BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES WITH WHIPPED MASCARPONE

“You have to ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Strawberry season is setting in here. Yes, it’s winter & still quite cold, but this is when we begin to see strawberries entering the market. Steeply priced, but far too tempting to turn away from, I bought a box to see what I could do with them. I also stumbled upon some locally made mascarpone cheese & my heart skipped a beat. You see most mascarpone we get here is imported & exorbitantly priced. I was thrilled to find a local variety & bought 2 tubs. Bought some goat cheese & fresh mozzarella too. More about the latter another day. I came home really happy with my loot, felt stupidly excited like Mr Bean, & had just one thought on my mind … Balsamic vinegar & strawberries with whipped mascarpone cream. Had read about these on Epicurean, & on numerous blogs over the past year, & was mighty intrigued by the very thought.
So I made this for dessert & am sending it to Jeanne @ Cook Sister for WTSIMsweet/ savoury swap for January. You better be convinced Jeanne that I am indeed radically departing from our lifelong perception of strawberries & cream being only served sweet, & vinegar only going the savoury way. Not quite creative as this is a tried & tested route, but way off what we at home consider dessert! I added some freshly ground pepper to the balsamic syrup for good measure, & further departure for normalcy.
Must say we had an interesting dessert; strawberries that gave us a peppery kick, & then the sweetness of the cream that took over! We enjoyed our portions, savouring the sweetness & the new flavours. As far as the kids go, the daughter enjoyed the change, but the son said he preferred just the cream, though he did eventually have the strawberries too. The mascarpone was a tad disappointing & not as fresh as I hoped it would taste. Was a bit granular & somewhat less moist & creamy than I thought it should be. I think I’ll have to try another brand & compare, but the dessert tasted really nice. I scraped half a vanilla bean & added the beans to the cream & mascarpone. I meant to add some freshly crushed pepper to the cream too, but I didn’t want the family to radically leave the dessert & run away! That swap would have been too disastrous for my preciously priced strawberries.Here’s a post then, celebrating 2 events that take place today. The 60th Republic Day in India, & the Chinese New Year. January 26, 2009 is the first day of the Chinese new year, & 2009 is the Year of the Ox…Kung Hei Fat Choy!BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES WITH WHIPPED MASCARPONE
as adapted from Epicurean
Ingredients:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup chilled mascarpone cheese*
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 vanilla bean – seeds scraped; (or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2-3 tbsps castor sugar

1 basket (about 200gms) strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 sachet vanilla sugar (optional)
Fresh mint for garnishing

Method:

  • Combine vinegar, 2 tbsps sugar, and pepper in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced to scant 1/4 cup, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  • Combine mascarpone, cream, vanilla seeds, and Castor sugar in medium bowl. Whisk until thick soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
  • Combine berries and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl; drizzle with balsamic syrup and toss to blend. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Spoon in mascarpone mixture into 6 goblets. Divide berries and syrup & top the whipped mascarpone.
  • Sprinkle with vanilla sugar, & add a sprig of mint if desired.
  • Serve chilled within an hour or so. Balsamic vinegar tends to ‘cook’ the strawberries & soften them if kept mixed together for too long.

ADDICTED TO FOOD BLOGGA’S ADDICTION…A BEAUTIFUL PEACH & PLUM GALETTE!

“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink…”
Epicurus
Galette a la Plums & Peaches!
If someone said to me that they made a galette, I would just nod & get on my way, maybe wouldn’t even bat an eyelid! Never heard of something like that before (seriously I haven’t, even if that means you think I live under a rock!). Now if someone showed me a picture of a galette they baked, & if that someone had the word addiction in the blog post, & if that someone was the ever so talented Food Blogga gal, it would grab me by the eyeballs…as did Susan’s post @ Food Blogga! I should have never wandered towards her highly addictive blog, because it talked me into bookmarking the “Peach & Blueberry Galette“! Calories, calories & more calories I thought…but what a delightful pastry it turned out to be.
Once again in a fantastic combination of peaches & plums…& ever so pretty. Susan, this was quite easily the best pastry thing I made this summer; am already looking forward to next year…to try it with cherries!

A galette is a type of French pastry made with a rich, flaky crust, and traditionally served at Epiphany, on the 6th day of January. Many bakeries also offer galettes year round, in both savory and sweet incarnations. In general, a galette is rounded and flat, and it tends to be very crusty because of the type of pastry used to make it. A galette can be made at home with minimal effort.

Depending on the region and the chef, a galette may be made plain, but it is more usually filled with something. The traditional sweet filling includes almond paste mixed with eggs and slivers of orange peel. This filling is often used for an Epiphany galette, to which the cook also adds a small feve, or charm. The Epiphany galette is known in French as the galette des rois, or “King Cake,” and the consumer who gets the slice with the charm is crowned the king or queen.

