Is there a better fruit for the summer than the strawberry? Each year I look forward to them arriving in the shops and they’re even better if I can get out the city to do some picking with family. After all, it’s the harvesting from the land and taking your fruit home to eat that ties us to the seasons of the place we live.
As two Michelin-starred James Knappett recently told me: “You don’t just use strawberries in summer because that’s when you’re meant to use them. Instead it’s about the feeling of wanting something fresh and clean when it’s hot outside. A day for me picking strawberries, and the engagement with it, is priceless compared to picking up a pack in seconds.”
However, while it’s not always possible to go out and pick them, we can all make them into something delicious with these four recipes from professional chefs.
We have a quick and easy vegan mousse from Bettina Campolucci Bordi and a fresh sorbet from Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones. And if you’re after a showstopper how about Asimakis Chaniotis’s strawberry millefeuille or Mark Birchall’s strawberries, kernel mousse, almond and lemon verbena ice tea.
Get stuck in, it’s the season of the strawberry.
The easiest strawberry vanilla mousse (vg)
Makes: 4-6 servings
600g seasonal sweet strawberries
125ml melted coconut oil
1 vanilla pod (bean), scraped
Fresh strawberries or raspberries
Mint leaves or edible flowers
1. Add all the mousse ingredients to a high-speed blender and blitz until well incorporated. The mixture needs to emulsify properly.
2. The oil needs to completely emulsified with the strawberry, so make sure there are no white dots in the mix and it’s just a beautiful pink colour throughout.
3. Pour into individual glasses and let the mousse set in the fridge for 3 hours. Once set, top with fresh strawberry slices or other berries.
By: Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones of Wild by Tart
75g light corn syrup
455g fresh strawberries (over-ripe strawberries are best)
60ml freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
Champagne, to serve, optional
1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, without stirring. Remove the syrup from the heat, pour it into a bowl, and set in the refrigerator to cool.
2. Place the strawberries and citrus juice in a food processor, and purée until completely smooth.
3. Press the purée through a fine-mesh strainer, to remove the seeds.
4. Combine the seedless purée with the corn syrup and sugar syrup. Chill for 1 hour, or until refrigerator-cold.
5. Make the sorbet according to the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream maker. The finished sorbet will be fairly soft so put in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up, if desired
6. Serve with champagne for the ultimate treat.
By: Asimakis Chaniotis of Pied à Terre
Makes: 2 servings
4 strawberries, slices
4 strawberries, finely chopped
Small lemon verbena leaves, for garnishing
1 packet of puff pastry
For the crème patisserie:
3 egg yolks
30g corn flour
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
25g diced cold butter
1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
2. Start with the pastry. Take half of it and roll it out to a thickness of 2mm, using icing sugar instead of flour, and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place another layer of paper on top of the pastry and then something heavy like another baking tray. This will prevent it puffing up too much. Bake for 15-20 mins until it’s golden brown.
3. Remove from the oven and immediately cut 3 rectangles, 6cm wide by 12cm long. It must be hot when you cut the pastry, otherwise it will break and crumble.
4. Now make the crème patisserie. Add the milk and vanilla seeds into a pan and bring to the boil, then keep aside.
5. Whisk the eggs and sugar vigorously until pale and fluffy, and then add the corn flour and fold in with a spatula. Slowly pour in hot milk whilst whisking and then put the mix back in the pan and cook on a very low heat till the mix is very thick, stirring every so often.
6. Remove from the heat and mix into the cold butter. Allow to cool on the side before putting the fridge, covered with clingfilm, for an hour to set.
7. When set, whip it for a minute and transfer to a piping bag.
8. To serve, place one piece of puff pastry on your serving plate and pipe 2 lines of crème patisserie along it before placing a layer of strawberry slices. Repeat the process in reverse.
9. For the ultimate presentation, place your chopped strawberries in a perfect circle around the dessert. Garnish the dish with a few tiny lemon verbena leaves.
Strawberries, kernel mousse, almond and lemon verbena ice tea
By: Mark Birchall of Moor Hall
¼ lime juice
For the apricot kernel mousse:
12g apricot kernel oil
150g egg yolk
80g caster sugar
3 gelatine leaves
650g whipping cream
For the pumpkin seed crumb:
50g demerara sugar
50g plain flour
50g ground almonds
15g chopped pumpkin seeds
For the tea granita:
30g lemon cerbena
1 whole lemon juice
8 x Darjeeling tea bags
For the mousse:
1. Heat the milk up in a pan to just under boiling. Remove from the heat and add the kernel oil.
2. To make the anglaise, strain the hot milk through a sieve into a saucepan then add the egg yolk, sugar and honey and cook on a low heat to 75C or until the mixture thickens and leaves a clear path on the back of a spoon when a finger is drawn across (will take around 5 minutes – do not boil and stir constantly) .
3. Whilst cooking the anglaise put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with cold water to bloom.
4. Once cooked remove from the heat, drain the gelatine leaves and mix well with the anglaise. Put the mixture in a bowl and chill in the fridge.
5. Whisk the cream to soft peaks.
6. Fold one third of the whipped cream into the anglaise. Then add the rest of the cream making sure you don’t overmix.
7. Chill the mousse until serving (at least 2 hours).
For the pumpkin seed crumb:
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix until all combines together into a ball. Crumble the mixture onto a grease proof lined baking tray so you have little clusters of crumble.
2. Bake at 160C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the tea granita:
1. Boil the water then add lemon, sugar, verbena and Darjeeling tea. Infuse for 4 minutes then pass through a sieve.
2. Allow to cool, place into a 1 litre container and freeze. You will need to do this 6 hours before you make the dish.
To macerate the strawberries:
1. Remove the green from the strawberries then slice into quarters half. Put them in a large bowl and add the sugar and lime juice. Gently roll the strawberries over with a spoon. Do this 10 minutes before serving the dish to allow the sugar to soften and sweeten the strawberries.
1. Start with a large dessert spoon of the kernel mousse in the middle of the plate. Arrange the macerated strawberries around the front of the mousse.
2. Add the crumble mixture to the top of the mousse.
3. Then get a fork and scrape the top of the granita so it creates crushed ice. Add a heaped tablespoon to the top of the dish just before serving.
4. Garnish with lemon verbena leaves.