What is that bowlful of creamy, berry-liciousness pictured above? Why, that is a bowl of strawberry shortcake, minus the cake. So it's really just a bowl of strawberries and cream. Except it's not really cream, or at least not cow's cream. And those aren't really strawberries...no, I'm just kidding, those are really strawberries. I'm not that weird. (Yes, I am.)
I had some food allergy testing done recently (more about that some other day) and 2 of the food items I'm supposed to avoid for the next 6 months are dairy and wheat. That would pretty much eliminate the classic strawberry shortcake with berries, slice of poundcake and a big dollop of whipped cream. But I can't completely give up one of my favorite summer treats! There had to be a work-around.
I felt I could omit the "shortcake" for now (I will figure that one out later), but there was no way (NO WAY!) I was going to be able to give up the creamy contrast needed against the tart berries. So what to do?
Lucky for me I ran across this recipe from ohladycakes.com! It had the potential to solve my creamy-dilemma, but I was a little skeptical. How coco-nutty was it going to taste? Would it really be thick like heavy cream? Would it have a weird texture?
Here's the good news: it was the closest thing I have found to real cow's milk whipped cream without resorting to a can full of chemicals. The flavor is really very mild and only faintly tasting of coconut. The texture was fluffy, perhaps a smidge heavier than whipped dairy cream, but not in an unpleasing way. Occasionally I would bite down on a tiny thread of coconut, which didn't bother me.
And it really was easy to make, as long as you plan ahead. Here's the basic procedure:
Take a can of Thai Kitchen (yes, the brand matters) full fat coconut milk and put it in the refrigerator upside down overnight to allow the cream to harden and rise to the top (well, now it's the bottom) of the can. The next day flip the can right-side-up, open it and drain off all the liquid coconut water, reserving only the very thick, almost chunky coconut cream that has coagulated on the bottom. (Don't you hate the word "coagulated"?)
Whip the thick coconut cream into a frenzy until it loosens up and the gradually add some powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla. Whip it a few minutes longer to get it really creamy and lightened.
Then mound it on top of your bowlful of bright red berries that have been lightly drizzled with honey. Sprinkle a smidge of nutmeg on top and you have a gluten/dairy free dessert that anyone would love!
I'm watching my garden closely this week because I've got a ton of green tomatoes that are going to turn to red any day now. I'm so excited to have...I don't know... something with fresh homegrown tomatoes! Maybe a BLT? Or fresh salsa? Or just slices of tomato and fresh picked basil, drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.... oh yeah, it's going to be delicious.