strawberries in red wine syrup with rosewater cream

belinda jeffery's recipes

My recipes are easy. They’re for the food I like to eat. Simple, fresh, full of flavour and just a bit different. You certainly don't need any great cooking skills for them, you just need to like food and like eating – just like me. The rest is simple.

strawberries in red wine syrup with rosewater cream

There are many ways to serve this dessert - for this photo I scooped the rosewater cream into tiny tumblers and spooned the strawberries and their syrup over the top, which looks rather gorgeous. However, they’re also lovely just spooned into a serving bowl with the rose-scented cream and a pile of meringues served alongside.

syrup
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (375ml) pinot noir (one with a fruity, berry flavour is ideal)
1/3 cup (110g) strawberry jam
3cm piece of cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 lemon, cut into 1cm wide strips
1 vanilla bean, split
About 650g strawberries

rosewater cream
1 cup (250ml) double thick cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon rosewater, or more to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the syrup, put the sugar, wine, jam, cinnamon stick, lemon zest strips and vanilla bean into a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring and bring it to the boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently and steadily (but not at a rolling boil) and leave it for 12-14 minutes, or until it has reduced somewhat and become quite syrupy.

Remove the pan from the heat. Discard the cinnamon stick and leave the syrup to cool. Once it has cooled down, strain it through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove any seeds from the jam. Return the vanilla bean and lemon strips to the syrup, cover the bowl with plastic film and chill the syrup until you need it (you can make it well ahead and keep it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks).

About half an hour before you're ready to serve the strawberries, hull them and cut them in half lengthways (if they’re really large, I slice them as halves can be a bit too big.) Put the strawberries into a bowl and pour the syrup over the top. Gently mix and leave in a cool spot.

For the rosewater cream, put the cream, icing sugar, rosewater and vanilla into a chilled bowl and whip the mixture only until soft peaks form.

To serve the berries in little glasses, scoop some of the cream into each glass, then spoon some of the strawberries and their syrup over this, sitting a few more the berries jauntily on top.

Serves 6-8. (These are only small serves but you don't need lots as it's quite intensely flavoured.)

P.S. You can double or triple the recipe very successfully, just cook the syrup longer so it looks 'syrupy'. As a guide, if you triple the recipe the syrup will take about 35 minutes to cook.

The scent of a rose... The rose-scented cream is lovely with the berries, but be careful not to go overboard with the rosewater – it’s one of those flavours where a little is a fine thing, but a lot can be a bit of a disaster; I suspect In this case it would be rather like eating a spoonful of rose-scented body lotion! Start off by adding a bit less than you need, taste the cream, then add a tiny bit more, taste it again, and keep on going like this until it’s how you like it.

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