It was a combination of inspirations, from the pink hue of The Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company’s Pink Lady gin, to the discussion about French Toast topped with rich and velvety Mascarpone cheese, plump fresh strawberries then lightly drizzled with honey…
Capturing all these flavours and showcasing the Pink Lady Gin was the challenge. I started off with a creamy ice-cream base and added the flavourings to make a delightful dessert. However, the summer weather beckoned for a refreshing chilled version, and of course something I would lick rather than delve into with a spoon and gusto.
My Strawberry & Rose syrup was the base for the floral Pink Lady gin and I added the sweet juicy nectarines to the mix and then added the Fitch & Leeds Pink Tonic to finish the “cocktail” – I then poured it into the moulds and let it set in the freezer (almost like a refreshing surprise at the end of a day).
This syrup can be used to sweeten and flavour drinks (think “gintails”), or drizzled over luxurious waffles topped with home-made vanilla ice-cream and dollops of mascarpone as the juices of sweet strawberries trickle down the sides of the waffle.
The essential step in the production of the syrup is the roasting of the strawberries, because this will intensify the natural sugars in the strawberries and they will be released to provide an intense jam-like flavour.
Strawberry & Rose Syrup
- 1 x 250g punnet strawberries, trimmed and hulled
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose water (best quality you can find!)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Place the strawberries into a large oven-proof tray and sprinkle the sugar over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fruit is just soft and has released lots of juice.
- Spoon the fruit into a muslin lined sieve over a large bowl and let it drip for about an hour. Pour the residual juices from the roasting pan into the bowl.
- Add the rose water to the collected syrup in the bowl. Mix and pour the syrup through a muslin lined funnel into a small covered jar or bottle with a lid.
- Store for up to one week in the fridge and use in cordials, cocktails and desserts. Especially for the festive season.
Also great for:
- Add a tablespoon of the syrup to the bottom of a champagne flute before topping with Stellenbosch Hills – Polkadraai Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé.
- A flavouring for delicate Panna Cotta.
- Flavouring for a summer cocktail with Vodka, Lemonade and fresh rose petals.
- Drizzle the syrup and some of the stewed strawberries over a stack of French Toast with macerated berries as a brunch treat.
- Add a little sweetness to your plain yoghurt and muesli with the strawberries and syrup.
- Topping of fridge cheesecake – with sugared rose petals.