Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strawberries Romanoff

Diva in need of strawberries
“Divine” and “sublime” are extravagant words I try to use sparingly. But let me tell you, Dollinks, this recipe is both divine and sublime. I feel like a diva when I say that, but few other words will do! The terms certainly apply to Strawberries Romanoff, which I’ve been making since the Year Dot. It truly is one of the best of my favorite recipes. Last week, when I served it to dinner guests, cries for “More, more!” filled the room. A friend actually licked the last few drops from the serving bowl. I enjoy making desserts - some of them complex and time-consuming - but for its ease of preparation and showy presentation, this ultra-quick dessert has no equal. Guests can’t get enough of it; I suggest you duct-tape your mouth as you make it! Use only the best, most luscious, perfectly ripe strawberries from the summer markets!

Although I have only four or five small-to-medium pitchers, I harbor a great fondness for them. The classic pitcher's shape is elegant and perfectly proportioned: I love setting one at the table. Serve this decadently delicious sauce in your nicest pitcher, and you’ll enjoy this dessert even more!  
Strawberries Romanoff:

4 c. halved strawberries
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. Cointreau plus 3 tbsp. Grand Marnier, divided
1 c. whipping cream, whipped
1 c. vanilla ice cream, softened
Gently toss halved strawberries together with granulated sugar, 1 tbsp. of the Cointreau, and 1 tbsp. of the Grand Marnier. Cover and let rest at room temperature about 20 min., to allow juices to flow. Remove ice cream from freezer, placing in refrigerator 1 hr. before needed. Up to 2 hr. before serving, whip cream until moderately stiff. Add remaining Cointreau and Grand Marnier, continuing to beat. Fold whipped cream mixture into softened ice cream. Decant sauce into pitcher, allowing your guests to serve themselves. 

For a fascinating look at the origins of this recipe, as well as a Russian, French, and American version of same, go to:
Note: The pitchers and the cut-glass dishes below are among my favorite serving items! I found the smaller pitcher in an art shop in Mexico, and the larger one in a Vancouver flea market. Despite the difference in their quality and price, I love and use both equally. I found this lovely cut-glass serving bowl and matching set of eight individual serving dishes at different times in various antique shops in the US and Canada. They’re a common item, and not hard to find. I paid less than $20 for my entire nine-piece collection. The big dish is ideal for serving trifle, mousse, and even vegetables. I like it very much because it occupies so little room on a crowded table. If you like them too, search for them! My best “finds” have come from thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and antique stores. Half the fun is in the seeking! 

Gorgeous, fresh, and luscious ... Not me, Dollinks! The strawberries!
Use your favorite pitcher for the sauce ...
And your favorite serving dishes for the berries!
One of our Anonymous Taste Testers said she
would lick her lips ... if she could only find them.

Tomorrow: Lox Mousse.

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