sugar and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon an equal amount of cream mixture into each cup. Top with strawberries; serve immediately.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 215 calories, 15 grams fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 37 mg sodium, 20 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein.

Recipe from California Strawberry Commission

Shortcakes also can accommodate the flag colors of strawberries, whipped cream and blueberries in delectable style. The following easy recipe produces a particularly rich shortcake which can be cut into star shapes, if desired, before being layered with toppings.

ALMOND STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE STARS

(Preparation 15 minutes, baking time 15 minutes)

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 roll (7 ounces) almond paste, grated

1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a food processor or large bowl. Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, or with a pastry cutter and bowl, cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Mix in the grated almond paste completely with the flour, until the mixture has the texture of instant oatmeal. Pour in the heavy cream and process, or mix with a spoon, until the shortcake forms a ball.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work table and knead one minute. Roll out to a 3/4 -inch thickness; cut into stars or circles as desired, and lay on the baking sheet. Gather up leftover dough and re-roll, to cut out more stars. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until done and slightly golden around the tips.

Makes 13 stars, about 3 1/2 inches across.

Recipe from Andre Prost Inc.