01 February 2012

Strawberry Conserves in Fruit Panzanella

During the spring/summer months, I hosted a series of food preserving classes at The Boulevard Market.  We cranked out all manner of food and fun.  One such recipe for me was Strawberry Conserves.

Not a jam or preserve, but more of a syrup with barely cooked fresh strawberries to be kept in your refrigerator.  Interesting concept that worked beautifully (it's now January and still perfect!) and is handy to have hiding in the fridge.  I've not tried making a conserve with other fruits, but it's now on my list for summer 2012.

Fresh fruit is not super great right now (excluding citrus) so we did with what we had.  A "fruit panzanella" if you will.... 

Strawberry Conserves

·         4 cups fresh strawberries (about 1 pound), hulled, halved
·         3/4 cup superfine sugar
·         Peel (with white pith) of 1/2 lemon

·         Combine all ingredients in a heavy, wide pot. Cover; let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. (The berries will ooze and sugar will dissolve.)
·         Bring strawberry mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, until strawberries are just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer strawberries to 1 pint jar. Continue simmering liquid until it thickens into a syrupy consistency, 1-2 minutes. Discard lemon peel and pour syrup over strawberries; seal and let cool to room temperature. Chill for up to 1 month.

SO, I extended the 1 month deadline by 7 months....(whoops) still great!

Over a year ago, we made "dessert croutons".  Cubes of artisan, crusty bread, tossed with a bit of melted butter and sugar, then baked.  We find we love them tossed with fresh fruit for a quick dessert without so much work with crusts and the like. 

Dessert Croutons

3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups cubed Ciabatta or Baguette bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cube bread into 1 inch cubes.  Melt butter and stir in sugar.  Drizzle over bread cubes and toss until bread cubes are evenly covered.  Bake on foil for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.

I threw a few croutons into some pretty dessert bowls, drizzled with the Strawberry Conserves and topped with a bit of whipped cream.  So good and so easy for a Tuesday evening in January.

The Boulevard Market's Preserving classes will start up again in April 2012.  You can find more information and dates under the "Cooking Classes & Events" tab at the top of the page.

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