What could be better on a hot summer day than a big, cold glass of…
Strawberry season. Ripe for Canada Day festivities, warm evenings and summer barbecues This White Chocolate Strawberry Kiwi Soup is a cool, seasonal, make ahead dessert is that is at once, simple, elegant and sure to impress.
Technically, it’s not a soup, but a simple créme anglaise, or custard sauce made with milk, egg yokes and sugar, gently thickened over heat, combined with white chocolate and then chilled and served over fruit for a dramatic colorful effect.
Compliments of the talented French Chef in my life, Chef Benoit Gelinotte, this is a recipe that has appeared on a number of menus under his care over the course of his 25 year career in many forms, finding the perfect balance of creaminess against the acidity of the fruit without being overly sweet.
It’s among his signature dishes.
To my pallet, this cool, refreshing dessert has comforting familiarity – smooth and rich – like melted ice cream, with the sharp tang of fresh mint, which elevates and enhances the flavors to five star status.
At one stop along the path of his colourful career, Chef B tickled patrons with this little beauty, served in a tall cocktail glass with a sexy parfait spoon and a foam of cremé de menthé – cleverly called the ‘On Your Knees White Chocolate Soup’. It makes you pray for more.
“My white Chocolate Strawberry Kiwi Soup is a personal favorite and perhaps the best selling dessert I’ve ever created” says Chef B “I can only guess how many hundreds of liters of créme anglaise I’ve made over the years.
The secret to a good créme anglaise,” he instructs “is ensuring that the liquids are properly tempered and once combined, do not boil, because then you’re left with curdy, scrambled eggs and a broken sauce.
Be easy on the heat and never take your eye off the custard.”
He has a point, scrambled eggs in runny goo = bad. This will not impress your friends. But a smooth, rich, creamy custard gently flavored with almond – will.
Make the custard base as much as a day ahead and chill until ready to serve. The fruit is gently stewed in sugar and mint at room temperature for about an hour to render the juices and mingle the flavours. It then comes together “a lá minute”. (I know, look at me with my French. Ha.) Perfect for parties, no matter how much wine the cook has consumed with dinner. (I find closing one eye helps in this matter…)
A stunning cool summer dessert from Chef B, to make your summer sweet.
I suppose I’ll have to find a way to thank him for that. Perhaps a nice, stinky piece of cheese, something decidedly ‘sock-like’, that’s always a hit with the French, they love a good ‘footie’ cheese. Bon Appetit Foodie Gypsies.
O Canada, you make good strawberries!
White Chocolate Strawberry Kiwi Soup – Recipe
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
5 egg yokes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups sliced, fresh strawberries (approximately 1 pound of fruit)
1 cup sliced, quartered fresh kiwi (approximately 5 kiwis)
1/4 cup finely chopped, fresh mint
1/4 cup sugar
1) In medium bowl, whisk together egg yokes, 1/2 cup of sugar & almond extract until smooth.
2) In medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium high heat then immediately remove from heat.
3) Temper hot milk with egg mixture by whisking 1/4 of the hot milk to the egg mixture to warm it slightly, then whisk one 1/4 of the egg mixture back to the hot milk to cool it slightly, then add the remaining milk, now cool, slowly drizzled into the egg, constantly whisking to avoid lumps until both are combined and frothy.
4) Pour combined, egg & milk back into the sauce pan and return to medium heat, and simmer to thicken. Do not bring this mixture to boil, a small simmer is all the heat you need, stirring constantly to avoid scalding and “cooking” the egg.
5) Remove from heat, add white chocolate chips and stir, off heat, until melted.
6) Return to medium low heat to thicken, stirring constantly. Note on consistency: The custard should cling to the back of a spoon to make a film. If you take your finger and draw a line though the liquid, the remaining sauce should not run through the line, but instead remain stationary on the spoon for about three seconds, thanks to the coagulation of the yokes. The French call this “a la nappe” – “to coat”.
7) Strain custard though a fine sieve to remove any lumps for a smooth, creamy finish. Chill, covered, in the fridge minimum of one hour or as long as overnight.
8) In medium bowl, combine cut fruit, 1/4 cup of sugar and finely cut mint. Let stand at room temperature to render juices and combine flavours, approximately one hour.
To serve, spoon fruit into bowl, or glass (preferably chilled) and gently ladle the custard over fruit. To finish, add drizzle of fruit syrup from the bottom of the bowl over custard for added drama and colour.
And… smile. See? Wasn’t that easy?! You’re a superstar.