Sunday, April 28, 2013

First Harvest Mint Makes Strawberry-Mint Pandowdy

The fits of spring over the past few weeks have finally turned into a steady beautiful warmish sunny season, and the first harvest is in—I’ve got tufts of chives, a few parsley that overwintered, and lots and lots of 2-4” mint sprigs.

Mint just grows thicker when you cut it back, so early picking is good for fresh taste and full season bounty. And at this point in the season, I’m always discovering the few things left at the bottom of my freezer that I overdid a little last year. To my great delight, several bags of frozen strawberries were hiding under yet another batch of green beans. So strawberry-mint delight it is. Strawberries, especially if they’ve been frozen, tend to be so juicy that they make soggy, runny pies, but cover them with a thick slightly sweet biscuit crust and you get what I think is officially called pandowdy, which soaks up some of the juice into the bottom of the biscuit as you bake, and delightfully sops up any soupiness that’s left to run around on your plate. Mint and strawberry are as wonderful in dessert as they are in drink – this would be the perfect end to a meal that started with strawberry-mint daiquiris or mint juleps garnished with frozen strawberries (although Dave's Moonshine Manhattans were pretty fantastic as well).

Strawberry-Mint Pandowdy
4 cups frozen chopped strawberries
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
1 T lemon juice
½ cup sugar
1 T corn starch

2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 T baking powder
5 T cold butter
1 cup milk

Mix together filling ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour into a round or square baking dish (the kind you’d make a casserole in)

In a separate bowl, mix the topping.  Start by mixing together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut cold butter into the mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives in a cross-cut pattern, until the butter is in pea-size pieces, roughly. Pour in milk all at once and stir.

Drop topping in ¼ cup-size blobs over filling to roughly cover, but do not spread out at all and do leave a few holes and dont' worry if a few pieces sink in. 

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

Serve immediately or let cool for up to 3 hours and serve warm or at room temperature. 

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