To whet your appetite for the glorious summer due to last at least a few days longer, here are three simply scrumptious strawberry recipes by top chefs and food writers Michel Roux, Bill Grainger and Tamasin Day-Lewis, courtesy of Quadrille Publishing.
STRAWBERRY TART by Michel Roux from Michel Roux Pastry © Quadrille
For this tart filling, the crÃƒÂ¨me pÃƒÂ¢tissiÃƒÂ¨re should be strongly flavoured with vanilla or, better still, the grated zest of 2 oranges. Assemble the tart just before serving to enjoy it at its best.serves 6
220g pÃƒÂ¢te sucrÃƒÂ©e (see below)750g very ripe, fragrant strawberries300g chantilly cream (see below)150g crÃƒÂ¨me pÃƒÂ¢tissiÃƒÂ¨re (see below)a few mint sprigs
icing sugar, to dustRoll out the pastry to a round, 2Ã¢â‚¬â€œ3mm thick, and use to line an 18cm diameter (2.5cm deep) flan ring (see pages 10Ã¢â‚¬â€œ11). Chill for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas 5. Prick the base of the pastry case. Bake the case blind, following the instructions on page 12, for 40 minutes until it is fully cooked, removing the beans and paper for the last 15 minutes. Lift off the flan ring, transfer the pastry case to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Halve the strawberries if they are large; otherwise leave them whole. Delicately fold the chantilly cream into the crÃƒÂ¨me pÃƒÂ¢tissiÃƒÂ¨re and fill the pastry case with this mixture. Arrange the strawberries on top, heaping them up slightly in the centre.
Slide the tart onto a serving plate, decorate with mint sprigs and dust lightly with icing sugar to serve.
makes about 520g
This sweet pastry is mostly used for fruit tarts. It is easier to work with than pÃƒÂ¢te sablÃƒÂ©e and, once cooked, pÃƒÂ¢te sucrÃƒÂ©e pastry cases are less fragile. The dough can be made in advance and kept well wrapped in the fridge for several days, or frozen for up to 3 weeks.
250g plain flour100g butter, cubed and slightly softened100g icing sugar, siftedpinch of salt2 eggs, at room temperature
Put the flour in a mound on a work surface (ideally marble) and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt, and mix these ingredients together with your fingertips.
Gradually draw the flour into the centre and mix with your fingertips until the dough becomes slightly grainy.
Again, make a well and add the eggs. Work them into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the dough begins to hold together.
When the dough is rested and you are ready to use it, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured clean surface to a 2Ã¢â‚¬â€œ3mm thickness.
makes about 600g
500ml whipping cream, well chilled50g icing sugar or sugar syrup (see below)pinch of powdered vanilla, or the seeds scraped from a vanilla pod
Put the chilled cream, icing sugar or syrup and vanilla into the chilled bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed for 1Ã¢â‚¬â€œ2 minutes. Increase the speed and beat for another 3Ã¢â‚¬â€œ4 minutes until the cream starts to thicken to a light ribbon consistency; don’t overbeat it.
Chantilly cream is best used as soon as you have made it, but it will keep in a covered bowl in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
SUGAR SYRUPmakes about 1 litre
750g caster sugar
90g liquid glucose
Put 650ml water in a saucepan, then add the sugar and glucose. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Boil for 3 minutes, skimming the surface if necessary. Pass the syrup through a chinois and let it cool completely before using.
This sugar syrup (also known as stock syrup) can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
makes about 750g
6 egg yolks125g caster sugar40g plain flour500ml milk1 vanilla pod, split lengthwaysa little icing sugar or butter
Whisk the egg yolks and one-third of the sugar together in a bowl to a light ribbon consistency. Whisk in the flour thoroughly.
In a saucepan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla pod. As soon as it comes to the boil, pour it onto the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go. Mix well, then return the mixture to the pan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously with the whisk. Let bubble for 2 minutes, then pour into a bowl.
Dust the crÃƒÂ¨me pÃƒÂ¢tissiÃƒÂ¨re with a veil of icing sugar to prevent a skin forming as it cools, or dot small flakes of butter all over the surface. Once cold, it can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove the vanilla pod before using.
STRAWBERRY VACHERIN by Bill Granger from Feed Me Now! © Quadrille
250g ripe, best quality strawberries250g caster sugar4 medium egg whitespinch of sea salt
to servevanilla or strawberry ice cream
Preheat the oven to 120ºC/Gas ½. Line a baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, crush 4 or 5 ripe strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar, using the back of a fork.
Place the egg whites and salt in a clean, dry, large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar gradually, whisking continuously, until the mixture becomes stiff and glossy. Add the crushed strawberry mixture gradually and whisk through.
Spoon the meringue into 8 mounds on the prepared baking tray and bake for 11/4 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (The meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.)
To serve, top each meringue with a scoop of ice cream and scatter with the rest of the strawberries.
Sometimes in the summer, you get berried out. Particularly if you invite people over at the last minute, you want something a little more special than just a bowl of raspberries or strawberries and cream, or an Eton Mess. The great thing about this gratin is that the fruits are not cooked through, so they retain all their intense, raw flavour. And it is splendiferous to present a dish of them under a scorched top of light-as-air sabayon with billows of cream folded into it. The topping can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until the following day, so play it whichever way suits your hand.
If you are preparing the sabayon in advance, macerate the fruit 30 minutes before gratinÃƒÂ©eing to serve.
300g/10oz strawberries (a good variety, not the acidic Elsanta), hulled300g/10oz raspberries100g/3½oz blueberriesup to 1 tablespoon unrefined vanilla caster sugar, to taste1Ã¢â‚¬â€œ2 tablespoon crÃƒÂ¨me de cassis or Grand Marnier
for the sabayon4 organic large egg yolks120g/4½oz unrefined vanilla caster sugarjuice of 1 lemon
100ml/3½fl oz Jersey or double creamPut the berries into a large bowl and scatter over the sugar and liqueur. Set aside to macerate (see note). After 15 minutes, turn the fruit very gently to encourage the juices to bleed and then leave for a further 10 minutes or so.
To make the sabayon, put the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk, using a hand-held electric whisk, until the mixture has doubled in volume and thickened to the point at which it will leave a trail on top if you lift the beaters. At this point, remove the top pan or bowl to a worktop, setting it down on a folded tea-towel to hold it steady, and continue to whisk until the mixture is cold.
Now whisk the cream to the point at which it has a loose slackness but holds its shape; over-whisking even a little will make it too rigid to incorporate. Fold the cream lightly into the sabayon and either proceed to the finish or, if you are not about to serve the gratin, refrigerate.
Put the macerated fruit into a medium, shallow gratin dish or divide between heatproof, individual, shallow serving bowls. Plop the sabayon evenly over the top.
Heat the grill to its highest setting or get your blow-torch ready. Put the gratin under the grill for about a minute or wave your blow-torch over the surface until it is golden brown. The burnishing has to happen