It's strawberry season, and the first ripe, red berries of the year are showing up at the market. Usually, I'm quite happy to give strawberries a quick rinse and eat them straight out of the berry bowl. But when the occasion calls for something more elaborate, this stuffed strawberry recipe is a perfect choice. The berries are filled with sweetened, lemon-spiked cream cheese and topped with fresh mint. They are elegant and delicious, perfect for a dinner date or a brunch with friends.
My mom has been making these strawberries for years, and everybody loves them. She flips them upside down, balances them on their leafy tops, cuts an 'X' halfway down into the the berry, and pipes the filling into the resulting star-shaped cavity. I prefer to hull the strawberries and pipe the filling in from the top. Either way, the berries look great and taste even better.
In the classic version of this recipe, the sweetened cream cheese filling is flavored with lemon zest and lemon juice. For a chocolate version, skip the lemon and add cocoa powder and a little bit of chocolate, orange, or hazelnut liqueur. Garnish with chocolate shavings, candied orange peel, or chopped hazelnuts.
Stuffed Strawberries with Mint
Adapted from a recipe by Cheryl McGovern.
- 2 pints strawberries (about 1.5 pounds)
- 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened
- 4-6 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- zest from one lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
In a medium bowl, use a fork to beat together the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and powdered sugar. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with the petal tip (The star tip makes the filling look pretty, but you have to worry about lemon zest clogging the opening). If you don't have a pastry bag, you can spoon the filling into a resealable plastic bag and use scissors to cut off one corner. Rinse the berries in a colander, then pat them dry. Use a small paring knife to cut the hulls out of the berries. Pipe some filling into each strawberry, then garnish with a small mint leaf. Arrange on a plate and serve, or prepare in advance and refrigerate for up to four hours before serving.