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Sweet, Sweet Strawberries

On Monday we looked at just what it means to have Tea Time. While most of the Tea Time fare might be muffins or scones we could also include fruit. During this wonderful time of year we are afforded a bountiful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. At my house we have been enjoying many of these. We use a wide variety of vegetables cooked in many different fashions, sometimes even raw. With fruits we have them as snacks, desserts, garnishes and puréed into sauces.

One of our favorites is strawberries. Strawberries grow wild throughout the Americas and Europe and have been cultivated since the 13th century. There are even some fabulous European varieties that are not available here in the United States. If you find yourself traveling to Europe, especially France, see if you can find the alpine strawberries that are so highly prized.

When purchasing strawberries I personally prefer organic. Always avoid any that are shriveled or moldy or appear to be soft. Remember, you will always need to thoroughly rinse your strawberries, but do so only just before eating. When ready to prepare your strawberries you may pick off the green stem with the tip of a spoon. From this point you may leave them whole, or slice or dice them depending upon your dish.

One of the most popular, and yet the simplest of preparations, is that of the chocolate covered strawberry. You can purchase these exceptional delights or you can have the satisfaction of making them yourself. The finest chocolate coating for strawberries would be Chocolate Ganache.

Chocolate Ganache is not only a covering for strawberries it can be used in many other wonderful dessert concoctions. Simple to make, and rich in flavor chocolate Ganache should be a standard in your dessert repertoire. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cups heavy cream1 Tbl sugar1 Tbl unsalted butter1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and sugar and heat until very hot but not boiling.

Place the chopped chocolate in medium bowl and pour over the hot cream mixture, being sure that the chocolate is completely submerged in the hot cream. Allow this to stand for seven or eight minutes while the chocolate melts. Whisk this concoction briskly until the cream and melted chocolate are thoroughly combined. Add the butter and whisk in until thoroughly incorporated. Your ganache is now ready to use.

Be sure your strawberries are dry before you begin dipping them into the warm chocolate mixture.

You can store the left over ganache in the refrigerator for up to four days. Make some cookies and try dipping an edge of the cookie into the re-warmed ganache. Or you may drizzle it on some cupcakes.

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