Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Taco Feed - Strawberry Brown Betties

Last night's dessert should have been Tres Leches Cake, but somehow its presence in our freezer eluded my memory until it was too late.  I spotted (rather, smelled) some beautiful strawberries that were on super-sale at the grocery store on Friday, so I was determined to use them (along with some headed-south-fast strawberries that were already at home).  I found my muse over at smitten kitchen again... big surprise!  I love opening up my blog reader and finding an immediately useful recipe from a trusted blog. 

The desserts were eaten quickly and there were no complaints, but I used a silicon muffin "pan"... not the best call, I think.  As with many other recipes, the texture of the cakey bits--in this case, mere white bread--were a bit soggy.  Of course, as with many other recipes, I also didn't remember to take them out of the pan after five minutes.  So, as you can see, mine were lacking the crispiness that I hoped for.  The taste was pretty good and the concept is worth exploring... but they were nothing spectacular for me.  If they had come out all brown and crunchy maybe I would feel different!

 Strawberry Brown Betties
adapted from smitten kitchen, who adapted generously from Gourmet
Makes 6 muffin-sized desserts

3/4 stick salted or unsalted butter
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I used way more than this, but I'm special... see below)
6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2-4 tbsp packed dark brown sugar**
1/2 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 cup panko - I made my own following the original recipe's suggestion... see below
1 1/2 to 2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced (slightly less than 1/2 pound)
Softly whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, reduce heat to medium-low.

The butter will melt, 

then foam, 

then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot--you'll notice that I did not take any pictures after the "foaming" phase starting going full force :)  Maybe next time!

Lightly butter muffin cups with some of brown butter (I used a brush), then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Roll bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten. Brush both sides with additional brown butter, then gently fit into muffin cups.

(If you get the bread into the muffin cups and realize that you have forgotten to sprinkle the sugar, you can carefully coax the bread away from the muffin pan a little bit at a time and sprinkle the sugar in.  I used a lot more sugar this way.)

Stir together brown sugar, zest, salt and panko, then add strawberries and toss to coat. Stir in remaining brown butter. Heap strawberry mixture into cups, pressing gently.

Cover pan with foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until strawberries are very tender, about 10 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.  If you would like to rewarm them, a few minutes in a 350 F oven did the trick for us--just keep an eye on them!

**Sweetness: Like Deb @ SK, I will comment on the sweetness.  I used the full amount of sugar called for because I wasn't paying attention.  Since I was fortunate enough to be working with fully sweet, fat, strawberries, this was definitely too much--I would have dialed it back to 2 tbsp.  I will also be putting my longer asides down here from now on--it reads better.  Thanks for everything, Deb.

DIY Panko
adapted from smitten kitchen
I followed Deb's suggestion to make your own panko, and it turned out OK--but mine got a little too brown after nine minutes of baking.  There was no noticeable effect on the brown butter betties :) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear one to two slices of soft, crustless white bread into 1-inch pieces and pulse them in the food processor until coarsely ground. This will make a generous half cup. Transfer crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and dry, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Use.

No comments:

Post a Comment