Strawberry season means one thing to my little family: dessert. Shortcakes, ice cream, lady fingers covered with warm preserves: if it’s sweet, my boys would like some, please. And they’ll take a second serving if they can get away with it too. I make dessert so seldom that when I do, I like to make it really special, like this parfait, which layers strawberries with a creamy honey mascarpone dip. The Chambord and the homemade whipped cream make it even more decadent.
The best thing about making this recipe is preparing the whipped cream. It’s like a magic trick, creating something so fluffy and lovely from a few tablespoons of cream and a little sugar. I take so much pleasure in it that I have to wonder why we ever started buying it pre-made.
There’s something meditative about whipping the cream that will top our family’s dessert, or tenderly cutting vegetables that will make the broth for a spring soup, or sifting flour into a bowl for a cake that will mark a child’s birthday. Though these are often solitary actions, they become charged with a sense of community because of their purpose.
It’s satisfying to see so many people return to their own sunlit kitchens after a couple of decades in the glow of the grocery store freezer cases or the too-bright lights of fast food joints. I hope that’s what’s this blog is: a journey back to healthier, more connected days of lovingly prepared meals eaten around the kitchen table.
A couple of notes about this recipe: For perfect whipped cream, use a high quality heavy whipping cream. I bought mine at South Mountain Creamery, my favorite dairy — check out this recipe for Buttermilk Drizzle Apple Cake using their buttermilk. Buy fresh strawberries while you can and go ahead macerate some extra (step 2 below) – the strawberry mixture freezes well and can be enjoyed off season.
- 1 quart strawberries, hulled and cut in half lengthwise
- Airport bottle of Chambord (50 ml or 1.7 ounces)
- 1 Tablespoon berry preserves
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 8 oz mascarpone
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers, chocolate shavings, or more strawberries for garnish
- Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, place the strawberries in a large bowl and pour over the Chambord, preserves and 1 Tablespoon of honey. Gently stir with a wooden spoon, taking care not to crush the strawberries.
- In a separate bowl, combine the mascarpone, honey, vanilla and heavy cream. Stir with a fork until combined.
- Remove the metal bowl and whisk from the freezer. Pour the sugar into the metal bowl and add the whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks - 2-3 minutes.
- In a martini glass, begin to layer the parfait, starting with ¼ cup of the strawberries, followed by 3 Tablespoons of mascarpone, ¼ cup of strawberries again, and finally a good dollop of whipped cream.
- Garnish with Nabisco's Famous Chocolates, chocolate shavings or more strawberries.
- Store any unused whipped cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator.