This dessert turns a few strawberries, jam and cream into something that looks as if it came straight out of a patisserie.
- 500 g all butter puff pastry
- 300gm ripe fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 560 ml double cream, very lightly whipped
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 4-5 tbsp good quality strawberry jam (Tiptree Little Scarlet)
- 8-10 tbsp fondant sugar
- 0.5 tsp pink food colouring
- 0.5 tsp chocolate food colouring
- 200 g lightly browned nibbed almonds
- strawberry sauce, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 190C Gas 5.
- Roll out the puff pastry to roughly 40cm x 30cm. You want it nice and thin. Place on a baking sheet and dock really well with a fork.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes or until it has risen and looks golden brown. The pastry must be cooked all the way through. Check regularly as it tends to burn very quickly.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.
- Whip together the vanilla and cream and keep as cold as possible
- Once the pastry has cooled, cut it lengthways into three equal pieces, trimming to make it look perfect.
- Spread two pieces of pastry with jam to sweeten the dessert and bring out the flavour of the strawberries. Place the strawberries on top of the jam.
- Using a palette knife, spread a thick layer of whipped double cream on top of the strawberries and jam. Then carefully use the palette knife to lift one of the pastry strips onto the top of the other and nestle down nicely.
- You can dust the top with icing sugar at this stage or top with fondant icing by mixing the fondant icing sugar with a little water or lemon or lime juice and spread about half of it over the last pastry slice.
- Quickly divide the remaining icing in half and colour one bowl pink and the other brown. Using small paper piping bags, pipe pink lines about 1cm apart along the length of the fondant, then fill in with chocolate ones.
- Use the tip of a knife or a skewer to swipe through the iced lines leaving a 1-2 cm gap, then turn the board around and swipe the other way to create a zig-zag effect
- Place on top of the strawberry and pastry stack and using the palette knife and any excess cream to carefully fill in the gaps around the layers of pastry and strawberries. Once it is nice and tidy, carefully stick the almonds to the outside of the pastry.
- Chill until the fondant is set. Press lightly and slice, serve with any leftover double cream and strawberry sauce.
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