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  • Written by Madelaine Bullwinkel

Strawberry Basil Verrine


Ingredients for 4 servings:


1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 pound fresh strawberries

1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar



Combine water, sugar, zest and lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to 1/4 cup.  Cool.

Rinse, pat dry, hull and dice the berries.

Toss berries with syrup.


  • Spoon a thin layer of balsamic vinegar on the bottom of each verrine.
  • Toss the strawberries with the reserved syrup and 1/4 of the basil.  among the containers.
  • Cover the berries with remaining basil.

  • Written by Madelaine Bullwinkel

Layered Winter Fruit Compote




Prune Layer:

3 cups water

1 cup sugar

Strips from 1 organic orange

1 pound pitted prunes

Dried Apricot Layer:

3 cups water

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 lemon, sliced

1 pound dried apricot halves

Pineapple layer

3 cups water

2 cups sugar

½ vanilla bean, split

1-1/2 pounds fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1” chunks



Sugar Syrups for dried fruits::

The night before bring the sugar and water to a simmer for the dried fruits in separate pans, stirring to assure that the sugar is fully dissolved.  Add the seasonings for each syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.


Dried Fruit Layers:

Add the dried prunes and apricots to their respective syrups and allow them to steep over night.  The next day bring the syrup with fruit to a simmer.  Stew the fruit slowly until tender.  Cool the fruit in the syrup, drain off excess liquid and place the prunes on the bottom of a large glass bowl.  Place the layer of cooked, cooled, drained apricots on top.


Pineapple Layer:

Make a sugar syrup as described above.  Add the fresh pineapple pieces and poach slowly until they are tender.  Strain and place on top of the apricot layer.  Reserve the syrup.



Advance Planning:

This layered compote can be covered and refrigerated at least a day, or several days before serving cold with breakfast or brunch.

  • Written by Madelaine Bullwinkel

Fresh Orange Slices with Moroccan Spices




10 large navel oranges

2 tablespoons orange flower water

1 tablespoon sugar

6 sprigs fresh mint,

1/2 pound pitted dates

Pinches of ras el hanout:

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Confectioners' sugar



Peel and section the oranges squeezing any juices over the pieces in a bowl.  Stir in the orange flower water and sugar.  Cover and refrigerate this mixture for an hour.


Ras el hanout: Combine the spices and shake well to mix.  Keep tightly sealed in a container.


Just before serving shred the mint leaves, chop up the dates.  Mound the oranges on a platter.  Scatter on mint leaves and dates.  Add pinches of the ras el hanout spices and sprinkle on confectioners sugar.

  • Written by Madelaine Bullwinkel

Strawberries Sauteed with Peppercorns



Ingredients 6-8 persons:

2 pounds fresh strawberries

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of ½ lemon

1/3 cup Grand Marnier

1 teaspoon green peppercorns

½ teaspoon black peppercorns, finely crushed

8 sprigs fresh mint



Rinse and hull the strawberries.  Cut larger ones in half, so they are all about the same size.  Reserve.


Heat the butter and sugar together in your biggest skillet until the sugar begins to brown.  Add the orange and lemon juice and stir to blend.  When the liquid boils again, add the strawberries.  Keep the strawberries moving in the skillet so they cook quickly.  When they begin to soften, add the Grand Marnier and flame it in the pan.  Finally, stir in the peppercorns.


Divide the berries among 6 to 8 soup bowls.  Spoon on the sauce and garnish with a sprig of mint.

  • Written by Madelaine Bullwinkel

Pineapple Tart in a Phyllo Crust



Ingredients for an 11" tart shell:


4 sheets phyllo dough

butter-flavored vegetable oil

3 biscotti, gingersnaps or graham crackers, finely crushed


1 pineapple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 - 2" piece vanilla bean




Crust:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Separate 4 sheets of phyllo, wrapping the remaining sheets,  quickly, air-tight, then refrigerating.


Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the tart shell.  Press one of the phyllo sheets into the pan and up the sides allowing excess overhang of 1".  Spray the bottom of the sheet and sprinkle on one of the crushed cookies.  Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets ending with a buttered sheet.


Trim the excess overhang of phyllo to within 2" of the rim.  If the dough has dried to the point where it is brittle, mist the the overhanging portion top and bottom.  Roll up the layers of overhang to from the vertical sides of the tart.  Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a rack.


Poaching pineapple:  Bring the water and sugar to a simmer in a large skillet. Slit one side of the vanilla bean so the seeds are exposed.  Add it to the syrup with the pineapple slices.  Simmer slowly until the pineapple is translucent and the liquid is greatly reduced.  Let fruit cool in the pan.


Serving:  Unmold the cooled shell onto a serving platter.  Spoon the cool pineapple slices in overlapping concentric circles in the shell.  Drizzle on any remaining juices.  Serve at room temperature.


Yield: 8 servings