For many of us summer is full of wonderful events and some can argue that June and July is arguably the most favourite months of the British summer and why, well I won’t keep you guessing, its Wimbledon of course. And what better way than to enjoy Wimbledon with sweet strawberries, vibrant and bursting with flavour, simply put together with a luxurious cream with specks of vanilla bean.
Why not take advantage of the strawberry season and devour them all in tasty, sweet treat that can be indulged over the weekend whilst sat back watching tennis. But let’s be honest strawberries are made for either popping into your mouth with a spoonful of sugar or baked in the oven, releasing sweet, summer scented juices so why not take advantage of treating yourself to a strawberry-fig streusel bite accompanied with a vanilla bean mascarpone.
Makes 20 small square bites
400 grams fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
200-230 grams (roughly 4) sweet, bursting figs, thinly sliced
400 grams plain flour
175 grams brown sugar
170 grams margarine
45 grams mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
¾ teaspoon baking powder
150 grams mascarpone cheese (or any thick, luscious cream)
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/ 400 ˚F/ Gas mark 6.
Grease a 10 inch to 8-inch square baking tray, line with greaseproof paper and grease again.
In a large bowl combine the thinly sliced strawberries and figs and carefully mix. Add the lemon juice and a quarter of the sugar (roughly 40 grams). Again gently mix and set aside to soak.
Place 320 grams of the flour, margarine, cream cheese and the remaining sugar into another large bowl or food processor. If you have placed the ingredients into a large bowl, use an electric hand whisk and blitz until the ingredients are combined into a soft, crumbly mixture.
Leave a third of the crumbly mixture in the bowl or food processor and set the remainder aside for the topping.
With the remaining third left in the bowl or food processor add the remaining flour along with the baking powder, egg and vanilla essence and blend until it forms a soft dough.
Using the baking tray, press the dough evenly onto the lined tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until slightly risen and the top layer formed with a gentle crispiness.
Strain the fruit in a colander to remove the excess liquid. Remove the tray from the oven and spread the fruit evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining crumble topping over the fruit bake again for about 40 to 50 minutes on the middle shelf until the top of the streusel is a nice golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the vanilla cream by carefully cutting the vanilla bean through the middle. Using the tip of a fork scrape out the vanilla bean into a small bowl, add the vanilla essence and mix in the mascarpone cream and set in the fridge until serving.
Cool for 25 minutes and cut the streusel into bite size squares and serve with a delicious dollop of the vanilla cream.