This is a really great, light and tasty dessert that’s really easy to prepare and is sure to impress. The main stars of this dish are the strawberries which are still in season and are sweet and delicious right now so it’s best to use them while they are so good. This dessert doesn’t keep very well so it’s advisable to prepare it when you’re expecting guests or feeling especially gluttonous! There are only two elements to this dish that require some bit of effort: the sponge and the custard and it’s the simple combination of the two, plus the strawberries that makes this dish so successful. Here’s the recipe!
For the Sponge:
4 Eggs: whites and yolks separated (you will need the yolks later)
100g Caster Sugar
100g Flour (plain in fine but for extra insurance use self-raising)
1 punnet of Irish Strawberries
1. Add the egg whites and caster sugar to a mixing bowl.
2. Using an electric whisk/mixer beat the mixture until it is light, airy and has at least doubled in size.
3. Next, sift the flour onto the surface of the mixture.
4. Fold the flour into the mixture using a steel spoon or spatula as a wooden spoon will knock out the air and you will end up with a very flat, dense sponge and no one wants that!
5. Spoon your mixture into a cake tin that has been greased and floured.
6. Take your strawberries and halve any that are quite big. Arrange them on top of the sponge mixture any way you like. You will probably have a few left over so these can be saved as a garnish for later.
7. Place the sponge into an oven, on the middle shelf at 180°C for about 30-35 minutes. (For fan-assisted ovens 160°C should be fine)
8. The sponge is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
For the Custard:
3-4 Egg Yolks
75-100g Caster Sugar (depending on how sweet or not you like it)
½ a Vanilla Pod
1 Small tub of double cream (fresh is fine too)
1. While the sponge is cooking you can prepare the vanilla custard. Pour the cream into a saucepan with roughly half its amount of milk.
2. Split the vanilla pod in half using a sharp knife and scrape out the shiny black seeds. Place these, along with the split pod into the milk and cream mixture. Heat gently until the mixture just starts to steam at the surface, but not boil.
3. You can remove the vanilla pod at this point.
4. In a small bowl mix the sugar and egg yolks together.
5. Add a small amount of the hot milk and cream mixture to the sugar and egg yolks. Mix vigorously to warm the eggs. This is called tempering and prevents the eggs from scrambling when added to the pot.
6. Add the tempered mixture to the pot and heat gently until thickened to a lovely, silky, custardy texture.
By the time the custard is ready the sponge will more than likely be ready to come out of the oven. Remove the sponge and let it rest for a few minutes before removing from the cake tin. This is best eaten while still slightly warm from the oven with the freshly made vanilla custard smothered on top. Garnish with a fresh strawberry, serve and enjoy!