Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rescuing Inferior Strawberries for Shortcake

It is the season for strawberries over shortcake and ice cream. But so often I find that the berries available are not that good. In fact they can look good, even smell good, but have little flavor. So today I wanted to show you how I rescue inferior berries to make a flavorful dessert.

Julian's Best Strawberry Shortcake
(even with poor quality berries)
If you have great berries, you really can just macerate them with sugar and they are ready to serve. I discussed this and a freezer technique previously. But those were for hand-picked berries from long ago. So if you don't have good berries, I suggest making a sauce in which the berries can absorb flavor and color.

2-4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
3 Tablespoons strawberry or raspberry jam/preserves
2 quarts fresh strawberries

Wash, hull and halve the berries. Place about 6 berries (12 halves) in a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the remaining berries with 2-4 tablespoons of white granulated sugar, stir in and taste for sweetness.

Turning the berries regularly in the sauce improves flavor.
Add to the sauce pan 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur) and 2 heaping tablespoons of strawberry or raspberry preserves. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the berries are very soft. Mash with a spoon during cooking to extract all flavors. This takes about 10 minutes, depending on how hard the berries were to begin with.

With a fine sieve over a bowl, push the cooked berry mixtures through the sieve. Discard the solids and let the sauce cool for 10 minutes. Stir the sauce over the fresh sugared berries. Taste and add more sugar if required, although take care to make make the berries to sweet as to distract from the strawberry flavor. Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours, turning the berries in the sauce every 30 minutes or so.

If you would like my quick, always perfect biscuit recipe for use as a short cake, see my prior post on 7-Up Biscuits.

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