, , , , , , ,

From ”The French Laundry Cookbook,” by Thomas Keller.

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Cook Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Cook Time: ~ 1 day 2 hours
Yield: 12 servings

Strawberry Layers:
2 pints (1-1/2 pounds) strawberries, preferably organically grown
2 to 4 tablespoons superfine sugar
3-1/2 gelatin sheets, soaked in cold water to soften
3 tablespoons Champagne
Pinch of kosher salt

Champagne Layers:
1-1/4 cups Champagne
3 gelatin sheets, soaked in cold water to soften
3-1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/3 cup creme fraiche, whipped
Small mint leaves

1) For the Strawberry Layers: Refrigerate a few strawberries for the garnish. Hull the remaining berries and let sit at room temperature overnight to dry them slightly and intensify the flavor.

2) The following day, puree the strawberries and strain through a chinois (or sieve lined with three layers of cheesecloth), using a small ladle to push the puree through the strainer. Measure out 1-1/4 cups puree. Add sugar to taste; the puree should be on the sweet side, but the amount of sugar needed will vary according to the quality of the strawberries.

3) Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and place the sheets in a small saucepan with the 3 tablespoons of Champagne. Warm gently, stirring to dissolve the gelatin. Mix it into the puree. Add the salt.

4) Place 6 tablespoons of the strawberry puree in the bottom of a small metal bread pan or mold about 6 inches by 3 inches, with a 2-cup capacity (choose a pan with the straightest sides to keep the layers the same thickness; if your pan flares at the top, use a little extra for each layer as necessary to compensate, keeping the layers the same thickness). Allow the puree to level out and fill the bottom of the mold evenly. Refrigerate the mold to allow the puree to set.

5) For the Champagne layers: While the first layer sets, boil the remaining Champagne for a minute to remove the alcohol, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Measure out 1 cup of the Champagne (discard the rest). Wring out the gelatin sheets and place them in a bowl. Stir the hot Champagne into the gelatin, then stir in the sugar to dissolve. Let the Champagne mixture cool to room temperature.

6) When the strawberry layer is set, top it with 6 tablespoons of the Champagne mixture and refrigerate until set. Continue the layering process until you have three layers of the strawberry and two of the Champagne. If you used a straight-sided pan, there will be a little extra of each mixture. Should either of the mixtures set up before you are finished, gently heat them over a saucepan of warm water just until they soften.

7) To complete: Using a No. 12 melon baller, cut small parisienne balls from the reserved strawberries for garnish.

8) Quickly dip the mold into hot water to loosen the terrine. Unmold onto a cutting surface. Using a hot knife (dipped in hot water and wiped between each slice), cut the terrine into 1/2-inch slices and place in the serving dishes. Garnish each with a few strawberry balls; a quenelle, or small oval scoop, of whipped creme fraiche; and some mint leaves.