There's nothing better than the sight of British strawberries in the summertime, so to celebrate our prized fruit and the Wimbledon final. Here is an impressive dessert - a strawberry mille-feuille.
- 1 large sheet ready rolled puff pastry
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 560 ml double cream, very lightly whipped
- 4-5 tbsp good quality strawberry jam (Tiptree Little Scarlet)
- 300 g ripe English strawberries, ripe, hulled and sliced
- 8-10 tbsp fondant sugar
- ½ tsp pink colouring
- 6-8 tbsp flaked almond, lightly browned
- strawberries, to serve
For the Sauce
- 300 g fresh ripe strawberries
- 100 g caster sugar, this is an approximate as some berries are sweeter than others
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- a little cold water if needed
- 2 tbsp good quality strawberry jam, if strawberries are a little tasteless
- Preheat the oven to 200C, Gas 6
- Unwrap the puff pastry carefully and re-roll it so it becomes nice and thin.
- Place on a baking sheet and dock really well with a fork.
- Pop the pastry in the hot oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until nicely risen and golden brown.
- Take care with puff pastry. It burns very quickly once you take your eye off it. Remove from the oven and transfer on to a cooling rack to cool. It must be cooked right through. This is very important.
- Next, place the vanilla and cream into a bowl and whip, but do not over whip. Keep as cold as possible.
- Once cooked and cooled, cut the pastry into three equal pieces lengthways.
- Spread two of the layers with jam. This is a good idea. Not only does it sweeten the dessert, but it also brings out the flavour of the strawberries. Don't skimp on the jam. 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, using a palette knife, lift one of the pastry strips on top of the other and nestle down nicely.
- Mix the fondant icing sugar with a little water or lemon or lime juice and spread over the last pastry slice.
- Quickly mix the pink colouring with a little of the fondant sugar.
- Using a small paper piping bag, pipe the lines about 1cm apart on the fondant.
- With a knife or skewer. Swipe through the icings, leaving a 1-2 cm gap.
- Turn the board around and swipe the other way to get a zig-zag effect.
- Put the final fondant iced piece of puff pastry on top.
- Using the palette knife, and any excess cream from the bowl and on the edge of the pastry. Carefully fill in the gaps around the layers of pastry and strawberries until it looks nice and tidy.
- Carefully stick the browned almonds to the outside of the pastry.
- Chill until the fondant is set, press lightly and slice.
For the Sauce
- Place the washed then hulled berries in a liquidiser along with the sugar/jam and lemon juice.
- Blitz until smooth. You may need to add a touch of cold water to let the sauce down if it is too thick.
- Pass through a fine sieve and chill well.
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