But it wasn't until I moved to England and experienced a proper English summer, buckets of rain and all, that I truly fell head over heels in love with strawberries. I've developed a taste for strawberries in things, baked until warm and soft, doused with sweet golden bits of crumble or foamy in a souffle or decadent as they come, fresh from the bush lain on top of a crisp meringue.
Since it's the season for these amazing little fruits and since I have a backlog of posts, I've decided to give you a three-for-one: a trifecta of treats for the next time you have a punnet of strawberries in your fruit basket. We'll look at an easy low-syn or syn free pavlova topped with strawberries and honeydew melon for my Slimming World buddies, a rich strawberry and rhubarb souffle for date night and a comforting and moreish strawberry and cherry crumble.
3 egg whites
3 tbsp Truvia, no calorie sugar substitute (syn free), plus extra for macerating fruit
1 small tub Weight Watcher's West Country cream (optional; 1 syn per serving)
2 punnets of fresh strawberries, quartered and macerated in Truvia
1 small honeydew melon, balled and macerated in Truvia
For the strawberry and cherry crumble:
1 punnet strawberries, halved
1 punnet cherries, pitted
2 tbsp Truvia or 4tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
crumble topping either pre-packaged or homemade
1/2 cup plain/all-purpose flour
2 1/2 oz brown sugar
2 1/2 oz softened butter
For the strawberry and rhubarb souffle:
500g rhubarb, roughly chopped
2tbsp Chambord raspberry liqueur
1/2 punnet of fresh strawberries, quartered
1 oz unsalted butter, melted
5 1/2 oz caster sugar
3 egg whites
alright, let's cook:
For the strawberry and honeydew melon pavlova, wash and quarter 2 punnets worth of strawberries and allow to macerate in Truvia (or granulated sugar) in the fridge. Using a melon baller, scoop out the contents of one small honeydew melon and allow to macerate in Truvia or granulated sugar as well. Macerate the fruit in separate bowls. Macerate overnight or for at least two hours.
For the meringue, whisk three egg whites until soft peaks form, taking care not to get any yolk in the whites. Once you have soft peaks, slowly whisk in the Truvia or sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while. Continue to do this, tablespoon by tablespoon until stiff peaks form.
Shape the egg whites onto a parchment-lined, heavy-bottomed cookie sheet and bake at 140C for 90 minutes. Once 90 minutes has elapsed, turn off the oven but leave the meringue inside, allowing the oven to cool completely before opening.
Once cooled, pour over the cream or spray with squirty cream (if using) and arrange the fruit on top. Cut into triangular slices and serve.
For the strawberry and cherry crumble, simmer the cherries and strawberries over a medium heat in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, in a separate container, combine the water and the flour together using a whisk. Set aside. Pour Truvia or sugar over the fruit in the pan along with the vanilla essence and continue to cook for about a minute or two. Add the flour and water paste and allow to thicken slightly before tipping out into a lightly greased baking dish.
If using pre-made crumble, just tip the contents of the packet onto the fruit. If not, rub in butter with the remaining flour and brown sugar until a crumble-like consistency forms. Then pour over the fruit and bake at 200C for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Place the fruit mixture into a large bowl and gently whisk 1/3 of the egg whites in by hand. Incorporate the rest of the egg whites into the fruit with a metal spoon. Half fill each rammekin with the mixture then place four slices of strawberries in the rammekin before filling to the top. Smooth the mixture with a palette knife and bake in a bain marie at 180C for 10 minutes. Dust with icing/confectioner's sugar and serve.