Improv Challenge: Strawberries and Cream

I’ve been following Kristen’s blog Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for a while now. She runs a monthly blogging Improv Challenge. Kristen describes the challenge as “a monthly party where everyone takes the same two assigned ingredients and lets their imaginations run wild.  It doesn’t matter what other ingredients we use, whether we make something savory or sweet.” Sounds fun to me! I don’t normally post on Thursdays, but I’ll definitely make an exception for this!

This months Improv Challenge ingredients are: strawberries and cream! Because this is my first time participating, I decided to keep the recipe simple (and, with the theme of my blog, budget friendly). Strawberries are one of my favourite fruits and I will usually wash them and eat they without any other preparation, so I didn’t want to stray too far from what I already enjoy.

Strawberries will be in season here in Ontario in a few weeks!!! I can’t wait to get local strawberries from the farmer’s market. Or even better, find a farm where I can pick my own! For this recipe, I’ve used imported strawberries (I forgot to look where they are from, probably California or Mexico). They were a bit tart, so I marinated the strawberries in maple syrup to give them a sweetness similar to those fresh from the strawberry patch.

The whipped cream I prepared for the photos didn’t turn out very well. 😦 It was very tasty. It just didn’t whip up and become as fluffy as the whipped cream I had prepared dad’s house the day before this (it was perfect). I didn’t have my camera with me then, and it was so yummy there weren’t any leftovers. I wish the new batch looked a bit prettier.

What are your tips/tricks for making perfect whipped cream every time? What is your favourite way to enjoy strawberries?

Strawberries Marinated in Maple Syrup with Whipped Cream


  • 1 quart fresh strawberries – approximate cost $3.00
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup – approximate cost $0.50
  • 200 millilitres whipping cream – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla – approximate cost $0.25


  1. At least 2 hours before you’re preparing dessert, place a glass mixing bowl and metal beaters in the freezer to chill.
  2. At least 1 hour before you’re preparing dessert, prepare the strawberries.
    1. Wash the strawberries.
    2. Core the strawberries and slice them into bite-sized pieces.
    3. Place the strawberries in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with maple syrup.
    4. Toss the berries to coat them with syrup.
    5. Let the berries stand at room temperature to marinate/sweeten.
  3. Prepare the whipped cream.
    1. Remove the mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer
    2. Combine the whipping cream and vanilla in the chilled mixing bowl.
    3. Whip the cream until it becomes fluffy (don’t over mix or it will churn into butter).
  4. Prepare the dessert!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.44 per serving).

Leave a comment


  1. I love just plain strawberries, too. I always use powdered sugar with my whipping cream; it holds its shape better. I rarely sweeten strawberries. I think that’s because my mom and grandmother always put tons of sugar on theirs and I thought it was WAY too sweet. Maple syrup sounds really good, though….

    • Thanks for the suggestion Kristen! Hope I won’t need too much powdered sugar for the whipped cream to turn out nicely… I prefer it unsweetened.

      I agree, berries are best unsweetened. My mom and grandmother also put tons of sugar on their berries, but, when they are a bit tart, maple syrup adds just a touch of sweetness.

  2. I would have never thought to use maple syrup. My mom has the same dish you used. 🙂

    • Thanks Nichole! I got the inspiration from a Raw Desserts Workshop that I attended last year. The workshop covered various types of raw sweeteners, most of which are a healthier option than refined sugars (though I’m not willing to completely give up sugar!). Maple syrup was one of the suggested substitutions (even though it’s not truly raw). When I want something a little less sweet, or with a slightly different flavour, I often turn to maple syrup, honey, or bee pollen to change things up.

  3. lisabethjean

     /  May 17, 2012

    You don’t “have to” add any sugar to whipped cream. I just make sure all the equipment is super-chilled. (I actually prefer using my emulsifying disc in the food processor.)

    Those berries look beautiful!

    • Thanks Lisabethjean! I thought I had chilled the bowl and beaters enough… guess not! I was pretty excited about the berries and cream, so I probably just wasn’t patient enough. 🙂

  4. I bet my little ones would like this! To make it even healthier… I bet you could use Agave Nectar (Amber) … Less calories than syrup … and it has been said to take on “a maple syrup and/or brown sugar taste”! 😉 worth trying…
    I am going to try this recipe!!! 😉 thanks for sharing!

    • Great suggestion Jennifer! I didn’t realize agave had less calories than maple syrup! I will definitely try that next time!

  5. I’ll totally pick up some agave now. Thanks for the tip!

  6. I have to agree, I never thought about maple syrup and strawberries together. This recipe sounds and looks really good!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog, Amber!

  7. I made something similar to this recently, and threw in a touch of orange zest. So yummy. And my tricks are similar to others – I put a metal bowl and beaters or Kitchen-Aid whisk attachment in the freezer or fridge for a bit before whipping the cream, and I usually sweeten it just a touch with powdered sugar.

  8. These look great – I love the addition of maple syrup – what a great idea! I’ll have to try that next time 🙂

  9. Welcome to the Improv Challenge!!! I’m so glad you’ve joined us. I love this idea for a simple, yet delicious dessert! I bet you just didn’t whip your cream long enough…I’m sure it was still yummy!

    • Thanks Liz! Can’t wait to participate in the next challenge!

      Yes, the strawberries and whipped cream were delicious despite my impatience with making the whipped cream. 🙂

  10. Yum, This sounds delicious! Great recipe. Welcome!

  11. Maple syrup in the cream sounds wonderful, I’ll have to give that one a try and I can imagine how good it was with the strawberries.

  12. What a creative way to serve strawberries! Great idea!! Welcome to Improv 🙂 Can’t wait to see your posts each month.

    • Thank you Kate! Can’t wait to participate in more of the Improv Challenges!

  13. Oh so yum – nothing like fresh whipped cream and strawberries. I don’t usually chill my bowl or beaters but I swear by my KitchenAid stand mixer for perfect whipped cream (my biggest problem is walking away and getting soft butter instead of whipped cream 🙂

    • Thanks Deanna! I don’t have a stand mixer, thus having the opposite problem… I’m impatient and don’t whip the cream long enough for it to thicken! 🙂

  14. Nice trick marinating under-ripe berries in maple syrup, Amber. We have sugar wars here — Mom always wants more sugar in the berries than I do. We both like the cream lightly sweetened. To get perfect whipped cream, I buy cream from a local dairy that has not been “ultrapasteurized.” I chill the cream in the mixing bowl in the refrigerator before I whip it so that both bowl and cream are cold.

    • Thanks Sharyn! I agree, less sugar (or whatever sweet you are adding) is better! Most berries are sweet enough naturally.

  15. Simple and delicious!

  16. A georgous, siple yet very appetizing dessert! 🙂 MMMM!

  17. It is great that you linked this in to Food on Friday. Cheers
    PS It would be neat if you followed Carole’s Chatter

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