Strawberry “Air Cakes” with Vanilla Cream

Ingredients

FOR THE VANILLA CREAM

  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE CAKES
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled, rinsed and each cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks plus 7 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
  • 18 tablespoons flour (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • Small basil leaves, for garnish

Directions

For the vanilla cream: Beat the chilled heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer on medium speed, until frothy, then add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat to form soft peaks. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the cakes: Combine the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a mixing bowl, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 35 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes or so.

Combine the egg yolks and egg whites, oil, vanilla bean scrapings, flour and the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a blender; puree to form a smooth batter.

Pour into a fine-mesh strainer set over a large liquid measuring cup (with a spout), using a spatula to push the batter through. Discard any solids. Then pour into 0.5L dispenser (you may not use all the batter at once) and then insert 1 charger (use 2 if you use a 1L dispenser) . Shake the canister vigorously.

Use scissors or a sharp knife to make two small slits cut in the bottom of each microwave-safe cup.

Fill each cup (from the canister) about one-third full. Microwave, one cup at a time, on HIGH for 40 seconds; you’ll see the cakes puff up close to or above the rim. The cakes will fall slightly after you remove them from the microwave.

Invert each cup on a platter or clean workspace, to sit for 1 minute before removing each air cake from its cup (it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the edges first). Repeat with the remaining batter (you can reuse the cups), refilling the canister and using another charge if necessary.

Spoon over strawberries and finish with dollops or spooned portions of the vanilla cream. Garnish with the basil leaves.

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