From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Buying strawberries at this time of year can be a crap shoot. They look gorgeous but often taste more like cardboard than the sweet juicy fruit of summer shortcake memory. I was happily surprised today when the Silver Fox brought home several quarts that actually tasted as they should. I think we all have special recipes that we keep to use when certain ingredients become available. Strawberries fall into that category for me, and my problem is deciding which of the many in my recipe cache I actually should use. I settled on these two for tonight's feature. The first recipe is making its debut appearance and the second has been brought back for an encore performance because it looks so pretty on a plate. Both recipes are easy to make and if you have a source for tasty berries I urge you to give them a try, perhaps for Easter Sunday. The effortless fresh strawberry sauce is wonderful on ice cream and the panna cotta is a perfect way to end a special meal. I urge you to try both recipes. You really will be pleased. So will your family and friends.
Strawberry Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Joy of Baking
1 ( 20 ounce) bag of frozen unsweetened strawberries or 20 ounces of fresh strawberries
1/4 cup granulated white sugar + sugar to taste
Optional: Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place the unsweetened frozen strawberries in a large bowl and thaw. This may take a few hours. Once thawed, put strawberries and their juice in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process berries until they are pureed. Pour puree into a 2 cup measuring cup. You should have about 1-1/4 cups of puree. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to start, stirring until dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Can also add a little lemon juice to taste. Store covered in the refrigerator for one week. The sauce can also be frozen. Makes approximately 1-1/4 cups. Preparation time 10 minutes.
Strawberry Panna Cotta...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Gourmet Magazine and Epicurious
3 cups sliced strawberries (1 pound)
1-3/4 cups well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon strawberry flavoring (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-1/2 cups strawberries (preferably small; 3/4 pound), trimmed
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons superfine granulated sugar
1) To make panna cotta: Blend strawberries, buttermilk, strawberry flavoring, salt and sugar in a blender until very smooth, then pour through a very fine sieve into a medium bowl, pressing hard on solids. Discard solids. Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 1 minute to soften. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. Whisk gelatin-cream mixture into strawberry purée and pour into 6 (6-oz.) molds. Chill molds, covered, until firm, at least 24 hours. To unmold, dip molds in a small bowl of hot water 2 or 3 seconds, then invert panna cottas onto dessert plates and remove molds. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes to soften slightly.
2) To make compote: While panna cottas stand at room temperature, halve strawberries lengthwise if small or quarter if larger. Whisk orange juice and superfine sugar together in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Add strawberries and toss to coat. Serve panna cottas with compote. Yield: 6 servings.
Source for strawberry extract can be found here.
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