I don’t think anything beats this time of year. It’s got everything I enjoy most all rolled into a few weeks; birthdays, Wimbledon, strawberries, Pimms and now some sunshine to top it off. I just love how British we all become as we take to the garden to fire up the BBQ, enjoy drinks in pub gardens and of course cheer on the Brits at Wimbledon. Wimbledon of course conjures up a wonderful image of a delicious bowl of strawberries and cream whilst watching the world’s best players thrash it out on the beautifully manicured grass courts of SW19.
My husband and I were lucky enough to have tickets to Number One court last Monday, so off we went armed with a cooler bag bulging with cold meats, salads, wine and Pimms. After watching Laura Robson unfortunately lose, we grabbed the last empty spot on Henman Hill and laid out our rug for the picnic and settled in to watch Murray on the big screen. As I looked around it was easy to spot everyone had the same idea and most were tucking in to some juicy ripe strawberries dripping in cool cream.
Strawberries and cream really are the perfect combination and just reek of Britishness. Two, simple ingredients complementing each other beautifully without having to try too hard.
As I started off by saying, I love this time of year because it’s my birthday too. A summer baby was always going to result in me loving all things to do with the summer and I couldn’t very well celebrate without some bubbles and making a dessert based around strawberries and cream too.
I posted on twitter a couple of weeks ago looking for suggestions of what to bake for my birthday and a friend had the idea of using Prosecco as an ingredient. What a good idea!
I had a dinner party the day after my birthday and was on the hunt for a dessert that would fit all the criteria of strawberries, cream and Proseecco.
I came across a few different recipes but the one that stood out to me was Strawberry Napoleons with Prosecco Cream.
It was pretty simple to make and you can get all the individual parts ready earlier in the day and then just assemble it all on the evening.
The result was a dessert that ticked all the summer boxes.
The pastry shells were lovely and crunchy with the sugar glistening on top and you had to give a good crack of your spoon to break through the layers of golden brown pastry. Your effort to crack the pastry case shell rewards you with the Prosecco cream which really surprised and delighted me. The bubbles danced around your mouth and the underlying Prosecco flavour cut through the cream. The strawberries glistened with the sugary pulp making them really moist and fresh.
Simple British summery deliciousness.
Strawberry Napoleons with Prosecco Cream
For the pastry:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons caster sugar
For the filling:
1 tub of strawberries
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds
¾ cup cold mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup cold heavy cream
¼ cup cold prosecco
To make the pastries:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the pastry on to the prepared baking sheet. Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; brush all over the puff pastry, then sprinkle with the sugar. Freeze until the pastry is firm, which will take about 15-20 minutes.
To make the strawberry filling:
Mash 1 cup strawberries with a fork in a bowl. Add the remaining strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and the vanilla; toss to coat. Set aside until ready to assemble.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 5-7 minutes; set aside. Cut the puff pastry into four-inch squares with a sharp knife and prick all over with a fork. Transfer to the oven and bake until puffed and lightly golden – about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees and continue baking until flaky and golden brown, which will take about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Remove to a rack and let cool completely.
To make the Prosecco cream:
Whip the cream until there are soft peaks and then combine the mascarpone with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whip until it is mixed thoroughly but not so much that the mixture has gone grainy. Add in the Prosecco and beat again for a couple of minutes.
Slice the pastries in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Put a bottom half on each plate. Top each with some prosecco cream and strawberries with their juices; cover with the top pastry halves and sprinkle with the almonds.