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National strawberries and cream day

National strawberries and cream day
Brian Yaklyvich/CNN
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 2:09pm

Mmmm...dreamy. May 21 is National Strawberries and Cream Day!

How could we forget one of the most obvious uses for all those strawberries you've been picking? We speak of course, of strawberries and cream.

The beauty of the dessert lies in its simplicity -- it really is just strawberries and thickened cream. Kitchen types aren't known for leaving well enough alone, so there are a few ways to dress up this basic dessert.

Add some liquor to the cream as it's being whipped. Think Frangelico or amaretto. You could also macerate the berries in balsamic vinegar and sugar for an extra bite. Or add toasted nuts or bits of meringue or shortbread for texture. Not so simple anymore, eh?

This specific combination of fruit and dairy was popularized in King Henry VIII's Hampton Court kitchen in the 1500s. The home was known to serve 600 people a wide range of meats and dishes twice daily, and a simple dessert of strawberries and cream served as the perfect way to end the opulent meal.

Strawberries and cream is probably best known for its Wimbledon connection. The dessert has been synonymous with the British tennis tournament since it began. More than 6,000 pounds of Kent strawberries are served during the two week event, topped with nearly 2,000 gallons of cream.

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