[easy, cool music] - [Announcer] Coming up on "The Key Ingredient".
Strawberries take center stage.
- Unlike some fruits, strawberries, once you pick them, they do not continue to ripen.
- [Announcer] From easy tiramisu trifles to swoon-worthy strawberry pretzel icebox salad.
- So look at these gorgeous, fresh strawberries.
This is the key ingredient to this great recipe.
- [Announcer] It's strawberry fields forever as we bake a charming, old-fashioned strawberry buckle with acclaimed baker Brian Noyes.
- Tell me, have you done anything to these berries other than start to cap them, they're just whole?
- Well, I've eaten a couple.
- Okay, that makes sense.
- [Announcer] That's next.
- I'm Sheri Castle, I write cookbooks, I write for food magazines, I cook, I teach, and I collect stories.
And my favorite stories are the ones behind our best-loved home recipes.
Can you eat just rice like this?
- You can try it.
- Oh, here we go.
Oh, that's awesome.
I will go out and explore from the ground up the best ingredients that go into some of our most beloved family recipes.
It's all about the food, the flavors, and finding the Key Ingredient.
[slow, upbeat music] Strawberry fields as far as the eye can see.
Today we travel to McAdams Farm in Efland, North Carolina, where fourth and fifth generations of this family are working the land.
And on this rather windy day, we get a tour with strawberry picking tips from my friends Karen and Howard McAdams.
Well hello there, how are you?
It's so good to see you.
- Good to see you, too, Sheri, welcome to McAdams Farm.
- Thank you, my stars, you have got strawberry fields forever here.
How long have yall been doing this?
- We've been doing strawberries about 22 or three years, and we have about two acres of strawberries for people to do you-pick, and people love to come out to farms.
- So what makes a strawberry happy?
If they had the perfect growing conditions, and it sure looks like they do, what would those be?
- We have found that to grow a good crop of strawberries, you need to have good soil fertility.
You also need to plant the strawberries at the right time.
- [Sheri] So can we pick some berries?
- [Karen] We can pick some berries.
- Look here, you've already seeded my bucket.
- I've started a little bit.
- More productive than I actually am.
But, now, what variety of strawberries are these?
Because, you know, some people think that there's, a berry's a berry, but this is a particular kind, right?
- So the variety that we grow predominantly is called chandler, which is an older variety.
They're very sweet, they're juicy, they're a little bit smaller than some of the berries you'll see in the grocery store, but they have excellent quality, do good for jams, jellies, freeze them, fresh fruit.
- [Sheri] So show me how to pick one.
- If you pick a berry with a green tip, you're gonna have a green tip when you eat that berry.
So this is about what you like to pick.
- Well, I want you to show me how to pick one.
Take a look, make sure you got the cap come with it?
- [Karen] Make sure the cap is on.
- Okay, 'cause it always seemed to me that when the cap was gone, it's kind of like pulling the plug and that they were going to get watery and all of that stuff.
- Definitely does.
Well, that's the other thing that we see is people come out here and they say I'm gonna wash it and put it on the kitchen table.
Well, they need to go in the refrigerator and you don't wash them until you get ready to use them.
- So you do keep yours in the refrigerator.
- I do, but I think they taste better if you let them get to room temperature before you eat them.
- That's true of so many things, isn't it?
[fun, upbeat music] So you wanna hear a fun little strawberry factoid, they're technically not a berry.
They are not a berry because all the seeds are on the outside instead of the inside, each one of these little golden yellow dots is a little seed casing with a microscopic seed inside.
We can call them what they want, but they're still about my favorite berry.
[fun, upbeat music] - So you remember Howard, my husband, and my oldest daughter Callie McAdams.
- Callie, it's great to see you.
- Howard, I got a question.
Did you just get up and put that on this morning, or?
You've gotta tell me about your outfit here.
- They're paving the road, so traffic's stopped, so I went down there and walked beside them.
They had to look.
- Yeah, sometimes you just have to have a little fun when you're working hard all the time.
