Doctor Zhivago: Strawberries Romanoff

Introduction

As with our main course, Choulibiac, Strawberries Romanoff really was reputed to be a dish of the Czars: Strawberries marinated in orange liqueur sit between a crisp layer of meringue and a cap of fresh whipped cream. Triple sec or Contreau are the typical liqueurs suggested. I have substituted Mandarin Napoleon for a somewhat darker taste.

Ingredients

For the fruit topping

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/4 cup Contreau
  • 1 orange

For the meringue islands

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 t cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the whipped cream

  • Whipped Cream topping
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1T confectioner's sugar

Directions

Quarter the strawberries and put them in a bowl.
Slice a two inch strip of rind from an orange. We only want the outside zest, not the white, so work carefully and trim off any excess.
Slice the peel into very thin slivers. Sprinkle them over the strawberries.
Squeeze half an orange over the strawberries and sprinkle with 2T sugar.
Pour a quarter cup of triple sec or Mandarin Napoleon over the berries and let sit at room temperature for two hours.
To make the islands for our dessert we'll beat two egg whites with 1/8 t cream of tartar. You are looking for them to hold soft peaks.
A little bit at a time, beat in 1/2 cup sugar. The mix will become thick.
Grease a lined baking pan with 1T softened butter. Make six circles of meringue, gently depressing the center of them, so that they will become edible plates when cooked.
Bake the meringues at 275 degrees for about an hour, until lightly toasted.
Remove the meringues to a rack to cool.
Make the whipped cream. Pour a half cup of cream into a cold mixing bowl and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer. As things begin to thicken add 1 T confectioners sugar.
Final Assembly: Each dessert plate gets a meringue. Spoon on the strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream and one of the whole strawberries. (Optional: put a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the meringue before the strawberries.) Drizzle the plate with juices from the strawberry bowl. Serve immediately!

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