So many strawberries, so little time

by mimithorisson


Each month is like a new chapter. Now that we have entered the beginning of summer months, I can only see one colour, red. Vermillion red, crimson red, cardinal red, scarlet red.  As long as it’s a juicy and sweet red, just like the strawberries at Caroline and Michel Arnould from Domaine de la Fosse.  I am enamoured with their charming farmhouse in St Vivien de Médoc, their passion for all things natural and most of all their amazingly sweet and beautiful strawberries.  They cultivate the Lambada variety, so plump and aromatic, renowned for its delectable taste and fragility.  We spent a gourmand afternoon picking strawberries, perhaps one of the greatest pleasures in life.  Nothings beats that fine moment when you pick a firing red heart-shaped strawberry, so unbelievably sweet. No wonder they symbolize perfection and love.



Michel Arnould and his strawberries.

Michel Arnould and his strawberries.

Domaine de la Fosse.

Domaine de la Fosse.


Caroline Arnould at her strawberry stand.

Caroline Arnould at her strawberry stand.


Once picked, it’s best to consume them within 24 hours. So this is when my story really starts.

As my eyes are bigger than my stomach, I went back home with a full crate.  We munched on them as we went home, then the kids  had them for their goûter snack after school.  So many strawberries, so little time.  I love classic strawberry tarts, and recently made little dome tartlets, so I wanted something… more.  I always act upon desire, and I couldn’t resist the combination of cream and mascarpone to be involved.  As we live in Médoc, red wine was a must.  My husband Oddur requested strawberries and red wine, and I added the bed of chantilly and mascarpone vanilla cream.  As we tasted them, it felt like falling in love all over again.  Then I made the iconic mille feuille, something I can never resist in any pâtisseries, especially the ones at Stohrer in Paris.  I enjoyed piping little miniature domes between the strawberries to create my very own thousand sheets of happiness.  And for the last one (always the best for last), I just wanted to share my favourite strawberry recipe ever.  Because my palate has never forgotten that pistachio and strawberries are the best of friends.

For those who are interested, the Arnould have charming little ‘gîtes’ at Domaine de la Fosse (fully equipped holiday home).  Can you imagine staying there during strawberry picking season?


Strawberry mille feuille
(serves 6)

230 g/ 1/2 pound strawberries
250-300 g/ 9-10 ounces ready rolled puff pastry
120 ml whipping cream
80 ml mascarpone
1 & 1/2 tbsp rose water
Icing sugar, for dusting
2 vanilla pods (cut a slit on the entire length and scrape off the beans with the tip of your knife)

Preheat oven to 200°C/ 400F

For the pastry sheets:
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Roll pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface – it should be as fine as possible.  With a pastry cutter, cut out 3 identical rectangular sheets (3 per cake – 10 cm length/ 5 cm width approx.).  Place the pastry on the lined tray. Sprinkle pastry with icing sugar (generously).  Bake for 6 minutes, take pastry out and dust them again with icing sugar.  Return to oven and bake for a further 6 minutes, or until golden and glazed. With a large knife, trim the edges of the pastry. Set aside and leave to cool completely.

For the cream:
120 ml/ 1/2 cup cream (for whipping)
80 ml/ 1/3 cup mascarpone
1 & 1/2 tbsp rose water
2 vanilla pods (cut a slit on the entire length and scrape off the beans with the tip of your knife)
2-3 tbsp icing sugar (sifted)

Mix all the ingredients (cream, mascarpone, vanilla beans, rose water and sugar) together and whisk for 4-5 minutes until stiff.

Caroline & Michel Arnould from Domaine de la Fosse

Caroline & Michel Arnould from Domaine de la Fosse

Pipe little domes of cream mixture on the pastry, and put the strawberries (if they are large cut in half or quarter) between the cream.  Place another sheet of pastry on top and repeat steps.  Sprinkle top layer of pastry with icing sugar.


Strawberries in wine with mascarpone cream
(serves 6)

350 g-400 g/ 3/4 – 1 pound strawberries

Slice strawberries in half or quarter depending on size.  In a large bowl, pour 250 ml/ 1 cup red wine and add strawberries.  Sprinkle sugar (50 g/ 1/4 cup) and stir. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.


For the cream:
180 ml/ 3/4 cup cream (for whipping)
120 ml/ 1/2 cup mascarpone
2 vanilla pods (cut a slit on the entire length and scrape off the beans with the tip of your knife)
2-3 tbsp icing sugar (sifted)

Mix all the ingredients (cream, mascarpone, vanilla beans and sugar) together and whisk for 4-5 minutes until stiff.


To serve:
Place a generous amount of cream mixture into dessert bowls or ramequins.  Add the strawberries and wine sauce on top, according to taste.


Meringue with strawberries and pistachio sabayon
(serves 4)

300 g strawberries
2 egg whites
130 g/ 2/3 cup sugar
A few drops of fresh lemon juice
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 120°C/ 248 F

For the meringues:
In a large glass bowl (make sure it’s grease-free), whisk egg white gradually from medium to high-speed.  When the mixture gets frothy, add a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice.  Incorporate sugar slowly until you get stiff peaks.  Prepare a parchment paper lined baking tray.  You can either spoon little meringues onto the tray (swirl the spoon to shape), or use a piping bag with a round tip if you want smoother meringues (see photos) with a nice little peak.  Bake in oven for 50 minutes (I used the lower heat of the oven only).  Set aside to cool on a pastry rack.

For the pistachio sabayon:
3 egg yolks
60 g/ 1/3 cup sugar
3-4 tbsp Marsala wine
1 tbsp pistachio paste (more or less according to taste)
Whisk all the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl, except the pistachio paste, until smooth.  Whisk over a double boiler, add the pistachio paste, and continue whisking until thickened. Serve within 15 minutes.

For the whipped cream:
150ml whipping cream
In a large bowl, whip cream with electric whisks until stiff. I don’t add sugar because I find the meringues have all the sweetness I need.

To assemble:
Place meringue on a serving plate, gently tap the top with a small spoon.  Spoon whipped cream on top, place strawberries (sliced or not, depending on size) and drizzle pistachio sabayon according to taste.