- So what's the most fun thing about strawberries?
Or is anything fun about strawberries?
Other than the outfit.
- Yeah, there are many fun things.
June 10th is a really fun day, because then we're over.
[Howard and Sheri laugh] And they taste so much better than tobacco.
- That's true.
So I'm about to make these gorgeous, fresh strawberry parfaits that I like to call, strawberry tiramisu trifles.
[easy, cool music] Now, the tiramisu part is what I'm doing first, and I just put marscapone cheese in my mixer, and I am going to turn that on low and start letting it get creamy, and to that I'm going to add a little bit of sugar.
This is a particularly sweet dessert, but there is a little bit of sugar for balance in there.
So just a tad of sugar and, as always good with cream, a little bit of vanilla.
A couple of teaspoons.
That one in there, and now another.
Just anticipating these trifles makes me so happy when I do this.
So increasing the speed of my mixer until that blends in, and then I'm adding just some whipping cream, just some chilled whipping cream, and between the fluffy whipped cream and that sort of savory, creamy, delicious marscapone, I am suddenly going to have the perfect filling for these darling little trifles.
This is gonna come together pretty quickly, that's the beauty of using chilled whipping cream, if it's cold and the bowl is cold, it comes together really fast.
Put the rest of that in there.
[mixer whizzing] Crank up the machine and let it go.
[mixer whizzing] And just like that, we're done with our first step.
Look at this gorgeous, delightful creamy mixture.
I'm gonna tidy up and make space to do the next step.
[fun, exciting music] Let me show you how to finish these trifles.
The star of this show are roasted strawberries.
That's right, roasted strawberries.
It's a great technique to draw out a little flavor and texture, and it's the perfect solution for when you buy strawberries that maybe weren't as delicious as you had hoped, well, they will be after you roast them.
It's so easy, all I do is put the whole berries with the caps removed in a baking dish.
You sprinkle on some sugar to draw out their juices, couple of drops of fresh lemon juice for balance, and a pinch of salt.
Put them in the oven until those berries turn tender.
Look at this, they look like whole, fresh berries, but they're soft like preserves.
The flavor is amazing.
It's only gonna take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how ripe your berries are.
Let them cool off, and then suddenly, they're ready for your tiramisu.
This is so easy, and these delicious berries are going to thank you for your time.
Now, I'm going to add a couple more things that are inspired by tiramisu.
A true tiramisu has coffee liquor, don't want coffee with my berries.
What I want is orange liquor.
I'm using a little bit of sweet, delicious, flavorful, grand marnier, and I'm gonna add that to my berries.
And the last part of this delicious, roasted berry part is cracked, black pepper.
If you've never had peppered strawberries, you are in for a tasty treat.
This is already so delicious, it is practically a dessert in itself.
But it's not the dessert.
We're gonna build these gorgeous parfaits.
So let me get my glasses up here.
I always make these in individual portions because not only are they pretty, people love having their own individual dessert.
It makes them feel special.
So the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take some of my cream mixture, with my little handy scoop, I'm just dropping a little bit of that cream in the bottom of each glass.
This is so easy and so fast.
And then I'm going to take these crisp ladyfingers.
You could use pieces of pound cake, but I've learned over the years that I love the crunch of these ladyfinger cookies.
And I'm gonna stand them up in each serving.
The reason I put that cream down first, that's my foundation that's holding these cookies into place.
And then I'm going to spoon on some of this gorgeous, roasted strawberry mixture.
I'm gonna drop them down in between and divide these among my servings.
Not only are we getting the flavor of these roasted strawberries, we're getting their juices, which have the grand marnier in also.
And what that's going to do is it's going to moisten the bottom of our cookies so that we get cake-like bits, like a trifle in the bottom, and crunchy cookie bits on top.
And now some fresh berries.
Yes, strawberries in two forms.
You're going to love this little, bright pop of fresh berries, combined with those tender, sweet, intensely-flavored roasted berries.
Just poke them down in between those cookies.
