by Salim Ben Mami

While fresh strawberries are abundant this spring, Mother’s Day celebration next Sunday is the perfect occasion to experiment with new recipes. I have tried to create a dessert that is a combination of an English trifle and a strawberry short cake. The short cake cookie recipe I use is the same for the apple Tarte Tatin dough or the fruit cobbler. The use of dessert wine is optional, as you can use as well, brandy, cognac or rum.

Recipe Serves 6-8.

For the dough:
3 cups flour
½ cup organic sugar
A pinch of salt
3 fresh farm egg yolks
6 ounces chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Prepare dough:
In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs.
Pulse until the ingredients are mixed together.
Gradually add the butter while pulsing.
Add the heavy cream.
Remove the dough from the container and knead it lightly to finish the mixing.
Divide the dough into two portions.
Roll each portion into a firm two-inch round log. If needed, add a bit of flour to make it firmer.
Wrap them in plastic and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove the logs from the freezer and unwrap.
Using a sharp knife cut the roll into half-inch thick rounds and place on the parchment one inch apart.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

For the strawberries:
3 small baskets of fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
One-fourth cup local blackberry or wild flower honey
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice

Place sliced strawberries in a medium bowl; mix the honey and lemon juice and gently stir into the strawberries until they are coated.

For the custard:
6 egg yolks (keep the whites separate in a bowl), farm-fresh
One-cup blackberry honey
One-tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Make custard:
Put the egg yolks, honey and vanilla in a stainless bowl over a pot of boiling water. Make sure the bowl fits the pot without touching the water. Whisk the mixture for five to 8 minutes, until it thickens while remaining smooth. Be cautious not to overcook the custard. As soon as the mixture is firm and silky, put the stainless bowl over another bowl of ice water and keep whisking until it cools and stops cooking. Keep custard refrigerated or over ice.

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
One fourth-cup blackberry honey


Make whipped cream: Pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Whip at high speed for three to five minutes, or until the cream is thick, soft and silky, while adding the honey. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl. Keep refrigerated or over ice.


One-cup dessert wine
To make individual servings, it is important to select the right dessert glasses. Martini glasses do not work because the bottom is too narrow. You need to find glasses that have a flat bottom, at least 3 inch round, ideally with a stem.

Begin by placing the shortbread cookie at the bottom of each glass, fitting them tightly together. Two cookies are enough. Break the second cookie so you can fill the empty space. Sprinkle a bit of dessert wine over the cookies. Add a thin layer of the egg custard and spread it evenly. Place the sliced strawberries on top, one next to the other tightly together. Add the whipped cream and spread it. Add another layer of shortbread cookies on top with a touch of dessert wine poured on top, then the egg custard. Another layer of sliced strawberries and finally the last layer of whipped cream topped with a slice of strawberry for the visual touch. Refrigerate for few hours for the flavors will settle better after a day or two.

Happy Mother’s Day.