The clouds have settled back over Dublin today, but it’s still relatively warm and I’m not giving up hope that this weekend is going to be full of sunshine. It’s a three day weekend, and I plan to make the most of it by packing up the car and heading to Wexford for some sun, sea food, and strawberries. I adore Wexford strawberries and eat them by the truckload from April-September. I like them sliced over cereal, as a topping on my yogurt, on toast spread with ricotta and drizzled with honey, with a slice of madeira cake, tossed with baby spinach leaves and a light vinaigrette…the list is endless, but below is one of my all-time favourite creations – Boozy Berries & Cream.
Boozy Berries & Cream (serves 4)
This dish is the very definition of summer. It also has the added bonus of being ridiculously easy to prepare while looking extremely impressive – what’s not to love? I like to layer this dessert into individual martini glasses, but it could also be served in a trifle dish and spooned into bowls at the table.
4 meringue nests
250-300g of ripe strawberries, rinsed
2 tablespoons of your favourite liquor/liqueur (I have used everything from bourbon to triple sec to cognac)
250 ml cream
1 teaspoon icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Slice all but four of the strawberries in half. Place them in a bowl, pour over your liquor of choice, and cover the bowl with cling film. Set aside and leave to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Gently break the meringue nests into chunks – try not to crush them too firmly because they will just turn to dust and you want a nice, crunchy texture to contrast with the gooey cream and slippery strawberries. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks. By now, the marinated strawberries be basking in a lovely, boozy syrup. Begin layer the dessert with some meringue chunks, a spoonful of strawberries, a spoonful of cream, and so on. When finished the layering process, drizzle the syrup over the top and garnish with the whole strawberries and mint leaves.