by Stephanie Zonis
About 2-1/2 cups white chocolate cream
(number of servings depends upon how much topping
is used per serving, but you should get at least
6 servings out of this amount)
Fresh berries and whipped cream are a legendary combination, and rightfully so. Here, a good thing is made better by the use of chocolate in the whipped cream. You can use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or a combination of any or all of those.
To make the chocolate cream, you'll need a top-quality white chocolate; cocoa butter should be one of the first ingredients on the label. If you aren't a fan of white chocolate, check out the variation below. Incidentally, you can substitute diced fresh peaches or diced ripe mango for the berries, if you wish.
4 ozs. best-quality
white chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/3 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh berries,
quickly washed in cold water
(if necessary) and gently patted dry.
Grated or shaved semisweet chocolate
Fresh mint leaves
For Chocolate Cream:
Place finely chopped chocolate in small heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat 1/3 cup heavy cream (reserve remainder), stirring occasionally, until very hot. Pour about half of hot cream onto chocolate. Let stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently until smooth. Gradually stir or whisk in remaining hot cream. Let stand at room temperature until no longer warm. Note: If chocolate is not melted completely, place bowl of chocolate-and-cream over warm water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth, then remove from heat and hot water. White chocolate can be stubborn about melting. If yours refuses to melt completely, scrape it into food processor fitted with steel blade, and process just until smooth.
While the white chocolate mixture cools to room temperature (if it is at all warm when combined with the whipped cream, it will deflate the cream), chill a medium bowl and beater(s) from a hand-held electric mixer.
When white chocolate mixture is at room temperature, pour remaining 1 cup cream into chilled medium bowl. Beat at high speed just until the marks of the beater(s) show in the cream. Add cooled white chocolate mixture; continue beating on high speed just until stiff peaks form. If mixture is not evenly-colored, gently fold it over on itself until it is. At this stage, the chocolate cream will be of a soft topping consistency. If you'd like it firmer, or if you want to pipe it from a pastry bag onto the berries, chill it for a few hours (it will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator if stored airtight).
To serve, pick over your berries, discarding any that are soft or moldy. Wash the berries very quickly in cold water (if necessary), then place on a paper-towel-lined tray or baking sheet and gently pat as dry as possible. If using strawberries, slice them rather thinly; raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries should be used whole. Place the berries in serving portions in pretty dishes of your choice, preferably not white in color (the dishes must have sides, and the berries should not fill the dish completely--don't use wineglasses for this, as they look pretty but it's difficult to maneuver a spoon inside the narrow opening). Top the berries with a generous dollop of the white chocolate cream, garnish with a light sprinkling of grated semisweet chocolate and a mint leaf, and serve immediately.
About 3 cups dark chocolate cream
Use 6 ozs. best-quality semisweet chocolate (finely chopped), a few grains of salt (no more), and 1-1/2 cups heavy cream, melting the chocolate and salt with 1/2 cup cream, then proceeding as above. When beating the chocolate into the cream, beat the mixture only until soft peak stage. If the chocolate mixture is not entirely incorporated into the cream, fold it gently over on itself, using a rubber spatula, until the chocolate cream is an even color. This cream will also stiffen upon chilling, and may be kept for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator (tightly covered). I recommend that you use this as a topping for strawberries or (red) raspberries, as I do not think it goes so well with the other fruits mentioned above as does the white chocolate cream.
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This page originally created in 1998 and modified October 2007
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