2-1/4 lbs. (1 kg) ripe strawberries, hulled
(about 6 cups)
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp. confectioners' sugar, sifted
1-2 tsp. coarsely ground
or cracked black pepper
This light, clear soup of strawberry juice could be described as a fruit consommé. But is it a first course or dessert? The answer is, it can be both, though for an appetizer I wouldn't recommend topping it with ice cream. It's a good recipe to make when strawberries are at their peak and reasonably priced. And just as melon can be enhanced with a fiery spike of ginger, so strawberries get a kick from black pepper.
1. Set aside one-third of the strawberries, selecting the firmest ones.
2. Cut up the rest of the fruit and place in a large, heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Slit the vanilla bean open and scrape out the seeds, adding them to the bowl along with the mint leaves.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it over the pan of simmering water for 30-40 minutes, so the strawberries exude their juice. Remove from the heat, let cool, and chill for 2-3 hours.
4. About 30 minutes before serving, pour the strawberry juice into a sieve set over a bowl and allow it to drip through; don't rub the pulp. Meanwhile, place the reserved strawberries in a shallow bowl, sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar, and leave until they start to "bleed."
5. Divide the strawberries among 4 chilled deep, lipped plates. Sprinkle lightly with the pepper and pour the chilled "jus" around them.
Fabulous topped with a scoop of Chocolate and Thyme Ice Cream (page 61 in the book) as illustrated here, or the more subtle Fromage Blanc Sorbet (page 76 of the book).
Gordon Ramsay's Just Desserts
by Gordon Ramsay with Roz Denny
Laurel Glen Publishing
October 2001; $29.95/hardcover
Color photography by Georgia Glynn Smith
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created May 2002
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