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Strawberry Romanoff

Not the most original of recipes but certainly perfect to finish off a summer BBQ and easy to put together. Probably not one for the kids either since the strawberries are laden with booze! But you could do a separate bowl for the kids and soak their strawberries in orange juice and orange zest.

It is believed that the recipe was created by Marie Antoine Careme (1783-1833), who provided spectacular desserts for the Russian Tsar Nicholas. Careme is often revered as the developer of what may be the first cookbook as well as for being a great chef to such international figures as the French statesman Talleyrand, the Baron Rothschild, and the British Prince Regent who later became King George IV. It is not surprising, therefore, to see that there are distinct variations on the recipe, obviously influenced by French and Russian preferences.

It is the addition of a citrus flavor to the berries that makes it “Romanoff.” In the 19th century French distilleries were experimenting with triple sec curacao, a brandy combined with the bitter flavor from the peel of oranges transplanted from Spain to the Caribbean island of Curacao. Citrus-flavored liqueurs called Curacao, Cointreau and Grand Marnier are offshoots of the generic term “curacao,” which apparently originated on the island as early as the 16th century.

Ingredients – Serves 4

Prep: 10 min + macerating time
2 chips/punnets ripe strawberries
75ml Cointreau or Grand Marnier
300ml double cream
2tbsp sifted icing sugar
zest of one orange
½ tsp vanilla extract

Wash the strawberries, pat them dry and remove their hulls and quarter them depending on their size.
Place strawberries in a deep bowl and add the liqueur, cover with plastic and refrigerate for a few hours, turning them gently once or twice.
Just before serving, gently whip the double cream, icing sugar, orange zest and vanilla until it just starts to thicken. Traditionally the cream was piped or spooned on top of the strawberries, but I have layered mine.
Serve and enjoy.