The picture above sums up how everyone was feeling once we got to the dessert course. We decided that the next year it would be much smaller portions. But, we persevered and moved on to the final course. The desserts had to use strawberries and once again had to feature the “secret” ingredient which was no longer a secret. You may remember that Jon’s secret ingredient was bacon so everyone was a little concerned how this would work in the strawberry dessert.
Jon served a Bacon Wrapped Strawberry dipped in Peanut Butter Chocolate (recipe below)
Once again Jon forgot to work on his presentation ahead of time….
Everyone agreed they were really tasty! What is not to like? Strawberries? Good! Bacon? Good! Chocolate and peanut butter? Good!!
I made a Chilled Strawberry Bisque (recipe below) and a Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly Bar
Julie made an outstanding Coconut Chocolate Cake with Sugared Strawberries (recipe below)
The Perfect Pairing for the strawberry dessert course was by Julie. It was a strong coffee flavored with coconut rum. It was amazing with her cake! Check back for the results!
Bacon Wrapped Strawberries dipped in Peanut Butter Chocolate
Jon Rodgers, Perfecting the Pairing
· 15-20 large fresh strawberries
· 1 bag milk chocolate chips
· 1 cup peanut butter
· 1 package thick cut bacon
Wrap each individual strawberry with half a piece of bacon. Use a toothpick to secure. Once all strawberries have been wrapped, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 150 just to cook bacon slightly.
While bacon wrapped strawberries are in the oven, prepare the chocolate dipping sauce. Melt 1 bag of milk chocolate chips with 1 cup of peanut butter (more if you prefer them extra peanut buttery).
Remove strawberries from oven. Dip each into the chocolate peanut butter mixture. Place onto large plate or cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Once all have been chocolate dipped, put sheet in the refrigerator. Leave for 30 minutes. Take out and enjoy!
Chilled Strawberry Bisque
Lindsay, Perfecting the Pairing
· 2 c. strawberries
· ¼ c. sugar or Splenda
· 1 c. sour cream
· 8 oz whipped topping
· ¾ c. skim milk
Blend the strawberries and half the sugar in the blender. Whisk other ingredients and then add in the berry mixture. Serve chilled.
Coconut Chocolate Cake with Sugared Strawberries
Julie Jacobson, Perfecting the Pairing
· Butter for greasing the pans
· 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
· 2 cups sugar
· ¾ cups cocoa powder
· 2 t baking soda
· 1 t baking powder
· 1 t kosher salt
· 1 cup buttermilk
· ½ cup vegetable oil
· 2 large eggs, at room temperature
· 1 t pure vanilla
· 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
· 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
· ½ lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
· ¾ t pure vanilla extract
· ¼ t pure almond extract
· 1 lb confectioners’ sugar
· 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
· 1 quart of strawberries, sliced
· Sugar, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth(don’t whip).
To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.
Cut strawberries and sugar lightly in a bowl to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve alongside the cake. Partially slice one strawberry from tip to stem and fan. Place top center for a decorative touch.