We are so fortunate because friends own the Hillwood Berry Farm in the Tamar Valley and so last weekend Lottie, Sam and I and a few others went up for a bit of a road trip. The weather was absolutely stunning and we got there just in time to watch the sunset, have a beer and a tour of the property, not to mention taste test a few brilliant strawberries. Followed by a bit of star trail photography….well that was Sam not me, I held the drinks.
We, mostly Lottie and I – Sam was having a boys moment scouting the damn for fish, picked lots to bring home the next day and then had a really lovely time just sitting at the café’s deck in the sunshine, eating ice cream and the odd strawberry or two.
So the question when home was what to do with a fridge full of the best strawberries? I made a big batch of strawberry jam one night last week (using the Sally Wise recipe from A Year In A Bottle), made some strawberry jelly as a bit of an experiment (tasted good but didn’t set well) and then finally a fantastic duck egg sponge with jam, fresh strawberries and sweet mascarpone cream.
1.5 kg strawberries hulled
1.5 kg sugar
juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup water
Place the strawberries, lemon and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Then add the sugar and return to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook the jam until it reaches setting point (105 celcius). Once it has reached this point take it off the heat and sit for ten minutes. Put the jam into steralised jars and seal.
I used the recipe here from Not Quite Nigella because, well a sponge is not something to stuff around with and is one for those few things I make and strictly follow a recipe for, and it turned out beautifully.
Tub of mascarpone
Teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
Icing sugar to taste
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, adding the icing sugar to taste.
To construct the sponge put the bottom cake onto a plate or stand and spread with jam, add a layer of sliced fresh strawberries and some of the mascarpone cream. Put the second cake on top and spread with more cream. Decorate with more fresh strawberries as you like.
Big big thank you to Boon and Stack for having us to stay and for the most amazing fruit. If you are visiting that part of the world I would definitely recommend dropping by. And yes this is shameless promotion but only because I feel it is most worthy of it!