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Published: Sunday, 5/27/2012

Secret to this cobbler is its soft, sweet crust

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler. Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler.

Mmmm, fresh strawberries. The kid in me still loves going to the "pick your own" fields, filling baskets with the fruit. At home, the freshly picked berries go into freezer jam, cakes, pies, smoothies, and Strawberry Feta Salad, my favorite summer salad. (All of these recipes and more can be found on Kitchenscoop.com.)

This year, I have more than a few quarts of berries that are almost too ripe. Instead of making strawberry wine, I decided to bake the berries in a bubbling cobbler. Cobblers take all kinds of fruit, no matter how ripe -- or frozen, for that matter. These ripe strawberries begged for something special, so I topped the whole thing with bits of cream cheese. (You can use Neufchatel for its lower fat.) It was simply delicious.

The secret to this cobbler is the crust that is perfectly soft and sweet, leaving the berries (or other fruit) to peek through. It starts in the bottom of the dish and rises as it bakes, encompassing the fruit. Your baking powder must be fresh for it to rise, so be sure to check the expiration date on the bottom of the can.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler will rescue your wilting fruit and prove to be a winning recipe again next year when the berries are brimming.

Contact Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tellus@kitchenscoop.com. Visit Kitchen Scoop at kitchenscoop.com.

Start to finish: 10 minutes prep; 45 to 50 minutes bake

1 stick ( 1/2 cup) butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 quarts whole strawberries, capped and washed

4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, cut in small pieces

Plain Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour directly over the butter in the baking dish, but do not stir.

Add the strawberries, arranging in a single layer as much as possible. Sprinkle cream cheese pieces over strawberries. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling. (Crust rises up and around the fruit, but fruit will still peek out of top.)

Serve hot out of the oven with choice of topping, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings

Approximate values per serving (just cobbler): 290 calories, 13.2 g fat (8 g saturated), 51 mg cholesterol, 4.7 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 245 mg sodium.

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