Contigo oh how I love you. How can one not love a gorgeous little
space filled with adorable Spanish servers who claim that the pork belly
bocadillos changed their lives? How could a person resist sitting on a warm patio surrounded
by a fresh herb garden while eating some of the most amazing flavor combinations in the city. And really…. is there a single individual that can
resist fingerling potato chips? I didn’t think so.
My dining cohort Bibi and I were a little unsure what to expect. We had both heard great things about Contigo and judging by the line out the door at 5:30 on a Wednesday... so had many others. We were a little overwhelmed by the menu. We wanted one of everything, so we relied on our server for our selections, including wine, and each was exactly what we were looking for. It turned out to be one of the most casual, completely fulfilling, and utterly joyous eating experiences I've had in a long time.
This is a recipe with a fun, festive, yet slightly tragic
beginning. The fun, festive part? It is derived from beignets and was made for
a birthday party. The slightly tragic part? They’re baked. The birthday gal
loves beignets, but due to doctors orders, can’t eat fried foods. Tragic no?
experimented with beignet dough and plain pate au choux until I came up with
something that was light, fluffy, and sturdy but still puffy on the inside.
While a single puff would be just fine with a dusting of powdered sugar and a
cup of coffee, it was a birthday party so I happened to pile these up in a
mound and cover with a strawberry glaze. All I have to say is that topped by fresh,
organic strawberries and served with vanilla gelato, this made for one hell of
a strawberry shortcake!
Could this be made with ‘real’ beignets? Of course, and more
power to you if you do! But if you are another tragic soul for whom fried foods
is verboten, then give this a shot. I promise you won’t miss the fry.
Baked Beignet Strawberry Shortcake
1 cup water
1 ½ sticks salted butter
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
Preheat over to 400*. Line two cookie sheets with parchment
paper. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add butter and simmer until
melted. Remove from heat. Add flour by ¼ cups and stir well until combined. Add
eggs one at a time, beating hard with a spoon or thick whisk, until each is
incorporated into the dough. Drop dough by tablespoons full onto pans and bake
for 30 minutes or until puffs are golden.
½ lb fresh strawberries
½ cup granulated sugar
½ lb powdered sugar
¼ cup cream
Chop the strawberries into small pieces and sprinkle the
granulated sugar over the top. Allow to macerate for at least an hour, stirring
occasionally. Pour the strawberry liquid into a large bowl and add the sugar.
Whisk together. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time until smooth.
Spread a circle of puffs on a cake plate. Top with a smaller
layer, then a smaller until topped by a single puff. Drizzle glaze as desired
over tower of puffs. Sprinkle strawberry pieces around, and on top of puffs.
Serve with vanilla gelato.