Holiday parties are always a bit of a mad dash, aren’t they? Sometimes I’m a big fan of over-the-top, elegant desserts, but at a certain point in the holiday season I just want to keep things as simple as possible. And there’s nothing wrong with that; the holidays are about celebrating time with our loved ones and being thankful for what we have. Not rushing around the kitchen too busy for a proper visit (well, unless that’s the goal, but we won’t go there). These stuffed strawberries are perfect for the holiday season because they don’t take much work, can be prepared in advance, and they aren’t overly filling.
I can never resist an opportunity to use real vanilla beans, but you can absolutely use extract in this recipe if that’s what you have. No need to run out and buy extra ingredients. They do add that extra special something, though. I’m biased.
If you want to serve the strawberries so that they stand up on their own, slice the very bottom tips off BEFORE you pipe in the filling. Trust me on this; I might be speaking from experience. You can use a piping bag and fancy tip, but you can also use a large plastic storage bag and snip off one of the corners with scissors.
- 1 vanilla bean (2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract may be substituted)
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, chilled
- ½ cup heavy cream, chilled
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 pound California Strawberries, hulled and cored
- optional: ¼ cup chopped candied nuts (I used this recipe)
- Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, then use the dull side of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Set aside. (Skip this step if using vanilla extract).
- Place the mascarpone cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on medium-low to loosen the mascarpone, then turn up the speed to medium. Slowly add in the vanilla seeds, the heavy cream, and the sugar, until evenly combined. This can also be done in a large bowl with a whisk. (Note: mascarpone cheese and heavy cream can separate if they're not combined at the same temperature. This is easy to fix; see notes).
- Transfer the mascarpone mixture into a piping bag or a large plastic storage bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe the mixture into the strawberries. If not serving immediately, place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Before serving, top with chopped candied nuts, if using.
If the mascarpone cheese and heavy cream happen to separate, it just means their temperatures weren't harmonious enough to combine evenly. The quickest way to fix this is to scoop 1-2 tablespoons into a small bowl, microwave for 10 seconds, and whisk back into the mixture. If necessary, repeat this process again until the ingredients come together. You can also whisk the entire mascarpone mixture briefly over a double boiler. Once it comes together, chill in the refrigerator to firm the cheese back up.
This post is sponsored by California Strawberries as part of their #StrawberryHolidays campaign. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Savory Simple!