It’s well and truly the season for super sweet strawberries and we have three recipes for you to try out.
Scots are expected to spend more than £20 million on strawberries during the next few weeks as the nation gets ready to watch the world’s tennis greats compete at this summer’s Wimbledon Championships.
The Scottish strawberry industry provides a fifth of all berries eaten in the UK and has an unsurpassed reputation for taste and quality.
But you don’t have to eat them with cream as they do at the world-famous tennis tournament as there is a variety of different ways to use strawberries in desserts.
These recipes from AVA Berries that are grown by an exclusive group of growers based across the north-east coast of Scotland, Perthshire and Fife, are perfect for serving up something different.
Macaroon cake with mixed berries, strawberry trifle with Pimms, and a strawberry and raspberry ripple Eton mess are sure to get your tastebuds tingling.
Macaroon cake with mixed berries
Fed up with sponge cakes? Try this moreish meringue cake flavoured with ground almonds and toffee flavoured muscovado sugar and filled with summer berries and whipped cream.
- 4 medium egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 150g caster sugar
- 75g light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 50g ground almonds
For the filling:
- 250ml double cream
- 150g Greek yoghurt
- 350g AVA strawberries, sliced
- 100g raspberries
- 50g blueberries
- Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until stiff but still moist-looking peaks. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, then muscovado sugar, a teaspoonful at a time until they have all been added, whisk for a minute or two more until the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Fold in the vinegar and ground almonds with a large metal spoon then divide the mixture between two, lightly oiled 20cm/8 inch sandwich tins that have been base-lined with a circle of non-stick baking paper.
- Bake in a preheated oven set to Fan 130°C / 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. Loosen the edges of the cakes carefully with a knife then leave to cool in the tins.
- Loosen the edges of the cakes once more, then turn them out onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Peel off the paper from the bases.
- Whip the cream until it forms soft swirls, then fold in the yoghurt. Transfer one macaroon cake to a serving plate, spread with two-thirds of the cream mixture. Arrange two-thirds of the fruit on top then add the second macaroon cake. Decorate the top with the remaining cream and berries and serve within 30 minutes of assembly.
Cook’s tip: The macaroon cake can be made the day before and then turned out onto a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover with a second sheet of paper and store in a cool dry place. The cakes are very fragile so handle with care, you may find it easier to transfer them to a serving plate by sliding the base of a loose-bottomed cake tin underneath them rather than using a palette knife or fish slice. Decorate with cream and summer fruit at the very last minute.
AVA strawberry trifle with Pimms
This lighter more modern trifle is made with Pimms-soaked strawberries and topped with reduced-fat custard and a lighter, reduced-fat creamy yoghurt layer flecked with citrusy lemon and orange rind. If you have time leave the strawberries and Pimms to soak for 30 minutes or more so the flavours seep into the sponge base before topping with the custard and cream.
- 4 trifle sponges, about 100g in total
- 350g AVA strawberries, sliced
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 tbsp Pimms, undiluted
- 425g can reduced-fat custard
- 200ml double cream
- 150g low-fat natural yoghurt
- Grated rind of half of an orange
- Grated rind of half of a lemon
To decorate: 3 AVA strawberries, halved lemon and orange rind.
- Break the trifle sponges into pieces and arrange in a single layer in the base of a 1.2 litre/2 pint glass dish. Arrange the strawberries on top, sprinkle with 4 tbsp sugar then spoon over the Pimms.
- Spoon the custard over the top of the fruit and spread the top into an even layer.
- Whip the cream in a bowl until it just forms soft swirls then fold in the yoghurt and fruit rinds. Spoon over the custard and chill until required. Decorate with halved strawberries and lemon and orange rind curls made with a zester just before serving.
AVA strawberry and raspberry ripple Eton Mess
Make up the meringues and fruit puree the day before, then just layer with whipped cream and extra fruit in recycled jam jars and screw on the lids.
- 225g AVA strawberries, hulled
- 100g raspberries
For the meringues:
- 2 egg whites
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
- 200g 0.1% fat fromage frais
- 225g strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped
- 50g raspberries
- Preheat the oven to Fan 110°C / 130°C / 225°F / Gas Mark ¼. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
- Puree the strawberries and raspberries in a liquidiser or food processor then press through a sieve.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large clean dry bowl until they form stiff moist looking peaks and you feel confident that if the bowl was turned upside down the egg whites wouldn’t fall out. Gradually whisk in the sugar a teaspoonful at a time then continue whisking for a minute or two until really thick and glossy.
- Add 2 tbsp of the berry puree then very briefly mix until marbled. Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm (¾ inch) plain piping tube, pipe small rounds onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or one and a half hours, or until the meringues may be easily lifted off the paper. Leave to cool.
- To serve, lightly whip the cream until it forms soft swirls then fold in the fromage frais. Crumble the meringues then layer in jam jars or plastic containers with the remaining berry puree and diced strawberries. Decorate with the raspberries. Add the lids and keep in the fridge until ready to serve or transport to a picnic in a cool bag with a frozen ice block to keep them cold. Serve within an hour and a half or the meringues tend to lose their crunch.