But then Christmas came and yay for strawberries and heat and all things sweet and Heston-like.
This recipe was published by Heston Blumenthal for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and thus is actually one I can link the recipe to. It's found here.
Like many Heston dishes, it has several elements brought together. Thankfully for this though, none are overly taxing, and all can be prepared for final assembly just before serving.
So the components are:
- Strawberry and rose compote
- Marbled cream
- Meringue pieces and freeze-dried strawberries to serve.
Let's get into it.
So if you've made a crumble before, this is familiar-ish territory.
Take your crumble elements:
Add in some butter. Pulse into nice lumpy bits. (You could almost certainly do this by hand if you didn't own a processor). (Looking at you Feep. ;)
Strawberry and Rose CompoteWhile the crumble is baking and making your house smell like amazing baking cake-smells, chop up your seriously-I-know-it's-Christmas-but-six-dollars-a-punnet-these-better-be-good strawberries. (Obviously you may be able to get regular ones, not the variety I got).
Then chopped half and quartered half. (This is so that some turns sauce-like and pulpy but then you still have strawberry bits in the finished product too. Don't skip this and think it will be better, it won't)
Mix and set aside for assembly and serving. Doesn't it look delicious? And less work than it felt like it deserved. Maybe I've gotten so used to complex dishes, the easy stuff throws me.
Marbled cream.Last stretch! Whip some cream. Then fold through a good quality yogurt.
AssemblyTake your nicest glass bowl. (Thanks Granny, miss you! She would have totally approved of this dish, most of her favourite things in it.) Pour in the compote (after swirling some through the cream).
Top with the marbled cream. (You can see faint marbling in the picture.)
Result & Guest OpinionsIt was very much a mess on serving. Sloppy and messy and inelegant.
It didn't matter.
It was so tasty! All the guests loved it. One even noted that when I was serving and it was all wet and messy he was getting prepared to be all polite and not saying anything.. but then it was perfect! The sloppy strawberry compute was sweet and a little bit sharp from the lemon and contrasted beautifully with the cream, but not overly rich because the yogurt gave a slight balancing sour note. The broken meringue pieces and crumble gave different degrees of both sweetness and texture against the soft compote.
- I think layering it worked beautifully. If it was for a dinner party, I think it would look amazing in those stemless wine glasses to serve.
- I think a bit more whipping of the cream might have helped a little - recipe says to medium peaks - I'd err on the firmer peaks side, so that you get a soft body to it once the yogurt goes in.
VerdictA seriously good summer dessert. Almost all of it can be prepared ahead of time, it makes the strawberries shine. As its on the messy side, perhaps less dinner-party and more casual family lunch vibe, but all the better for it.
Next time? Not sure, I have a picnic to plan for my daughter's birthday, so maybe after that.
Also: Seeking help and advice:
I lucked out and got a table-for-one at Dinner and am absolutely ecstatic! Thanks for the help folks. (On the plus side, since its in London, I don't lose a day of sightseeing.)