Everyone likes strawberries, their deliciously sweet flavour intoxicating all those who succumb. But sometimes you may hear yourself saying; "this strawberry isn't all that good" Sometimes they just don't taste like they used to. Growing out of season to meet demand is one of the major reasons, and over-watering to yield a larger crop is another (often found in cheap wines as well).
This recipe will rescue an average strawberry, but if you are lucky enough to have some great strawberries then all the better. The idea is to infuse the strawberries with the sweet sugar syrup and any spice you choose. I would suggest star anise and cinnamon, but feel free to experiment.
The uses for poached strawberries in desserts are almost limitless, use them in a fruit tart, garnish a bavarios or panna cotta, scatter them over a chocolate cake, or simply serve them with some ice cream and the late movie.
Best of all, once poached, these strawberries will last for 2 weeks, refrigerated.
1 punnet (250 gm or 1/2 lb) strawberries
500 gm (1 lb) caster sugar
500 ml (1 pint) water
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 vanilla bean
Place the water, sugar and spices into a large saucepan and bring to the simmer, hull the strawberries (take the stem from the top), wash and drain well. Add the strawberries to the simmering liquid and immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator until required.