Monday, May 21, 2007

Alain Passard's Strawberries in Hibiscus & Vanilla Syrup

I saw an interesting recipe for a strawberry dessert over at Chez Pim the other day - Strawberries in Hibiscus & Vanilla Syrup. I bookmarked it with a view to try it when Estonian strawberries come in season, which is usually in late June/early July. However, when browsing the Tallinn Central Market on Saturday morning, I saw loads and loads of rather fragrant strawberries imported from Spain. What a heck, I thought, and bought a small box. The recipe was really easy to make, and we enjoyed it with some softly whipped cream, seasoned with vanilla extract.

There's really no need to change or improve Pim's recipe, it's brilliant as it is. I'll add the amounts I used below, but feel free to visit Pim's blog for the original recipe and even more, her home video demonstration. But what I'll tell you is that the hibiscus syrup gives the strawberries a most beautiful deep red colour (see above), without ripping them of the strawberry flavour. I'm so going to make it again, and again, and again, when local strawberries become available..

Hibiscus, by the way, is also known as roselle, red sorrel, karkade and flor de jamaica. Its Latin name is Hibiscus sabdariffa. If you're ever been to Egypt, then you're bound to have a large bag of dried hibiscus somewhere in your cupboard, and this is a great opportunity to use them..

Strawberries in Hibiscus & Vanilla Syrup
(Hibiskisiirupis maasikad)
Alain Passard's recipe, here adapted from Chez Pim

500 grams strawberries

Hibiscus & vanilla syrup:
500 ml water
100 ml sugar
200 ml dried hibiscus flowers
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

Mix water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add the hibiscus flowers and let them infuse the syrup until cooled.
Drain, pressing as much liquid as possible out from the hibiscus flowers.
Season the syrup with vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, wash and drain the strawberries, remove the stems and quarter the berries. Put into a wide bowl.
Pour hibiscus syrup over and let the berries macerate in the syrup for about an hour*, refridgerated.
Divide into dessert four glasses, and spoon some softly whipped cream on top. Enjoy!

* We had some strawberries after an hour, and some after three hours. The flavour of the one-hour strawberries was much better, as the berries tend to get a bit too soggy after three hours of soaking (sorry, macerating).

Other strawberry recipes @ Nami-nami:
Strawberry & Hibiscus Sorbet (July 2007)
Strawberry Ricotta Cakes (April 2006)
Strawberry Shrikhand or spiced yogurt with strawberries (October 2005)


K & S said...

that looks wonderful, and would probably taste great over ice cream too :)

bea said...

Delicious delicious Pille. I saw this on Pim's blog too and loved it right away!

valentina said...

Pille, how wonderful.What a superb choice of dish!!1 I have dried hibiscus at home. not too sure where to get the syrup from.Will do some research.

valentina said...

Pille, in my haste to reply I read your introduction and then put a note to self to read recipe properly at home - it is always a bit stressful to do reading of posts at work. sorry for soundign silly and leaving the comment above. just read the recipe.doh!! I love the fact that you always have wonderful things here .like those beautiful saffron pancakes ( the ones you made for BArbara's event. I have been dreaming with them.

Alanna said...

OH MY. Must watch for the dried hibiscus.

Chris said...

Yum! The strawberries do look so deliously red! Making me hungry.

Freya and Paul said...

A lovely, perfect summers dessert! Just beautiful!

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Oh yum! I saved the recipe. I do have that bag of karkade in my closet. Perfect!

katiez said...

I made note of this one!
My strawberry plant are full of little green berries so I have great hope that the birds will leave me some this June!

lobstersquad said...

this is brilliant! I love hibiscus, it´s so pretty. Must try it, because whatever you say, our strawberries are not so good, they need to be helped along.

Jeanne said...

Wow - look at that colour! I've never used hibiscus myself - only had it at other people's houses but it is lovely. And ai *adore* the ladybird tablecloth!

Susan said...

What a striking presentation and alluring name! I've seen dried hibiscus but haven't bought them before. I think that will change now. :)

Pille said...

K&S - Pim recommends it over ice cream indeed, so I'm sure it'd be nice.

Bea - a great recipe, I'd love to see your (photogenic & photographic) version of this!

Valentina - no worries:) Let me know what you think of the saffron pancakes!

Alanna - hope you'll find some! Heidi has some shopping tips here.

Chris - they had this most intense deep red hue - gorgeous!

Freya & Paul - it's pretty close to perfect strawberry dessert indeed. Eating wild strawberries on the field is even more perfect, but this one is more glamorous..

Maryam - I knew you'd have karkade in your closet:) I used up all of mine, so need to go and shop for more.

Katiez - hope you're not too trusting towards the birds:) Maybe you should cover the plant with some protective cloth, just to be sure you'd have enough strawberries?

Ximena - obviously, the cannot compete with local seasonal strawberries, but for imported out-of-season strawberries, they were pretty good ;-)

Jeanne - you're the first one to notice the ladybirds! I bought it about a week ago - simply couldn't resist:)

Susan - the presentation is really simple, but it's the colours that do it. I need to stock up on hibiscus front, too, with all those strawberries coming to stores soon:)