Wimbledon. Strawberries. Rain. These are the classic ingredients of a great British summer. It therefore seemed appropriate to serve up two seasonal strawberry recipes. Master Chocolatier Damian Allsop offers a signature spin on strawberry meringues, while Galia Orme demonstrates how to pair raw chocolate with strawberries to stunning effect.
Traditionally, British strawberry season extends for six fleeting weeks – from early June until mid-August. The berries should be succulent, fragrant affairs, not the bland boulders stocked in supermarkets until mid-December. (The Elsanta variety currently accounts for 80% of all strawberries sold in supermarkets, primarily because it lends itself to high yield, low cost farming methods and can withstand air-freighting.)
It’s well worth visiting a pick-your-own farm or your local farmers market to seek out less familiar varieties such as the Cambridge Vigour, Hapil, Florence, Alice, Rosie or Rhapsody. You’ll remember why strawberries are the quintessential British summer indulgence.
Damian Allsop’s Strawberry Cloud Meringues
These intensely fruity meringues are inspired by Damian’s ‘Clouds’ (pictured below). By dehydrating fresh fruit puree foam, he achieves a whisper-light, crunchy texture that melts in the mouth.
250g strawberry fruit purée1
250g dextrose sugar2
25g egg white powder Sosa3
Citric acid to taste4
1 To make strawberry purée, simply whiz fresh strawberries, with or without sugar, in a blender. This can be frozen in small batches for up to six months.
2 & 3 Sosa egg white powder and dextrose are available from Home Chocolate Factory
4 Citric acid is available from Just Ingredients
Equipment needed: Mixer with whisk attachment and bowl, non-stick paper or Bacoglide, piping bag and nozzle (optional), oven or dehydrator.
Method: Mix all ingredients together and whisk (mechanically) until firm. Pipe, dose or simply spoon onto non-stick sheet (paper or Bacoglide). Dry overnight in a low oven or dehydrator set to 50°-60°C. When dry and cool, store in an airtight container containing a bag of silica gel.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, either on their own or as an accompaniment to ice cream or as a garnish for chocolate mousse.
In his 20-year career as a Head Pastry Chef in Michelin starred restaurants, Damian Allsop has worked with some of the best chefs in England, France and Catalonia including Gordon Ramsay, Giorgio Locatelli and Joan Roca.
In 2007, he started his own business together with partner Anna Hernández Piferrer.
Damian is renowned for pioneering new techniques, most famously his hallmark water-based ganache.
If you’d like to try the chocolate encased ‘Clouds’ that inspired this meringue recipe, they are currently available in four flavours: Lime, Red Fruits & Vanilla, Coffee & Anise and Banana & Passion Fruit and are available to buy here.
Galia Orme’s Raw Chocolate Strawberries with a dash of Balsamic Vinegar
This is such an easy recipe and adding the balsamic vinegar really enhances the taste of the strawberries.
Sugar Free. Wheat Free. Egg Free. Dairy Free.
100g CHOC Chick Raw Cacao Butter
6-7 tbsp (heaped) CHOC Chick Raw Cacao Powder
2-3 tbsp Sweet Freedom or agave nectar
1-2 capfuls of balsamic vinegar
2 punnets of strawberries (around 24 strawberries)
Melt the raw cacao butter in a bowl over a pan with about 2-3 inches of water on a low heat. Stir in 6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (use a metal balloon whisk), mix well and add the sweetener to taste while continuing to mix, add extra cacao powder for a thicker consistency and finally add 1-2 capfuls of balsamic vinegar to taste.
Mix well and remove from heat. The mix will be a little bit thicker than normal and perfect for dipping the strawberries. Please ensure the strawberries are completely dry, as any water on them will cause the raw chocolate mix to separate. Leave to set either at room temperature (around half an hour) or 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator (do not freeze!)
Spotlight: Born in South America, Galia Orme set up CHOC Chick in September 2008 to promote the health benefits of raw chocolate. Raw chocolate is considered a ‘super food’ because it is packed with anti-oxidants and contains over 300 nutritional compounds.
When sweetened with Sweet Freedom or Agave nectar, it has a low glycemic index and is dairy, additive and gluten free. Raw chocolate is also a recognized anti-depressant and appetite suppressant.
CHOC Chick was founded with a strong ethos of social entrepreneurship and environmental awareness. All their ingredients are ethically sourced from co-operatives in Ecuador produced to high ecological, biodynamic standards and are free from agro chemicals. Their raw chocolate kits are free from dairy, processed sugars, additives, gluten and soya.
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