The Spring Dessert You Need

April 21, 2010

No, readers, your eyes are not fooling you. I am posting a dessert recipe. Me, the Salt Queen, is posting a dessert on her blog. How ’bout that?

And no, it’s not even a dessert I *had* to make for a project. This dessert sounded so good to me that I actually decided to make it on my own.

I do apologize to you readers with a sweet tooth. Except for the December Cookie Orgy, you have been pretty deprived of sugary delicacies on this blog. Sorry about that. As one of the few freakazoids on this planet who lacks a sweet tooth, I rarely even think about making dessert.

But this one appealed to me. Why, you ask?

Well, first off, it uses strawberries, the very fruit that announces the Rite of Spring in the Rocky Mountains. They’re coming out our ears right now–big, gorgeous, juicy suckers. I cannot resist spring strawberries. They’re such a thrill after a long winter of apples, bananas, pears and oranges…damn, winter fruit is boring.

Second, the strawberries are drizzled with a sugar-balsamic reduction sauce. I love balsamic vinegar like nobody’s business. I could bathe in the stuff. And as odd as it sounds, balsamic vinegar loves strawberries. Trust me on this one and just try it. You’ll see.

Finally, this is a dessert that your ass isn’t going to hate you for! It’s healthy! And fresh, and yummy, and not too sweet…which is important to me. Sugar shock sucks.

I actually didn’t alter this recipe too much. I know! I usually have to tinker around with everything, but this time, all I did was add a sprinkling of toasted pistachio nuts for contrast and crunch. Serve this up on a spring afternoon and you’ll make some people very happy. For kids with picky palates, I’d leave off the basil and the reduction. They’ll still enjoy it, especially if you sexy it up with a dollop of whipped cream.

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream
serves 4
from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 16-ounce container fresh strawberries, stems removed and quartered
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
2 tablespoons toasted pistachio nuts, chopped

Put the ricotta cheese, honey and vanilla into the small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely. In a medium sized bowl, toss the berries with the basil and the balsamic syrup.

Divide the ricotta mixture among 4 glass bowls or cocktail glasses. Top with the berry mixture and nuts and serve.

Per serving: 180 calories

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacia April 21, 2010 at 12:25 am

Good heavens, the pictures of those strawberries are so divine, I had trouble concentrating on your words. Something about a balsamic reduction and whipped cream??


Jen April 21, 2010 at 3:17 am

Dessert? Did you say DESSERT??? I'm on my way!


Shelley April 21, 2010 at 3:57 am

Oh yes, freakazoids unite! Those strawberries look like heaven. If I can't have salt, I'll take fresh fruit any day.


mo.stoneskin April 21, 2010 at 3:58 am

I didn't know strawberries announced the "Rite of Spring in the Rocky Mountains". Certainly, I've never heard the little rascals every say anything , let alone announce stuff, but still, I believe you.


Bryan April 21, 2010 at 4:34 am

Beautiful, looks wonderful I am with you about desserts, really they are an afterthought for me to (reasons I don't do much pastry). Strawberries and Pistachios, well can it get better?


Lindy April 21, 2010 at 4:43 am

Ahhhh….dessert….me like.


Jessica April 21, 2010 at 5:05 am

That's looks WELL worth trying…


Wendi April 21, 2010 at 5:06 am

Strawberries and creamy goodness…classic.


Barbara April 21, 2010 at 5:43 am

You've made a verrine, my sweet! Look at those layers. I am SO impressed!
Pretty good for a non-dessert maker!


The Nervous Cook April 21, 2010 at 6:04 am

I guess it's time for me to try my first balsamic reduction, because this looks awesome.


Lanita @ A Mother's Hood April 21, 2010 at 6:14 am

This looks good. I'm like you, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I usually don't think about it…but the children do and so does the husband. Might have to try this one tonight. Where are my car keys?


Christine April 21, 2010 at 6:57 am

Oh my God! I'm hosting my book club for dinner this weekend and I'm SO making this! It looks delicious, and I do love me some strawberries. Mmmm, mmmm, mmm.


Phoo-D April 21, 2010 at 7:00 am

Oh this sounds so marvelous! Have you ever tried a bit of cracked black pepper with strawberries? It works surprisingly well too. Strawberries and balsamic are one of my all time favorite duos.


JennyMac April 21, 2010 at 7:01 am

You are a girl after my own heart. LOVE strawberries and balsamic. Am definitely trying this. I have used mint with strawberries as well as basil. This sounds amazing!


