Strawberry and crème fraîche parfait with rapadura sugar
While living in Honduras, I often traveled by car from my hometown city San Pedro Sula to the capital city Tegucigalpa. Since the trip was exhausting, we used to stop for breakfast in Siguatepeque, a city along the highway about halfway between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
During the journey, we would also take advantage to buy from street vendors coming from the Honduran countryside, who stood along the highway offering their fresh produce such as bananas of any kind, mouth-watering pineapples, papayas, honey, and other kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables. However, I mostly yearned to buy rapadura sugar, which brings me back nostalgic memories from my home country.
Rapadura is an unrefined sugar, characterized for its beautiful golden brown color. Made from organically grown sugar cane, rapadura is precious for its unique caramel flavor. It is a typical product used in many Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. In our country, street vendors offer rapadura sugar wrapped in corn husks and it usually comes in a solid circular flat shape, but you can also find it in cubic shapes in local markets. In Honduran gastronomy, rapadura is widely used for preparing desserts, and perfectly replaces refined white sugar in any recipe: simply substitute 1 cup of rapadura for 1 cup white sugar.
Since it never crossed my mind that I would ever find rapadura in Italy, I was totally amazed when I discovered that the organic store near home had in stock several brands (mostly from Brazil) of rapadura!!!! Besides getting my beloved rapadura, I grabbed some fresh strawberries, crème fraîche and headed home to prepare a dessert.
- 2 cups of strawberries
- 300 grams of crème fraîche
- 2 eggs (whites and yolks separated)
- 4 – 5 tablespoons of rapadura sugar (I used rapadura pebbles but you can also use granulated rapadura)
- 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
- 3 – 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons of white sugar (for preparing strawberries)
- about 6-8 mint leaves
- some small mint sprigs for garnish
Preparation of parfaits:
Beat eggs whites until stiff.
In a saucepan, over low heat, add butter until melted. Carefully add rapadura pebbles and let it melt with butter. Using the back of a spoon, you can gently crush rapadura pebbles to speed up the melting process. Let it cool.
Fold rapadura and butter mixture into egg yolks until combined.
Fold egg yolk, rapadura and butter mixture into egg whites until combined.
Spoon the mixture into 4-5 cups of about 125 ml capacity ( I used porcelain souffle cups). Chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours, or until solid.
Remove the crème fraîche parfait from the freezer and dip the cups into hot water to loosen the parfait from the cups. Run a knife around each parfait cup, then transfer to a plate to serve.
The parfait placed on the plate.
Preparation of strawberry sauce:
Add lemon juice and white sugar to diced strawberries.
Add minced mint to strawberries and combine well. Let stand for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
For plating, carefully arrange strawberries on top of the parfait. Before placing strawberries, drain excess juices to prevent drippings onto the plate. Place two small mint sprigs on both sides of the parfait. Sprinkle with crushed rapadura sugar.
Serves 4 – 5