Strawberries in Hibiscus Syrup with Vanilla

The sensuous flavor of strawberry is enhanced by the floral note of hibiscus. The striking scarlet red color of the hibiscus accentuates the luscious appeal of fresh strawberries like they were made for each other. This flavor pairing is quite unique and seductive with its lusty red come hither looks. Add some vanilla, and even orange blossom water if you’d like. Play with the pairing of juicy strawberries and hibiscus— you might like it with a little orange zest or a dash of rum depending on your mood.

I discovered this recipe in Pim Techamuanvivit’s The Foodie Handbook and she mentions a few marriage proposals as a result of this exquisitely sexy dessert. But her reply (she’s already spoken for by Chef David Kinch) was that the marriage proposals should be taken to Alain Passard, who serves this as one of the desserts at his three-star restaurant L’Arpège in Paris.

Strawberries in Hibiscus Syrup with Vanilla

  • 2 cups water (or) 1 cup water, 1 cup orange blossom water
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, sliced to open the bean (vanilla extract can be substituted)
  • 1 cup of dried hibiscus flowers (or) 5 sachets of hibiscus tea
  • 1 container of fresh strawberries, quartered (farmers market picked)
optional :
  • orange zest
  • 1 shot of rum
How to seduce with strawberries:

Fill a small saucepan with the water and sugar, and boil. Once boiling, add the hibiscus and vanilla bean. Lower the heat and simmer. Allow the syrup to reduce for about an hour.

Turn off the heat (splash in your rum and/or orange zest if you are adding it). Let cool.

Have your strawberries ready for serving in a beautiful serving bowl. Cover if necessary until ready for serving with the cooled syrup.

Strain the syrup into a jar or bowl (so you can keep the extra syrup in the fridge if you have any leftover, that is).

When ready to serve, drench the strawberries in the syrup and enjoy, or spoon them over Talenti Tahitian vanilla gelato (or any other kind of vanilla ice cream). I’ve also enjoyed this over my favorite Liberté yogurt with a sprinkle of homemade granola (pictured above with granola made by The Pinoy Panda). The pistachios add a nice visual and twist.

I can’t guarantee that you will receive marriage proposals, but who knows what might happen after you feed this to your lover? He might suggest more orange zest, or perhaps less hibiscus, but what he really is thinking is how good strawberries taste on your mouth. In fact, strawberries are aphrodisiacs and a symbol of seduction and lust. Think of how many mimosas and champagne flutes a plump strawberry’s ripe bottom has been nestled into or placed suggestively on the rim? Strawberries tempt.

Tempt, tease, tantalize with this recipe.

Strawberries are a symbol for Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and luscious red color. Strawberries were associated with fertility because of their plentiful number of seeds (like pomegranates).

 Strawberries have been considered an aphrodisiac for centuries.