Berries and cream…it’s a simple, yet classic treat. I appreciate simplicity. However, one of the reasons I wanted to go to culinary school was to learn to play with and get a broader sense of different flavor pairings and combinations. I already have a good sense of common spices and seasonings which compliment many foods. I wanted to get a little more creative.
On the first day of our pastry training, we macerated berries. That just means you slice them up and then soak them in sugar and liquid to soften and ripen them. It’s actually a great technique to use for berries when they are not in season. Last week, we made whipped cream toppings for cakes. I played with the flavor a little bit and added some orange zest, thyme and olive oil because, well, I’m crazy like that. Seriously, it was so good! I instantly thought I needed to bring some variation of it together with the macerated strawberries and create a recipe for you.
This was the result and it is amazing! When I handed the dish you see in these pictures over to my salt-loving, fruit and general dessert-hating husband (I don’t get it but, it’s true), he just looked at me and said “What is this? You know I don’t like fruit.” Um, it’s made so can you please just eat it?
Well, he gobbled it up and then told me how good it was. Score! This is a simple, yet elegant dessert. You can serve it all summer long. You can even use both of the components in a gluten-free strawberry shortcake or serve them with a gluten-free pound cake. The options are limitless but if you’re like me, you’ll stick with simplicity. Enjoy!
- 2 16 oz container of strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 4 tbl balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey (1/2 tsp if strawberries are very ripe)
- 4-5 turns of fresh ground cracked pepper
- 8 mint leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- zest from ½ lemon, plus additional for garnish
- Put strawberries in a bowl or plastic container and add balsamic, honey, pepper and mint. Toss around a bit, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour
- When ready to serve, put heavy cream and sugar in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment or in a bowl with hand mixer and whip until cream thickens and stiff peaks begin to form (about 5-7 minutes)
- Fold in olive oil and lemon zest
- Put macerated strawberries into serving dish and top with a dollop of whipped cream
- Garnish with mint and a little bit of lemon zest