I love strawberries. They're one of my favourite fruits. :) They're quite expensive though, both here and in the UK. :( In the UK supermarkets anyway. Sometimes, though, you can get them quite cheaply in the roadside stalls selling fruit, especially in London. The best thing about these stalls is that the strawberries (and other fruits, I'm sure) are so much more sweeter than the ones sold in the supermarket (unless, of course, you get M&S's luxury strawberries, or something). And they're also much bigger!
Another thing I love but is expensive here is mascarpone cheese, as I've mentioned before. I claimed I wouldn't use it again (here in Brunei anyway), but when I saw this recipe, I had to try it. It had both strawberries AND mascarpone in it! Has to be good, right? Here we go!
What you need:
175g unsalted butter, softened
70g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
250g plain flour, sifted
60g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300g strawberries, cut into quarters
50g dark chocolate
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly greae a 20 x 30 cm shallow baking tin and line with baking paper, leaving it hanging over 2 sides.
- Beat the butter and sugar with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and beat well. Fold in the sifted flour until well combined. Press firmly into the prepared tray and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 25 minutes, or until light brown. Cool completely.
- Beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon juice with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the strawberries. Spoon over the vase and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until firm.
- Chop the chocolate into small even-sized pieces and melt - either over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave. Drizzle melted chocolate over the slice, then cut into pieces.
Anyway, after tasting this, I think there are a few adjustments I would make in this recipe. First, the biscuit base would have been MUCH better off if it had just a pinch of salt in it. Either use salted butter, or add about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt. The original unsalted version tasted blandly sweet, and a little salt would have given it a bit of depth.
Second, the mascarpone would have gone really well with some vanilla essence. I would've added it if I had remembered it, but I didn't remember it, so I didn't add it. Oh well, life goes on.
Third, well, this is really my fault, there wasn't enough mascarpone, weirdly enough. I also couldn't spread it over the whole of the base, but that may have been because I used a 25 by 25cm pan instead. Because they sold strawberries in 250g packs, I used roughly 280g of mascarpone with 250g of strawberries, but there seemed to be a LOT more strawberries, meh. Which is a pity, because the children I served this to picked off the strawberries and only ate the biscuit with the cheese.
Which brings me to my fourth adjustment, don't serve this to children under 15. They don't like it. Unless they like strawberries with cream. Or perhaps even trifle. Otherwise, keep them far far apart. ;)
Other than that though, there were no problems. The batch I brought over to my grandmother's house was finished withing the hour. Oooh, which reminds me, you might not want to leave this out too long as the mascarpone kind of melts in the Brunei climate. Ideally, you want to serve this straight out of the fridge, and cool and creamy.
I've recommended this recipe before to one of my friends in Bristol (yes, even though I've never made it before this) when she was looking for a creamy fruity dessert to serve. But because she didn't really want to bake the biscuit base, she just used a dense buttery cake slice - bought from the supermarket - and spread the strawberry and mascarpone topping over that. Apparently, that was received very well by her dinner guests, so to those of you who are ... er, time-challenged, you might want to keep that in mind. :)
Quote of the day: Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.