Michelle Polzine’s Slow-Roasted Strawberries

April 24, 2018


Author Notes: Strawberries’ delicacy makes them especially good candidates for very, very slow roasting, as pastry chef Michelle Polzine does at 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco. All that excess water gets the chance to escape slowly without steaming its neighbors disruptively, and the berries’ sweetness concentrates to a wild, exponential degree. Polzine roasts whole flats of strawberries at once, then uses them everywhere—on top of custards and ice creams, in strudel with rhubarb, in a crostata on their own. They’re particularly handy mixed into ice cream or frozen yogurt—because of their high sugar and low water content, they stay soft, not icy. They also preserve well, can be frozen, and keep for months in the refrigerator. Recipe adapted slightly from the forthcoming Genius Desserts (Ten Speed Press, September 2018) and pictured here (and delicious) on Maialino's Olive Oil Cake.Genius Recipes

Makes: about 1 1/2 cups (450g)
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 6 hrs

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (900g) fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100g to 125g) sugar, depending on the strawberries’ sweetness
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 250° F (120° C). Rinse and hull the berries. Leave any tiny ones whole and quarter or halve the rest so they all cook at about the same rate.
  2. In a nonreactive baking pan that will hold the strawberries closely packed in a single layer, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar, then spread in an even layer.
  3. Roast slowly in the oven, uncovered, for 3 to 6 hours, shaking occasionally but not stirring. If they start to look dry on top, gently flip them over with a wide spatula.
  4. They are done when their juices have reduced to a syrup, but not darkened into caramel, and the berries are very jammy but not dry. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Reviews (23) Questions (0)

23 Reviews

babswool August 7, 2018
I am always depressed when strawberry season ends. I roasted three quarts of strawberries toward the end of the season and refrigerated some and froze some. The refrigerated ones lasted at least a month until they were all gone and the frozen ones are easy to defrost. I froze them flat in small batches in zip lock bags. They are amazing on ice cream - more intense flavor but not freeze dried hard. Love this recipe!
 
kerry.mossler August 7, 2018
This is genius. Roasting the strawberries makes them so flavorful-perfect on granola or yogurt. (or ice cream). Great to do with those strawberries that are starting to look puny.
 
Andrea D. July 18, 2018
Has anyone tried this with cherries? I overbought when they were on sale for 99 cents a pound. I've already pitted and froze some, but have another big ol' bag sitting on the counter, saying, "Well?"
 
Brenda S. July 18, 2018
Wish I could get on sale for that price - best I can do here is $1.77. And the answer is they are delicious roasted. I've also frozen AFTER roasting with good results - great quick impromptu dessert.
 
Monica B. August 1, 2018
I had some frozen pitted cherries (kids went to town at the u-pick place and spent about $40!) that I meant to roast for an hour (using a similar recipe above) but I forgot about them so they got 2 hours. They came out like dried/candied cherries and were incredible. I would definitely try this technique.
 
RALPH M. June 26, 2018
Please toss you old metal strawberry huller and replace it with one thick diameter platic straw (where available under current law!)<br />Hold strawberry between thumb and forefinger. Slowly but firmly push the plastic straw through the very bottom of the berry and aim to exit int the very heart of the green top.<br />With about two or three tries, you will be a pro and your strawberries will be cleaned of the white spine and green tops cleanly and almost effortlessly!<br /><br />Please use this power only for Good.<br />
 
Joan M. June 14, 2018
I made the olive oil cake and it was divine. The strawberries ---- after two and a half hours in the slow oven, they were hard as rocks and beyond repair. What went wrong? I used 6 cups and the prescribed sugar, I flipped them a couple of times, gently. At about an hour they looked good but after longer, they were goners. I ended up just drizzling sugar over fresh strawberries and letting them macerate. However, I would love to know what went wrong. I may try them again. I cook and bake A LOT so this has me stumped.
 
babswool August 7, 2018
Could it have been the temp of your oven. I watched mine after about 1 to 1 1/2 hours and when the juice in the pan started to get jam-like I took them out. My code when cooking is use the time only as a guide but watch for the end result you want then decide when they are done regardless of length of time in the oven. Don't hesitate to try again.
 
Joan M. August 7, 2018
Thanks, babswool. I will try it again. I'm just surprised no one else mentioned having to do a lot less time. I use a convection oven so do always bake shorter times than normal. I should have taken them out when they still looked juicy.
 
Nancy S. May 4, 2018
Delicious! Any idea how long these will keep safely in the refrigerator?
 
Kristen M. May 5, 2018
Because of all the sugar, Michelle told me they keep for months in the fridge (similar to refrigerator jams)—you will surely eat them before that!
 
Renee April 28, 2018
I just made a double batch of these. Rather, I had 1600 grams, so I put them in 2 half sheet pans that I lined with parchment. Used 1/2 c. sugar in each pan. They took 3 hours. Oh. My. Goodness!!! These are unbelievable. The flavor is so bright and intense. I also made the olive oil cake. I've made it many times. It's one of my favorites. I'm going to serve the strawberries with the cake and add the rest to a batch of creme fraiche ice cream I'm getting ready to make. This is indeed a "genius" recipe. I live in South Florida and the low temperature of the oven didn't heat up my kitchen at all. I will be making these regularly. Thank you!
 
Brenda S. April 27, 2018
I've used this technique with grocery store strawberries to get a decent result from so-so quality fruit. I can only imagine how amazing this would be with in-season native berries....I don't know that I'd share with anyone :-]
 
FrugalCat April 27, 2018
Back in the 90's there were U-Pik fields of strawberries in the outskirts of Miami. Tomatoes too. Not sure if I would make this recipe now due to the expense, plus having my oven on for 6 hours in Miami is a horrifying idea.
 
E B. April 26, 2018
Would this work just as well with rhubarb? Thanks.
 
Kristen M. April 26, 2018
Haven't tried it but sounds like it could be a-ma-zing.
 
Stefanie B. April 25, 2018
Can we get a ballpark time on "done"? Slow roasted for an hour, two, twelve?
 
Kristen M. April 25, 2018
Stefanie, sorry about that—the recipes is updated, and please see my comment to Beth & Elijah below.
 
Stefanie B. April 25, 2018
Thank you! Looks like a wonderful way to enjoy strawberries.
 
Kristen M. April 25, 2018
It really is! It's strawberries at their strawberriest.
 
Beth G. April 25, 2018
Hi! Can't wait to try these strawberries, but other than "very, very slow roasting" can you give a time estimate for cooking?
 
Elijah I. April 25, 2018
Following :)<br />
 
Kristen M. April 25, 2018
Apologies! One of the steps had gone MIA. It's there now: Roast slowly in the oven, uncovered, for 3 to 6 hours, shaking occasionally but not stirring. If they start to look dry on top, gently flip them over with a wide spatula.<br />