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Ice Cream Parfaits with Strawberries and Balsamic Syrup

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Serves four.

  • by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell from Fine Cooking
    Issue 105

Sweet strawberries, tart balsamic, and vanilla ice cream make one great dessert.

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pint (12 oz.) strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1-1/2 pints vanilla ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Bring the vinegar to a simmer in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until glossy and reduced to 3 Tbs., about 10 minutes. Pour the reduced vinegar into a small bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar and pepper (if using) and toss gently until combined. Let stand, stirring once or twice, until the sugar dissolves and the berries release some juice, 10 to 15 minutes.

Put a scoop of ice cream in each of 4 parfait glasses or bowls. Top each with about 1/4 cup strawberries and their juices, drizzle with about 1 tsp. balsamic syrup, and sprinkle with about 1/2 Tbs. pine nuts. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Carbohydrates (g): 46; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 90; Cholesterol (mg): 45; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is precisely why we all scream for ice cream; what a surprise this dish was! I’ll save plain ol’ hot fudge sundaes for winter. While strawberries are in season, I’m making these.

Yum! LOVE this combination. It reminds me of my favorite "coupe" at Mario Batali's Otto pizzeria, except there they make it with olive oil gelato. You definitely have to watch the balsamic syrup to make sure it doesn't reduce too much, otherwise it can become sticky and hard like a reviewer noted.

Understand the concept, but it wasn't very good in actuality. Read my full review at: http://themomchef.blogspot.com/2010/06/ice-cream-parfaits-with-strawberries.html

Delicious! The balsamic syrup and black pepper make for such a complex, interesting flavor that plays off of the sweet, fruity berries and the ice cream. Carolcooks, did your balsamic vinegar have added sugar? It should not harden like that-- it sounds like the behavior of a sugar syrup, not a balsamic syrup.

Terrible. Made it twice to be sure I was doing it correctly. On the second go, I reduced it less. Both times, turned hard after cooling. Put it in the microwave for a few seconds for serving. Instantly turned hard when hitting the ice cream.

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