They're acting sort of like side walls, retaining walls now.
And last, the rest of our cream.
A good capping of this cream.
And there we go, these trifles are done.
Now, I'm gonna put them in the refrigerator 'cause we want all this to set up and get to know each other a little bit.
It can be at four hours, or it can be overnight if that's a better option for you.
But I can hardly wait.
Let me get them in there, 'cause the sooner they're in, the sooner they can come out.
Oh, look at these, they are perfect.
I must taste one of these.
Going in, taking a bite.
This is everything I love about strawberries and cream.
But the berries are interesting, the cream is interesting.
Down at the bottom, these ladyfingers have turned cake-like.
A little bit tender, but they're still crunchy on top.
[fun, exciting music] I can't think of a strawberry dessert that looks better than this, that tastes better than this, that is any easier to make.
Strawberry tiramisu trifles.
It's a winner.
[fun, upbeat music] Brian Noyes is known for his delicious Red Truck Bakeries in northern Virginia.
Even US presidents and movie stars confess that they can't get enough of Brian's delectable desserts and baked goods.
Today, Brian shares his recipe for a charming, old-fashioned strawberry buckle.
[easy, fun music] My friend, I see you zesting a lemon into a bowl of sugar, tell me what you're doing.
- I learned long ago you get more bang for your buck if you zest the lemon into the sugar and let it infuse, and it pulls out almost twice as much flavor, plus the little pores on the lemon zest never close up.
- [Brian] It's pretty incredible.
- And this is step one of what you're gonna show me to make today, which is a strawberry buckle.
So I think of buckles as sort of the cross between a good coffee cake and a cobbler, 'cause it's cakey, but it's fruity.
- It's very easy and you get so much great flavor out of it.
- [Sheri] Yeah, oh, and the aroma.
- The more you rub, the more the pores open up, the more the flavor takes over.
- And then we're gonna add, looks like butter?
Is that what you got here for us?
- Softened butter, it makes it a lot easier to combine.
- And now you're gonna stir that up?
- We're gonna cream away.
- All right, I can do that, or you can do that while I watch.
You tell me if it looks like we're good for an egg.
- Let's just go a bit more.
- A little bit more?
So what am I looking here for?
Lift up the batter and show me what I'm looking for here, so.
- So we like lemony color, kind of buttery, lemony.
- But we also like fluff.
- [Sheri] That is beautiful.
- Okay, so you're adding flour, gonna add a little baking powder in there, and then some salt.
- [Sheri] Got it.
- And I'm gonna keep scraping here.
- Simple batter, anybody would just have this right at home in their pantry.
I love that you, like me, sift with one of these.
And of course not only are we getting out lumps, we're just, you were telling me that, of course, the sifting action is what is combining our livening in there as well.
Tell me what we've got in our measuring cup here.
What is this?
- So we have some whole-fat buttermilk.
It's really important not to go for the fat-free or the low-fat because fat carries flavor and, in fact, some of the acidity is gone without it.
- Now is this all buttermilk or is this blended with something?
- This is some heavy cream in there as well.
- Now I'm gonna add vanilla, a good glug, are we measuring, what is approximately a good glug, about a teaspoon and a half?
- [Brian] Yeah, so a teaspoon and a half is half of a tablespoon.
- Oh, that is beautiful.
Oh, that looks, you know, when a recipe says it should look like cake batter, well, by golly, it looks like cake batter.
So how do we add this in?
- We don't have to really measure it out, but just add a third of this.
Then I add half of the liquid.
Then I add the second third of the flour mixture, then I add the rest of the liquid, then I always finish with the dry.
- [Sheri] That is wonderful.
All right, looks like our batter is done.
- Are you a beater licker?
- Oh, heck yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I was an only child so I didn't have to share it with anybody.
So we're just gonna plunk that batter down in here, and that goes first.
It looks shiny, so it's been greased.
- [Brian] For quick release.
- Right, and that does make a difference.
So this batter is really stiff, and we're gonna smooth it out to fill, or does it scoot out?
