SLICED STRAWBERRIES & MADAGASCAR VANILLA WHIPPED CREAM
One dreary February Sunday morning, my girls craved the bright red, out-of-season Florida strawberries they spied in the Whole Foods produce department. I gave in and after a very much expected tart taste, decided to switch the recipe of a tried and true Wimbledon treat. Rather than sweetening the cream, the sugar sprinkled over the strawberries helps brighten their flavor and make them juicier. Now when we want berries out of season, I know just the trick! Castor sugar is superfine sugar. It is easy to make yourself. Pop desired amount of sugar into a food processor and whir until very fine. Castor sugar does not leave a gritty texture on the strawberries and melts away within minutes.
Nota bene: This dessert/breakfast treat works year round, but make it within 30 minutes of serving. Taste the strawberries after 15-20 minutes. If still a bit tart, add additional sugar.
2 quarts of strawberries
4 tablespoons castor sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon Madagascar pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1. Wash and hull strawberries. Let dry completely. Slice each strawberry into thin slices and put in a glass bowl.
2. Sprinkle the castor sugar over the strawberries and set aside to macerate while preparing the cream.
3. Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until desired consistency. Add the vanilla and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream. Sweeten to taste with confectioner's sugar (or not!).
4. Divide the strawberries into small bowls, top with a dollop of cream, and garnish with a mint sprig.