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strawberries

strawberry crostata
Baking,

Strawberry Crostata

When I think of a crostata I automatically think of the word “rustic.” Which is a good word as my interpretation is “don’t worry, it absolutely doesn’t have to be perfect, no pressure!” 
I like this, my day becomes so much more manageable without the added pressure of a perfect pie crust. Just roll it out, ladle on the fruit giving no particular thought to its arrangement and fold over the edges in a haphazard fashion. It’s sort of kindergarten pie making. The outcome is almost always a delight, a gorgeous slice of buttery pastry dripping with a sweet fruity filling – happiness.

Strawberry Crostata.


For the filling:

3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half
Zest and juice of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon all purpose flour

For the pastry:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg
1-2 tablespoons ice water
1 stick unsalted  butter (diced and very cold)
1 egg for egg wash

Method:

Heat the oven to 357  F.

First make the pastry. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse about 10 times to combine.

Add the cubes of butter a couple at a time and pulse until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.

In a measuring jug lightly whisk together the egg and water. With the motor running pour the liquid into the flour and process until the mixture just comes together. If the mixture is too dry add another tablespoon of water.

Turn out onto a floured surface and very lightly and quickly knead for a few seconds. Place onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap it up well and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

While the pastry is resting, hull the strawberries.

Mix them together with the lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract, toss with the flour.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to an approximate 10 inch round. Carefully lift the pastry round onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a slipat mat.

Place the strawberries in the middle of the pastry.

Fold the outside edges in all the way around. Chill for 30 minutes. Paint the outside pastry edge with an egg wash and place in the oven for approximately 45-50 minutes or until it’s gloriously golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Eaton Mess
Desserts,

Eaton Mess, the quick and easy version

Eaton Mess is a uniquely British dessert. It’s said to have first been served after a cricket match at Eaton College in the 1930′s. The original “mess” was served with only strawberries, meringue and cream but I think it’s fun to add your favorite combination of berries. In fact you don’t have to stop with berries, try bananas, pineapple or stewed rhubarb. This is the quick and easy version as there is no meringue making required. In this recipe I’ve used store bought meringue cookies but again you could use your favorite cookies – amaretti would be lovely or even a lemon shortbread. If you’re not into dairy try making cashew cream instead, a delicious and more healthy alternative to heavy cream. This is such a scrumptious and despite its name, elegant dessert, so perfect for summer and I’ve never met a person who didn’t love it.

eaton mess

Eaton Mess, the quick and easy version.

1 packet of your favorite cookies, broken into crumbles

1 pint strawberries, raspberries and blueberries or your favorite berries

Zest and juice of half a lemon 8 oz heavy cream or cashew cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method.

  1. Wash the berries, cut the strawberries into halves or quarters depending on their size.
  1. Add the lemon zest and juice to the berries. Stir to combine and set aside.
  1. Place the cream and vanilla in a bowl and whip to soft peaks.
  1. In individual serving bowls or glasses, layer some cream, the berry mixture and top with some crumbled cookies. Repeat until the bowl or glass is full ending with some cream and top with a sprig of fresh mint.

eaton mess