Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Vanilla Cream Parfaits

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I almost can’t stand that strawberry season is on its way out. Strawberries have always, always been my favorite fruit (arguably my favorite food), so I look forward to the day that they show up and mourn their loss when they’re gone. I was the kid who ate the strawberries that everyone else was picking at the strawberry patch. Anyway, I’ve made strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry shortcakes, and strawberry ice cream. Not to mention all the times that I ate strawberries straight from the flat, standing over the sink with the water running and a paring knife in hand.

I think this is my last batch of strawberries. I’m glad to say that this dessert does strawberries justice. Because there’s not a lot going on, the berries can shine. And, to quote the donkey from Shrek (yes, really), “EVERYBODY loves parfaits!”

DSC_0345Recently, I’ve been seeing roasted strawberries everywhere. It seems like every blog that I read has had some spin on roasted strawberries this summer, and I just couldn’t resist anymore. I was mostly inspired by this recipe from Joy the Baker. She went the popsicle route (admirable, I must say), but I wanted something that would really show off the strawberries in a really simple way. Earlier in the summer, I opened a can of full fat coconut milk and spooned the cream off the top and onto individual strawberries (I’m ashamed to say it was for breakfast), so I guess that kind of inspired me, too.

DSC_0371To be honest, I don’t have very good directions for how to know when strawberries are done roasting. I think it’s best to watch them, and smell for them, and pay attention to when they start throwing off juice, and when that juice starts to bubble on the roasting pan. When they’re done, they’ll look a little limper than before, but not much. Your kitchen will smell kind of jammy, and the berries will be the perfect shade of red. Once they’ve cooled, been layered with the vanilla coconut cream and some toasted coconut, you’ll wonder why you’d do anything other than roast a strawberry.

DSC_0379Here’s the recipe: (makes two parfaits)

10 fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced in half
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 can of full fat coconut milk, left in the fridge overnight without being disturbed
splash of vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 c unsweetened shredded shredded coconut
2 sprigs mint

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prep the strawberries, then toss them with the 2 teaspoons of sugar and set them aside. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the shredded coconut for 3-5 minutes in the oven while its preheating. Transfer that to a bowl to cool. Next, pour the strawberries onto the same baking sheet. Roast them at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until they look done and smell a little like jam. Take them out and transfer them to a bowl to cool.

Open the can of coconut milk, trying not to tip it one way or the other. Scoop the cream that has separated from the water below into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a bowl). Note: I don’t know what to do with that leftover coconut water stuff, does anyone else? Then, mix the coconut milk, the 3 Tablespoons of sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean pulp until well combined and the cream has stiffened a little. Then, put the bowl of cream back into the fridge.

Using two drinking glasses, layer strawberries first, then coconut cream, then toasted coconut. I got two good layers in. Top with shredded coconut and a sprig of mint!

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