crunchy strawberry wheatgerm pancakes

I know it’s no longer strawberry season; however, yesterday my dad came home from the store with a big box of strawberries.

Weekend breakfasts are always a highlight of my week, and I tend to plan of them in advance. I was planning on making something autumn-y — apple rings, pumpkin pancakes, gingerbread waffles… But that pint of strawberries kept calling my name. So I mixed it into these pancakes.

These pancakes are light and fluffy. Juicy strawberries are packed into every bite, and the hint of vanilla makes them taste like dessert! Despite their dessert-like appearance, these aren’t overwhelmingly sweet (making them the perfect thing to pour maple syrup on!). Before flipping, I generously sprinkled each pancake with wheat germ. Not only does this up the health factor, but it adds a delicious crunch to each bite.

With love,
Erica

Strawberry Pancakes

Yields 4-6 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup wheat germ (for sprinkling)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and
salt. Make a well in the flour with a spatula and pour in the egg, milk,
vanilla, honey, and butter. Mix until just combined. Fold in the strawberries.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a heated griddle, sprinkle one side generously with wheat germ, and cook each side until
lightly browned. Serve hot with maple syrup and butter.




strawberry rhubarb pie

Happy Memorial Day! Memorial Day marks the kick-start of summer for many of us (although the official start of summer isn’t for a while…). One of my favorite pies to make this time of year is strawberry-rhubarb pie. I love it’s old-fashioned, summertime charm.

rows and rows bursting with red, juicy strawberries

There is something so harmonious about this pie — the sweet strawberries against the citrusy tart rhubarb, the refreshing, juicy filling contrasting against the flaky, golden crust; it has the perfect yin-yang relationship in each slice.

this pie doesn’t last long at my house!

 Luckily, the farmer’s market here in D.C. was overflowing with intensely red strawberries and fresh stalks of rhubarb — all begging me to be baked into this pie. This would be the perfect end to a picnic, barbeque, or summer cookout — with a big scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream of course!
So tell me, what is your favorite summertime dessert?
With love, Erica

strawberry rhubarb pie
ingredients
1 recipe double-crust pie dough of your choice
4 rhubarb, cut in in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured counter, roll half of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.
Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl. Place filling inside bottom pie crust and dot with bits of unsalted butter. Roll second half of pie dough into an 11-inch circle and cut slits in it (you can make this as simple or fancy as you want!). Place over the pie. Trim top and bottom pie dough so that their overhang beyond the pie plate lip is only 1/2-inch. Tuck rim of dough underneath itself and crimp the edges.
Transfer pie to a baking sheet and brush dough with egg wash — sometimes I sprinkle the top crust with a bit of sugar. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly. If the top is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. Try your best to wait until it is fully cool (about 1-2 hours) so that the juices gel.

japanese strawberry shortcake

Japanese strawberry shortcake is nothing like the strawberry shortcake you may have sampled in America (sweet biscuits topped with strawberries and whipped cream). Although I love the American version (which I will hopefully write about sometime soon!), Japanese strawberry shortcake will always hold a place in my heart. It is a moist, light, airy, not overly sweet sponge cake topped with layers of billowy sweet whipped cream frosting and filled with succulent, red strawberries. In Japan these cakes are most popular around Christmastime due to their holiday coloring; however, with all of the ripe, beautiful strawberries that springtime gives us, I think spring is the perfect time to make this light, succulent dessert.
With love,
Erica

Inside the cake
You can be fancy and frost it like this…

Or go for the rustic look and frost it like this — anything goes!

 Adapted from La Fuji Mama
Cake:
4 large eggs, white and yolks separated
4.2 ounces (120 grams, 9.5 tablespoons) granulated sugar, sifted once
3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.2 ounces (120 grams, 14 tablespoons) cake flour, sifted 3 times
1.2 ounces (22 grams, 2.3 tablespoons) butter, melted
Whipped cream frosting:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the simple syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
8 – 10 ounces fresh strawberries

Sponge Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch circular cake pan and lightly dust with flour.
2. Add the sugar to the egg whites, and beat the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.
3. Add the egg yolks to the egg white mixture, and gently whisk until the yolks are incorporated.
4. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and flour (in that order) to the batter and gently fold them into the batter with a spatula.  Fold in the melted butter until it is well combined.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and get rid of any air bubbles in the batter by dropping the pan on a counter once or twice.  Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes.  The cake is done when it is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly.  Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Run a blade around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, and remove.
To make the Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:
1. Put the cold water in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let stand for 5 minutes (do not stir).  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until the gelatin dissolves.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.
2.In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until slightly thickened.  Then, while beating slowly, gradually pour the gelatin into the whipped cream mixture.  Then whip the mixture at high speed until stiff.
To make the Simple Syrup:
1. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and water.  Bring the water to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Assembling the Cake
1. Reserve 6 to 1o strawberries for decorating the cake.  Slice the remaining strawberries into thin slices (about 4 slices per strawberry).
2. Slice the sponge cake horizontally into 2 layers.
3. Place one sponge layer cut-side up on a cake board or serving plate and lightly crush the surface with the simple syrup.  Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the cake layer and arrange the strawberry slices over the surface.  Spread an additional layer of whipped cream over the strawberries.  Brush the cut-side of the second layer with the simple syrup and place it over the first layer.  Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.  Decorate as desired and garnish with the reserved strawberries.