Posted by: Dawn on: July 3, 2012
Until I typed up the recipe for this one, I had absolutely no idea what it was. For some reason, when I saw “Gourmet Delights” my brain went to “Turkish delight” and I was expecting to make some sort of Chuckles-like candy. (Do they even make Chuckles anymore? I’m guessing no, since I can’t recall seeing them anywhere in recent memory, although in theory you can purchase them from that link.) (Better questions: Does anyone except me remember them? Did anyone outside of my dad and me actually eat them on purpose?)
However, these are not little gelatinous gumdrop relatives. Rather, these are like the most perfect strawberry shortcakes ever. (Not to be confused with strawberry shortcake on steroids.) Unlike the fraisier, these were ridiculously simple. They’re just choux pastry (or eclair pastry) with some almonds baked on, sliced in half, and then layered with vanilla pastry cream, sliced strawberries, and a generous amount of whipped cream.
Stupidly simple in concept. But brilliantly amazing in execution, especially when you consider that every bit of it (except the strawberries) was handmade. Sure, I could do pretty much the same thing with store-bought pastries, instant vanilla pudding and Cool Whip, but it wouldn’t be the same.
Compared to some of the other recipes I’ve tackled, baking up the pastry and cooking the cream were pretty low-effort things that could easily be done a few days in advance (and, in fact, that’s exactly what I did). When I was ready to assemble them, I just sliced up the strawberries and whipped up the cream and put them together. Less than 2 hours of active work total, and easily worth every minute.
If I ever get my hands on fresh, local, heirloom varieties of strawberries again? I’m going to turn out batches of these. You can count on it.