Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Strawberry Snow

It's July, it's hot and you're wilting under the summer sun. The perfect midsummer treat, Strawberry Snow is cool, refreshing and as Norwegian as it gets - in fact the Johansen family fruit farm in western Norway is currently awash with plump, crimson strawberries, not to mention delicate wild strawberries. Summers as a child at the farm meant hours spent in the strawberry patch, growing fat due to unrepentant gluttony - admittedly it wasn't the strawberries contributing to an expanding waistline, grandmother Johansen's baking took care of that. Thankfully I grew outwards, and eventually upwards

Every year I have the same thoughts about strawberries - the less adulteration, the better. But it's hard to resist this take on 'strawberries and cream', so give it a go, and start looking forward to the joys of raspberries, sour cherries, peaches and plums...

Serves 4 disciplined people, or 2 greedy Scandinavians...
  • 300g ripe strawberries
  • 150ml fresh orange juice (ca. juice of 3 small oranges)
  • 1-2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 1-2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 small pot (142ml) whipping cream
  • 1 small pot (142ml) sour cream
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
  • pack of mint (small handful)
Start by dividing the strawberries in two batches. Take one batch, quarter the berries, and place them in a bowl with the fresh orange juice, Grand Marnier and a light sprinkle of sugar - this will macerate the strawberries, and the orange juice really enhances strawberries in a most peculiar way

Set the macerating strawberries aside. Put the mascarpone in a medium bowl, and sift in the icing sugar, and vanilla extract or seeds. Using a spatula, start beating the mascarpone, not too much,  just enough to soften it slightly so there are no major lumps left. Then add your whipping and sour creams. Gently fold these through until the whole mixture looks light and fluffy. If you beat it too much, the cream will start to split and you'll need a lot more Grand Marnier in the strawberries to disguise this error

Finally, taking the second batch of strawberries which you haven't macerated (or gobbled up in the process of making this), whizz them in a blender with the mint, leaving a few sprigs for garnish. This will look like a red, minty mess, and you should fold this through very carefully in the 'snow', creating a swirly effect

Your strawberry snow is ready, so refrigerate in little glasses, or if you're twee like me, in tall martini glasses, for an hour and then when you're ready to serve, put a couple of spoonfuls of the macerated strawberries on the side of the snow, and the sprig of dainty mint - a winning dessert for dinner parties...


alexandra said...

Sig, so great you are blogging.

Love the strawberry recipe, I'm off to Italy tomorrow so hopefully there will be lots of wild strawberries there, they are my definite favourites. They are really hard to come across in London the only place I found them was in Harrods and they were charging £10 a punnet!

Signe Johansen: said...

Alex, so envious you're off to Italy. Eat lots and lots of strawberries and everything else on offer there. Am sure you can find wild strawberries for much less than Harrods is charging (!) - let me know when you're back and we can catch up. Will come visit you in Hove, promise...Sig x