Strawberry dazzler

A dramatic, edible centerpiece to pair with six easy dipping sauces

Summer strawberries deserve special treatment, and it doesn't take much to turn them into the showstoppers of backyard entertaining. You can raise them to new heights with an easy-to-make pedestal and six simple, flavorful dips.

TIME: 30 minutes
COST: About $15 (not including strawberries)
DESIGN: Françoise Kirkman

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Terra-cotta flowerpot
  • Large plastic foam ball (from a craft store) to fit the top of the pot
  • Roll of florist's tape (from a floral supply store)
  • Grape, fig, or other nontoxic leaves to cover ball
  • Box of toothpicks
  • Crate of large strawberries, washed


PEAK-EXPERIENCE BERRY DIPS

Chocolate-hazelnut cream: Mix 1 part chocolate-hazelnut spread, 3 parts sour cream, and a dash of cinnamon.

Honey-balsamic: Mix equal parts honey and balsamic vinegar; add minced fresh ginger to taste.

Maple-cardamom: Add a dash of ground cardamom to maple syrup.

Mint cream: In a blender, whirl 1 part chopped fresh mint leaves with 3 parts powdered sugar. Stir into 6 parts sour cream.

Orange-pepper: Mix equal parts hot-pepper jelly and orange marmalade.

Whipped cream-coconut-orange: Fold toasted shredded coconut and grated orange peel to taste into sweetened whipped cream. - Andrew Baker

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