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Strawberry Yogurt Lassi

From: Director of culinary/corporate executive chef John Storm, Hard Rock Cafe International.

Yield: 8 6-oz. servings.

4 cups fresh ripe California strawberries, cut into quarters
2 poached pear halves (recipe follows)
2 cups cubed ice
¼ cup poaching liquid
½ cup Greek yogurt or plant yogurt (gravity drained)
as needed for garnish, 4 whole California strawberries
as needed for garnish, 4 mint sprigs

For poaching the pears:
4 cups simple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ cup clover honey
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. ground cardamom
2 Bartlett pears, stems removed, peeled, cored, cut in half
3 black tea bags (more or less, depending on strength of tea)

Place all poaching ingredients except the tea bags in a deep stainless steel sauce pot with high shoulders over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and cook until pears are fork-tender. Fork tines should penetrate pears with little resistance. Remove saucepan from heat; add 3 black tea bags and steep for 10 minutes. Remove pears and reserve. Strain liquid through a fine mesh colander or sieve into a container and cool.

Place strawberries and pear halves into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice and poaching liquid. Blend until ice is incorporated into fruit. Stop the blend and add yogurt. Mix on low speed until yogurt is incorporated into fruit. Pour into chilled 8 oz. glasses. Garnish each glass with a whole fresh strawberry and fresh mint sprig.

Photography: California Strawberry Commission

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