Wimbledon may be off the cards this year, but we can still take advantage of its quintessential seasonal fruit. From a savoury salad to show-stopping desserts, these strawberry-inspired recipes are guaranteed champions
But even though the live tournament has been cancelled this year, we can still get into the spirit as we watch replays on Sunday afternoons, especially with a strawberry-inspired treat on hand.
As much as we love the simple delight of sitting down in the garden with a bowl of fresh strawberries and cream, the culinary potential of the ubiquitous summer fruit often gets forgotten. From cakes and pies to salads and tarts, strawberries can transform even the most pedestrian of dishes into something magical – and seeing as they taste infinitely sweeter when they’re in season, there’s no better time to add them to your summer menus.
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With that in mind, here are three recipes to help you get your fill this summer.
Sarah Philpott’s strawberry, avocado and mint salad is a great foil to all the sweet offerings that you’ve most likely been baking during lockdown, and makes a quick-as-you-like summer lunch when you want to maximise your time in the sunshine.
Natalie Paull’s Calamity Janes, meanwhile, serve up a grand slam and are ideal for when you have plenty of time on your hands. While the homage to the classic Wagon Wheel involves a multi-step process, the chocolate-dipped cinnamon cookies with handmade lemony marshmallow and a heart of strawberry jewels will be a crowd-pleasing addition to your afternoon spread.
And if you’re looking to serve up an after-dinner winner when you’ve got company, Olia Hercules’ glorious poppyseed cake with elderflower and strawberries is guaranteed to get many admiring glances. Summer is officially saved.
Sarah Philpott’s strawberry, avocado and mint salad recipe
Takes under 15 minutes
- half a punnet of strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 2-3 big handfuls of spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- half a head of broccoli broken into florets
- a handful of flaked almonds (optional)
- a few fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional)
Steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, place the spinach leaves in a large bowl and massage with the olive oil and half the balsamic vinegar. Stir in the chickpeas and add the avocado and broccoli.
Place the strawberries in a separate bowl and coat with the rest of the balsamic vinegar, then add to the salad.
Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and the mint, then drizzle over the pomegranate molasses.
Extracted from The Seasonal Vegan by Sarah Philpott (£12.99, Seren), available now
Natalie Paull’s Calamity Janes recipe
Natalie says: “These are the bouncy marshmallow, strawberry-hearted chocolate-coated pucks of my baking dreams! Here, snappy cinnamon wholemeal cookies sandwich squares of handmade lemony marshmallow, with a vivacious heart of strawberry jewels. The recipe is an homage to the Wagon Wheel but the name to Doris Day’s singin’, dancin’, pistol-packin’ portrayal of Calamity Jane. Whip, (chocolate) crack away!
Makes 12 marshmallow cookie sandwiches
Takes: This is a minor quest but well worth it! I recommend making the mallow, jam and cookie dough the day before, then bake the cookies and assemble the next day
Keeps: For up to 5 days refrigerated
- cooking oil spray
- ½ × batch lemon zest marshmallow, uncut – recipe below
- 1 × batch strawberry jewels (you will only need half the amount, so slather the remainder on croissants) – recipe below
- 10g freeze-dried strawberries, to garnish (optional)
For the cookies
- 110g unsalted butter, cool and pliable
- 60g light muscovado (or soft brown) sugar
- 40g honey
- 120g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 30g wholemeal (wholewheat) flour
- 2g (¼ teaspoon) fine sea salt
- 2g (1 teaspoon) freshly ground cinnamon
- chocolate dip
- 600g milk chocolate (30%-plus cocoa)
To make the cookies, put the butter, brown sugar and honey in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the ingredients on speed 4 (medium) for 10 minutes until creamy and a pale malty colour.
Combine the flours, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Add to the creamed butter and mix on speed 2 (above low) until the dough just comes together and cleanly leaves the side of the bowl. Scrape the mix out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disc and cover with the plastic. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 130°C (265°F). Lightly spray two baking trays with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 2 mm (1/16 in) thick. Stamp out twenty‑four circles with a 7 cm (2¾ in) fluted pastry cutter. Re-roll the scraps and stamp out more circles until all the dough is used. (You may have a walnut-sized lump of dough left, so bake it and crush it over your next bowl of ice cream.) Using a metal spatula, lift the cookies onto the lined trays and bake for 35–40 minutes until deep golden all over.
Cool before the next step. If you aren’t using the cookies that day, store in an air tight container at room temperature.
To set up for assembly:
Put the slab of lemon zest marshmallow on a chopping board and have the strawberry jewels and freeze-dried strawberries (if using) nearby.
Place the fluted cutter (the one you used to stamp out the cookies) in a small bowl and fill with enough just-boiled water to come halfway up the side of the cutter. The cutter needs to be hot but not so hot that it burns your fingers.
Spread a large piece of plastic wrap over the work surface and place a wire rack on top.
