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Published June 12, 2012, 11:00 PM

Doeden | Sweet strawberry memories: Recipe sparks recollections of a timeless, classic dessert

I headed straight to my recipe file when I heard a recent news report that Minnesota strawberries are ripening earlier this year.

I headed straight to my recipe file when I heard a recent news report that Minnesota strawberries are ripening earlier this year. Growers are expecting a sensational strawberry season, with predictions in some parts of the state that picking could begin as early as, well, right now.

My thoughts turned to all of my favorite strawberry desserts. My Auntie Vera’s strawberry shortcake has always been a seasonal tradition, mounds of sweet biscuit dough crumbled into a cereal bowl, topped with slices of fresh, sweet strawberries and whole milk or cream.

My taste buds revved up when I thought of the fresh strawberry pie my friend Micky used to treat me with when I lived in Fargo. She’d carefully arrange whole strawberries into a baked pie shell, heaping them up with the largest, most beautiful berries on top. Then she poured a sweet glaze over the berries, made of sugar and cornstarch and a couple of spoonfuls of strawberry-flavored gelatin.

It seems we all have a favorite strawberry dessert that has become a seasonal tradition. This summer there should be an abundance of sweet, ripe, locally grown strawberries, allowing for all of the old favorites as well as some new ones to add to the recipe box.

Strawberries and Cream Chocolate Roll is reminiscent of the old-fashioned jellyroll desserts, pinwheels of light, airy cake rolled up with jelly. This dessert, though, is a cake roll made with a recipe I got from a family friend when I was in high school.

The Ukrainian woman was a fabulous baker and cook. She taught me how to roll up the hot chocolate cake that was baked in a jelly roll pan, using a sugar-coated kitchen towel. The cake was bendable while it was hot. As it cooled in the towel, it took to its new shape, making it very easy to reroll once it was filled. My friend filled her chocolate roll with a coffee-flavored sweetened whipped cream mixture.

Feeling creative, I sweetened some cream cheese and spread it over the cooled cake. I made some strawberry glaze by slightly adapting the recipe used by Micky in her pie.

One (3-ounce) box of strawberry-flavored gelatin will be just enough for three batches of Strawberry Filling.

Strawberries and Cream Chocolate Roll may become a new favorite, maybe even a summer tradition, at your house – no matter which way you’re wearing your pants when you make it. Just be sure to use cornstarch rather than baking powder in the Strawberry Filling.

Sue Doeden is a food writer and photographer from Bemidji, Minn., and a former Fargo resident. Her columns are published in 10 Forum Communications newspapers.

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