Berry soup, crumble and shortcake: The time is ripe!


For me, berry season means juicy desserts, clouds of whipped cream and big smiles. I love every type of berry and have incorporated a bounty into my recipes. I have a luscious Strawberry Soup, which is perfect on a hot day. My easy Berry Crumble — a medley of berries baked with a crisp top and served with vanilla ice cream — is my favorite. The Blueberry Muffins are my daughter’s favorite. And it wouldn’t be berry season without shortcake, so check out my Biscuit Shortcakes Two Ways.

This refreshing recipe can be served as a dessert, side or snack. It pairs well with chicken salad on a warm day.

If you have leftover angel food or pound cake, you can dip it in the soup for a lovely dessert. My daughter didn’t like the idea of “soup,” so I offered it to her as a “smoothie,” and she lapped it up! This must be made in advance or it won’t taste as good.

Strawberry Soup

Strawberry Soup

Makes 3 servings.

1 pound strawberries (plus more for garnish), rinsed and hulled
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup white grape juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (6-ounce) container strawberry yogurt
1/4 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend 30 seconds or until smooth. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving. Garnish with berries.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 22 muffins.

1 pint blueberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 3.3-ounce package instant French vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Cooking spray
Cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 375.

Place blueberries in a bowl, and sprinkle them with cornstarch. Toss to coat (to help prevent berries from sinking). Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, pudding mix and baking powder. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract, and beat until well-combined. Stir in berries.

Line cupcake tin with paper liners; spray with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups about 3/4 full.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden on top. Remove and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Berry Crumble

Berry Crumble

7 cups fresh or frozen mixed blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
3 tablespoons instant tapioca (like Minute Tapioca)
1 cup sugar (less if berries are very sweet)


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream for serving

Heat oven to 375.

Place berries in a cast-iron skillet.

In a small bowl, stir together tapioca and sugar. Pour mixture over berries, tossing until combined.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, oats and brown sugar. Stir in butter, milk and vanilla extract until combined. Drop by large spoonfuls over the berries.

Bake 30-38 minutes until top is set. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Biscuit Shortcakes Two Ways

Strawberry Shortcake

Makes 10-12 biscuits.

2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled or 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons almond extract

Heat oven to 425.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking soda.

Blueberry Shortcake

Cut stick of butter into teaspoons, and use a pastry cutter to cut into dough until butter is the size of peas. Add buttermilk and almond extract and stir. Use more flour to gather the dough together; it will be sticky.

Roll out dough — between sheets of wax paper for easier cleanup — to just under 1/2-inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter.

Place in two greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake 8-10 minutes.

For Strawberry Shortcake:

8 ounces strawberry cream cheese, softened
1 (7-ounce) container marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 tablespoon water
2 cups strawberries, sliced
Whipped cream for serving

In a bowl, stir together strawberry cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix strawberry preserves with water, and microwave for 15 seconds. Stir and spoon over biscuits. Add a huge pile of strawberry cream. Top with fresh berries, whipped cream and serve.

Note: The strawberry cream makes the dish! You will have leftovers and can use it as a fruit dip.

For Blueberry or Blackberry Shortcake:

2 cups blueberries or blackberries or a mix (plus more for garnish)
1/2 cup sugar or more to taste
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
Whipped cream for serving

In a small saucepan, bring berries, sugar and water to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce to low for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Smash berries with a potato masher. Remove from heat, taste and adjust sugar if necessary. Stir in rum extract, if desired. Allow mixture to cool. Spoon over biscuits, and garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream.