When strawberries hit the market shelves it’s generally thought of as a fruit for Valentine’s Day, but after making these beautiful, but basically ‘simple’ (don’t quote me on that) desserts, I’m putting them on every holiday menu as I see fit. Of course these are all MasterChef Australia recipes that grabbed my attention right off the tv screen so they just had to be tested. You be the judge!
The first dessert is a variation on a Quandong Stack with Brik Pastry and Lemon Aspen Curd. Quandongs are wild peaches found in Australia (and also the lemon aspen fruit) so I needed to substitute accordingly. Fresh strawberry jam is a cinch to make and I love Wilkin & Sons Tiptree lemon curd so that made this even easier to put together. Brik pastry is fun to cook – the pastry sheets can be done a day ahead in advance and kept in an airtight container.
This second dish is more refined in taste as it takes the standard marriage of strawberries and balsamic vinegar up to dessert level. Personally, I don’t even care for fragole e balsamico, but the basil-infused panna cotta convinced me otherwise as it joins the sweet and the tart in an herbal mellow sweetness. The best part though is the pink peppercorn tuille that adds a little kick!
I guess you could call it a modernized, deconstructed strawberry shortcake and I have to add that making it was possible only because I have silicone dome molds. Compared to the other two desserts, this isn’t as fancy but does have one surprise ingredient: pineapple sage sugar! Fresh sage leaves and granulated sugar blitzed in a spice grinder and dusted over the top adds a tiny savory note to a not so ordinary shortcake.