Gramercy Tavern’s strawberries & cream with sorrel ice

Gramercy Tavern’s strawberries & cream with sorrel ice

By
From
The Desserts of New York
Serves
10–12
Photographer
Alicia Taylor

If there was a dessert that summed up New York right now, it would be Gramercy Tavern’s strawberries and cream. It’s seasonal (available only in summer), producedriven (inspired by Tristar strawberries) and local (champions New York state dairy), nostalgic (it’s strawberries and cream), updated (with angel food cake croutons) and inventive (plus sorrel ice). It’s also seriously Instagramable (it looks like a lush forest floor).

It’s not by chance that this exquisite dish exudes the spirit of the city; Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern, which has been going for over twenty years now, is synonymous with New York. Pastry chef Miro Uskokovic, who also oversees the much-loved desserts at Untitled at The Whitney and kindly shared his recipe with me, is among the best in town, too.

Incredible looks aside, this is a simple dessert at heart, which means quality ingredients make all the difference. Miro recommends the best sweet strawberries, fresh sorrel and artisan cream, cream cheese and crème fraîche you can find.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
600g strawberries, hulled and quartered
micro marigold flowers, to serve, optional

Sorrel ice

Quantity Ingredient
75g caster sugar
760ml water
160g sorrel leaves, plus extra to serve
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Angel food cake croutons

Quantity Ingredient
12 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
335g pure icing sugar, sifted
150g cake or plain flour, sifted

Strawberry jam

Quantity Ingredient
400g strawberries, hulled and halved
150g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Whipped cheesecake

Quantity Ingredient
400g cream cheese, chopped, softened
200g creme fraiche, or sour cream
200ml thickened cream
160ml sweetened condensed milk
55g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Method

  1. To make the sorrel ice, place the sugar and 80 ml of the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat. Place the sugar syrup, sorrel leaves, lemon juice and the remaining water in a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine strainer, pressing the solids to extract all the liquid, then discard the solids. Transfer to a shallow container and freeze overnight.
  2. To make the angel food cake croutons, position an oven rack on the bottom shelf of the oven, then preheat the oven to 160°C. Set an angel food cake tin aside (do not grease it).
  3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites, salt, lemon juice and vanilla on medium speed until frothy. Whisking constantly, gradually add the icing sugar until combined, then whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold in the flour in batches. Transfer the batter to the angel food cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, then immediately invert the tin and place the central tube over an upturned funnel (some tins have feet to keep it elevated). Leave the cake inverted to cool completely before removing the tin.
  4. Preheat the oven to 90°C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Cut the cake into quarters and trim off all the browned edges, then tear the white cake centre into 1 cm pieces. Spread in a single layer over the prepared trays and cook, swapping the trays halfway through, for 2½ hours or until the croutons are dry and crunchy (at Gramercy Tavern, they use a dehydrator, which retains the cake’s white colour, but these croutons may become golden). Store in an airtight container until needed.
  5. To make the strawberry jam, place the strawberries, sugar, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the strawberries break down and the juices are thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. Transfer to a blender with the lemon juice and blend until smooth.
  6. To make the whipped cheesecake, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  7. To assemble, toss the quartered strawberries with just enough strawberry jam to ensure the strawberries are well coated and sticky (you will have jam left over). Using a fork, scrape the sorrel ice to make ice crystals. Place a large dollop of whipped cheesecake in the centre of each serving plate, then surround with the strawberry mixture. Top with sorrel ice, then scatter over some angel food cake croutons, extra sorrel leaves and flowers, if desired. Serve immediately.

Tip

  • If you’re not feeding a crowd, you can halve the recipes for the sorrel ice, whipped cheesecake, strawberry jam and strawberries, and save the remaining croutons for another time (or just eat them – they’re so moreish).
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Desserts
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