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  • Strawberry Cream Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Syrup

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  • For the balsamic syrup:
    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    For the parfaits:
    2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish
    2 cups whipping cream
    8 ounces mascarpone cheese, chilled
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Fresh mint leaves, garnish
    Freshly grated lemon zest, garnish
    To make the syrup, combine the vinegar, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool completely. (Syrup may be made up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
    One hour before serving, combine the strawberries and balsamic syrup in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon black pepper and gently toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for one hour. Combine the whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until soft peaks form. (Cream may be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
    Assemble parfaits: Divide half the strawberries among 8 glasses or bowls. Spoon cream over strawberries to cover. Spoon remaining strawberries over cream. Top with a dollop of cream. Drizzle with any remaining syrup. To garnish, grind a little black pepper over cream and garnish with mint leaves and grated lemon zest.
    Makes 8 servings.
    — Food52.com
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