I am clearly in a bit of an all white mood. Looking at the past few posts every second one is on a white background and this one is no different.
But when my dear friend Dawn arrived with some white enamel plates she had picked up on a recent road trip, the logical thing was to set some strawberries alight, spoon them into the enamel, sprinkle with rose petals and photograph it all on a crisp white background!
I wish I was so incredibly creative. This is a recipe that has been on the “to make list” for a while. I can not remember how I came across it but was instantly drawn to the incredibly beautiful photographs in an article about Mikkel Karstad’s new book. I have not heard of Mikkel before but as the article pointed out he was head chef at the Danish parliament and a few Michelin starred restaurants. But I guess the kicker was being gastronomic advisor to Claus Meyer who co-founded Noma.
As I scrolled down I saw the recipe for Flamed Strawberries. It reminded me of a recipe I saw in an Anthony Bordain episode about Noma, where one of the chefs experimented with strawberries pickled in rose vinegar with creme fraiche infused with burnt rose. How amazing does strawberries pickled in rose vinegar sound? If anyone has an idea of how to make rose vinegar please let me know.
Mikkel’s recipe was made on the open fire and served with a strawberry sorbet. I tweaked it to the ingredients I had at the time, made it on the stove top and do think this is a fabulous light dessert. I used brandy in stead of whiskey and could not find any lemon verbena so used lemon thyme. The original recipe has the rose petals added to the cooking process but I find that the commercial roses we have today have zero fragrance so I just used it as garnish.
The recipe also came with a strawberry sorbet which looks pretty amazing but I did not make it. I tried the strawberries with some shortbread but found it too buttery and rich for the tangy strawberries and feel that it is a dessert best served on its own with no cream or ice cream either. Depending on the sweetness of the strawberries the dessert could be quite tart – check for sweetness and if you want it a tad sweeter add a sprinkle of sugar.
Oh, and setting the brandy alight is quite optional. If you do not want to play with fire, just cook the sauce for a few minutes more to soften the alcohol taste.
- 500g strawberries
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 -2 tablespoons brandy (if you want to measure)
- 1 heaped teaspoon lemon thyme leaves
- 1 small handful of rose petals
- Rinse the strawberries and snip away the tops.
- Heat up a frying pan and put the honey into the hot pan.
- After half a minute put the strawberries into the pan and fry the strawberries for a minute.
- Add the lemon juice and zest and fry for 1 more minute until it thickens and becomes a light syrup.
- Add the brandy to the pan and carefully set it alight.
- When the alcohol is lit, shake the pan easily, until there are no more flames and therefore no more alcohol.
- Add the thyme leaves and shake the pan one more time.
- Serve the strawberries right away or chill it in the fridge for later.
- Garnish with the rose petals
- The dessert can also be made with other kinds of berries or fruits such as peaches, apricots, plums, pears or apples.
- Adapted from Mikkel Karstad
Wine suggestion by Conrad Louw CWM: Food decadence is not always synonymous with slaving in the kitchen. Summer is here and strawberries are in abundance. Make this dessert as a perfect way to finish off a meal – on a light note. And don’t waste time thinking about choice for wine. Think “Strawberries & Bubbly”. Strawberries as a fruit usually has a fairly high acidity, especially when you buy it and it is not fully ripe yet. But with this treat, you add a dash of honey and brandy too (amongst others). A slightly off-dry (not sweet!) bubbly of your choice, preferably a Rosé, would be the seamless match. There are so many local bubblies on the market that you can choose from, but make sure it is not a sweet one – there is a big difference between “off dry” and “sweet”. I usually prefer bubbly to be made like Champagne is made, and not carbonated.
My personal and reliable choice which I always recommend as a bubbly to be enjoyed with deserts, is the JC Le Roux La Valleé, which is made like Champagne is made, but we in South Africa calls it Method Cap Classique (MCC). It doesn’t break the bank balance, but it always delivers on the taste.