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Fresh Fruit Jam and Pavlova
Wimbledon is over for another year! Which means one of two things. Firstly, about 20% of the staff in most offices will have slipped disks or twisted ankles as they block book the local tennis courts, don their ancient green flash tennis pumps, only to discover that they are not quite as good at tennis as Andy Murray or Venus Williams after all.
The second thing is that it means the whole of Britain will be consuming strawberries by the bowl, punnet, or box full. Some people will have mountains of strawberries on little bushes in the bottom of the garden, or in window boxes or planters. Supermarkets are offering buy-one-get-one-free deals, while up and down the country roads there are signs saying “pick your own”.
The problem is that once you have gorged yourself stilly, you will find that you still have a mountain of berries left over. If you leave them in the fridge for more than a couple of days, sometimes, they do not look quite as appealing as they did on day one, which leaves you with 2 options; strawberry jam, or Pavlova.
We do not like to bias our readers one way or the others, so here are some quick and easy recipes for both!
(time: 30 mins)
- 450g fresh strawberries, hulled
- 400g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4-6 sterile jars (medium size)
1. Crush the strawberries with a potato masher into a heavy bottomed saucepan
2. Add sugar and lemon juice then give it a stir.
3. On a low heat, stir it until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to the boil. (Stirring often). You are supposed to measure the temperature here – it should reach 105 C or about half an hour at full boil.
5. Transfer jam mix into hot sterile jars until it is 1cm from the top and then seal each right away.
(time: 3 hours)
Pavlova is basically 2 or three circles of merengue with cream and fresh fruit between.
WARNING: Do not attempt to make a Pavlova if you do not have a Kenwood Chef or similar style electric whisk.
- 4 egg whites (At room temperature)
- 150 g caster sugar
- 115g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
- ½ pint pot of whipping cream (whipped)
- 250-300g strawberries, hulled. (Optional: raspberries and blueberries)
1. Preheat the oven to fan 100C/ conventional 110C/gas 1⁄4.
2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil).
Only use the egg whites. In a large clean glass, ceramic, or metal mixing bowl (not plastic).
3. Beat them on medium speed with an electric whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.
4. Turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 5 seconds between each addition.
(It’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat.)
Add the vinegar by sprinkling it over the mixture and give it a 10 second final mix.
(When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.)
5. Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Then add the next third.
6. Scoop up a heaped dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another dessertspoon, ease it on to the baking sheet to make a large circle shape, or individual smaller circles (well-spaced)
7. Bake as follows:
Bake for 1 ½ hours in the oven. Then turn the oven off and leave for another hour. (do not open the oven door).
8. Take the meringue out and then set to one side until just before you want to eat it. Scoop the whipped cream on the top and assemble the berries, dust with icing sugar and serve.
If you have any recipes that you would like to share, please do email us, we’d love to enjoy eating them whilst sitting behind our gorgeous window shutters keeping the hot weather at bay!