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
about 1 1/2 cups (450g)
(900g) fresh, ripe strawberries
to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100g to 125g) sugar, depending on the strawberries’ sweetness
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.