Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Cinnamon Challah Croutons with Berries and Cream (Decontructed Blintzes)

May 20, 2013


Apparently, dessert croutons are a thing, lately. There are places that sell toasted cubes of cake to eat as snacks or use in desserts or salads. The LA Times recently published a recipe by Nancy Silverton which featured bread croutons as a garnish for a rich chocolate dessert (Bittersweet Chocolate Tartufo with Olive Oil Gelato and Olive Oil Fried Croutons). And there are recipes featuring fruit, ice cream or some other creamy mixture, and sweet croutons (see here and here).

Anyway, I was thinking about a recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts called Top Secret Topping. It is nothing more than plain or lightly sweetened cottage cheese, which is somehow transformed by being pureed in the food processor into a luscious creamy smooth topping for fresh fruit. Maida said she swooned when she first tried it over strawberries, and her friends couldn’t guess what it was (yogurt? sour cream? creme fraiche? cream?) (here is her original description, reprinted in Maida’s Heatter’s Pies and Tarts).

She says you can use 1% or 2%, but you really need to use 4% to get the full effect. The extra fat in the 4% makes it possible for the mixture to whip up and increase in volume. The increased airiness as well as the smoothness of the pureed cottage cheese creates the impression of creme fraiche or whipped cream.

I decided to add cinnamon challah croutons to Maida’s combination of strawberries and top secret topping. The result: a taste I can only describe as deconstructed cheese blintz. I also tried the croutons on strawberry spinach salad with my fat-free orange dressing. It was nice, but I liked the combination of creamy cheese, berries and cinnamon croutons a bit more.

The cinnamon challah croutons remind me a bit of those mock blintzes made from toast stuffed with cream cheese. Made with coconut oil, they are pareve, but taste dairy, almost buttery.


Zinfandel Strawberries

April 11, 2012

Have wine leftover from the seder? You can macerate berries in wine to make a nice accompaniment to dessert. I served Zinfandel macerated strawberries with flourless chocolate cake, following a recipe from Todd Aarons, chef at Tierra Sur (restaurant for Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, California).

The recipe is simple: wash, stem and cut 2 pints of strawberries into 1/4″ thick pieces/slices. Put the berries into a bowl with a cup of Zinfandel wine. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain off the wine into a small saucepan–it will have turned deep pink from the berries (see above picture). Boil down the wine until it is reduced by about half and is syrupy.

Store the wine reduction and the berries separately and combine when serving (the original recipe says to plate the cake with some berries and then drizzle over some wine reduction).

The wine reduction is intense, like balsamic vinegar, because the boiling down intensifies the acidity as well as the sweetness. The berries are infused with wine flavor all the way through.

The overall effect is very sophisticated and adult. I added some sugar to leftover berries and liked the added sweetness.

Vegan Lower Carb Strawberry “Pie”

June 18, 2010

When you have handpicked strawberries, you don’t want to squander them on a less than stellar recipe. When I looked up recipes for strawberry pie, it seems lots of people like the recipe by Ruth Cousineau from Gourmet magazine (also here). Here is the thing, though. It calls for gelatin, which I don’t have. Another problem: my husband is on a diet.

So, I found a way to dramatically reduce the sugar in the recipe, use Ko-Jel (vegetarian jell), and eliminate the high-carb and high fat crust. (more…)