Since my time spent at the farmers market up in East Texas, the start of strawberry season has become a glorious event. I used to make jams in addition to the baked goods I sold so I would buy strawberries in quantities of flats. Leading up to their arrival I would inquire weekly about their progress, eagerly awaiting the first berry I would be able to pop into my mouth. There is something really magical about being at the mercy of mother nature when it comes to your food. That first berry is always a beautiful gift, savored with stained fingers and eyes closed.
Strawberry season is fleeting here in Houston, especially if we get warmer than average temperatures (which seems like always lately). So, I try to enjoy the heck out of these juicy red berries while they are available. I actually had in mind right up until the moment I began working in the kitchen on this recipe that it was going to be a freeform pie/tart. But that same day I had also made and shot another recipe and was running low on time so I decided to keep it simple. I wanted to keep the same flavor profile I was working with in my pie plans and transfer them over to a batch of roasted berries. Since I’d just made some homemade ice cream the day before, these guys turned into sundaes. See how well-thought out and planned my process is sometimes? (that was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch it…)
I think that provides a nice little segue into my kitchen philosophy: I like to go with the flow and cook with the seasons. I like to keep it simple and un-fussy. Sometimes things don’t work remotely as I’d planned, and I’ve learned to be okay with that. For example, I was going to roast some beets to test out in a savory biscuit for the blog. How beautiful they would be with beautiful beet-colored flecks in them! But once I roasted them, they lost their vibrant pinky hues and instead resembled raw chunks of ham (gag). So, I shuffled that plan back to the drawing board and moved on. I feel like that has been a really valuable tool for me to learn not only in the kitchen, but in life. If we become too attached to things, when even the slightest shift happens, we lose all sense of ground. So, as cheesey as it sounds, “go with the flow” really has more merit than we may give it credit.
So, without further ado, I give you not pie, but a roasted strawberry sundae flavored with chamomile and Lillet. And, based on my research, I can confidently say that these strawberries make a bomb ass milkshake if you’d like to go that route as well. Or, if you like to keep it a little on the lighter side (i.e. stay away from ice cream), I’ve also enjoyed these berries on chia pudding and it was just as delicious 🙂
Roasted Strawberry Sundaes with Chamomile & Lillet
coconut oil to grease the baking dish
1 lb strawberries, halved or quartered depending on the size
juice of 1/2 a small lemon
1 tbsp dried chamomile
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp Lillet blanc (optional)
vanilla ice cream to or vanilla chia pudding to serve**
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 (or similar sized) baking dish with coconut oil. In a bowl, toss together the berries, lemon, chamomile, coconut sugar, and Lillet blanc. Pour the berry mixture into the baking dish and spread it out into an even layer. Roast the berries for 40-45 minutes or until they have released a lot of their juices and the edges of the berries are just starting to caramelize.
To make the sundaes, you can either use the strawberries warm from the oven, or allow them to cool completely. Spoon a hefty dose of the berries over the top of your ice cream or chia pudding of choice, then enjoy! Makes roughly 1 1/2 cups of berries.
**If you want to make your own ice cream, use this recipe and omit the steps with the pecans and date caramel. For homemade chia pudding, use this recipe and leave out the spices. If you want to make a milkshake, combine the strawberries, ice cream, and a splash of plant milk in a blender and blend until smooth.