The sunshine might be in hiding but you can still make the most of the summer season with our Contributing Food Editor’s perfect pudding
STYLING AND IMAGE: EMILY JONZEN
The grey skies and near persistent rain of recent weeks may make it feel like early autumn rather than early summer, but I am resolute in my enthusiasm for celebrating the delicious things that this time of year has to offer. June is the time when two of my favourite ingredients are in abundance: strawberries and elderflower. By now, tasteless and floury imported berries will be making way for sweet and delicate British varieties, and hedgerows will be heavy with blousy and highly scented elderflowers. The two are a classic match and are delicious in cakes, preserves and ice cream. I thought this year that I would try pairing them in their raw state to make the most of their heady flavours, and to make something less fiddly than a syrup or jelly.
In this recipe, the strawberries and elderflower heads are macerated in sugar (which will compensate for any fruits with a slightly lacklustre flavour) and a tiny pinch of salt, which will bring out the flavour and just make the fruits taste even more strawberry-ish. Instead of cream, I’ve used mascarpone, which whips up into soft clouds and has an edge which stops the dish from being overly cloying.
These are piled onto meringues which are made in the most fail-safe way, inspired by a tried and trusted Meringue Girls recipe. The meringues can be made a couple of days in advance but it is best to freshly whip the mascarpone and to leave the strawberries no longer than 45 minutes, or else they will turn into mush. If you don’t have any elderflowers growing nearby, sub the heads for 2 tbsps of elderflower cordial.
Emily Jonzen’s Elderflower and Strawberry Meringues with Whipped Mascarpone
- 325 g caster sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 2 tbsp freeze-dried strawberry power (optional)
- 400 g strawberries, sliced in half
- 4 heads of elderflowers, washed well (or 2 tbsps elderflower cordial)
- 200 g mascarpone
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas 6.
- To make the meringues, line a baking tray with parchment and pour over 250g of the caster sugar. Pop in the oven for 5-6 minutes, until the sugar is very hot.
- Whilst the sugar is heating, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. As soon as you take the sugar out of the oven, lower the oven temperature to 120°C / 100°C fan / gas ½. Carefully add the hot sugar in spoonfuls to the egg whites, making sure that you beat the whites back to stiff peak after each addition. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, continue to beat until you have a stiff and glossy meringue. If using the strawberry powder, add it to the meringue and gently fold it through a couple of times to create a marbled effect.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment and drop 8 dollops of meringue between the two. Use a spoon to swirl into a sort of nest, then bake in the oven for 1 hour, until crisp and set. They will still have a good chew within. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
- Whilst the meringues are cooling, tip the sliced strawberries into a bowl and add the elderflower heads, 65g of the sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. Stir carefully to coat everything in the sugar, then set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
- Whip the mascarpone with the remaining sugar and the vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy.
- Discard the elderflower heads and serve the meringues piled with the whipped mascarpone and the juicy strawberries.
Emily Jonzen is a recipe writer, food stylist and author. Her latest book The Goodness of Ginger & Turmeric is out now, Kyle Books, RRP £9.99. You can share this delicious recipe using the share buttons at the top of the page, and discover more of Emily’s exclusive recipes for The Home Page here.