The time is ripe: Mark Hix's strawberry dishes

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Our man in the kitchen gets into the season with an array of summer recipes to tempt fruit devotees.

We are well into strawberry picking season and I've been finding delicious varieties of the fruit in shops and markets. There are lots of tasty dishes – and drinks – you can make with them, from traditional meringues to more adventurous efforts with pastry.

If you know where to find wild strawberries growing, grab some, as they're even better for delicate dishes like the coupe.

A couple of years ago I planted a few seeds from white wild strawberries. Last year they didn't manage even to produce a flower, let alone fruit, but this year they are full of flowers and starting to show signs of fruiting – so fingers crossed. I might get easy access to a great ingredient.

Strawberry meringues

Serves 4

This can be done with just strawberries or a with a mixture of seasonal soft fruits, if you prefer a little more variety.

An important note on making meringue: the bowl and whisk must be absolutely clean as the slightest evidence of fat will prevent the whites from whipping to a stiff consistency. Clean your bowl and whisk with boiling water and washing detergent and rinse well before making meringue.

For the meringue

3 egg whites
100g caster sugar
1tsp cornflour
1tsp white wine vinegar

To serve

200ml double cream
A few drops of good-quality vanilla essence
1tbsp caster sugar
200-250g strawberries, leaves removed and sliced or halved depending in size
100-120ml or so of strawberry purée (see Bellini recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 120C/gas mark 1. In a mixing machine with a whisk attachment, mix the egg whites until stiff – you can also do it by hand but this will take a while. Add the caster sugar and continue whisking until they are really stiff and shiny. Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk again for about 30 seconds.

Spoon the mixture on to a clean baking tray, lined with silicone or greaseproof paper, into 4 round domes, making an indentation with the back of the spoon in the middle of each. Alternatively you can make one big meringue.

Cook in the oven for 1½ hours so the meringue is crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, but don't let the outside colour – you want it nice and white. When you're happy it's ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla essence. To serve, hollow out the meringue by carefully pushing the centre in with the back of a spoon to make room for the cream. Fill the cavity with cream and scatter over the sliced strawberries, then finally spoon over the strawberry purée.

Strawberry Bellini

Serves 4

This is a take on a classic Bellini, simple and summery and a great outdoor celebratory tipple. I've put a full bottle of fizz into the ingredients list here as I'm sure a second glass will be required.

150g strawberries
1 bottle of proscecco, chilled

Leave aside four strawberries with the green leaves on, but remove the leaves from the rest of your batch and blend those in a liquidiser until smooth to make the purée. To serve, spoon a couple of tablespoons of the purée into champagne or cocktail glasses, place a strawberry in the glass, top up with proscecco and serve. Simple.

Wild strawberry coupe

Serves 4

Coupes come in all sorts of guises and can be easily adapted to suit your taste. If you can't get your hands on wild strawberries then normal strawberries will do. I also got my hands on some pine berries as well, which adds a little different twist, but they aren't essential. This is nice served with a light biscuit, like a tuille or brandy snap.

100-120ml strawberry purée (see previous Bellini recipe)
8 balls of good-quality vanilla or strawberry ice-cream, or a mix of the two
100ml double cream, lightly whipped with a tablespoon of caster sugar
100g wild strawberries
A few shavings of white chocolate
4 biscuits like a brandy snap or similar, or even some crushed meringue

You can arrange the ingredients for this coupe however you wish but I suggest spooning some purée into four coupe glasses or bowls. Put the balls of ice-cream in next, then spoon the cream in. Pour some more purée over and around everything, then scatter the wild strawberries in. Lastly, scatter some chocolate shavings or place a biscuit on top – whichever you prefer.

Pastilla aux fraises

Serves 6

This is a sweet version of the savoury Moroccan pie which is made with pigeon and almonds. If you can find wharka pastry then go for it – if not, filo leaves are fine.

10 leaves or so of wharka pastry, or filo
12-14 strawberries with the leaves removed
Icing sugar for dusting

For the custard

A third of a vanilla pod
300ml single cream
5 egg yolk
60g caster sugar
3tsp cornflour

Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the point of a knife. Put the cream, vanilla pod and seedsf into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and pour on to the egg mixture; mix well with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens; don't let it boil though. Remove from the heat and whisk it one final time, then transfer to a clean bowl.

To assemble the pastilla, first take a straight-sided tart or cake tin with a removable bottom, measuring 18cm to 20cm across by 5cm or 6cm or more deep. Brush the bottom and sides with some of the 60g of melted butter. Lay a square of pastry on the base. Then lay on another 5 sheets all round the tin, overlapping the central sheet on the base, then going up the sides of the tin so half the sheet overhangs the edge – ready to be folded over later.

Spoon in the cooled custard and then push in the strawberries. Cover both with 4 more leaves of pastry. Brush with butter and fold the overhanging sides up and towards the middle, then cover with 1 more sheet, securing it firmly with your hand.

Bake the pastilla in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pastilla to loosen the sides and place a flat plate upside down over the tin. Carefully invert the pastilla on to the plate and then slide it back on to a baking tray.

Brush all over with melted butter and return to the oven and cook for a further 5 minutes. If the pastilla is browning too much then cover with foil and turn the oven down. Serve dusted heavily with icing sugar.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Restaurant Manager / Sommelier

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Seasonal Placement

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Hotel Receptionists...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Poole

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn