An open letter to this dessert:
Dear Strawberry Sorbet Shortcakes with Sweetened Crème Fraîche Sauce,
I love you.
Y'all... this was amazing. And I can't even imagine how much better it'll be when I make it again when I can get fresh strawberries from the orchard in the town where I grew up and my parents still live. That's one of my favorite childhood memories: picking strawberries in the fields my great uncle used to have in his orchard. The smell, the taste of the strawberry and all its juiciness when you'd sneak a few while picking them. Yum.....
Still, this dessert kicks the ass of the candied apple dessert from last week. Stupid candied apple dessert. I hate you and all your candied apple annoyingness.
Okay, let's take a look at the mise en place for the strawberry sorbet:
I hulled and puréed the strawberries, strained the purée three times, then mixed in the honey and sugar, and added a pinch of salt:
The mixture went into the ice cream maker for 40 minutes:
When it was done, I put it in an airtight container and stuck in the freezer overnight. When I tasted it this morning, I knew we were going to be in for a real treat.
This afternoon, I hulled and rough-chopped about a cup of strawberries, sprinkled them with raw sugar, and let them sit in a strainer over a bowl for an hour or two.
Next, I made the biscuits. Here's the mise:
First I sifted the dry ingredients into a bowl, then added the butter chunks and mixed with my hands until it got to a gravelly texture. I made a well in the center of the mixture and added the buttermilk and milk and folded it all together until it got to be as Keller calls it "a shaggy mess":
I let the dough rest on a piece of parchment for about 15 minutes. I then smooshed it together (don't you love my technical terms?) and rolled it out to make 8 2" biscuits, which I then baked at 500 degrees for about 12 minutes:
Next, I made the crème fraîche sauce, which involved putting almost a cup of crème fraîche into a small saucepan, whisking in some sugar, as well as the scrapings from a quarter of a vanilla bean and heating it until the sugar was dissolved. Here's the before:
And, the after:
And now, let the plating begin! First on the plate went a spoonful of the warm crème fraîche sauce, topped with the bottom half of the biscuit/shortcake, then a spoonful of the macerated strawberries:
On top of that went a quenelle (an oval scoop) of the strawberry sorbet, which was topped with the top half of the biscuit, all of which was dusted with powdered sugar:
This was a hit, if I do say so myself. All 8 plates were licked clean, and I sent the leftover sorbet and strawberries home with one of the neighborhood kids... well, he's not a kid. He turns 16 tomorrow, and this was just one of two birthday tastings we're doing in honor of "M"'s birthday. I've known "M" for the nine years I've lived here, and when I first moved in, he was a 7-year old pipsqueak who loved to come over and hang out to see what I was doing in the yard, or around the house. There were a few years when it wasn't cool to talk to me (or any of the neighbors), but now, he's 6'4", learning to drive, and turning into a really awesome young man. He's smart and has a great sense of humor and enjoys messing around with the kids who have replaced him in pipsqueakiness here in the 'hood.
Would I make this dessert again? Absofreakinlutely! This gets added to the permanent repertoire for summer desserts. I think it'd be great with blackberries in place of the strawberries. I can't wait to try different iterations of it all summer long.
Up Next: Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with Leeks, Pommes Maxim, and a Red Beet Essence (N.B., Lobster prices have been astronomical the past few weeks, but I've been told that prices will go down tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed.)
Strawberries and butter from Whole Foods
McClure's wildflower honey (Littleton, VT)
Domino superfine sugar and powdered sugar
King Arthur flour
Buttermilk and vanilla bean from the TPSS co-op
Horizon organic milk
Vermont Butter & Cheese crème fraîche
Music to Cook By: The Fratellis; Costello Music. My awesome friend, Dawn, turned me on to the Fratellis and I love their music. They were supposed to come to the U.S. on a tour, but cancelled the dates at the last minute. Stupidheads.