With Wimbledon well under way, it’s time to dish out the strawberries and cream. Here are some novel ways to work with the much-loved fruit.
These dainty tarts have been topped with sliced strawberries, but you may like to top with different fruits, so perhaps decorate four with strawberries, four with raspberries and the remainder with blueberries or try with a mix of different fruits, leaving the smaller fruits whole.
PREPARATION TIME: 30 MINS
COOKING TIME: 15 MINS
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
For the pastry
225g/8oz plain flour
50g/2oz icing sugar
100g/4oz butter, diced
2 egg yolks
For the filling
200ml/7floz double cream
25g/1oz icing sugar
2 tbsp elderflower cordial
400g/14oz strawberries, sliced
75g/3oz redcurrant jelly
To make the pastry, put the flour into a bowl, add the icing sugar and butter, then rub in the butter with fingertips or an electric mixer until it resembles fine crumbs.
Stir in the egg yolk, then squeeze together with fingertips to make a dough, adding a little water if needed.
Knead lightly, then roll out thinly on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 10cm/4in circles using a large biscuit cutter, then press circles into buttered sections of a 12-hole muffin tin.
Prick bases with a fork and chill for 15 minutes.
Line each tart with a circle of greaseproof paper and some dried lentils or baking beans and bake blind in a preheated oven set to 190°C/gas mark 5 for 10 minutes. Remove paper and lentils or beans and cook for 3-4 minutes until pale golden.
Leave to cool.
Remove pastry cases from the tin, arrange on a serving plate.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar and elderflower cordial until it forms soft swirls. Spoon into the tart cases.
Arrange the strawberries on top.
Warm the redcurrant jelly in a small saucepan until melted, then brush over the tarts.
Serve within 30 minutes of decorating.
This jam is a real treat with scones and cream, or at breakfast time, served over your toast or crumpets.
Makes 6-10 assorted
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1.5kg/3lb 2oz strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered depending on size
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1.5kg/3lb 2oz preserving sugar with pectin
Wash jam jars and place upside down in the oven at 100°C to dry thoroughly. Place a small plate in the fridge for testing the jam later.
Hull the strawberries and add half to a preserving pan and crush them roughly with a potato masher; add the rest of the fruit, the sugar and the lemon juice.
Stir all the ingredients together well off the heat.
Place the pan on the element and stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved.
You'll know it's dissolved as you won't be able to hear the sugar scraping on the pan.
Add the butter, which will help disperse any foam which is a natural part of jam making. The butter helps minimise this, and disperses any foam back into the jam.
Bring to a rapid, rolling boil for four minutes. Don't be afraid of the rolling boil, this is crucial to producing a jam that will set.
Spoon a little jam on to a chilled saucer, as soon as it is cool, run a finger through the jam so that the saucer is visible, if the finger line remains and the jam wrinkles it is ready, if not boil a little longer and try again.
Ladle into the hot jars and fill until almost full to allow for shrinkage as the jam cools.
If you're sealing the traditional way, cover the surface of each jar with a waxed disc, with the shiny side downwards.
Rinse a cellophane circle with a little water, then put wetted side uppermost over the top of the jar and secure with an elastic band or add a screw topped lid.
This tart is definitely dressed to impress, with a crumbly buttery tart case spread with melted chocolate, then filled with homemade creme patissiere and the very best of British strawberries, glistening with strawberry jelly - what's not to like?
Preparation time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
100g (4oz) plain flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
50g (2oz) butter, diced
2 egg yolks
For creme patissiere
3 egg yolks
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
250ml (8floz) semi skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
100g (4oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Half a 35g strawberry jelly tablet
1kg (2¼lb) strawberries, hulled and halved
Dark and white chocolate curls to decorate - see cook's tip, optional
To make the pastry, add the flour, sugar and butter to a bowl and rub in the butter with fingertips until fine crumbs.
Add the egg yolks and mix to a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line a buttered 20cm (8in) plain tart ring set on a baking sheet or fluted loose bottomed flan tin. Press into the base and sides of the tin and trim the pastry a little above the tin to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base and chill for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), gas mark 5, then line the tart case with non-stick baking paper and baking beans. Cook for 10 minutes. Carefully remove paper and beans and cook tart for 5-10 minutes more until just tinged golden brown around the top edges and the base is crisp. Leave to cool.
To make the creme patissiere, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very thick and pale. Sift the flours over the surface, then gently fold together.
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, bring just to the boil, then gradually whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Return milk mixture to the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until very thick. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Cover the surface with a piece of crumpled and wetted non-stick baking paper to stop a skin from forming and leave to cool.
Take the tart case out of the tin and set on a plate or cake stand. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, then spoon over the inside of the tart case. Leave for about 20 minutes or until set.
Make up the jelly as the pack directs using half the water. Cool then chill for about 20 minutes in the fridge until just beginning to coat a spoon thickly.
Spoon the creme patissiere into the tart case. Pile the strawberries into the tart case, carefully mounding up in the centre.
Brush generously with the cooled jelly (you will have quite a lot left, so pour this into a small plastic container for the kids' packed lunches) and chill for 30 minutes until the jelly has set. Sprinkle with chocolate curls, if liked. Serve cut into thick slices.
To make chocolate curls, run a swivel bladed vegetable peeler over the underside of a block of white and dark chocolate, keeping the bottom edge of the peeler blade near the edge of the block of chocolate.
If the curls are very tiny then warm the chocolate for 10 seconds in the microwave on full power and try again. Depending on the size of the chocolate bar, you may need to give it a second burst in the microwave. When you have enough curls to decorate, rewrap the bars of chocolate and store the remainder in the fridge.
Make up the strawberry swirled meringues and fruit puree the day before, then just layer with whipped cream and extra fruit in recycled jam jars. Screw on the lids and take out to the garden in a basket or pack into a cool box for a picnic pud.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
225g (8oz) strawberries, hulled
100g (4oz) raspberries
2 egg whites
100g (4oz) caster sugar
300ml (½pint) double cream
200g (7oz) 0.1% fat fromage frais
225g (8oz) strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped
50g (2oz) raspberries
Preheat the oven to 110°C (225°F), gas mark ª. 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 two tablespoons of the berry puree, then very briefly mix until marbled.
Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain piping tube and pipe small rounds on to the lined baking sheet. Bake for 1ª to 1ƒ hours or until the meringues can 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 1ƒ hours or the meringues tend to lose their crunch.
For more information on berries, nutrition and the Love Fresh Berries campaign, funded by British Summer Fruits, visit www.lovefreshberries.co.uk