Soup of Strawberries with Champagne and Vanilla Cream
This beautiful dessert hides caramelized strawberries under a soup of strawberry juice and champagne, and a dollop of cream. Use the prettiest clear champagne glasses or bowls you have to show off the color.
- Strawberries - 2 quarts
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1 cup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Water - 2 tablespoons
- Lemon Juice - 1/2 lemon
- Vanilla Cream
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 3/4 cup
- Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Champagne - 1 cup
- Mint sprigs - 4 small
To make the soup: Wash one quart of the strawberries, leaving the stems on. Put in a nonaluminum bowl, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and cover with plastic wrap. Set over a pan of barely simmering water and cook for 2 hours. Cool, then drain off the red syrup, put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Discard the spent strawberries.
Wash and hull the remaining quart of strawberries; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the confectioner’s sugar, sugar, water, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until a light caramel syrup forms. Add the strawberries and toss to coat. Remove from heat, add the remaining lemon juice, and chill. Place four glasses in the refrigerator to chill.
To make the vanilla cream: Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the point of a sharp knife. Put in a deep bowl with the cream and sugar and whisk until thickened but not stiff.
To serve: Divide the caramelized strawberries between the chilled glasses. Add the champagne to the chilled strawberry syrup and pour over the strawberries in the glasses. Top each with a dollop of vanilla cream. Garnish with sprigs of mint.