Monday, 4 July 2011

Super Special Strawbs

Hi there Sunshine,

So it was the Wimbledon Men’s final yesterday. Did you know that? Pretty sure you didn’t, and if you did you most definitely didn’t care. Well...all you really need to know is that they played bat and ball, one man won and he ate some grass. Yep that’s right, actual grass. In honour of said sporting event, and of the fact that here in bonny Scotland we’ve had two consecutive days of proper sunshiney summer which feels like some sort of miracle, I thought we should get our strawberry hats on.

Now I usually don’t consider myself the biggest strawb fan, but that is because, more often than not, they are sooo disappointing. I know there are delish tasting strawbs in the world, so when I see them looking all shiney and pimpley, I buy them thinking ‘maybe these will be the ONES’...but year after year they prove hard and watery and convince me that those that partake in annual strawb worship are deluded. But this year my faith was restored by THE MOST strawberryish strawberries ever. I found them at a little food festival in a little town harbour down the road; the same town in which they were grown. 

They’re deliciousness mean that I will continue to buy boring tasting strawberries for the next 5 years or however long it takes me to find the next batch of the real thing. The food festival berries were too amazing tasting to do anything with other than just munch, sitting in the sun on the harbour wall looking out to sea, and if you find similarly fabulous berries I would suggest a similar tactic, as well as you running to the post office to send me some immediately. But if not, why don’t you make this easy peasy pud, which means you can eat rubbish tasting strawbs in a way that disguises they’re rubbishness, I hope you do...With Love and Cake.

Strawberry Shortcake
Inspired by Delia

A few notes:
·         You could use shop bought shortbread biscuits, which would mean you could whip the whole thing up in a matter of moments.
·         My fellow pudding eater said he would have preferred to have missed out the puree part, but I liked it, so include it or not depending on what you fancy.

Makes enough for 4

You will need

A baking sheet

For the biscuits...
75g softened butter
30g icing sugar
100g plain flour
55g ground almonds

For the purée...
110g strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 tsp caster sugar

For the filling...
225g strawberries, hulled and quartered
300ml double cream
A drop on vanilla extract

·         First make the biscuits, starting by lining the baking tray with parchment paper and preheating the oven to 180°c.
·         Now, in a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy, then work in the flour and almonds. It may look a bit impossible at first but just keep going, it’ll all come together eventually.
·         Mix to a stiff dough, then rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
·         Meanwhile, sprinkle the strawberries for the purée with the sugar and set aside. You can do this straight into the blender to save washing up.
·         After that, roll out the dough to about half a cm thick and cut out some rounds using a 9cm cutter or an upturned mug of a similar size. Keep gathering up the excess, rolling out and cutting until all the dough is used up and you have at least 8 rounds.
·         Arrange the biscuits on the baking tray, prick each one with a fork a few times and bake for around 10 minutes, until they just start to go golden
·         Leave them to cool on the baking tray first; for around 10 minutes, before moving onto a wire rack to cool completely.
·         Next job...blend the sugar covered strawberries from earlier to a purée, as lumpy or smooth as you like.
·         Now for the filling, whip the cream until it is airy and pillowy but not set too firm. Then fold in the strawberries and vanilla.
·         To assemble the pud, set a biscuit in the middle of each plate, top with some creamy strawbs, followed by some puréed strabs. Finish off with another biscuit and if you’re feeling fancy, top with another halved berry with the green part left on and dust with icing sugar. Yumyum.

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