For Chocolate Lovers only
 


Strawberries and Yogurt Cream

Tips: This is a lovely springtime dessert that can also be eaten as a light meal (if you go easy on the chocolate syrup). It’s also a very flexible recipe, as you’ll see. Bear in mind that some advance planning is necessary for the yogurt cream, but the dessert is very easy to make and assembles in mere minutes (nice to know, as it should be assembled just before serving). Use the best strawberries you can find, as they are the real basis of this recipe.

You can use any plain or vanilla yogurt you like. I am very fond of Stonyfield Farm yogurt, and I use their French Vanilla (which is nonfat). Their Plain is also great for use in recipes, and they make a Banilla (banana-vanilla) that would work here, too. While you don’t have to sweeten the yogurt cream at all, I prefer the addition of a small amount of a light-to-medium honey (wildflower is a nice choice).

Yield: number of servings varies

Ingredients:

    Yogurt Cream:
  • 3 cartons (8 ounces each) plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Honey to taste
  • Milk to thin, if desired
    Strawberries (per serving):
  • 5 to 8 medium strawberries, briefly washed, thoroughly dried, hulled, and sliced thinly lengthwise
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 to 2 tsp. orange liqueur OR orange juice, if desired
    For Assembly:
  • Good quality chocolate syrup (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)

Method:

Make the yogurt cream first. You’ll need a fine-meshed strainer of about 2 cup capacity (larger is OK) and a medium bowl to suspend it over. You’ll also need cheesecloth, enough to double, then cut into two lengths. Both doubled lengths must cover the inside of the strainer with a couple of inches of overhang.

Lightly dampen the cheesecloth, then squeeze out any excess moisture. Lay one doubled length into the strainer , then place the other length across it at about a 90 degree angle. By using two lengths, you will completely cover the inside of the strainer, which is what you want to do. Set the cheesecloth-lined strainer above the bowl. Spoon all of the yogurt into the cheesecloth, then fold any cheesecloth that hangs over the edges of the strainer back across the yogurt. The surface of the yogurt should be completely covered with damp cheesecloth. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Place the whole assembly into the refrigerator and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Much of the yogurt’s whey will drain off.

The next day, remove plastic wrap and damp cheesecloth from top of yogurt. Turn yogurt out of cheesecloth into a small bowl. If your yogurt acts like mine and you drain it overnight, you’ll have about 1-1/4 cups of thick, beautiful yogurt cream, but the amount isn’t critical. Taste a bit. If you want it a little sweeter, add a small amount of honey and stir that in well. Taste again; continue until you’re satisfied with the sweetness level. Similarly, if you’d like the yogurt cream a little less thick, add a bit of cold milk (nonfat is fine) and stir in, repeating until you’re satisfied with the consistency.

Chill yogurt cream, covered, until needed. Note: it is not necessary to use all of the yogurt cream at once, as it can sit quite happily in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days. If any liquid separates out of the yogurt cream, simply stir it back in before use.

For Strawberries: decide how large your serving glass will be. If I want to make a meal of this, I’ll use 8 berries per person and assemble it in a margarita glass. If you’re serving it as a dessert after a meal, 5 to 6 berries per person is more like it, and you can use a wine glass or clear mug/serving dish. Prepare berries as directed above, placing slices into a nonreactive container. Sweeten to taste by sprinkling on granulated sugar, and, if desired, a teaspoon or two of orange liquer or orange juice per person. Toss gently. Cover with plastic wrap; allow to stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.

To Assemble: Gather your serving glasses. Place about a tablespoon (no need to measure—just approximate) of the chocolate syrup into the bottom of each. Divide the berries with any juice evenly between glasses. Drizzle chocolate syrup to taste on top of the berries in each glass; some of the syrup will begin to sink down through the berries, which is fine. Spoon a generous amount of yogurt cream (again to taste) on top of the chocolate syrup, allowing a margin of red berries and syrup to show around the edge of the glass or dish you’re serving.

Serve immediately!

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