Jen's Birthday & One Helluva Dessert!

Marinated Olives with Goat Cheese

Recipe courtesy Epicurious

Well, as per my usual, I was on-call for Jennifer’s birthday, so I had to come up with a reasonably quick but tasty mid-week menu to “gild the lilly” to borrow a horrific phrase from that bloated genius Mario Batali. The appetizer was a simple marinated olive and goat cheese served with some artesianal bread from the Fresh Market. The bread also came in handy for mopping up the delicious sauce from the shrimp dish. BTW: this dish is awesome and very easy. Could make ahead and serve in a pinch…

Those are not the reason for the post. The dessert is where it’s at! The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it is a bastardized version of a recipe from the Babbo cookbook called “Strawberries and Peaches with Balsamic Zabaglione”.
Strawberries are everywhere it seems, so I wanted to do a dessert using what’s available at our crappy local markets and I remembered this recipe from my readings. Mario calls for peaches which I would not dare use this time of year even if I could find them, so I used all strawberries. He also calls for vin santo…good luck finding that stuff in Augusta… What I did find was a very tasty liqueur called Farette Biscotti Famosi. Interesting stuff, has hints of nuts, citrus, caramel, and fennel…nice even by itself.
Easy recipe and fantastic in my opinion. For the berries, I sliced a pint thinly and covered with 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup liquour that I brought to a simmer to macerate.
For the zabagione: Whip 1 cup heavy cream to stiff peaks and chill. Over a double boiler, whisk 4 egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup liquour, and 1 T aged balsalmic until thick and foamy. Remove from heat and continue to whisk until mixture cools to room temperature. Next fold in the cream and chill until ready to eat.
To serve, I a few spoonfuls of the berries in the bottom of a martini glass, topped with crumbled biscotti cookie, then added generous dollops of the zabaglione.
MMMMMMM! This was so easy and incredibly flavorful. We had a shot of the liquour on the side. This would be a perfect make ahead dessert for a dinner party when you don’t want the dessert to be the star, though it just might be! Try it and lemme know.
JW

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