Summer is the season for all things strawberry and in June the “pick your own” fields are brimming with home grown delights.
While fresh berries, warm from the sun are a perfect breakfast or snack, to me they need something extra to elevate them to dessert status. A scoop of ice cream is nice, fresh whipped cream is delicious!
These three strawberry recipes will certainly make your summer a whole lot sweeter.
Pavlova, which hails from New Zealand, is a perfect warm weather dessert because its light and airy, doesn’t heat up the kitchen and uses sweet juicy fruit like summer strawberries.
You can also whip up this dessert in the evening, as it only bakes in the oven for an hour at 200° F and then sits in the oven overnight.
3 large egg whites (use fresh eggs and separate)
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice
Medium size carton whipping or double cream
1 lb. of fresh strawberries, raspberries or favorite summer fruits, hulled and washed
1. First preheat the oven to 200° F. Prepare a piece of parchment paper to make one Pavlova: trace a nine-inch round using a plate. If you wish to make individual rounds then allow about 2 inches per meringue. Place parchment paper pencil side down on baking tray.
2. In meringue, the size of the sugar grain makes a difference, so superfine baker’s sugar gives a better result. If you only have regular granulated sugar in the house, then grind it in your food processor or blender to break it down into finer crystals.
3. Take a large mixing bowl and beat the 3 large egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium high speed until peaks form. With the machine still running, slowly pour in 1 cup superfine sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Be sure to mix in the sugar on the sides of the bowl until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Once the sugar is all in, blend in 1 tsp. lemon juice by hand.
4. Spoon the meringue into the center of the circle on your parchment paper and using a flat spatula spread the meringue into an even layer over the circle. Then either pipe a rim around the circle or place even size dessertspoon next each other to form the rim, giving each a small swirl to finish.
5. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, turn off the heat and leave the Pavlova to cool for at least another hour or preferably overnight. This dries out the meringue leaving it firm and crisp.
6. When cold, transfer carefully to serving plate, and fill with whipped cream and sliced or quartered strawberries immediately before serving.
Quick Strawberry Trifles
If you would like dessert but are in hurry, think individual strawberry trifles; these are quick to make and come to the rescue time and time again. These are a nice answer for a casual summer evening with friends or a nice sweet treat if you are on your own!
2 cups cake (or crumbled cookies or brownies)
2 cups fresh strawberries or summer fruit
2 cups whipped cream
Layer the cake, fruit and whipped cream in glasses, creating several layers. Chill and serve immediately.
Individual Summer Puddings
(Adapted from Good Food magazine)
This is a British recipe, inexpensive and a great way to use up summer fruits, fresh or frozen. It’s easy to make too and requires very little actual cooking!
1lb. mixed berry, fresh or frozen (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
Zest of 1 lemon
Sunflower or canola spray to grease dish lightly
3-4 slices of sliced white bread, crusts removed
4 individual teacups or custard cups
Saran wrap or other cling film
1. Tip all the berries, except a few strawberries, into a saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar over the berries and stir. Set over a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has started to release its juices. Increase the heat, bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes until the fruit is soft and the juices are deep red. Quarter the uncooked strawberries and stir into the berries along with the lemon zest. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the fruit in a sieve keeping the juices to one side.
2. Meanwhile lightly grease 2 large teacups or custard cups and line with cling film. Using a pastry or cookie cutter cut out 2 circles of bread to fit in the base of each cup. Cut another 2 circles and strips the same height to cover the inside of the cup to the top, each one overlapping to hold the fruit filling in place.
3. Pack the strained fruit into the bread lined cups, keeping aside a little fruit and the juices to pour over the finished dessert. Fold down the bread and seal top with a circle to fit the cup. Cover with cling film and push down firmly with the palm of your hand. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.
4. When ready to serve, whip the cream until thick. Turn out the puddings onto serving plates and top with the reserved fruit and juices. Serve with the whipped cream. Sheer summer enjoyment!