Verrine – Luxury in a glass!
So first things first – what’s a verrine? Verrine is a French word , and means the small glass which the dish is served in, allowing the different layers to be seen. Honestly, I had never heard of a verrine till I saw a celebrity chef made one on a tv show. It was a layered dessert in a transparent glass that looked pretty posh and the celebrity chef created quite a fuss around it with fancy words. After the show, I learned more about it and discovered that this layered dish is actually quite easy to put together, forgiving and versatile, and that it is as much about the visual appeal as the tastes.
Verrines, parfaits & trifles :
Verrines celebrate flavours, colours and textures of food. So if verrines are also a layered dish, how are they different from parfaits and trifles? You can call them the grown up version of parfaits as they make great amuse bouche as they are essentially small servings. You can play around with a variety of ingredients, even make savoury verrines. Choose from mousses, cakes, fruits, sauces, yogurt, custard, cheeses, cookie crumbles to make your favourite combinations. Parfaits are also layered, but desserts in tall glasses with many layers, one of which mostly include frozen treats as well. To my understanding the difference is mainly in the size of serving. The classic British Trifle has more definite components – a custard and/or cream, cake doused with alcohol or fruit juice and layers of fruits. It’s a big dessert made in a large bowl, served at the end of a heavy meal.
My Strawberry & Rose Verrine:
I’ve experimented with many sweet and savoury ingredients for this elegant dish. But I’m obsessed with the strawberry and rose water combination right now. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. This quote from Michael Gurian sums up my desire to include and pair together these two ingredients more in our spring/summer routine. “As our lives speed up more and more, so do our children’s. We forget and thus they forget that there is nothing more important than the present moment. We forget and thus they forget to relax, to find spiritual solitude, to let go of the past, to quiet ambition, to fully enjoy the eating of a strawberry, the scent of a rose, the touch of a hand on a cheek.” The sweetness of strawberries, the cool fragrance of rose water, paired with the tangy creaminess of yogurt has me coming back for more.
Enter the Rose!
.Do you use flowers in your food? They have long held a place in the Middle Eastern kitchen. The aromatic blossoms offer cooks a way to give dishes elegance and a clarifying lift. That’s why you’ll often see rose water added to rich and sweet dishes to take away the heaviness. Rose water is flavoured water with the distilled essence of rose petals. Some trivia – Muslim chemists first figured out how to distill rose petals for their essence in the 10th century. Back then, they used it as a hand sanitizer for it’s antibacterial properties. You’ll find it as an essential part of Baklava, Turkish Delight and Persian Rice Puddings. It rounds off the more intense savoury spices, like saffron, in Biryanis. The rose water isn’t overpowering in this verrine. It helps enhance the strawberry flavour and adds a fuller sensory experience.
Make Your Own Fruit Jelly from Scratch:
- You can make a cheat’s version and cut short time and effort by using powdered jelly packets that are easily available everywhere.
- If making jello from scratch strain the pureed strawberries to get clear jello or you can use store-bought strawberry juice. in that case skip the sugar while making jello.
- Soak strawberry slices in rose water briefly for an enhanced rose flavour.
- If you don’t have special verrine glasses, choose the smallest glasses that you have or fill medium sized glasses only half way.
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Ingredients for Strawberry & Rose Verrine:
3 Digestive biscuits/ Graham crackers or any sturdy biscuits
1/2 cup Greek/ thick yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon rose water
1/2 tablespoon gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 cup strawberry pureed
2 tablespoons castor sugar
fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
This Is What You Do:
First mix the gelatin and 2 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and put aside.
Now add sugar and strawberry puree to it, bring to a boil.
Remove from heatand allow to cool.
In the meantime, start layering the other ingredients in verrine glasses. Coarsely crush the biscuits (you can also add some crushed nuts for extra crunch).
After that, slice the strawberries (save 2-3 whole for decorating at the top).
Then stir rose water into the yogurt.
Finally, when the jelly sets, begin to spoon in your layers. First divide the crushed biscuits into two verrine glasses. Then neatly place strawberry slices over the biscuit layer. Next the rose water flavoured yogurt will go in. Drizzle some honey over it for mild sweetness. Lastly, slide the beautiful strawberry jelly into the glasses. I cut two neat rounds using the same size glass rim so that the rounds would fit in at the top perfectly.
In the end, decorate your glasses with whole strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
Keep them refrigerated till served.
Makes 2 servings.