Spring's sweeties

April 30, 2000|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Ripe strawberries, fragrant and sweet, are the stuff of dream desserts and drinks.

Big reds fresh from the fields need only a quick rinse and they're ready for eating au naturel or dipping into whipped cream.

It takes only a little more effort to turn a quart of berries into a kid-pleasing frosty or other treats, such as a sophisticated daiquiri for adults or a spectacular fresh strawberry tart.

Strawberry Frosty

Makes 3 to 4 cups (about 6 servings)

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries (see note)

about 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

pinch of salt

sugar, to taste (optional)

mint sprigs or fresh fruit, for garnish

Spread berries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze, uncovered, until frozen solid.

Place frozen fruit and orange juice in food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape work bowl as necessary. If the machine struggles to process the frozen fruit, allow fruit to stand at room temperature until slightly thawed (about 10 to 15 minutes). Depending on the size of the work bowl, you may have to process fruit in several batches.

Add pinch of salt and the sugar (the amount of sugar will depend on the natural sweetness of the fruit). Process briefly to mix; return mixture to freezer to chill briefly before garnishing and serving. If you prefer, make the frosty mixture up to an hour before serving and hold it in the freezer. If frozen for longer than an hour, ice crystals will form, necessitating reprocessing before serving.

Note: Fresh peaches, nectarines, kiwi fruit, bananas, papayas or mangoes also can be used.

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