Tag Archives: strawberries

Strawberry Mess

Strawberry Fool

~ Strawberries, Whipped Cream, Mascarpone, Meringue ~

Sometimes presentation is overrated. Eton Mess is a British dessert that’s  an unapologetic mishmash of fruit, cream and crumbled meringues turned about and plunked in a glass or bowl. It’s the kind of mix that appeals to kids and adults alike. Its messy appearance belies its swoonworthy results with gently sweetened and ethereal whipped cream punctuated by juicy strawberries and crisp bits of sugary meringue. You can’t go wrong with this recipe which is a great way to highlight summer’s fresh berries. The only effort required is a little cream-whipping – and trying not to get too carried away with licking the spoon.

Strawberry (Eton) Mess

For a little variation, I’ve added mascarpone to the whipped cream, which adds extra(!) richness and more body to the cream.

Serves 4 to 6.

1 pound (500 g) strawberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
8 ounces (125 g) mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 (3-inch) meringue shells or 12 meringue buttons, coarsely crumbled

Set aside 3 unblemished strawberries.  Hull and quarter the remaining berries. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Turn to coat then set aside.
Whip the cream and mascarpone in bowl of electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until beginning to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold the quartered strawberries into the cream, then fold in the meringues with any fine sugary dust. Spoon into glasses or serving bowls. Cut reserved strawberries in half lengthwise and arrange on top of cream as garnish.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Simple Strawberry Cake
Lemon Bars
Yogurt Parfaits with Rhubarb Compote

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Cream

flourless chocolate cake tastefoodStrawberries, Cream, Chocolate…

Or, more precisely, a wedge of luscious silky-rich chocolate cake with billows of  airy cream and sun-kissed strawberries. Parse it as you may, emphasize it as you must, this is one dessert that will please chocoholics and fruity fiends alike.

I made this cake for a crowd last weekend, and it easily served 12 with a few slices to spare. A tiny sliver goes a long way – or maybe not, depending on your inclination. Choose the best quality dark chocolate you can lay your hands on, because it makes all the difference. The gently sugared cream and naturally sweetened strawberries perfectly round out and balance the chocolatey richness, which, naturally,  helps you eat more.

flourless chocolate cake tastefoodThere was, I promise, a bounty of strawberries when I served this cake, but the berry eaters in the group devoured them before I could use the harvest as a photo prop.

Glazed Flourless Chocolate Cake
slightly adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

Serves 12.

Cake:
12 ounces dark high quality chocolate (70-72%)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra for grating

Whipped cream
Strawberries

Heat oven to 350° F (180 C). Butter a 9-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment. Sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa powder and tap out the excess. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil to prevent leakage.

Combine chocolate and butter in a double boiler or heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Transfer eggs to a large bowl; thoroughly clean and dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment.

Fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolks. Stir in the vanilla. In the clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar until medium-firm peaks form. Fold the whites into the chocolate in 3 additions. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake until top is slightly puffed and cracked and a knife inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Heat cream and syrup in a small saucepan just until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Gently press down on the top of the cake to even thickness. Remove pan side. Invert cake onto a plate. Remove and discard parchment. Pour the glaze over the center of the cake. Spread the glaze over the top and down the sides of the cake, using a flat icing spatula to smooth the glaze. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

More chocolate? If you insist…
Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins from Brown Eyed Baker
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from TasteFood
Chocolate Custard Cake from White on Rice Couple
Rich Chocolate Brownies from TasteFood

Strawberry Ricotta Bruschetta with Lemon and Arugula

Strawberries are not just for dessert. They are also stunning in salads, lending sweet acidity to the peppery earthiness of greens. In this case, strawberries are jumbled with arugula as a topping for bruschetta. Creamy, lemon flecked ricotta anchors the salad to the bread, while a balsamic vinaigrette dresses the dish. Hello Spring!

Strawberry Ricotta Bruschetta with Lemon and Arugula

Be sure to use a fresh ricotta for this recipe. A creamy, mild goat cheese may be used in place of the ricotta. Makes 2.

2 large strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 slices peasant or levain bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1/4 cup fresh ricotta or mild goat cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup arugula leaves, washed and dried
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the strawberries and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl; set aside. Preheat oven broiler. Brush bread slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Broil in the oven until golden brown, turning once.
Smear the ricotta over the bread slices. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Pile arugula on the bruschetta. Remove the strawberries from the vinegar, shaking off excess liquid, and arrange over the arugula. Whisk 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt into the remaining vinegar. Drizzle over and around the bruschetta. Garnish with black pepper.

Loving Lemons: Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Strawberries

Lemon Cheesecake

You say spring, and I say lemons. Bright, citrusy and readily available, we can count on lemons to greet us, as we shake off the winter doldrums and usher spring into our kitchens. This cheesecake is a springtime favorite. Creamy, elegant and redolent with lemon, it pairs mascarpone and cream cheese with rich results. Macerated strawberries are the final touch, bringing a little extra sunshine to your plate.

Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Strawberries

An easy version of a timeless classic.  Prepare this cake one day before serving. Serves 10 – 12.

For the crust:
8 ounces graham crackers or digestive biscuits, broken in pieces
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
20 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces  Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the strawberries:
1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Tightly wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with foil.
Combine graham crackers and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and finely grind.  Add butter and blend using on/off turns until crumbs are moist and clumping together.  Press crumbs evenly into bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan.  Chill while preparing filling.

Make filling:
Beat cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each.  Mix in lemon zest and juice. Pour filling into crust.  Place cake on a baking sheet. Bake until cake is puffed at edges and center moves slightly when shaken, about one hour.  Transfer to rack and cool completely.  Cover and chill overnight.

Make strawberries:
Toss strawberries with sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Allow to sit one hour before serving.  (Can be prepared 3 hours in advance.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)

To serve cake, run knife around sides of pan to loosen.  Release pan sides.  Place cake on plate and cut in slices.  Serve with strawberries.

Strawberry Cream Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Syrup

Strawberry Balsamic

Strawberries, balsamic vinegar and … black pepper? If you haven’t tried this combination, it’s high-time you did. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar pair beautifully. The murky sweetness of balsamic vinegar complements the strawberries, while it’s sharpness is softened by the perfumed fruit. Black pepper, the dark horse of this trio, slips into the background, discreetly brightening the flavors, with just a hint of a bite.

Traditionally, strawberries are simply tossed with a few tablespoons of vinegar and allowed to sit for an hour or two. In this recipe, the balsamic vinegar is transformed into a viscous syrup with sugar and lemon juice before tossing with the strawberries. In Italian terms, this would be the double shot of espresso in your cup.

These parfaits show off the macerated strawberries, layered with a dreamy mousse of whipped mascarpone cream. It’s an easy dessert to prepare with show-stopping results. Alternatively, serve the strawberries with ice cream, semifreddo or panna cotta – or simply as they are with a biscotti and that double espresso on the side.

Strawberry Cream Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Syrup

Begin this recipe at least one hour before serving. Each of the components may be made in advance for last minute assembly before serving. Serves 8-10.

For the syrup:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the berries:
3 pounds strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the mascarpone cream:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces chilled mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Freshly grated lemon zest
Black pepper
Mint leaves

Prepare the syrup:
Combine vinegar, sugar and lemon juice in small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature. (Syrup may be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate).

Prepare the berries:
Reserve 8-10 whole strawberries. Hull and halve the remaining strawberries (quarter if large). Combine the hulled strawberries, the cooled syrup, sugar and black pepper in a bowl and gently toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Prepare the mascarpone cream:
Combine whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until soft peaks form. (May be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)

Divide half the strawberries among 8-10 glasses or bowls. Spoon cream over the strawberries to cover. Spoon remaining strawberries over cream. Top with a dollop of cream. Drizzle with any remaining syrup. Garnish with reserved strawberry, lemon zest, black pepper and mint leaves.