Early-season strawberries are often pretty tasteless, but sometimes you just can’t resist buying them because they remind you that spring is here. Usually I brighten up dull strawberries by halving them and marinating with a little sugar and a splash of Carthagène or Muscat for a few hours; this really brings out what flavour they have. I’ve also been known to use black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Today I found another way of enhancing them which made a very nice change.
200 g strawberries
juice of 1 orange
1 tbs orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Curaçao…)
For the cream:
100 ml whipping cream
2 tbs crème fraîche
icing sugar to taste (about 1 tbs)
Halve or quarter the strawberries, depending on size. Put in a bowl and pour over the orange juice and liqueur. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Just before serving, whip the cream until thick and whisk in sugar to taste. Then stir in the crème fraîche. Around here the only whipping cream you can get is bright-white, tasteless UHT cream, and adding the crème fraîche is a trick I learned from my Uncle Jim — it greatly improves the flavour. The end result will not be stiff though; it certainly can’t be used for piping into fancy shapes.
Serve the strawberries in glass dishes with a dollop of cream on top.