Peach and Plum Galette as adapted ‘minimally’ from Susan @ Food Blogga
Serves 8
Ingredients:
Dough:
All-purpose flour – 1 3/4 cups
Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup
Coarse cornmeal – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Cold butter – 1/2 cup; cut into small pieces
Fat-free buttermilk – 1/3 cup

Fruit Filling:
Plums – 10-12; stoned & chopped
Peaches – 3 cups; thinly sliced (about 3-4 large)
Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
Light brown sugar – 1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Fresh minced ginger – 1 teaspoon
Cornstarch – 3 tablespoons

Egg white – 1
Fat-free milk – 2 tablespoons
Turbinado sugar – 1 tablespoon

Method:
To make the dough:
  • Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a processor; pulse 2-3 times. Add butter and pulse 4-5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running, slowing pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball.
  • Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, then wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30-35 minutes. (I did it for almost an hour because the weather was HOT)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • To make the fruit filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the galette bakes.)
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle.
  • Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add the fruit mixture to the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
  • Fold the border over the filling, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
  • Lightly whisk the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. (Cutting it too quickly will cause the dough to crack).
  • It’s best served at room temperature or slightly warm. Optional garnishes include vanilla ice cream, a dollop of creme fraiche, or freshly whipped cream.

Waiter There’s Something In My Picnic Basket…& it’s a scrumptious galette!

The PassionateCook, Cook Sister & SpittoonExtra are back after a small break & with the August edition of WTSIMthis time, they’re looking for picnic recipes, anything that transports well, can be prepared in advance and doesn’t need (much) preparation on the spot. Just a knife needed to cut a slice of this delicious pie; it’s absolutely yummy on it’s own, but a dollop of ice-cream or some mascarpone makes it divine!
The great thing about my newly discovered ‘sweetie-pie’ is that the pastry remains CRISP no matter what…hot, at room temperature & even chilled.

I did some more with the pastry…I nicked a bit of dough to experiment. You can see a sneak preview in the background below. Will post that in the next post…

…Until then, enjoy the picnic! Bon Appetit !!

ADDICTED TO FOOD BLOGGA’S ADDICTION…A BEAUTIFUL PEACH & PLUM GALETTE!

“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink…”
Epicurus
Galette a la Plums & Peaches!
If someone said to me that they made a galette, I would just nod & get on my way, maybe wouldn’t even bat an eyelid! Never heard of something like that before (seriously I haven’t, even if that means you think I live under a rock!). Now if someone showed me a picture of a galette they baked, & if that someone had the word addiction in the blog post, & if that someone was the ever so talented Food Blogga gal, it would grab me by the eyeballs…as did Susan’s post @ Food Blogga! I should have never wandered towards her highly addictive blog, because it talked me into bookmarking the “Peach & Blueberry Galette“! Calories, calories & more calories I thought…but what a delightful pastry it turned out to be.
Once again in a fantastic combination of peaches & plums…& ever so pretty. Susan, this was quite easily the best pastry thing I made this summer; am already looking forward to next year…to try it with cherries!

A galette is a type of French pastry made with a rich, flaky crust, and traditionally served at Epiphany, on the 6th day of January. Many bakeries also offer galettes year round, in both savory and sweet incarnations. In general, a galette is rounded and flat, and it tends to be very crusty because of the type of pastry used to make it. A galette can be made at home with minimal effort.

Depending on the region and the chef, a galette may be made plain, but it is more usually filled with something. The traditional sweet filling includes almond paste mixed with eggs and slivers of orange peel. This filling is often used for an Epiphany galette, to which the cook also adds a small feve, or charm. The Epiphany galette is known in French as the galette des rois, or “King Cake,” and the consumer who gets the slice with the charm is crowned the king or queen.

Peach and Plum Galette as adapted ‘minimally’ from Susan @ Food Blogga
Serves 8
Ingredients:
Dough:
All-purpose flour – 1 3/4 cups
Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup
Coarse cornmeal – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Cold butter – 1/2 cup; cut into small pieces
Fat-free buttermilk – 1/3 cup

Fruit Filling:
Plums – 10-12; stoned & chopped
Peaches – 3 cups; thinly sliced (about 3-4 large)
Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
Light brown sugar – 1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Fresh minced ginger – 1 teaspoon
Cornstarch – 3 tablespoons

Egg white – 1
Fat-free milk – 2 tablespoons
Turbinado sugar – 1 tablespoon

Method:
To make the dough:
  • Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a processor; pulse 2-3 times. Add butter and pulse 4-5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running, slowing pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball.
  • Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, then wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30-35 minutes. (I did it for almost an hour because the weather was HOT)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • To make the fruit filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the galette bakes.)
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle.
  • Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add the fruit mixture to the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
  • Fold the border over the filling, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
  • Lightly whisk the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. (Cutting it too quickly will cause the dough to crack).
  • It’s best served at room temperature or slightly warm. Optional garnishes include vanilla ice cream, a dollop of creme fraiche, or freshly whipped cream.

Waiter There’s Something In My Picnic Basket…& it’s a scrumptious galette!

The PassionateCook, Cook Sister & SpittoonExtra are back after a small break & with the August edition of WTSIMthis time, they’re looking for picnic recipes, anything that transports well, can be prepared in advance and doesn’t need (much) preparation on the spot. Just a knife needed to cut a slice of this delicious pie; it’s absolutely yummy on it’s own, but a dollop of ice-cream or some mascarpone makes it divine!
The great thing about my newly discovered ‘sweetie-pie’ is that the pastry remains CRISP no matter what…hot, at room temperature & even chilled.

I did some more with the pastry…I nicked a bit of dough to experiment. You can see a sneak preview in the background below. Will post that in the next post…

…Until then, enjoy the picnic! Bon Appetit !!

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