Wild Strawberries and Honey Gratin
Layered in a pretty glass bowl, the red strawberries, ivory cream, and glittering honey jelly make a lovely dessert. The honey jelly is made with sparkling water and scented with vanilla.
- Pastry Cream
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Pinch of salt
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Honey Jelly
- Unflavored Gelatin Powder - 2 packets
- Sparkling mineral water - 4-1/2 cups
- Blossom honey - 2 cups
- Vanilla bean - 2, split
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup, beaten to firm peaks
- Wild Strawberries - 3 cups
- Aged balsamic vinegar for sprinkling
- Mint sprigs - 4
To prepare the pastry cream: Put the milk and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Combine the egg yolk and sugar. Take the milk off the heat and whisk in the egg-sugar mixture. Return the mixture to the heat and cook, stirring gently, until it reaches 175 F; the mixture will thicken slightly. Remove from heat and let cool; press plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator.
To prepare the jelly: Dissolve the gelatin powder in 1/2 cup of the mineral water in a small bowl. Put the remaining mineral water in a saucepan and stir in the honey. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pods and drop into the water, then add the pods. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Add the gelatin and whisk for 30 seconds to blend. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a small flat pan. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, until set.
Using a fork, scrape through the honey gelatin, then work until the gelatin is cut into small bits.
Fold the pastry cream into the whipped cream, being careful to preserve the volume.
Set aside 4 of the best strawberries. Remove the tops from the remaining strawberries.
To serve: Place a layer of strawberries in the bottom of glass bowls and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Mound the cream mixture over the strawberries. Sprinkle the gelatin shards on top. Garnish each with a reserved wild strawberry and a mint sprig.