Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Strawberry Gratin--In Five Minutes

A friend asked me recently if, since I cook so much, I also throw away food. Unfortunately and shamefully I admitted that I do sometimes, although never meat. Most often it happens to the delicate coriander that I love and have to have always in my refrigerator but I am not always able to use. Sometimes it also happens to the bananas that I have to have because my older son cannot live without his daily banana dipped in Nutella. And finally strawberries are a victim of my compulsive shopping. I buy them often but sometimes in the situation "buy one get one free" two pounds are just too much, especially if they are not too sweet. I like strawberries at room temperature and here, they are rather destined for a refrigerator or turn bad very soon. So today I again was left with a box of strawberries just about to turn bad, because no one wanted them anymore that day.

I thought about making a strawberry mousse cake, which I like very much and never shared the recipe for it, but my day was too busy to play with gelatin, which requires a lot of fine tuning. Also, the weather was not too summery anymore and that cake tastes great on a hot day. Then I decided to make strawberry gratin--an easy and nice dessert that I make sometimes with different fruits, but never tried with strawberries. In no time I made custard, and in no more than five minutes a lovely dessert was ready. I think it was a great experiment--we all loved it, still a bit warm.

Strawberry Gratin
(Makes 4-6 servings)

1 lb of nice strawberries, stems cut off,
3 egg yolks,
4 tbsp icing sugar,
1/2 tsp vanilla extract,
1 tsp corn starch,
250 ml table cream,
2 tbsp slivered almonds,

1. Cut strawberries in slices or quarters, if smaller. Arrange them on individual, small and shallow ramekins.
2. In a medium pot, using a hand whisker, mix egg yolks with icing sugar until pale. Add corn starch and vanilla extract. Incorporate into the egg mixture. Add cream and mix.
3. Put the pot on a medium heat and bring it to boil, stirring very often. Let it boil and take off from the heat. Divide the custard between ramekins. Spread almonds on top.

4. Preheat the broiling spiral in the oven for a few minutes. Put ramekins in the oven and let the custard broil until slightly brown. Remove them from the oven, let the custard cool a bit and serve.

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