Strawberries Flambe with Cognac and a Strawberry Granita

posted: 06/30/10

Take Home Chef, Episode 37: Anastasia's Menu



  • 1 pound/450 g fresh ripe strawberries, washed and stemmed
  • 1/2 cup/105 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100 ml water
  • Juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons/35 ml)
  • 1/2 cup/125 g golden brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds/675 g fresh ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed & cut in half
  • 1/3 cup/80 ml Cognac
  • 4 sprigs fresh spearmint


  1. Puree the strawberries, sugar, water and lemon juice together in a blender until smooth. Strain the strawberry puree into an 8-inch/20-cm-square cake pan or baking dish. Freeze until the puree is icy around the edges, about 1 hour. Using a large fork, stir the icy parts of the puree into the middle of the pan.
  2. Continue to freeze until the mixture is frozen, stirring the edges into the center every 20 to 30 minutes, about 1 1/2 hours. Using a large fork, scrape the granita into flaky crystals. Cover and keep frozen.
  3. Place a heavy large saut? pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and let it cook for 2 minutes without stirring or until the sugar begins to dissolve. Stir the sugar until it becomes a caramel-like sauce (approximately 2 minutes).
  4. Add the strawberries and toss to coat. The sugar will harden at this point but will dissolve after the cognac is added and the sauce simmers. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac. Allow the pan to cool for 2 minutes.
  5. Set the pan over medium heat, being careful not to ignite the contents in the pan. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens slightly ensuring the berries still hold their shape and do not become mushy, stir hardened sugar pieces to help dissolve.
  6. Spoon the warm strawberries and sauce into cocktail glasses or serving dishes. Place a scoop of strawberry granita atop the strawberries. You will have some granita leftover for another use. Garnish with mint and serve instantly.
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