Yes, it’s strawberry season! Perfectly ripe, brimming with perky sweetness, they are delicious eaten out of hand. But I love to use them in a wide variety of desserts, including these alluring pillows dubbed “clouds.” For the absolute best results, start with strawberries that are ripe and flavorful.
For never-fail berries, I love to use Harry’s Berries. Founded in Oxnard in 1967, Harry’s Berries provides perfect strawberries. For the sake of the family, the land, the farmworkers and the fruit, Harry’s Berries is organic, so there are no chemical pesticides here. Instead, they interplant the fields with cheerful flowers that ward off berry-loving pests and invite beneficial pollinators. Additionally, the berries don’t come off the vine until the very peak of perfection, so you can expect deep red berries full of flavor every single time.
Here I offer a recipe for Strawberry Clouds, a delicious finish that can be served on angel food cake or ice cream. Bring ’em on!
Yield: 6 servings
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
24 large fresh strawberries, washed, not hulled
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup strawberry vodka or watermelon vodka
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
12 thin slices of angel food cake or 6 generous scoops of ice cream
1. Place a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add butter, partially melt, and add strawberries. Gently toss and cook berries until all butter melts and coats berries. It’s okay if the butter boils, but don’t let it brown. Add sugar, vanilla, vodka, and juice; continue to cook, letting mixture bubble and further coat the berries. The strawberries should be tender but not mushy, and the sauce should reduce a little. (If made 1 to 2 hours in advance, reheat on medium heat setting to liquefy sauce – berries don’t have to be hot.)
2. In shallow bowls, spoon berries and sauce over sliced angel food cake or ice cream (vanilla or pistachio).
Source: adapted from “Dessert Circus at Home” by Jacques Torres (William Morrow, $28)