The British strawberry season has officially arrived! And while the unseasonable weather may have delayed ripening, we’ve been promised juicier fruit as a result.
The season officially started on May 1 and lasts until the end of September, but a cooler winter and spring meant strawberries have flowered and ripened a little more gradually, industry body British Summer Fruits said. The slowed down process has resulted in “larger, juicier, but just as tasty British strawberries”.
Britons are buying more fresh strawberries than ever, too, apparently spending £772m on them over the last 12 months, a 10% rise on the year before.
So if you’re up for trying something new with the juicy fruit, we have two recipes for you – one easy (sorbet) and one a little harder (cheesecake). Enjoy!
By Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, Wild by Tart
75g light corn syrup
455g fresh strawberries (over ripe strawberries are best)
60ml freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
Champagne, to serve, optional
1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for five minutes, without stirring. Remove the syrup from the heat, pour it into a bowl, and set in the refrigerator to cool.
2. Place the strawberries and citrus juice in a food processor, and purée until completely smooth.
3. Press the purée through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
4. Combine the seedless purée with the corn syrup and sugar syrup. Chill for one hour, or until refrigerator-cold.
5. Make the sorbet according to the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream maker. The finished sorbet will be fairly soft so put in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up, if desired
6. Serve with champagne for the ultimate treat.
Strawberries and cream cheesecake
By Bettina Campolucci Bordi
For the base:
135g desiccated (shredded) coconut
125g almond flour
60ml coconut oil
pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 vanilla pod (bean), chopped
70g cashew nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours in cold water, or in hot water for 15 minutes
60ml coconut oil
For the topping:
100g strawberries, halved
3 sprigs of thyme
Orange segments, optional
Edible flowers, optional
1. Line a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin with cling film so that the cake can easily be removed from the tin.
2. Start by making the base for the cake by adding all the base ingredients to a blender and blitzing until you get a slightly sticky consistency.
3. Add the mixture and gently press down to get an even layer, just as you would with a traditional cheesecake base.
4. For the filling, place all of these ingredients into a high-speed blender and blitz until everything is fully incorporated and you have a beautiful pink, even colour.
5. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and place in the fridge for two to three hours to set.
6. Take the cake out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to serve it to soften it up. Top as you like and serve!