This year has been possibly our best ever crop of strawberries in the Market Garden. With temperatures soaring over the previous few weeks, our strawberry varieties have ripened beautifully and are exquisitely sweet.
To celebrate the bounty of summer our Cookery School has created three seasonal recipes that make the most of this favourite summer fruit.
STRAWBERRY AND LEMON TART
FOR THE PASTRY:
190g plain flour
50g icing sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
90g butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
FOR THE LEMON CURD:
55g caster sugar
1 egg and 2 egg yolks, beaten
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
8 strawberries handful of pistachios, roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC
Sift the flour, icing sugar and mixed spice into a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the ingredients form a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the mixture comes together into a ball – adding the water if the mixture looks too dry. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a round so just bigger than your tin and about 0.5cm thick. Gently place the pastry into the tin and press in the edges, trimming any excess from the top. Cover evenly with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to turn a lovely golden colour around the edges. Remove the beans and cook for a further 6 minutes to cook the base.
To make the curd filling, put all of the ingredients except the butter into a large saucepan over a low heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Add half the butter and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick. Add the remaining butter and cook until the mixture is at dropping consistency before pouring into the blind baked tart cases. Allow to cool completely at room temperature before topping with the sliced strawberries before sprinkling with the chopped pistachios.
2 tbsp sugar
500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
10 egg yolks
175g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
Hull and roughly chop the strawberries, put them into a bowl and sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and leave them to steep.
Pour the milk and cream into a heavy-based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring gently to the boil. Set aside to cool slightly before removing and discarding the vanilla pod.
In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until thick and pale. Slowly pour the warm milk and cream over the eggs, whisking all the time as you go. Put the mix back in to the pan and simmer over a gentle heat and stir until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and pour back into the bowl to cool.
Purée the strawberries in a processor, and when the custard is cool fold the purée through with the lemon juice.
At this point you can churn in an ice-cream maker until the ice-cream has just set. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and store in the freezer until ready to enjoy.
SCONES WITH HOMEMADE CLOTTED CREAM & ELDERFLOWER POACHED STRAWBERRIES
FOR THE CLOTTED CREAM:
Pour enough double cream into a roasting tin so that it is around an inch deep then bake at 80°C for around ten hours or overnight.
Once fully baked, the clotted cream will have risen to the top. Simply lift this away being careful not to ruin the crisp skin on top. Store in glass jars. After chilling in the fridge overnight, you will have a beautiful rich clotted cream.
FOR THE SCONES:
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg in a measuring jug. Make up to 225ml with the milk, then set aside a tablespoon for glazing the scones later.
Gradually add the egg and milk to the dry ingredients, stirring it in until you have a soft slightly sticky dough.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out until it is about 2cm thick. Use a 4cm fluted cutter to stamp out the scones. Make sure you don’t twist the cutter or the scones will not rise evenly.
Gently gather the trimmings together and pat out again to cut more scones. Arrange the scones on greased baking trays and brush the tops with the remaining milk.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until well risen and golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
100ml elderflower cordial
1 vanilla pod
1 punnet of strawberries
Dilute the elderflower cordial with water and add a split vanilla pod (or paste if a pod is not to hand). Pour into a pan and gently warm but do not boil. Add the strawberries until they have just softened. Lift out of the liquid and serve straight away or store in a fridge with the liquid.
Note: so as not to waste the poaching liquid, try mixing any that remains with a little Prosecco or perhaps add a splash to a gin & tonic.
When the scones have cooled, cut in half and spoon on a generous dollop of the clotted cream and top with the strained strawberries. Garnish with fresh elderflowers and a little mint and serve with a delicious cup of tea.