Sunday, May 23, 2010

White Chocolate Strawberries

One of the classic and elegant ways of preparing strawberries is to simply dip them in chocolate. In fact, I don't believe I've ever had a chocolate-berry combination that I did not like. And another of my goals for this season's haul was to make my own chocolate-dipped strawberries. Had I known this was so easy and tasty, I would have been doing this myself years ago.

White Chocolate Strawberries

White Chocolate Strawberries with a Twist
From Bon Appetit, makes 16

2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest, chopped
6 oz white chocolate, chopped
16 large, ripe strawberries

Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat. Using fingers, mix sugar and citrus zests in a small bowl until well mixed. Be sure to chop the zest, otherwise you'll end up with larger globs of this citrus sugar that aren't as appealing to the eye.

Melt chocolate either over a double boiler (in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water) or in short bursts in the microwave. Stir to be sure it is smooth.

Hold strawberry by its leaves and dip into chocolate. Allow excess to fall off the berry. Turn berry pointed-end-up and sprinkle with the citrus sugar. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining berries. Chill in the fridge until the chocolate sets (room temperature just doesn't do the trick).

The best part about these berries is that the citrus really livens the flavor of the berry. I've come to appreciate that when pairing strawberries with other flavors, it is a good idea to play off of their bright zestiness. Champagne pairs well because of the effervescence. Citrus flavors, particularly lime and orange, go very well with berries too. A balsamic vinegar-based sauce is also an excellent option. In this recipe, the white chocolate (a more subdued chocolate since it is more vanilla than cocoa) provides a nice base for the citrus, both in structure and in taste. The citrus is more subdued than I originally thought, so it does not overwhelm the senses and allows the chocolate and the berries to shine through. If you're not in the mood to bake a dessert, these berries are a quick crowd-pleaser.

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