Strawberry season is from May to August, and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on perfectly sweet strawberries, then you are best off eating them unadorned. However, I am not always so lucky and my strawberries sometimes need a little ‘help’.
My usual fix in such situations is to wash and slice the strawberries, mix them up with some sugar, refrigerate for a couple of hours, and serve with whipped cream.
But if I want to make something just a little more special (without much more effort), I make Balsamic Strawberries with Sweetened Mascarpone. It tastes very much like strawberries with sugar and cream, but all the flavors are intensely magnified.
Don’t be afraid of the vinegar. The sting of the balsamic vinegar happily transforms into a mellow background note after a few hours mingling with the strawberries and sugar. Adding balsamic vinegar to the strawberries in not only good for the flavor, but also for the digestive system.
[TIP: If you don’t feel like making the Sweetened Mascarpone, you can replace it with vanilla ice cream.]
BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES WITH SWEETENED MASCARPONE
Balsamic Strawberry Ingredients:
16oz / 1lb / 450g strawberries, thickly sliced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp caster sugar
Cookies/wafers, to serve on the side (optional)
Sweetened Mascarpone Ingredients:
2 cups Mascarpone cheese
2-4 Tbsp milk (depending on how thick you want the Mascarpone to be – start with 2 Tbsp and increase as necessary)
3-4 Tbsp caster sugar (depending how sweet you want the Mascarpone to be)
- The Balsamic Strawberries will need to be refrigerated for 2-12 hours before serving to allow the flavors and syrup to develop.
- Discard the leaves from the strawberries. Wash the strawberries and slice them thickly.
- Place the strawberries in a bowl, add the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar, and stir until the strawberries are evenly coated. [You may need to add a little more caster sugar if your strawberries are very sharp, but remember that the strawberries will sweeten while marinating in the refrigerator.]
- Place the strawberries in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 2-12 hours for the best flavor and texture. [You can refrigerate them for upto 24 hours, but I find that after 12 hours the strawberries start to get too soft].
- To make the Sweetened Mascarpone, measure out 2 cups of Mascarpone cheese.
- Depending on how thick you want the cream to be, add 2-4 Tbsp of milk and stir well with a spoon to your desired consistency.
- Add 3-4 Tbsp of caster sugar (depending on how sweet you want the cream to be) and mix evenly with a spoon.
- Refrigerate the cream and serve within 48 hours.
- Serve the strawberries with a dollop of mascarpone on the side. For a formal dessert, serve with a cookie or wafer.