Strawberries and Crème
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The beauty of cooking with in-season produce is that usually, less is more. Case in point: Rebekah Peppler’s strawberries and crème from her new cookbook, À Table. With a haul of juicy, sweet farmers market strawberries, you can whip up an elegant no-cook treat in about 15 minutes.
“I grew up on strawberries as dessert,” she writes, “picked fresh and sun-warm from my grandmother’s garden, topped in the early years with Cool Whip, later with freshly whipped cream. This crème fraîche–laced variation is my French version, eaten the moment strawberries hit the Paris markets (late April or May, if you want to plan a trip around it) through the very end of the season.”
According to Peppler, the sugar is meant more to pull out the berry juices than to actually sweeten the dish, so if you’re using truly ripe strawberries, you shouldn’t need much. Adjust the amount of sugar as needed, especially if you’re making this in a shoulder season with less-than-perfect berries.
Reprinted from À Table by Rebekah Peppler with permission by Chronicle Books, 2021.
1 pound (455g) fresh strawberries, stemmed and large berries halved
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
¼ cup (60g) crème fraîche
Shortbread or sablés (homemade or store-bought), crumbled
Flaky sea salt, for serving
1. Place a large metal bowl and whisk in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar and fine sea salt. Set aside to macerate while you make the crème.
3. In the chilled bowl, add the heavy cream and crème fraîche. Whisk until medium peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. To serve, transfer the fruit to small serving bowls or plates. Dollop with the crème, drizzle with the accumulated strawberry juice and top with shortbread crumbles. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve immediately.