Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup and Italian Sweet Cream

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Here’s an easy dessert for all you non-bakers out there. Impressive enough for company, easy enough for a mid-week after dinner sweet. and with strawberry season starting, frugal. (My favorite part!) I was inspired to make this from a recent visit to Henry’s Farmers Market where they kicked off strawberry season this week with a strawberry festival. They will be sampling strawberry-themed foods all week, so check it out if you have one near you.

Here is the recipe I used as my inspiration, found on Recipezaar. My changes are in red, to make it allergen-friendly for me and Bubba.


  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, plus
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided (2 tbsps granulated sugar, 2 tbsps powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chilled mascarpone cheese (I used Tofutti’s Better-Than-Cream-Cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream (canned coconut milk. Shake the can to combine the “cream” with the milk, then measure out the 1/2 c.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 pints strawberries, hulled, halved


  1. Combine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan,  stirring over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Boil until syrup is reduced to scant 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer to small bowl; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  4.  Combine mascarpone, cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar in medium bowl.
  5. Whisk until thick soft peaks form.
  6. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
  7. combine berries and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl; drizzle with balsamic syrup and toss to blend.
  8. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Divide berries and syrup among 6 dishes
  10. Top with mascarpone mixture.

If you wanna get fancy, you can garnish with a sprig of mint. Photo credit goes to and used with a Creative Commons License. I am apparently camera phone -to facebook- to laptop- illiterate and couldn’t upload my photos! This pic is beautiful and makes me want to eat this. Lovin’ the toasted slivered almonds on top, too. Would add a nice little crunch.

The SoCal FruGal