Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

RECIPE: Success! - Strawberries in Cardamom Syrup

Strawberries in Cardamom Syrup
Originally uploaded by ktglick.

Fortunately, my meringue disaster did not keep me down. By the way, I looked up what could have gone wrong and it basically could have been anything: it could have been the fact that I used liquid egg whites, there could have been soap residue in the bowl, it could have been the ratio of sugar to eggs. Basically, it's hard to make a meringue y'all. Next time, before I make one, I am going to go back and re-read the section on meringues that I read last night because the information it gave was key. In a nutshell: dried egg whites are key, as is cream of tartar (or lemon juice). Make sure bowl is thoroughly rinsed, that there is absolutely no yolk, that you use the right ratio of eggs to sugar (1.5 tablespoons per egg white), use superfine sugar, and use a copper bowl if you are able.

I was going to regroup and put the berries on top of shortcakes, or poundcakes, instead of a meringue, but alas, one jacaranda tree and the 1,937 birds that like to hang out in it made it a necessity for me to take my car to the carwash yesterday during my lunch break, instead of going to the store.

So I had to improvise with what we had on hand, and what we had on hand were homemade vanilla marshmallows from Whole Foods. Luckily, they go really well with strawberries, cardamom syrup and cardamom tinged whipped cream.

I'm not a super huge fan of "sweet." I like desserts, but my tastes lean toward the herbal/spice flavors and the savory. I thought this dessert was a nice compromise for both those who have a sweet tooth and those who prefer less cloying flavors.

The syrup sweetens up the tartness of the berries, but the distinctly warm and spicy flavor of the cardamom cuts the sweetness. The marshmallows? Well, they are homemade marshmallows, of COURSE they are good! But they did go quite well with the cardamom syrup. Regular marshmallows might be too sweet, but I think the vanilla complemented the cardamom, since they are both warm spices on the sweeter end of spicy.

The original recipe came from Gourmet Magazine, May 2006 and can be found here: Strawberry Clouds

How to make:

1. Boil 5 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 tsp. cardamom, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Voila! Cardamom syrup.

2. Pour it over your berries (I used sliced strawberries - probably the best choice here, although blackberries would probably be good too. I don't know how much I used ... I just eyeballed what I thought would be a good serving for two people.) and stir gently to combine.

3. Beat 3/4 cup well-chilled heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 tsp. cardamom until it just holds stiff peaks.

4. Spoon berries over whatever you are eating them with (e.g., vanilla marshamallows, shortcake, meringues) and then top with your whipped cream.


by no small coincidence, I have a pie recipe requiring 1,937 birds.

said by Jeremy at 10:46 PM Delete

Have at them. Unfortunately, it would not even make a dent on the amount of birds in our neighborhood. We have two birds living on our porch and one in our stairwell, and about five or ten in teh roof area. There are birds EVERYWHERE. Including a flock of green and yellow parakeets. They are so loud ... I bet they would make a great pie.

Remember that song? "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?" Or was that some kind of acid trip I had?

said by KT at 10:58 PM Delete

Yeah, that's a song -- a nursery rhyme, really -- and actually the basis for names of chapters of this horror story I wrote a few years ago.

"blah blah, pocket full of rye, 4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie . . . the king was in his counting hose, counting all his money . . . "

said by Jeremy at 9:01 AM Delete

Oh yeah! okay ... damn, I was so jealous of that queen, sitting in her parlour, eating bread and honey. I want to be the queen!

said by KT at 9:28 AM Delete

I also put cardamom in raita. Doesn't everyone??

I want a big copper bowl. I used to have one...

Wiping out the bowl you are using with vinegar can help the egg whites get stiff- don't know why. maybe because it cleans out the bowl??

Are you beating them by hand? Also, I always chill the bowl and the whisk in the freezer, and beat the egg whites on top of a bowl of ice. don't ask me why.

said by Anyanka at 6:38 PM Delete

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