Thursday, August 12, 2010

Strawberry Delight

It's hot. It's very hot.

So a frozen dessert is the perfect way to cool off.

Jill & Eric came home last weekend. Randy is always glad when the kids come home. He gets desserts that he doesn't normally get.

Instead of my go-to frozen concoction, Lemonade Dessert, I wanted to do something different this time. I remembered a frozen strawberry dessert that both my Mom and Randy's Mom had served once upon a time.

I looked through my recipe box. I looked through a bunch of cookbooks.

And then I called my Mom. I have been married 29-plus years, and I am still calling my Mom for recipes.

I should have just called her to begin with because she found it right away. It was in her little white recipe collection book. That little book has been nestled among my Mom's cookbooks all my life. But I'd never asked about it before.

Her friend, Donna, mailed the little recipe binder from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to my mom to commemorate my parents' first wedding anniversary in 1954. My mom has been using it ever since. So it has 56 years worth of recipe cards, newspaper clippings and the like stuffed in its pages. It's often the repository for recipes from my childhood, many of which have taken on the yellow tinge of age and food splotches over the years. (Aren't the best recipes found on the cookbook pages that have a dribble or two of food that has stained the entry?)

Even though it's definitely a little worse for the wear, it's a pretty valuable book, in my eyes. Today, August 12, my parents celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. There have been plenty of meals cranked out in my Mom's Pratt County kitchen and some of the best recipes have found their way into the little white recipe binder.

The Strawberry Dessert found stashed in the binder's pages didn't disappoint. After Jill & Eric arrived, I asked them if they wanted dessert. They looked at each other and grinned.

They had eaten at Wendy's on the way here, and Eric had wondered out loud if there would be dessert when they got here. Jill told him that she bet there would be.

Well, I guess I'm predictable. But I'm glad I didn't disappoint my favorite son-in-law. My parents even got to sample it when they met us for supper at the new Stafford Mexican restaurant and then came here for dessert.

And you won't disappoint either, if you serve this easy dessert. The mixer does most of the work for you. As you will see in the directions, you are supposed to let the egg whites and other ingredients whip on High for 15 minutes. You really need to do this. It's kind of like a mini miracle when you put a few ingredients in the bottom of your mixing bowl and end up with a whole bowl of fluffy pinkness. You can just put them on to whip and go dust for 15 minutes (or read a book or play on the computer ... you fill in the blank!)

The original recipe called for pecans in the crust. Jill doesn't like nuts, so my Mom suggested using pretzels instead. It was a success! In fact, I may use the substitute again the next time I make this dessert.

Enjoy! It might even be worthy of an anniversary celebration. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Strawberry Delight
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (see note below)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
10-oz. frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup cream, whipped (See note below)

Crust: Mix crust ingredients together and spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until golden brown. Spread half into 9- by 13-inch pan. Keep remainder for sprinkling on top.

Filling: Beat fill ingredients on high for 15 minutes except for cream, which you should whip separately. Fold whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. Put strawberry filling on top of crumbs in bottom of 9- by 13-inch pan.

Put remainder of crumbs on top. Freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.

Recipe notes: I crushed up pretzels to substitute for the pecans (crushing the pretzels with a rolling pin to about the same size as chopped pecans). I also didn't have whipping cream, so I used a tub of Extra Creamy Cool Whip (thawed). Both substitutes worked well.

For the picture, I decorated the top with a little more whipped cream (Cool Whip) and a fresh strawberry. That's the way to impress the ladies at Beta Sigma Phi or PEO!

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