Strawberries are at their prime in the U.S. East Coast at this time of the year, and are delicious as they come. Still, if you want to try something new and make an impressive-yet-easy strawberry dessert, try this combination: fresh strawberries swimming in a cold, sweet and yet tart pomegranate soup. Or better yet, make it alcoholic by adding a little arak, the Middle Eastern anise liquor. Then top it all with a generous dollop of whipped mascarpone cream.
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Strawberries in pomegranate-arak soup with mascarpone cream
It’s best to make the pomegranate soup a day in advance, to allow it to chill.
Arak is available at most liquor stores. You could also substitute it with any anise flavored liquor. Mascarpone cheese is available at most supermarkets.
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 inch ginger, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons sugar, or agave syrup
1/2 lb. mascarpone
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 lb. fresh strawberries
1. To make the pomegranate soup, put pomegranate juice, ginger and sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer the soup to a container, bring to room temperature and move to fridge for 4 hours, or overnight, until completely chilled.
2. Put the mascarpone in a bowl of a mixer and whip slowly until soft. Slowly add the cream, with mixer running on low, until it has incorporated into the mascarpone. Increase the speed of the mixer and whip to a soft whipped cream. Fold the honey into the cream using a fork and keep aside.
3. When you’re ready to serve slice the strawberries to thick slices and arrange in 6 bowls. Pour the cold soup on top, and if you want the alcoholic version add arak as well and mix (between 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per serving). Top with a big dollop of the mascarpone cream and serve.