With Summer most definitely on the way now (at least in the Southern Hemisphere!), here is a new twist on the traditional 'strawberries and cream' that turns the classic summer treat into an elegant dessert.
Strawberry and Cream Layer RecipeServes: 4
Ingredients:375g (13 oz) all-butter puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
4 tbsp icing sugar
400g (14 oz) ripe strawberries, halved
1 vanilla pod
285ml (1 cup + 2 tbsp) double cream
140g (5 oz) golden caster sugar
Method:Turn the puff pastry out onto a lightly-floured work surface and roll out to a 30cm (12 in) square. Transfer to a large baking tray and sit another baking tray on top. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 7) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
In the meantime heat your grill (broiler) to high. Dust the top of the pastry sheet with 1 1/2 tbsp of the icing sugar then place under the grill and cook gently until the sugar has caramelized. Dust over 1 1/2 tbsp more of the icing sugar then place back under the grill and heat once more. Allow to cool slightly, but whilst still warm cut into 12 neat rectangles, trimming the edges neatly as you do so.
Dust the strawberries with the remaining icing sugar and set aside. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds into the cream. Whip lightly with the caster sugar until it just holds its shape.
To assemble the dish place a blob of the vanilla cream on each serving plate and stack the pastry biscuits, the remaining vanilla cream and strawberries at jaunty angles.