Cooking

Legends of the Faloodeh

Take strawberries beyond shortcake with this chilled Iranian dessert
Photos: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table
Strawberries

Every year, more than 60,000 pounds of strawberries are served—bathed in double cream, no less—at The Championships, Wimbledon.

It's not that the fruit has a specific tie to the game per se—if anything, tennis whites and bursting-with-juice berries sound like kind of a bad combo to us. The dessert has been a British tradition since the late 1800s because both fresh strawberries and lawn tennis signify the start of summertime. (The tournament plows through 230,000 Pimm's Cups, too, but we won't go there today.)

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We'll take the first sign of strawberries at the market as the sign of warmer, better things ahead. There is, indeed, something intoxicating about an in-season strawberry: redder, softer-fleshed, more fragrant and more flavorful than their year-round brethren, which are often mealier and tasteless. The ones we're seeing now are almost candy-sweet, with the slightest bite of round acid.

There are countless classic ways to serve a ripe berry: stacked atop buttery biscuits in a shortcake, baked into a pie, cooked down into preserves and served unadorned alongside a glass of bubbly. But to celebrate this year's crop, we're giving them the cold shoulder, so to speak, serving the berries in a traditional Iranian dessert called faloodeh (see the recipe).

Faloodeh is often made with nothing more than vermicelli rice noodles chilled with a water, sugar and rose water base. Sometimes it's served with sour cherry syrup and a squeeze of lime; we soaked strawberries in lime juice and sugar to get them to soften and macerate even more, then added some of that sweet-tart liquid to the faloodeh base to chill.

We kept the lime squeeze at the end, and added a handful of crushed pistachios for crunch. Cool and decidedly floral—with a more interesting texture than sorbet, thanks to those vermicelli—we think it's aces.

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