Line a baking tray with plastic wrap; have an offset spatula handy.
Lay 12 cookies out on the work surface, bottom sides facing up. Have the remaining cookie ‘tops’ close by. Stamp out 12 marshmallow circles with the hot cutter, pressing slowly to keep a nice shape. Dig out a small nest from the middle of the mallow with a teaspoon or melon baller (if your 70s garnish tool collection is en pointe). Place the mallow circle on a cookie bottom and fill in the nest with a fruity chunk of the strawberry jewels – but don’t overfill.
Lightly press a cookie top on the marshmallow, top side facing up.
Continue cutting, scooping and filling the remainder until you have 12 naked Janes.
To make the chocolate dip, put the chocolate in a small, deep heatproof bowl. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, turn it off and place the bowl on top. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth and runny. Keep it warm but not so hot that it overheats and seizes.
If the chocolate is too shallow in the bowl, it is hard to roll the Janes around to coat evenly, so choose a bowl with a smallish diameter to give you a deep chocolate pond.
Last step, promise! Working in batches of three or four, plunge the Janes into the warm chocolate, then remove and place on the wire rack to drain. Crush/sprinkle a little freeze-dried strawberry on top, then use an offset spatula to lift them onto the lined baking tray. Keep dunking and sprinkling until they are all done. Chill for 30 minutes, then peel them off the plastic wrap. Eating one just after it completely sets is remarkable.
Natalie Paull’s lemon zest marshmallow recipe
Makes 16 fat cubes
Takes: about 40 minutes to make the syrup and whip it. Minimum 2 hours to set.
Keeps: for up to 2 weeks refrigerated and airtight. This is a soft marshmallow so keep it chilled.
- 650g caster (superfine) sugar
- 40g light corn syrup or glucose (or honey)
- ½ vanilla bean, split
- 500g/ml cold water
- 25g gelatine powder
- finely grated zest of two lemons
- 2g (½ teaspoon)
- sea salt flakes
- cooking oil spray
- 75g icing (confectioners’) sugar
- 25g cornflour (cornstarch)
Begin the syrup by combining the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean and 300g of the cold water in a 20cm (8 in) wide saucepan over a high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
As soon as the syrup comes to a rolling boil, whisk the gelatine powder and the remaining 200 g/ml (7 oz) cold water together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Leave at room temperature. As it blooms, the powder will thicken into what looks like jellied sea foam.
As the gelatine starts to accept the hot liquid, the grains start to swell – this process is called ‘blooming’. If hot syrup is added to dry gelatine, the grains of gelatine will seize up and the liquid won’t get all the way inside, leaving hard, dry gelatine particles. So, we hydrate the gelatine with a little water before mixing it with the scalding syrup.
Boil the syrup until it reaches 120°C (250°F) – this will take about 10 minutes. The syrup should look like bubbly, clear liquid plastic.
A fast boil will prevent crystallisation, so keep the heat high. If the syrup is boiled past 120°C (250°F), whisk in a tablespoon of cold water and reboil to 120°C (250°F).
Carefully pour and scrape all the syrup onto the gelatine in the mixer bowl and stir with the balloon whisk until well mixed. To be honest, it’s going to smell a bit weird at this stage, but that will dissipate and I promise it won’t taste like that at the end. Using tongs, remove the vanilla bean. Stir in the salt and allow to cool for 5 minutes but no longer. You want to start whisking while the syrup is warm – around 75°C (165°F).
Place the bowl on the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on speed 8 (under high) for 5 minutes. The mix may spatter a little at the start, so drape a tea towel (dish towel) over the top until it subsides, but don’t keep it on the whole time – the hot air needs a way out of the mallow syrup to allow it to cool.
After 5 minutes, you should start to hear a thrumming sound of the thickening mallow slap against the side of the bowl. Drop the speed down and whip on speed 4 (medium) for another 5 minutes.
As the gelatine in the marshmallow cools and sets, it traps the air introduced by whisking. Doing this on a medium speed at the end means a more stable and airy build. If the mallow is underwhipped, it will pool in the tin and won’t be airy.
While the mallow is whipping, spray a 20 cm × 35 cm (8 in × 14in) tin deep cake tin with a generous coat of cooking oil spray. The mallow is ready when it is airy, creamy and sticky. Stir in the finely grated zest of two lemons just before the mix is scraped into the tin. If the zest is added in the mixer, the tiny strands will get tangled on the whisk. Quickly scrape it into the prepared tin and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Spray the top with more cooking oil spray and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top. Smooth the marshmallow out with your hands, using a moderate degree of pressure to even it out.
Chill for at least 2 hours until set. When the marshmallow has set, flip it out onto a cutting board and use a hot, damp knife to cut it into sixteen pillowy cubes. For dusting, combine the icing sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Roll the marshmallow in the mix and place on a tray. You can eat them now, or if you’d like the texture a little firmer and with a faint crust, leave them to cure, uncovered, for a few hours in the fridge (or overnight for a chewier crust).
