Strawberries Romanoff is a fruit and cream dessert that is simple, yet elegant. It's creator is thought to be Marie Antoine Careme, who was the chef to the Russian ruler Nicholas I from the Romanoff family. Strawberries Romanoff is meant to be a light dessert that's ideal after a heavy meal since there is no cake or other starchy component to it.
The strawberries are prepared for the dessert by hulling and washing as well as quartering or slicing them. The prepared fruit is then marinaded and chilled in the refrigerator for several hours. Just before serving time, the Strawberries Romanoff is put together by placing the chilled, marinated fruit in dessert dishes along with whipped cream and ice cream. There are different versions of the classic dessert, including reduced calorie and fat options that use low-fat sour cream.
The most common Strawberries Romanoff variation is to use orange-flavored liqueur for adult dinner parties, but orange juice for family dinners as well as for gatherings for adults who don't drink alcohol. Although the dessert is simple to prepare, it's important that the prepared strawberries be marinated in the sugar and orange juice or liqueur as well as be refrigerated for at least three hours. The berries should be cold to better coordinate with the chilled whipped cream and frozen ice cream as well as be sweet and flavorable.
Here's a basic recipe for Strawberries Romanoff:
3 1/2 cups strawberries — hulled, washed and sliced or quartered
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons orange juice or orange-flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon grated fresh orange peel (zest)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream — whipped and chilled
1 1/4 cups vanilla ice cream
Slivered almonds and fresh mint for garnish — optional
1. Place the hulled, washed and sliced or quartered strawberries in a bowl with the sugar, orange juice or liqueur and zest. Refrigerate the strawberry mixture to allow it to marinate for about 3 - 4 hours. Stir the strawberries occasionally.
2. Whip the cream into soft peaks by beating it with an electric mixer or by hand with a wire whisk. Soft peaks mean that when a whisk or beater is pulled up, the whipped cream stands up slightly, but folds over at the top.
3. Alternate layers of marinated strawberries, ice cream and whipped cream in parfait or champagne glasses. Alternatively, Strawberries Romanoff can be created by placing the strawberry mixture in serving bowls and topping it with the creams.
4. For the most elegant presentation, slivered almonds as well as a sprig of fresh mint may be placed on the top of the dessert.