Summer is here, the sun is warm, rose gardens are in full bloom, tea has been replaced with cocktails and the Great British strawberry is all juicy and yummy. Strawberries could possibly be my favourite thing about summer. Add strawberries to my forever love of cake and you have the most perfect summer treat and the perfect excuse for a long lazy Sunday afternoon sat in the garden.
I thought I would share with you my three favourite summer berry treats ( it gave me the perfect excuse to make them and of course I ate all the evidence ). Naturally you can only eat them in your favourite summer dress, sunglasses on and with your favourite people in the whole wide world. If you are in crazed working on my summer holiday body mode, look away now!
Summer Berry pavlova
FOR THE MERINGUE
6 large free-range egg whites
300 g caster sugar
1 pinch sea salt
FOR THE PAVLOVA
400 g fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
200 ml double cream
200 ml fat-free natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 vanilla pod , seeds removed
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. Put your egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk them at a medium speed until they start to form nice firm peaks.
With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for 7-8 minutes more until the meringue is white, glossy and smooth. If it feels grainy, whisk for a little bit longer, being careful not to let the meringue collapse.
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Divide the meringue mixture evenly between them and shape each blob into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put both trays into the oven and bake for 1 hour until the meringues look slightly golden and are fluffy in the middle.
Halve or quarter the large strawberries and leave the smaller ones whole. Mix them with the raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks, then stir in the yoghurt and fold in the vanilla seeds. Spoon half the cream mixture on top of one of the meringue halves and smooth it out. Sprinkle half of your berries evenly around the cream mixture. Place the other meringue on top and press down gently to stick them together. Spread the remaining cream mixture over the top layer and sprinkle the remaining berries on top.
Summer fruit genoise
30g unsalted butter, melted
4 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
300g strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
250ml whipping cream
Heat your oven to 180°C. Use a little of the melted butter to grease two 20cm sandwich tins. Dust them lightly inside with flour.
Put the eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk, using an electric hand-held whisk, for at least 7 minutes until the mixture is trebled in bulk, very pale and thick enough to hold a trail when the beaters are lifted. Sift the flour and salt together over the mixture and fold in gently, keeping in as much air as you can. Finally, very carefully fold in the remaining melted butter.
Divide the mixture between the prepared sandwich tins and bake for 25 minutes until golden and slightly shrunk from the sides of the tin. Leave the sponges to cool slightly in the tins for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, put 200g of the strawberries into a blender with 2 tbsp of icing sugar and blitz to a smooth purée. It should be intense and sweet; add a little more icing sugar if necessary.
Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Roughly fold in the strawberry purée, keeping the mixture rippled rather than a uniform pink (or you can simply drizzle the strawberry purée onto the cream as you assemble the cake).
Slice each sponge in half horizontally. Lay one of the sponges, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread a third of the strawberry cream on top, then put a quarter of the blueberries and raspberries around the edge. Add a second layer of sponge and filling, then repeat to create the third layer. Place the final layer of sponge on the top and dust generously with icing sugar.
I had some left overs and decided to mix them all together to make these yummy Eton messes, one is made with strawberries and raspberries. And the other with blackberries and blueberries.
I’m glad summer only lasts three months because I would seriously need some bigger clothes! But for now this was a very berrylicious way to start the summer.
If you are looking for some more summer fun, ideas for the summer holidays or ways to entertain the children go take a peek at providents schools out for summer calender for lots of summer time inspiration, you can plan your summer activities here .