- We are not smoothing it out.
I would like to take a spoon or maybe even that fork there and just kind of, like, smudge it around.
- Smudge to the edges?
- Yeah, get it to the edges.
Yeah, we won't spread a whole lot, but I don't want a flat top on this thing.
- Now, I see those gorgeous berries.
Tell me, have you done anything to those berries other than start to cap them, they're just whole?
- Well, I've eaten a couple.
- Okay, that makes sense.
- [Brian] And then I took the tops off.
- I have brought you a gift.
So many people don't know about this, but have you ever seen one of these guys?
- It's called a tomato shark, and it's for coring tomatoes.
I've gotta show you this.
So instead of cutting the end of your berry off, look at this, you just put this little guy and the little teeth takes the cap right out and leaves the berry intact.
- [Brian] Excellent.
- I love these little things, 'cause it saves more of the berry.
- All I do is make sure that that cut gets buried into the batter.
- Got it, so, whatever the cut side might be, that goes down.
- Right, if it's a big, fat strawberry, we'll just make sure the cut side goes down.
- Now, I see turbinado sugar.
Tell me what we're gonna do with that.
- Yeah, it's known as sugar in the raw, but we always call it turbinado.
This adds a real crunch to an otherwise buttery, soft, pillowy dough.
It also protects the berries in the oven.
- Does it really?
- It won't dry them out, it won't char them.
- And then this just goes in, what, about a 350 degree oven and bakes and bakes until the tester comes out?
- That's right.
I might give it, like, 40 minutes or so, it all depends on the vessel and the oven.
- Okay, tell you what, let's get this in the oven so I can tidy up, and then when our cake's done, we get to eat it, right?
- If you're lucky.
[slow, easy music] Look what we made.
- Look at this, friend.
Just like you promised, look what that sugar did to make that crust in around and little whole berries are still in there, oh, listen.
- One beautiful thing about this batter is that zest and the infused sugar really perfumes the mix itself, it really changes the color.
- And I love how this is homey but yet elegant, you know, it looks like a carefully orchestrated buckle but we just put those berries on there, as you said, be random and it all worked out.
Let's get this bite here, that aroma is phenomenal.
Yeah, the lemon's doing it's role, the cream's doing it's role, but this is a strawberry dessert.
We could win friends and influence people with this, couldn't we?
- We're well on our way.
- I'm so lucky I won you as a friend, thank you, my friend.
- You're the berry nicest.
[fun, upbeat music] - So this is my famous strawberry pretzel salad.
You know, one of those salads that's really a dessert.
I love this stuff.
[easy, fun music] What I have just done here is put a block of room temperature cream cheese into the bowl and I'm gonna beat it around until it is creamy, just a few seconds.
All right, it's ready.
Gonna add some heavy cream.
A whole pint of it.
[mixer whizzes] With the machine off, some sugar, and a couple of teaspoons of vanilla.
I'm a pretty good pourer.
I think that's two teaspoons.
And now I'm gonna let my machine do the work for me.
I'm gonna let it beat on high speed until this is thick and creamy, like stiff whipped cream.
So while this is doing, I've got to tell you where I learned this recipe.
I grew up eating this.
I don't remember who in my community was the first person to make it, but I do remember that, suddenly, everybody was making it.
Just a couple of more seconds, and this is going to be ready to go in the crust.
[mixer whizzes] Look at that.
Creamy, beautiful, delicious.
When I lift up the beaters, you can see that it's got plenty of shape, so let me tell you what I'm gonna do.
I'm gonna make a little space, I'm gonna put this over here, I'm gonna put this over here, and I am going to bring up this great crust, and I'm gonna take my creamy filling and I'm gonna scoop it over this crust and spread it all the way to the edges.
When you're spreading this topping, I want you to take it all the way to the edges and make sure it touches the edges of your dish all the way around, because the next layer we're gonna put in is gelatin based, and we want it to stay in place, and if we use this delicious cream as a barrier to that gelatin topping, we're gonna get the most gorgeous edges with no seeping down the side.
