There’s nothing new about fresh strawberries and good shortcake. It’s a requisite of late Spring, when the red plump berries hit their stride and beckon from tables at the market, or on the grocer’s shelves. I can’t think of anything more perfect than a ripe strawberry.
Wait. Scratch that. I can think of something better. This shortcake, spread with honey-sweetened mascarpone cheese and topped with balsamic laced berries that hint slightly of brown sugar. I’m really somewhat of a purist at heart; I like simple preparations and fully believe that the food itself should shine from your dishes. That being said, even the simple and stupendous strawberry can be made so much more amazing if given a short amount of time in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Just a splash of the vinegar is all you need. And really, only a small amount of sugar is necessary too. I like to let the berries tell me when enough is enough. Prepare them by removing the core, then place them in a bowl and sprinkle in about 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar per pint of fruit. Add 1-2 teaspoons of good balsamic vinegar to the bowl. Stir to combine and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour or so, stirring occasionally. See how much juice begins to form. If you like them a bit juicier, add a little more sugar. What you want as an end result is a berry that hints of both sweet and tart but doesn’t overpower your tastebuds with either. Make it slightly more interesting by adding just a touch of good sea salt. It’ll be a riot of flavor and turn your simple shortcake into a real treat.
Simple is good. Different is good. Try a batch for yourself and see what you think.