Monday, February 16, 2015

Strawberries and Cream Redux



Over the years, I have created several desserts that play on the combination of strawberries and cream. Because these berries show up in India towards the end of the winter rather than summer, these desserts also have a tendency to crop up on the blog around Valentine's Day. Totally appropriate you will say, and this year, with the addition of some other of my favourite ingredients, the best version as well.

The base of the dessert is basil white chocolate cream. Pour 200 ml of heavy cream in a small saucepan. Now that Amul is finally selling whipping cream in India, that's the one I have used. Heat gently until the cream is warm, then add 4-5 basil leaves. Cover and leave to infuse for half an hour. Remove the basil leaves and put the cream back on heat. Add 200 grams of chopped white chocolate - use the best you can find - and stir until the cream and chocolate combine into a smooth ganache. Remove from the heat and pour into small bowls or ramekins. Let cool a little, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Topping the cream are balsamic roasted strawberries that you can make at the same time and serve chilled. Or make them just before you eat this dessert so you have the warm berries contrasting the cold basil cream. Either way, wash and hull 400 grams of strawberries. Quarter the large berries and cut any smaller berries into half. In a bowl, mix berries with 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Leave the bowl aside for 10-15 minutes, then spread the berries on a baking tray in a single layer. Also add any juice left in the bowl and cook in an oven heated to 200C for 30-35 minutes until the berries are soft. Serve immediately over chilled cream or let both the cream and berries chill separately and assemble just before eating.

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