By Chef-Owner at Toqué!, Normand Laprise
When I first made it back in the 1980s, this dish was a revelation to me.
I was working in Quebec City at Le Marie-Clarisse, under the close watch of Chef Le Pluart, my early culinary mentor. He convinced me of the importance of always being open-minded in the kitchen. He also stressed seasonality, and encouraged flavour combinations of sweet and savoury. This dish embodies all that. The sweet strawberries and basil combine for a brightness and freshness that is still one of my favourite flavour combinations. It is also very simple to execute—and the idea lends itself to all sorts of successful variations. You can swap the basil for thyme, fresh sage or tarragon. And you can change the strawberries for raspberries. In fact nearly all combinations of fresh herbs and summer berries work beautifully, so make the most of it when they are in season!
– Normand Laprise
- 400 mL (about 1²⁄³ cups) whipping cream
- 600 mL (2½ cups) milk
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 12 egg yolks
- 200 g (7 oz or about 1 cup) granulated sugar
- 1.2 kg (about 2½ lb) fresh strawberries
Combine cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Reserve a handful of small basil leaves for garnish, and add the rest to the cream and milk mixture. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for five minutes. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk together vigorously until they lighten in colour—two to three minutes. Strain the basilinfused cream over the egg mixture, and whisk together over a pot of simmering water (in a double boiler) until it registers a temperature of 82°C (180°F) or thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a chinois (or any fine mesh sieve) into a clean bowl, cover and refrigerate —ideally, overnight.
To serve, reserve a handful of small strawberries. Hull the rest and, depending on their size, halve or quarter them. On each of six chilled soup bowls, combine 200 g (7 oz or about 1 cup) of strawberries and 150 mL (a generous half cup) of crème anglaise. Garnish with reserved whole strawberries and basil leaves. Serve at once.