Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Berry Roast: How about a unique spin on dessert this Easter?

If you are a follower of cooking trends, cooking shows and cookbooks, you might have noticed a new emphasis on roasting, as in roasting almost everything. I’ve even seen popular cooking magazines devoted to “sheet pan suppers,” in which entire dinners, fish, chicken, vegetables and potatoes are roasted on/in one pan.

I’ve succumbed to the sheet pan craze, too. I roast one of my favorite dishes, “firecracker salmon,” along with cherry tomatoes and serve them with wasabi mashed potatoes for a terrific weeknight dinner. My family likes roasted Brussels sprouts splashed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and my young grandsons, 4 and 2, actually eat broccoli roasted with grated Parmesan cheese and garlic. Start ‘em young, I say.

But I was surprised seeing Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis roasting strawberries and whipping them into a simple but elegant dessert that is just perfect for spring. Another famous chef, Bobby Flay, in his new cookbook, “Bobby at Home,” does a similar spin on roasted strawberries, using fewer ingredients and no wine. The “formula” for both recipes includes some luscious cream and a crunchy topping.

April is here and, although we can find some decent strawberries at the markets and grocery stores, they are not the succulent and juicy berries of early June. Roasting softens and caramelizes them into a jam-like creation. The recipe that follows is Giada’s version and one that could be served at brunch or for dessert any time of year. And think how lovely these berries would be as a finale to an Easter dinner.

Roasted Strawberries with Vin Santo


  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Vin Santo wine
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup mascarpone
  • ½ cup crushed amaretti cookies or almond biscotti


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread the strawberries evenly on the baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Roast until the strawberries are soft and have released some of their juices, about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the strawberries and the juices into a bowl and toss with the wine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the mascarpone and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  • Serve the strawberries in dessert dishes or glasses. Top with some of the cream and cookie crumble.

Some notes about the ingredients:

  • Mascarpone is Italian cream cheese. It can be found, along with amaretti cookies or biscotti, at the grocery store.
  • Vin Santo is an Italian dessert wine that is like sherry. You could substitute Marsala wine or even Amaretto.
  • Instead of cookie crumbles, you could top the berries with chopped toasted almonds.
  • Instead of mascarpone cheese, you can use Greek yogurt or whipped cream cheese.

Welcome the lovely month of April with this simple, fresh fruit dessert. It is perfect for company, especially after you’ve put together the rest of the meal that might have taken a lot of time. Roasted strawberries could easily become a favorite for me. I‘m saving strawberry pie for June.

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