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Strawberry-Almond Shortbread Napolean with Basil and Gran Riserva Balsamico


Recipe Summary

Recipe Servings: 6 portions Recipe Preparation Time: 0 minutes Recipe Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 cup butter 1/2 cup creme fraiche 1 cup whole toasted almonds, skin on 2 cups flour 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, skin on, slightly toasted 2 cups strawberries, cut in wedges 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon lime zest 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar 1 1/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream Pulp of 1/2 vanilla bean 2 tablespoons Lucini 10 Year Gran Riserva Balsamico 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves


To make shortbread, cream butter and 6 tablespoons sugar until light, fluffy and almost white. In food processor with metal blade, puree whole almonds 2 minutes until very fine; add to butter mixture along with flour and pinch of salt. Mix until just blended. Roll out dough, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, until about 1/8-inch thick. Lay shortcake dough, still covered in plastic wrap, on sheet pan and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap, place dough on cutting board and cut into at least 18 3- by 2-inch rectangles. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan and lightly press 4 or 5 almond slices into each rectangle. Bake at 350 degrees 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown. *Simple Syrup: Bring 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Cool. Note: use leftover syrup to make mixed drinks or sauce for plain cake, custard, fresh fruit mixture. Basil Syrup (yield scant 1/4 cup): Submerge 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves and 1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves in boiling water 10 seconds. Remove from pan and plunge immediately into ice water. Squeeze any excess water from leaves and chop coarsely. In food processor, puree with 1/4 cup simple syrup 3 minutes, until color is bright green. Strain through a fine (mesh) sieve. Store in refrigerator. Toss strawberry wedges with Simple Syrup and lime zest. Set aside. Whisk creme fraiche, heavy cream and remaining sugar with vanilla pulp until soft peaks form. To assemble, place a small dollop of vanilla cream in center of each of six dessert plates. Place a piece of almond shortbread over cream. Spoon a large dollop of vanilla cream on top and cover with a second piece of shortbread. Continue the process to make three shortbread layers. Spoon some strawberries around napoleon. Drizzle Lucini® 10 Year Aged Gran Riserva Balsamico and basil syrup around strawberries and sprinkle with basil. - Courtesy of Chef Charlie Trotter Aged balsamic adds a sweet complexity to the flavor

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