If you read my last post, you already know that I spend a lot of time cooking for our housemates in the summertime, but what you may not know is that I make most of it up as I go along and only use measuring cups when I’m baking and precision is required. Nevertheless, there have been many occasions when I’ve been asked for recipes, and scribbled them down quickly before I forgot what I did. But, now, I have a blog, by crackie, and since I also happily and knowingly share the credit for any success my slapdash methods may enjoy with my angels, who I sense really love being a part of the process, why not share these recipes here, where they’ll live forever (the internet is “forever,” right?). And, so, here is the first one out of the gate, which was tonight’s dessert and, I may report, was enthusiastically received by all who ate it.
Fresh Strawberry Charlotte
1 Cup Fresh ripe strawberries cut into small pieces (measure after cutting)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 package of unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups heavy cream
6 egg whites
Mint sprigs for garnish
Place prepared strawberries, 1/3 cup of sugar and water in heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook until syrup boils up from sides and froth covers berries. Turn off heat and add vanilla. Stir in gelatin till thoroughly dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature then use blender (I use handheld “stick” blender and scrunch it right in the pot) or food processor to liquify.
Whip the room temperature cream and 1/4 cup sugar with electric mixer (stand or handheld) until stiff. Fold in strawberry mixture gently but thoroughly until well blended. Set aside.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream and strawberry mixture into beaten egg whites gently but thoroughly. Mixture can now be placed in individual serving dishes (or parfait glasses, or goblets as shown in photo) or into a serving bowl lined with ladyfingers (or angel food cake) in the tradition of a Charlotte Russe. Place finished dish in refrigerator for at least four hours prior to serving. Garnish with sprigs of mint and/or fanned-out thinly sliced strawberries before serving. Makes four really big servings or 8 normal servings.