Sunday, May 6, 2007

Strawberry Sorbet Shortcakes with Sweetened Crème Fraîche Sauce

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.)

Brands Used:
All-Clad cookware
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.


Anonymous said...

That looks delicious -- and the strawberry puree is such a great color. This looks easy enough for even me to do (I burn everything).

Anonymous said...

DG--I'm so glad this was better than the Apple Dessert From Hell. It looks sodalishious (seriously, it does).

What brand of ice cream maker do you have? I've been looking to get one, and you seem happy with yours.

pdxblogmommy said...

Yummm....this would be excellent with fresh marionberries this summer (which I don't think you can get). Or the lovely incredibly sweet strawberries up next month out here.

What a relief after that last fiasco. I won't mention the candied apple...oh never mind.

Glad this went over so well. My mouth was salivating at the photos of the plating!

JordanBaker said...

The food looks delicious as usual, but I super heart the plates and have to ask where they're from?

Anonymous said...

Shortcakes can either be sublime or simply-eh. I'm glad this was the former and not a disappointing follow up to the apple experience. Blackberries would be good wouldn't they, hmmm, another use for the patch that's consuming the garden.

Anonymous said...

What can I say? You have good taste. :)

I think my blood sugar went up just looking at this. SO worth it though!

Clarke said...

That was delicious.

I mean, it looks delcious. I feel like I've just eaten it simply by looking at the pictures. My oh my do you do Keller proud.

PS: Those dishes are fantastic.

Carol Blymire said...

Spoonie -- I use a Krups ice cream maker that my parents gave me about 10 years ago and I just now took out of the box. It's probably one of those $49.99 jobbies.

PDX -- we get marionberries for maybe three days out here. I'm holding out for blackberries.

Jordan -- the plates are by Laurie Gates and I got them at... wait for it..... TJ freakin' Maxx a few months ago. I think they were $2.99 each. I love them. Total impulse buy and I didn't even unwrap them and use them until about a month after I'd bought them.

DMC -- hey!!!!! :)

Clarke -- that's high praise, sir. And I thank you.

fiftyfinally said...

love those plates

Unknown said...

I just started reading your blog yesterday, I am now caught up with what you have posted. What a great idea!!!

This dish looks like heaven, and my local farmers market starts tomorrow, so will have to get some strawberries and try this out.

Carol Blymire said...

Sarah -- welcome!

Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog on Friday, looked at the Strawberry Sorbet Shortcake with Sweetened Creme Fraiche Sauce in my copy of The French Laundry Cookbook on Saturday, and enjoyed the dessert last evening. Thanks for encouraging me to tackle Keller as well.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog via Ruhlman, and realized I had no choice but to read all your archives from the beginning. In fact, I just put a hold on TFL cookbook at the library so I can follow along. (When you hear this sound: **BRRRING**, turn the page...)

Bear-faced Cheek said...

I did a cutdown version of this at the weekend skipping the creme fraiche sauce and not macerating the chopped strawberries... oh and 1/3 quantities. All worked fine, less than 30 minutes spent in the kitchen even with baking the shortcake - it didn't need 40 minutes for the ice cream with smaller quantities and it was polished off pretty quickly too!

That Keller book is huge though - we don't have enough room in our kitchen to open it up. It would be nice to just have the recipes an a pocket-sized wipe clean book wouldn't it!?!