Strawberry San Giorgio
Rather than being dipped in chocolate, these strawberries are stuffed with a rich ganache, then candy-coated walnuts are added for contrasting texture. All the components of this dish may be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Assemble the dessert just prior to serving.
- Fresh strawberries - 24 large, ripe
- Cognac Ganache
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 4 ounces, chopped
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/4 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons, melted
- Lightly beaten egg - 1 tablespoon
- Cognac - 1 tablespoon
- Chocolate Sauce
- Semisweet Chocolate - 4 ounces, chopped
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1/4 cup
- Hot Water - 1/2 cup
- Caramelized Walnuts
- Brown Sugar - 1 cup, packed
- Water - 2 tablespoons
- Unbroken Walnut Halves - 34 pieces
- Creme Anglaise - 1-1/2 cups
- Fresh mint sprigs - 8
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Rinse, dry, and hull the strawberries; set aside.
To make the chocolate ganache: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Set aside and keep warm. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and combine the cream with the butter. Bring the cream to a boil and pour, whisking constantly, into the melted chocolate. Add the egg, stirring thoroughly until the mixture is glossy. Add the Cognac, stirring to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate until it thickens but does not harden.
To make the chocolate sauce: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Stir in the cocoa powder and hot water, mixing thoroughly. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside at room temperature.
To make the caramelized walnuts: Dampen a work surface very slightly and spread a sheet of waxed paper over the dampness, letting it stick to the surface. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is a thick, syrupy golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, dip the walnuts in the caramel one at a time, being sure to cover each one completely. Shake the spoon carefully to remove the excess, then place the caramelized walnut halves on the waxed paper, leaving space between each one. Let cool and harden.
To stuff the berries: Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip and pipe a rosette into the center of each strawberry. Lay the berries on their sides on a plate or platter and put in the refrigerator until the ganache hardens slightly.
To serve: Pool creme anglaise on each plate. Put the chocolate sauce in a piping cone and snip a very small tip. Pool a little of the chocolate sauce in the center of the creme anglaise, and make two concentric circles around the plate in the sauce. Using a toothpick, pull through the chocolate and creme anglaise from the center outwards in a gentle spiral, creating a design. Place 3 strawberries in the center of each plate, points up. Divide the caramelized walnuts among the plates, arranging them as points of a triangle outside the strawberries. Put a mint sprig in the center of each strawberry cluster. Lightly dust the berries with confectioner’s sugar.