Each season of the year brings its own magic into our kitchens, but there’s something about summertime and all the fresh produce that just makes every meal special. And, strawberries are best in summer as we all know. I remember as a kid we’d go strawberry picking at the local orchard and bring home baskets and baskets full, which my ambitious mother would then promptly freeze and make into jam for us to enjoy the rest of the year.
However much I like jam, there’s something about truly ripe strawberries garnished simply with whipped cream that is just divine. For an upgraded take on this classic strawberries Romanoff is an elegant and grown up way to enjoy my favorite fruit. For this recipe you want the best strawberries you can find. For most people in the U.S. this means locally grown berries picked in late spring and early summer.
Once you have your strawberries hulled and either quartered or diced, combine them in a bowl with 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, 4 tablespoons of orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier), and the zest and juice of one orange. Allow this mixture to chill for 1 hour in the fridge.
This recipe is said to have been invented in France for the Romanoff royal family during the reign of Czar Nicholas I and any number of liqueurs have been used for this type of dessert. If you don’t have Grand Marnier on hand you can use rum or brandy instead, but the orange flavor goes particularly well with strawberries here. You can get away with only buying the small size (50ml) of orange liqueur if it’s not something you’ll use up in the larger size. You can also use no alcohol if you desire as the orange zest and orange juice will add tons of that lovely orange flavor all on their own.
When it’s close to time to serve it up whip the whipping cream along with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Once this texture has been achieved fold in the sour cream. This gives depth of flavor to the whipped cream which is irresistible when served over strawberries.
Divide the strawberries among 6 dishes. For this one we used clear glass jars, but you can use ramekins, champagne cocktail glasses, or sundae or parfait cups. Pour any excess liquid over the strawberries before topping each serving with a generous dollop of the whipped cream mixture. Depending on the sizes of your vessels you can also layer the strawberries and whipped cream parfait style.
The final touch for this elegant and refreshing dessert is to garnish with a sprig of mint or a some very finely chopped fresh basil leaves. Not only does this add a pop of color, but each herb adds a nice little touch of flavor.
This is an incredibly easy summer dessert that is the perfect cooling treat for hot summer nights. Try it and you’ll see why this dessert has been popular on both sides of the Atlantic for generations!
1h prep time
- 1 1/2 lbs fresh strawberries
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier)
- zest of 1 orange
- juice of orange
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup fresh mint or basil leaves
- Remove hulls from the strawberries and cut into quarters or diced. Pour strawberries into a medium bowl along with granulated sugar, orange liqueur, orange zest, and orange juice. Allow to chill for 1 hour.
- To make the topping whip together whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in sour cream until just blended.
- Divide strawberry mixture equally between 6 bowls, champagne flutes, or parfait cups. Pour excess liquid over the strawberries.
- Divvy out 6 equal portions of the whipped cream mixture on top of each serving of spiked strawberries. Chill for up to 2 hours serving. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs or a small amount of finely-chopped fresh basil leaves if desired.
Recipe adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen.