By PATRICK STUART [email protected]
Strawberry season has arrived here in Portugal and I got hold of some beautiful locally grown specimens last weekend at Armação de Pêra market.
Simple fresh strawberries in their natural state are of course a delight. I also love them dipped in melted chocolate but, above all, I love strawberries and cream.
I think it was BBC’s Saturday Kitchen chef James Martin who introduced me to this simple idea of poshing up strawberries and cream for a dinner party with minimal effort. All you need is a food form, some double cream, pastry and, of course, strawberries.
Blind bake the pastry, whip the cream until very thick, sweeten to taste and (optionally) flavour with vanilla. Chop the strawberries in half lengthways.
For each “sandwich”, cut three pieces of baked pastry into shape using the form and, with one piece of pastry in the bottom of the form, arrange a row of strawberry halves around the inside wall and fill in with a layer of cream. Depending on the size of the strawberries this should fill around half of the form. Add the second piece of pastry and repeat another layer of strawberries and cream, finally topped with the last piece of pastry.
Keep a few strawberries to make a simple coulis by cutting them up and cooking until soft with sugar and lemon juice before liquidising. Cool in the fridge.
To serve, garnish with icing sugar and the coulis.