Our oldest daughter (who is doing well, by the way – thank you nice people for the thoughtful comments and messages) refers to the time when Brian and I grew up as “the olden days.” And though it is kind of brutal, in some ways they were – back then cartoons were on Saturday only, phones had cords, and your parents had to rush to the bank on Friday afternoon or you’d have no way of getting cash until Monday. In my own youth, I at least had the courtesy to refer to the olden days as my grandparents’ time; you know, before TV or rockets to the moon and stuff.
I like to imagine that in those days, dinner was dinner, and dessert, if there was any, was simple (and no kids would dare ask for mac and cheese in the face of a beautifully prepared bolognese). So today, we’re harkening back to a simpler time (that might never have actually existed, but whatever) and keeping it real with strawberries and cream. This is the kind of easy treat that’s perfect for overcommitted types who still want things to be nice.
Strawberries and cream is a summer classic, and here, we’ve given ours a bit of a modern touch. You see, Brian and I are trying out the Whole30® thing. (We’re on day ten, and chugging along nicely.) So my dairy-free version was made with coconut milk and without any sugar or added sweeteners. If that sounds crazy to you, don’t worry – I’ve added optional sugar, but just a very tiny amount because strawberries are best enjoyed exactly as they are. If it doesn’t sound crazy, know that the subtle sweetness of coconut milk along with the concentrated flavor of the berries is incredibly delicious and of-the-moment just as it is.
This recipe pairs the depth of roasted strawberries with lots of fresh ones, and is complemented by a creamy dollop of whipped coconut cream. By the way, once the secrets have been revealed, whipped coconut cream is a total cinch to make (you might never go back). I liked things just as they are, but feel free to add a little honey to suit your tastes.
Finally, this recipe is best suited to in-season strawberries. The giant, watery ones available in the off months have low sweetness and high water content, and just don’t come close to matching the flavor of spring or summer berries.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated upside-down for several hours or overnight
- 2 pints strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Set a bowl in the freezer for making the coconut cream.
- Toss 1 cup of berries with coconut oil and vinegar (don’t worry if the oil’s clumpy), and arrange on baking sheet. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes, or just until the juices begin to release and the edges darken. Set aside to cool.
- Toss roasted berries and any juices with the remaining fresh berries, and sugar or honey if using, and set aside.
- To make coconut cream, remove can from fridge, leaving it upside-down and being careful not to jostle it. Use a can opener to open the bottom, pour off the translucent liquid, and reserve.
- Scoop the thick white coconut cream into the chilled bowl. Whip on medium until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add a drizzle or two of the reserved coconut liquid to smooth things out.
- In small bowls, layer the berries and coconut cream, and serve immediately.