Watching tennis makes me crave strawberries and I’ve had too many late nights over the last week watching Wimbledon and my craving for strawberries has reached epic proportions. When I’m craving strawberries I either want them in an Eton Mess or like this – macerated in caster sugar, balsamic vinegar and served with a big dollop of sweetened vanilla cream or mascarpone.
This wasn’t always the case. I used to read Balsamic Strawberry recipes and cringe. Strawberries on there own or with just a scattering of caster sugar was enough for me and to ruin that with vinegar… unthinkable. But then I did a cooking course, my first ever cooking course, over at Executive Chef and on the menu was Pannacotta with Balsamic Strawberries. I was converted and it opened up a whole new world to me. For most people that come over to our place for dinner this is my standard dessert to whip up. The pannacotta is made the day before and the strawberries are tossed with the sugar just before dinner and left to macerate. It is so easy but so impressive and I think it is the Balsamic Strawberries which are the star so I often forget about the pannacotta.
Whip up either some cream or mascarpone with a little caster sugar and vanilla bean paste. You could use vanilla extract or essense but it is quite decadent to see the specks of vanilla seeds mixed through the cream. That is all the strawberries need and then dessert is done.
1 punnet of strawberries (250g)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon of really good balsamic vinegar
whipped cream or mascarpone sweetened with a little caster sugar and vanilla bean paste
Hull the strawberries and half or quarter them, depending how big they are, and put in a bowl. Mix through the caster sugar and leave for at least 15 minutes stirring every now and then. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss through.
Serve in shallow bowls with a generous dollop of cream and drizzle over any extra syrup.