Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits but most strawberry desserts are pretty miserable.
Chocolate dipped strawberries are the most overrated dessert of all time. Strawberry ice cream can be pretty hit-or-miss, most often a miss. Strawberry rhubarb stuff… that’s pretty good I guess (but it needs the rhubarb to make it great!).
When making a dessert with strawberries, I always veer simple and make sure to purchase my fruit in-season and from the green market (versus just munching on them raw where it could be December and I really could care less just give me my gawd damn berries mmkay). Green market strawberries have a sweetness and depth of flavor no supermarket berry has ever come close to.
A great, super simple dessert that anyone can do – even if they live in a studio with a hot plate for a kitchen and a shared bathroom – is macerated strawberries. I always gravitate towards a simple flavor profile of vodka/vanilla/lemon combo with a bit of aged balsamic for added depth, inspired by April Bloomfield’s recipe in A Girl and Her Pig. Using my recipe below as a guide, you can sub in your favorite strawberry flavorings – adding in herbs or switching up the sugar, alcohol or spices.
I prefer to spoon these strawberries over vanilla gelato for the perfect summer dessert but they’re are also great over angel food or cheesecake, yogurt, pancakes or oatmeal. (NOTE: if you have these in the morning, remember the vodka is still quite active).
with Vodka & Vanilla
- 2 pints Tristar Strawberries (or other green market variety), hulled & halved
- 1/3 cup good quality Vodka
- ¼ Granulated Sugar
- 2 Vanilla Beans, halved & insides scraped out (discard beans)
- Zest & Juice of ½ Lemon
- ¼ cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar (that syrupy ish)
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Large pinch of Maldon Salt
- 2t Black Pepper
- Using your hands, mix together all ingredients except for the strawberries in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries and toss to combine, smooshing around 1/3 of the strawberries into a pulp with your hands as you do it. Taste for sweetness and acidity and adjust if necessary.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.