Recipes Desserts Ice Creams Sorbets and Frozen Desserts Strawberry Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar
Strawberry Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar

Strawberry Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Zesty black pepper and molasses-like aged balsamic vinegar meld with ripe, fresh late-spring strawberries for an intensely flavored dessert. A layer of rich vanilla ice cream mellows the assertiveness of the ingredients and rounds out the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. high-quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. kirsch
  • 1 pint high-quality vanilla ice cream
  • Sweetened whipped cream for serving

Directions:

Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, roughly crack the peppercorns. Hull the strawberries and halve about half of them lengthwise. Place all the strawberries in a bowl and add the cracked pepper.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cover and bring to a simmer, checking the sugar often. Once the sugar starts to melt, uncover and swirl the pan occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sugar turns to a deep amber brown caramel, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Carefully add the strawberry mixture to the caramel (it will fizz vigorously and harden in spots). Using a heatproof silicone spatula, stir the berries into the caramel as best you can and cook, stirring often, until any hardened bits of caramel have melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar and kirsch. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, let the ice cream stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften slightly. Layer the ingredients in 6 stemless wineglasses or parfait glasses in this order: strawberries with juices, ice cream, more strawberries with juices and finally, whipped cream, dividing the ingredients evenly. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).