Strawberries

In Sweden, Midsummer's Eve is celebrated between June 19 and 25 when the days are warm and the sun never sets, at least not in the northern part of the country. This celebration of summer lands in the peak of jordgubbar, Sweden's short but sweet strawberry season, making jordgubbstårta, a traditional strawberry and cream cake, the quinitessential accompaniment to the festivities. Back in Ottawa, Swedish Embassy Chef Cole Baker thinks perhaps the best strawberry recipe ever involves loading the family into the car, driving to a strawberry farm, picking strawberries and enjoying them as much as his children, eating them straight from the field. Baker's love of strawberries, coupled with a touch Swedish influence, also led to the creation of this recipe for the ultimate three-in-one strawberry dessert.
By / Photography By Tara Simpson | July 01, 2016

Preparation

Strawberries are the coveted berries of early summer. Picked red and ripe, they don't improve after harvesting, so local berries are perfect on their own.

If you don't eat them all before getting home, strawberries should be kept cool and dry. They are a sensitive fruit — easily perishable with too much heat, water and time. Wash just before use, keeping the stem or hull on until they've been cleaned. And never let them stand in water.

Strawberry Jus

1 pound strawberries
6 tablespoons sugar

Place the strawberries and sugar in a bowl and let sit for one hour or overnight. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (bain-marie). Cook for 1 hour. Position a chinois in a bowl, add the strawberries and drain for 15 minutes to obtain the juice. Do not press down on the fruit. A clear red syrup will drip through.

Strawberry Merringue

¾ cup strawberry jus
2 tablespoons meringue powder
 

2 tablespoons granulated sugar Blend strawberry jus and meringue powder with a hand blender. Pour the mixture into a mixer and whisk on medium until it starts to foam, then slowly add the sugar. Continue mixing on high until the meringue has stiff peaks. Spread the mixture onto a parchment- lined cookie sheet, about 1/4-inch thick before placing it in the oven. Dry in an oven at 195F for 3 hours. Turn the oven off, open the door and let sit overnight.

Strawberry Mousse

2 cups puréed strawberries
¾ cup sugar
8 leaves (16 grams) gelatin
2 cups 35-per-cent cream

For the puréed strawberries, blend 1¼ pounds washed and hulled strawberries until smooth and strain them through a fine strainer. Add the sugar.
Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Take the gelatin out of the water and squeeze any excess water out. Warm ½ cup of the strawberry purée and the gelatin in a small pot. Continue to stir and heat the purée until all of the gelatin is dissolved, then whisk it into the remaining purée.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the strawberries and pour the mixture into moulds or a deep tray before refrigerating.

Strawberry-Elderflower Ice Cream

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sugar
12 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons elderflower syrup
2 cups strawberry purée

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream and one cup of sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occassionally. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup of sugar.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and drizzle a small amount into the yolks, slowly and whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Do this a few more times to warm up the yolks before pouring the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking constantly.
Cook over low heat until the mixture is 182F or thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and whisk in the elderflower syrup, strawberry purée and salt. Cool completely and freeze according manufacturer’s instructions.

To serve, smear the ice cream on serving plate and top with strawberry mousse, shards of merringue and drizzled strawberry jus.

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