5 Unexpected Strawberry Desserts

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From shortcake and pie to fruit salads and parfaits, this ruby-red berry is the star of some classic desserts. While no one can deny the appeal of traditional combinations — like strawberries and rhubarb, or strawberries and whipped cream — this versatile fruit pairs well with infinite other ingredients. Here are a few unexpected flavor combos to help you experience strawberries in a whole new light.

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream (pictured at top)

After reading the ingredients list, you may think you’re preparing a savory dish — but fresh basil isn’t just for garnishing pastas, and balsamic vinegar isn’t just for dressing salads. Ellie Krieger highlights the berries’ natural sweetness with a tangy balsamic syrup that’s made by boiling the vinegar and sugar.

Strawberry Salad with Balsamic-Cardamom Dressing

Aromatic cardamom adds unbelievable depth of flavor to this sweet strawberry salad. Since cardamom is quite strong, you’ll need only a pinch to reap the flavor benefits of the fragrant spice.

Strawberry Pretzel Pie

This showstopper is a can’t-miss dessert for fans of the salty-and-sweet flavor combination. Crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar take the place of traditional pie crust in Ree Drummond’s easy crowd-pleasing recipe.

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Strawberry, Mint and Thyme Shortcake

It’s fairly common to come across mint in your dessert, but this is less true of thyme. The earthiness of the herb and the sweetness of the berries, however, work surprisingly well in this sophisticated shortcake recipe.

Strawberry Corn Cakes

Both corn and strawberries are in their prime during summer, yet it’s rare to see them together in a dessert recipe. Cookouts would be a whole lot sweeter if the ingredients mingled more often, though. These tender corn cakes make the perfect base for fresh chopped strawberries.