strawberry fool

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I’ve no idea why this dessert is called a fool. I only know that it’s deliciously creamy and light. I’ve been hunting up strawberry recipes because it’s strawberry season in Thailand. The season won’t last very much longer, but in the meantime, I’ve put strawberries into  a pie, preserves, coulis, garnish (for Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cassis Cake), and now a strawberry fool. This dessert is best eaten the day it is made.

Strawberry Fool (adapted from seriouseats)

24 ounces fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and chopped
7 tablespoons superfine sugar, divided, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the compote. Put 12 ounces of strawberries into a medium saucepan with 3 tablespoons sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until the berries spring water and the syrup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Taste, and if desired, add more sugar. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Macerate the remaining strawberries. About half an hour after the compote is chilling in the refrigerator, put the remaining strawberries in a medium bowl with 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix to combine. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Make the whipped cream. Whip the whipping cream with 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the yogurt and the vanilla. This results in a stiff cream. Fold in the compote.

Cook’s Note: This is where seriouseats was seriously negligent. Do you add the syrup to the cream too? I was afraid doing so would make the cream watery, so I strained the berries and reserved the syrup.

Add the reserved syrup to the macerated strawberries.

Assemble the fool. In a pretty stem glass, put 2 tablespoons macerated strawberries with syrup in the bottom of the glass. Top with 2-3 tablespoons cream mixture. Put 1 tablespoon macerated strawberries on top of the cream. Chill and serve.

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low sugar no pectin strawberry preserves (or jam)

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Strawberry Preserves
2 quarts strawberries, hulled
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
rind of 2 lemons

Put 3 metal tablespoons in the freezer. Fill 6 half-cup jars with boiling water and set aside. In a large bowl, pour boiling water on the lids to cover and set aside. Put the bowl-end of a soup ladle in the bowl too.

In a large pot combine strawberries and sugar over medium-low heat. Add lemon juice and the rind. Crush the berries being careful not to crush the lemon rind.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and mixing in the froth that forms. Continue cooking 15-18 minutes until set.

To test, take a spoon out of the freezer. Dribble a few drops on the spoon and run your finger through the drops. If the liquid separates and doesn’t run back together, the strawberries are set. Taste, and add more sugar to taste or more lemon juice to taste. Cook until the sugar is dissolved.

Carefully drain the water from a jar. Remove the soup ladle and drain. Using the ladle, spoon strawberry preserves into the drained jar. Using a pair of tongs, fish a lid out of the bowl of hot water and carefully cover the jar of preserves. Set aside to cool. Repeat

When the filled jars are cool enough to touch, put them in the refrigerator to finish setting. Eat within 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, or freeze for 3 months.

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dim sum baked buns

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This recipe is from a cookbook that was a gift from a former colleague. I wanted to try it because it was inspired by American-style dim sum in the US, where instead of steaming the buns, they are sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked. In the original recipe, frozen dough was used; however, in Bangkok where there is no frozen bread dough, I made my own dough from a dinner roll recipe I found and adapted from allrecipes.com. I increased the filling in the dim sum recipe because the dinner roll recipe was for  24 32 rolls, not sixteen. These buns turned out tender and moist, and the filling was flavorful, redolent of hoi sin sauce and the sour-sweet taste of plum sauce.

Dim Sum Baked Buns (adapted from Chinese Cooking and More)
Makes 24 32 buns

Filling (can do ahead 1 day and refrigerate)
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, minced (I used 1 cup fresh mushrooms)
4 green onions, minced
4 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Cooking spray
1 pound ground chicken
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Soften dried mushrooms in hot water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Cut off and discard stems. Finely chop caps. Combine mushrooms, green onions, plum sauce and hoisin sauce in large bowl.

Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to break up large pieces of meat. Add garlic and ginger; cook stirring 2 more minutes. Add mushroom mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside to cool.

Cook’s Note: Filling shouldn’t be watery. Mix 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch with the raw ground chicken, and add salt and pepper.

Bread Rolls (Allrecipes.com)
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (between 110˚F to 115˚F)
2 cups warm milk (between 110˚F to 115˚F)
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. When the mixture is foamy, add the milk, shortening, eggs, sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until combined on low speed, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Baker’s note: I used all 7 cups flour in this recipe. The dough tends to be sticky.

Change to the dough hook and knead dough (at low speed setting #2 on a KitchenAid mixer) until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. If the dough climbs up the hook, stop the machine and clear the hook. Don’t count stopping time in kneading time. The dough should mostly clear the sides. Scrape it out into a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 32 equal pieces then shape each piece into a ball. Test a piece by pulling it. If it shrinks back on itself, let the dough balls rest 10 minutes.

Assemble dim sum baked buns:
1 egg yolk, beaten, thinned with a little water
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cover two four baking trays with parchment. Lightly flour hands and work surface. Flatten a ball and stretch the edges so that the center of the disk is thicker than the edges. The disk should be 3-3 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat.

Place a generous tablespoon filling in centers of disks. Lift edges of dough up and around filling; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on prepared baking tray. Repeat. Place 8 buns on each baking tray.

Cover buns with a towel; let rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 16-20 minutes or until buns are golden brown.

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