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Summer Seduction: High Sierra Berries and Cream

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More years back than I care to remember I had the pleasure of having one of the finest natural desserts I ever tasted while visiting South Lake Tahoe, Nevada -- yes, as opposed to whats many maps might show, there is a South Lake Tahoe, Nevada (this was years before I moved there). I was dining at the penthouse restaurant of the now defunct High Sierra Casino. We had just finished a splendid meal and the waiter brought the dessert cart around. There on the cart were a plethora of delicious looking pastries and then there was this bowl of big, juicy strawberries -- just a bowl of strawberries, nothing around it, just strawberries.

When the waiter told us what each dessert was, he never mentioned the strawberries. Being the inquizative type, I asked "so what about the strawberries?" He grinned and said they were for a dessert called High Sierra Berries and Cream. When I said that's what I wanted, he reached under the cart, brought out the ingredients and made the dessert right there. It is still today the simplest and tastiest strawberry dessert I have ever eaten. The High Sierra casino no longer exists but I have kept this dessert alive and whenever it is strawberry season it is on my menu and prepared just as it was that night.

I only recommend making this dessert with fresh strawberries. If you try with the frozen variety, it will be an absolute failure. If you attempt to use other types of berries, it just won't work.

Ingredients needed for High Sierra Berries and Cream ( serves 4):

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 8 cups strawberries, hulled (stem end removed) and halved or quartered, depending on size

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl stir the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in the sour cream until well combined.
  3. Arrange the strawberries on a serving platter surrounding a mound of the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Cover the platter and chill until ready to serve.

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