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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Family's Recipes - Grandma Grace's Strawberry Dessert

When I asked Mr. Dwayne what he wanted for Father's Day, without hesitation, he said, "Raspberry Dessert!" What originated as Strawberry Dessert with Dwayne's Grandma Grace, has become a family tradition for three generations. (I'll proclaim four generations as soon as Madelyn makes it for her family! We'll have to wait a while for that.) When my husband and I started dating, this was the special occasion dessert. Pat always had baked goods on hand, but this was for special.

Bill told me that his mom, Grace, got this recipe from a neighbor when they lived on Beaver Dam Road in Cedar Hill in up state New York. He was 14 or 15 when she first made it. It was always made with strawberries until I came along and used raspberries. Mr. Dwayne now likes the raspberry version best. Bill, who likes to mix flavors whenever possible, converted to both strawberries and raspberries. I guess his can be called Mixed Berry Dessert. (We sometimes call him Mixmaster Bill.)

Here is Pat's original copy of the recipe. She lists 1 cup of frozen berries, but when I first saw her make it, she used one of those 10 oz. boxes of frozen sweetened strawberries with the juice. For the version I made, I used all of a 15 oz. bag of frozen raspberries and the liquid they released. They were not presweetened. The notes on the side indicate she may have used powdered sugar for part of the sugar.

This recipe calls for raw eggs. In the 60+ years that this family has been enjoying this dessert, no one has become ill from it. Now, salmonella is a greater concern due to factory farming processes. I'm always careful to use organic, free range eggs. These were purchased from the farmers' market from an employee of the egg farmer. Care in purchasing should keep you safe.

My crushing hammer.

Raspberry Dessert
1 package of sugar wafers, crushed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 package frozen raspberries with their juice
(can use fresh - one to two cups, according to your preference)

Line a large casserole dish with butter. Press half of the sugar wafer crumbs in the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Separate the eggs. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add a third of the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Beat the egg yolks, adding 1/3 of the sugar. Continue to beat until they are thick and lemon colored.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the remaining third of the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Place the beaten egg whites, yolks, cream and raspberries into a large bowl and fold gently until combined. Pour over the sugar wafer crumbs in the prepared dish. Top with the remaining sugar wafer crumbs. Cover and freeze at least 4 hours. If freezing longer, allow to thaw slightly before serving.

Serves 6 at our house.

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