I’m not much of a dessert maker. By the time I plan and cook the courses that make up a dinner, I usually opt to finish with some good chocolate, ice cream, or maybe cheese with honey and fruit. When we get together to eat with our food-loving friends, I usually ask a guest to bring dessert (I know several fine ladies who can turn out quite the pie). But recently I took it upon myself to make semifreddo – a favorite Italian “dolce” of mine that literally means half cold, but I’d translate it to mean semi-frozen. It is essentially custard and/or cream with delicious things folded into it, frozen and typically served in slices.
I was please with my semifreddo, which I based off of this recipe and served with sliced strawberries and a bit of mint syrup. But all of this took way too much effort and planning, the kind of time I’d rather put into making something like homemade ravioli. So the next week when I was planning to cook for some friends and found myself with a ton of strawberries and a craving for that tasty dessert, but without 8 hours for making and freezing, I improvised. The result was described by one of our friends as Strawberry Shortcake meets Tiramisu, I’m calling it Strawberry Shortcut.
- About 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Dash of vanilla
- Lady fingers (the good crispy kind if you can find them)
- More sliced strawberries for serving
In a small saucepan, cook the strawberries and sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they break apart and the mixture gets a little syrupy – about 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Whip the cream and vanilla into, well, whipped cream. Gently fold in the strawberries (they shouldn’t be too warm) and then break about 8-10 lady fingers into pieces and fold into the strawberry cream. Cover and chill until it’s time for dessert (at least 2 hours, but you can let it go overnight).
To serve, spoon mounds of the strawberry cream mixture (the lady fingers should be nice and soft) into serving dishes. Scatter a handful of strawberry slices over and around it. Top with a crumbled, crisp lady finger. Serve to your guests’ delight.