Serves: 8


Ingredients

For the strawberry juice

  • 2 lb. (1 kg) strawberries for making jams
  • ¼ cup (1¾ oz./50 g) superfine sugar

For the strawberry filling

  • 2 sheets (5 g) gelatin
  • 5½ oz. (150 g) strawberry jam
  • 3½ oz. (100 g) strawberries (reserved from preparing the juice), diced
  • 48–56 large strawberries, depending on size

For the basil-flavored langue de chats batter

  • ¼ oz. (5 g) fresh basil leaves
  • 6 tbsp (3 oz./85 g) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (3½ oz./100 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Scant ½ cup (3½ oz./105 g) egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Generous ¾ cup (3½ oz./100 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Green food coloring

For the strawberry glaze

  • 1⅓ cups (315 ml) strawberry juice (see above)
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
  • 1 tbsp (12 g) superfine sugar
  • 1½ tsp (6 g) pectin NH

To assemble

  • 1 carton of whipping or heavy cream
  • Light brown sugar

Directions

For the strawberry juice

1Place the strawberries and sugar in a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

2Place over a pan of simmering water (bain marie) for 1 hour.

3Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve the juice. Set aside the strawberries for the strawberry filling.

For the strawberry filling

1Soak the gelatin in a bowl of cold water until softened. Drain and squeeze to remove excess water.

2Place in a bowl and microwave on full power for 5 seconds, or until melted. Place the strawberry jam in a large bowl.

3Dice 3½ oz. (100 g) of the strawberries reserved from making the juice and fold them into the jam, along with the melted gelatin. Hull and hollow out each large strawberry.

4Trim a thin slice from the side of each one to sit them at a slight angle on the serving plate.

5Fill with the strawberry filling and place in the silicone mold half-sphere cavities so they remain upright until the gelatin sets (about 1 hour).

For the basil-flavored langue de chats batter

1Preheat the oven to 95°F (35°C/gas on the lowest setting).

2Spread out the basil leaves on a silicone baking mat or lined baking sheet and dry them out in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until they can be crumbled easily. Grind to a fine powder.

3Whisk the butter until smooth, then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar.

4Whisk in the egg whites and salt, followed by the sifted flour and powdered basil.

5Color the batter with a little green food coloring. Transfer to a covered container until needed.

6Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C/Gas Mark 3) on fan setting.

7Lay the stencil on a silicone baking mat and spread a little of the batter over it using a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter.

8Bake for about 10 minutes.

9Remove from the oven and immediately lay each one carefully in a half-sphere cavity in the silicone mold, or in a teaspoon, so that they cool in a curved shape.

For the strawberry glaze

1Heat the strawberry juice with the water. Carefully mix the sugar and pectin together well.

2When the temperature of the juice reaches 140°F (60°C), add the sugar and pectin and stir in until incorporated.

3Simmer for 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a covered container. When ready to use, reheat the glaze gently in the microwave—it must not boil. Use the glaze melted but cold.

To assemble

1Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Sift the light brown sugar, keeping only the largest grains.

2Using toothpicks, prick the strawberries all over (leave one in to transfer to the serving plate).

3Coat in a thin, even layer of glaze. Arrange 6 or 7 in a ring on each serving plate, with the tips pointing inward.

4Leave room in the center to add a large spoonful of whipped cream.

5Remove the toothpicks and carefully place a langue de chat hull on the top of each strawberry. Sprinkle with the sugar and serve immediately.

Extracted from The Chef in a Truck: The Fabulous Culinary Odyssey of a French Pastry Chef in California by François Perret and Éric Nebot (Flammarion, 2021).

Photography © Bernhard Winkelmann.

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