Tiffany April 21, 2010 at 7:03 am

Balsamic vinegar? Check. Basil? Check. Strawberries? Check. Me making this? Check!!!


BigLittleWolf April 21, 2010 at 7:11 am

Looks delish. One of my favorites? Fresh strawberries sprinkled in fresh ground pepper. Believe me! (Had it in France in a beautiful restaurant.) Add a drizzle of Balsamic if you like. Fabulous.


Ink April 21, 2010 at 7:15 am

You had me at strawberry.


Nancy April 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

Perfect spring dessert; the basil is a great touch. Even better, it's a dessert I could rationalize into having for breakfast (topped with some very oat-y granola, of course!). Can't wait till strawberry season starts in ny.


WackyMummy April 21, 2010 at 9:21 am

Wow. Sounds great… without the pistachios. ;)


evaevolving April 21, 2010 at 10:16 am

You have strawberries already?! We have to wait until mid-June here in Minnesota (although maybe a week or two earlier this year, given our strange and delightful early spring). I'll save this little gem of a recipe until then.


Liz April 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

Damn. You lost me at "reduction."
I think I'll go off and make a strawberry margarita……


The Curious Cat April 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

oh my god this sounds lush, i'm book marking it…so easy too! You lady are right up my street with taste! xxx


becca April 21, 2010 at 10:34 am

In my book something isn't dessert without chocolate. BUT, this looks delicious so I'll add it to my list of SNACKS that I'd like to make. I also love balsamic… never thought of adding it to a strawberry dish but it definitely is tempting me!


theycallmejane April 21, 2010 at 10:41 am

I have made this recipe before and I'm here to attest it is heaven in a bowl! Absolute heaven! Our local strawberry farm opens next week – so thanks for the reminder. Can't wait to dig in!


Kelly April 21, 2010 at 11:18 am

Yum! I actually sat down last night with fresh strawberries and a small bowl of straight balsamic vinegar. Heavenly!


suzicate April 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

Strawberries in any form are a heavenly delight!


Camille Bright-Smith April 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I can't WAIT to try this. I have basil and strawberries starting up in the garden. Should have fruit in 4 weeks or so! and Balsamic? OH Honey!!!! YES! YES! YES!!!!


kestrel_33 April 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm



Corinne April 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Sounds and looks divine!


Maria April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I love strawberries like nobody's business! And I need to shrink my arse too! I love you, Kitch Witch!


MP April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I can't believe I'm drooling over fruit in balsamic vinegar!


Contemporary Troubadour April 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm

She's right, folks! Strawberries + balsamic vinegar = pairing ordained by the food gods.


Sarah April 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Big, juicy, luscious strawberries? With balsamic vinegar and cream and pistachios and…why am I recounting all the ingredients? It's not as if you don't know what's in it! I just have to see the words again. They are so alluring. My taste buds are jumping. And now I'm just fucking pissed we live so far away. Because THIS ONE would be on our dinner menu…you know, the one you'd whip up for the Sarah occasion.


naptimewriting April 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Those humans who don't have a sweet tooth but love fresh fruit are not freakazoids, you delightful creature. They have refined palates that are raped by refined sugar. So. Forgive yourself the salt preference and clap yourself on the back for 1)a dessert recipe that 2)uses happy seasonal produce that 3)all people love and 4)is easy to make.
Look at you, makin' the world a better place again today.


Linda Pressman April 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Are those STRAWBERRIES? You should see what a strawberry looks like in Arizona, TKW! They are orange – not red – half white, and not big. How will this delicious looking dessert taste made with sour, orange Arizona strawberries?


Falling April 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm

I love strawberries. I love balsamic vinegar, especially reduced to a sweet syrup. And yet, I have been afraid of mixing the two, despite reading of it before. But if Kitchy says it's good…


grace April 22, 2010 at 2:13 am

fact: you should post more desserts, ESPECIALLY if they're all this decadent and elegant and delicious. three cheers for reduced balsamic vinegar!


theUngourmet April 22, 2010 at 8:54 am

I'm always excited for spring strawberries and I love balsamic over them! This is such a pretty dessert, especially with the pistachios sprinkled over the top! :)


~Laura April 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

Oh my! I am a sucker for anything with balsamic on it. I think this will find a home at many a bbq this summer!


The Absence of Alternatives April 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

Two words: FOOD PORN!


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