Natalie Paull’s strawberry jewels recipe
Natalie says: “Tangy, jewel-like bombes of strawberry suspended in a sticky syrup of strawberry juice, lemon and (not too much) sugar … what’s not to love? The twice-boiled method uses much less sugar than traditional jam so it’s all about that strawberry. The jewels can be the tart berry heart of a Calamity Jane, whisked into buttercreams, stowed under a blanket of chocolate in baked chocolate mousse tart or spooned on cheesecake. Or simply slather on scones or croissants with lashings of butter. This preserve is very chunky, so if you need (or want) a less lumpy preserve, crush the strawberry pieces. Many thanks to Norah Carey for this recipe and name from her 1997 book, Perfect Preserves. It’s a keeper!
Makes 450g (1 lb)
Takes: about 15 minutes for the boils, then leave overnight, or for at least 2 hours to drain
Keeps: For 1 month chilled, then frozen for up to 12 months
- 500g best fresh strawberries
- 150g caster (superfine) sugar
- 30 g/ml lemon or lime juice (from approx. 1 small lemon or 1–2 limes)
- 40 g/ml cold water
- 1 vanilla bean, split (optional – if you’re feeling fancy)
- Remove the green tops from the strawberries, chop them into halves or quarters (depending on the size, but keep it chunky) and place in a small non-reactive saucepan.
If your strawberries have white shoulders, add these parts too. It is the result of uneven ripening and the white parts will have a little more pectin (fruit’s natural setting agent), and that’s a good thing here.
Add the sugar, juice and water (and vanilla bean if using) and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to loosen the sugar, then let it bubble away for 2 minutes without stirring.
Don’t let it boil too long or at too high a heat, as you need the strawberry pieces to remain intact and you don’t want it catching on the side of the pan, which will tint the bright red jam with a little brown. Your goal is fast evaporation without the bright strawberry colour changing.
Have a colander sitting over a bowl ready. When the strawberries finish the first boil, pour them in, scraping in all the jammy goodness.
Set aside for at least 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge, to drain completely – no need to cover.
For the second boil, bring the strained syrup to a boil in a fresh pan – no need to stir. Boil eagerly over a medium-high heat for 3-8 minutes until the syrup is viscous and halved in volume.
Add the strained strawberries from the colander and keep boiling for a further 2-3 minutes until the jam is thick and syrupy. Scrape the jam into a bowl or plastic tub and allow to cool. The prudent sugar that makes this so good shortens the shelf life, so I store it in the fridge (also preferring not to fuss with bottling).
Extracted from Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull (£22, Hardie Grant), out now
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Olia Hercules’ poppyseed cake with elderflower and strawberries recipe
Olia says: “I am not sure whose fault this is, but it seems that, in Ukraine, for aeons elderflower has been thought of as coming from ‘the bush of the devil’. Consider this passage in an old Ukrainian book called Superstitions: ‘…elder is the Devil’s creation. The Devil planted it and now he forever sits under it. For this reason, so as not to tease the Devil, the elder should never be dug out with its roots, it should be left growing wherever it is. If you see an old elder stump, you should not build your house on that spot, for this is the Devil’s hiding place. If you build on this spot, your children will become ill and die and your cattle will also be ill and will not procreate. If you see a young elder sapling on your vegetable patch or in your field, smother your hoe with some salo that has been blessed by a priest. One should not sit or lie under an elder, because one will become gravely ill.’
Because of all this nonsense, even progressive people still hesitate to use elderflower in their cooking, which is a real shame as Ukraine has an enormous number of elder trees.”
- 5 eggs, separated
- 250g caster sugar
- dash of vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 200g plain flour
- handful of elderflower blossoms, to decorate – optional
For the filling
- 400ml double cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 75ml elderflower cordial
- 500g strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6 and grease a 22cm cake tin with a little oil or butter.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar until foamy and light.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with the vinegar or lemon juice until frothy, then gradually add the rest of the sugar and keep whisking until you have soft peaks.
Mix the poppy seeds into the flour.
Now add the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture, starting with one big spoonful to loosen the yolk mixture. Confidently fold in the rest of the egg whites apart from two large spoonfuls. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and poppy seeds, followed by the last of the egg whites. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, for the filling, whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks, taking care not to overwhip.
When the cake is cool, cut it in half horizontally and drizzle the elderflower cordial over the cut sides of the cake. Sandwich together with half the cream and half the strawberries, then spoon the other half of the cream over the top. Scatter with the remaining strawberries and elderflower blossoms, if using.
Extracted from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules (£22, Bloomsbury), out now
Photography: Manon Houston; Emily Weaving; Joe Woodhouse
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.