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Strawberries and Crème

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Strawberries and Creme by Rebekah Peppler, photos by Joann Pai
Macerated strawberries and cream whipped with crème fraîche combine in this simple, elegant French dessert.
(Joann Pai / Chronicle Books)
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“I grew up on strawberries as dessert, picked fresh and sun-warm from my grandmother’s garden, topped in the early years with Cool Whip, later with freshly whipped cream,” Rebekah Peppler says in her cookbook “À Table” (Chronicle Books, 2021). “This crème fraîche–laced variation is my French version, eaten the moment strawberries hit the Paris markets (late April or May, if you want to plan a trip around it) through the very end of the season. If you’re using truly ripe strawberries, you shouldn’t need much sugar—it’s meant more to pull out their juices than to actually sweeten. If you’re making this in a shoulder season with less-than-perfect berries, adjust the amount of sugar to taste.”

1

Place a large metal bowl and whisk in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.

2

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar and fine salt. Toss to combine then let macerate while you make the crème.

3

In the chilled bowl, combine the heavy cream and crème fraîche. Whisk until medium peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes.

4

To serve, transfer the fruit to small serving bowls or plates. Dollop with the crème, drizzle with the accumulated strawberry juice and top with sablé crumbles. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve immediately.

Sablés (But not, like, regular sablés, cool sablés)

1

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, powdered and granulated sugars and vanilla bean seeds, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat until the eggs are incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined.

2

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 10-by-1 ½-inch (25 by 4 cm) log. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. (The logs can also be frozen for up to 3 months.)

3

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4

Working with one log at a time, unwrap and brush the outside with the egg white, reserving some for brushing each sablé. Sprinkle with half the turbinado sugar until completely coated. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 32 thin slices, about ¼-inch (6 mm) thick, and transfer half to each prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the cookies with egg white and sprinkle with additional turbinado sugar and flaky salt.

5

Bake, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking, until the sablés are set and lightly golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool for 1 minute before transferring directly to the racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough log, egg white, turbinado sugar and flaky salt.

Adapted from À Table (Chronicle Books, 2021) by Rebekah Peppler.