Now, this needs to refrigerate until it is chilled and firm, and while this is in the fridge, I'm gonna circle back and tell you about this amazing crust.
[fun, easy music] I love a pretzel crust, because it's salty, crunchy, and more fun than graham crackers.
This is easy to make.
Pour pretzels and sugar into a food processor.
Melt a little butter and immediately drizzle it over the pretzels.
It's important to use melted butter while it's still liquid because once it turns firm, you no longer have melted butter, you have separated butter, and you won't be happy with your crust.
Pulse until the pretzels are finely crushed.
Don't pulverize them, leave a few chunky pieces because that crunch is part of the charm.
Pour it into your baking dish and pat it into place.
Then pop it in the oven until it's fragrant, about ten minutes.
When it's done, sit it on a wire rack and let it cool completely.
That's it, done.
You know, I have been making strawberry pretzel salad since I was in elementary school, and I'll confess to a couple upgrades.
I have swapped out frozen topping for real whipped cream and real sugar.
I put real fruit in mine.
But you know what I don't swap out?
Jell-O, good old strawberry Jell-O.
I am taking boiling water and stirring it into my beautiful red Jell-O powder.
Now that my Jell-O has dissolved, I am going to put it in the refrigerator to let it start cooling off and firming up.
That's going to take about an hour.
And during that time, I'm going to share my favorite tips for keeping fresh strawberries fresh for just a couple of days longer.
[fun, easy music] Ripe strawberries are a treat, but they can go from perfect to bad overnight.
These simple steps will keep your berries fresh for days perhaps up to two weeks.
Make a vinegar bath with one part vinegar to three parts water, and yes, the ordinary vinegar you keep in the kitchen cabinet eliminates bacteria and mold spores on the berries, which helps them stay fresh.
Soak the whole berries, with their caps still on, for ten minutes.
Drain the berries in a colander and rinse them well under cool, running water, which removes any lingering traces of the vinegar.
It's important to dry the berries as thoroughly as possible after their bath, because clinging moisture is the enemy of ripe berries.
I like to use my salad spinner.
Line the basket with paper towels to cushion the berries, then put on the lid and take them for a spin until they are completely dry.
Instead of putting the berries back into the container they came in, place them in a sealable container lined with paper towels, and leave the lid partially open to avoid trapping moisture.
Then into the fridge they go.
That's it, it's absolutely worth a couple minutes of time to make our ripe strawberries last longer.
[fun, easy music] Look at these gorgeous, fresh strawberries.
We just talked about how to keep them fresh, and this is the key ingredient to this great recipe.
I'm gonna fold them into the gelatin, but I want to show you something.
The time to do the folding is before the gelatin is completely set.
See that wonderful little jiggle, it's still loose enough that it's going to take in all that fruit without turning chunky.
Some people say this looks like an uncooked egg white, but you can tell it's got movement in it, and that's the perfect time to add our fresh, beautiful berries.
That freshness is what sets my take on this recipe apart, and I think it is a winner.
So look, I'm just gonna take my spatula and I'm gonna fold this in until my berries are coated in the gelatin.
And then once I've done that, I'm going to put it on top of my chilled filling and spread it to the edges.
You want to put this back in the fridge until that last bit of gelatin sets up firm.
It's gonna take at least four hours, and what I'm gonna do with that time is, I'm gonna tidy up the kitchen and get a few other things done.
[fun, easy music] Oh, friends, look at this, look how pretty this is.
We've got that great, slightly salty crust, that beautiful, fresh berries, and that fluffy cream.
You know, this is as good as I remember.
No, it's even better, thanks to fresh strawberries.
[easy, fun music] You can see how strawberries add charm and delight to all sorts of dishes.
They are versatile and so good, but we love them most straight out of the field.
[fun, upbeat music] ♪ For all the recipes from the show, visit our website.
It's where you'll find the key ingredient for a perfect time in the kitchen.