I love the lines above. Saw them on twitter a few days ago, and they stayed in my mind. I went back to look for them today as a quote that is truly reflective of my feelings too!! Aran expressed it beautifully!
It’s now the end of the strawberry season here and I giggled with glee looking at my stash of strawberries I had lugged from my recent vacation. Sadly now with the mercury rising, they threaten to spoil very soon. If earlier I could safely keep them fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days, now even 2-3 days is cutting it fine. I had to look for ways to use them, preserve them!
I wasn’t disappointed! I found the most delectable recipe for roasted strawberries in balsamic vinegar, a promise to preserve this passionate berry for treats when the sun beats down madly. In her post (in the comments), Zoe suggests that these can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, else frozen for longer, and they still retain their shape and taste. Couldn’t get better than this …
By the time I entered the kitchen I had forgotten the measures of ingredients but had the basic idea in mind. Instead of using a lined cookie sheet, I roasted in an oven proof CorningWare dish, which ensured that all the precious juices were saved. The sugar had to be the ever charming vanilla sugar, and the aged balsamic from a precious jar that Asha from Fork Spoon Knife parcelled to me as part of a gift from NYC! (In there also was some delicious coffee which I used in Espresso Double Chocolate Biscotti) I loved it, the bottle, the packaging, the very idea! I’ve saved it long for something special, and this was IT! Thank you Asha…
To celebrate the gorgeous flavours that literally sang out of the bowl of the roasted strawberries, I just had to make some dessert petit fours! Made these little no bake cheesecakes as an experiment while the strawberries were chilling. They’re a sort of panna cotta but the cream is not cooked. I whipped up the cream with caramel syrup, and then added gelatin to stabilise it and help it set. Worked out fine as the dessert held it’s ground, and was very simple to demold too. Normally, my panna cotta is hardly ever as obliging to leave a mold cleanly, so I was delighted! The caramel added a special deep sweetness. NICE!!
Eggless Caramel Cream Refrigerator Cakes (No Bake) Serves 4
70gms Homemade Graham Crackers or Digestive Biscuits, crushed
30gms melted unsalted butter
200ml low fat cream, chilled
2tbsps caramel syrup
1/2 tsp gelatin
1/2 quantity Roasted Balsamic Strawberries (recipe follows) Method:
Mix the crushed biscuit crumbs with melted butter, divide equally between 4 X 3″ dessert rings. Press down firmly to make a base. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
Soften gelatin over 1 tbsp of cold water in a small bowl, and place this bowl in a bigger bowl of luke warm water till the gelatin is clear. (If the weather is very warm, you might need to increase the gelatin by a 1/8 tsp)
Beat the cream and caramel to soft-medium peaks. Taste and increase the caramel if you like. I like to keep it mildly sweet.
Next pour in the clear gelatin beating constantly.
Divide the whipped cream mix between the 4 dessert rings, level with an offset spatula, or tap gently to level, and place in freezer, covered, to set for 30-45 minutes.
Now you can bring it back into the fridge and chill until ready to serve.
Demold gently, garnish with some grated chocolate. Top with 2 tbsps of chilled roasted balsamic strawberries, and some strawberry-balsamic reduction. ENJOY!!
Roasted Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar Adapted from Zoe Bakes
450-500gms strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/8 cup aged balsamic vinegar Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place the strawberries in a glass baking dish.
Sprinkle over the vanilla sugar, followed by the aged balsamic vinegar. Mix gently.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
Drain strawberries.Put the liquid into a sauce pan, and reduce to a thick concentrate. It will thicken a bit as it cools. Chill before use.
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