Strawberries, cream and crunch!

>> Sunday, 18 July 2010

British strawberry season is in full swing and supermarkets are bursting with half-price berries. I often grab these berry-bargains, only to get home and think what do I do with them?!

They generally end-up in muesli or fruit salad, missing out on their dessert potential.

Strawberries are a pretty unique fruit...

  • the only fruit with seeds on the outside (200 on average)
  • a member of the rose family
  • used in medieval times to symbolise purity and prosperity
  • splitting a double strawberry and sharing it with someone from the opposite sex will make them fall in love with you for life (I think this may be folk lore!!)

..given this, they really do deserve special treatment some times, and this dish is for those times! I've chosen to serve my strawberries with ice cream and black pepper shortbread. The warmth of the pepper complements the flavours and the mix of textures is a nice touch too.

Once you've made the shortbread (which you can do 24 hours in advance), it's quick and easy to plate this up. Great for a summer dessert in the garden. If you're feeling really adventurous, you can make your own ice cream too, but on this occasion I've gone for shop bought...

Strawberry, Ice Cream and Black Pepper Shortbread (Serves 4)

Peppered Shortbread
  • 60g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 30g butter
  • 25g sugar
  • 10ml double cream
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160c

Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer

Step 3: Mix flour, bicarbonate, baking powder, pepper, salt and allspice in a bowl

Step 4: Add cream and butter mix to dry ingredients and mix to form a dough

Step 5: Roll into a log, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes

Step 6: After chilling time, roll out onto a lightly floured surface about 0.5cm thick. Use a pastry cutter to create 8 rounds

Step 7: Place the shortbread onto a lined baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and leave to cool

Step 8: Assemble dessert. Take one shortbread and scoop the ice cream on top. Sandwich together with a round of shortbread on top and place the sliced strawberries around the edge

The final step is a little fiddly and you'll need to move quickly to stop the ice cream melting. I'll be making this lots moving until the strawberry season is done!

Hope you enjoy,
Helen x

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