26 May 2020

Fraises locales et un gâteau aux fraises

Asparagus and strawberries are mainly what we go to the weekly open-air market in Saint-Aignan for these days. Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was fun to go to the market on Saturday morning and just wander, looking for the best produce and other local products, including goat cheeses. It's less fun when you are nervous about being in crowds and when you have to wear a mask.


Above is a photo of the strawberries Walt got at the market last Saturday. The variety is called "charlotte" — the man who (with his son) grows them also sells them at the market. We've been buying strawberries and asparagus from him for 15 years now. Along with the garriguette variety, charlottes are some of the best strawberries you can buy in France. Strawberry and asparagus plants thrive around here, in the sandy soil of the Sologne region and the Loire and Cher river valleys.


Walt frequently makes "shortcake" to have with the strawberries. It's actually an American biscuit recipe that he makes with butter, flour, yogurt, and baking soda. The original recipe, which we owe to our friend Tom in Illinois, calls for butter + vegetable shortening, but we can't get shortening here. It also calls for buttermilk, for which we substitute plain yogurt. So I guess it's Walt's recipe now. Still, many thanks to Tom.


What I did on Monday with the leftover strawberries from Sunday's shortcake dessert was make a strawberry cake. It was a spur of the moment, basically improvised thing. There were some strawberries in a bowl that had been lightly sweetened with sugar and had released a small quantity of liquid. I strained them and added the juice to a yogurt cake recipe. I dusted the strawberries with flour, which helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan, and added them to the cake batter. Yogurt cake is a French classic, and it's a very easy recipe to make. Yogurt, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, flour, and baking powder go into the batter. I added a little bit of kirschwasser (cherry brandy) for extra flavor.

8 comments:

  1. Those strawberries look insanely delicious! I am sure everything you made or ate with them was amazing. Someday you will surely be able to safely wander about the market just for the pleasures of discovery. But probably not that soon. You are lucky with your garden!

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  2. Strawberry cake is now an official recipe! Your strawberries look like real strawberries where as ours look and taste like styrofoam. Not that I’ve eaten styrofoam but....

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  3. When in France, I enjoy strawberries with sugar and red wine. As BettyAnn says, in the US strawberries, even though they are big and nice looking, they are completely tasteless.

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  4. There are strawberry patches here for picking and I may try one someday. Our strawberries are all for look with no taste. Yogurt cakes are good things.

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  5. Delicious!
    We get strawberries all year round here but often they are huge with very little flavour. I love it when the English ones come into season, they taste like strawberries should taste, just like your home grown French ones.

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  6. If the strawberries are called "charlotte," it makes me wonder if that's where the dessert name Charlotte Russe comes from. Here in LA, we seem to have the same produce vendor that BettyAnn and Jean have. Huge strawberries, little to no flavor.

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  7. That's a great picture of the strawberries! They look deliciously mouthwatering and just lke the Dutch ones. ;)

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