ANDREW PERN of the Star Inn The City conjures up a new take on strawberries and cream.

SUMMER is flying by at the speed of a Tour de France cyclist. We all now need to find time to catch our breath and enjoy the flavours of the summer.

English strawberries take some beating. Even if you don’t have the time to make all three elements of this dish, each one will stand on its own. Enjoy a taste of sunshine!

Fresh strawberry stack with lavender shortbread

(Makes four mini stacks – double the quantities for full size stacks)

For the stacks

Approx 20 sliced English strawberries and a few wild strawberries for garnish

125ml whipping cream

20g icing sugar

½ vanilla pod

Lavender shortbread

110g flour

75g cornflour

110g butter

55g caster sugar

30ml lavender flowers

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the flours and the lavender; you can do this in a mixer or by hand. When the dough is coming together, roll it into a ball and chill for 20 minutes. Roll the pastry out and cut into 12 or more rounds with a 5cm cutter. Bake until only slightly colouring at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for about 12 minutes.

Assembling the stack

Whip the whipping cream with the icing sugar and scrape out ½ vanilla pod, beat until stiff. Take four shortbread rounds and pipe a rosette of cream in the middle of each, then arrange the strawberries/strawberry slices around the cream.

Place another piece of shortbread on top of that and do the same as the last layer and place a third round on the top. Dust with icing sugar.

Strawberry jelly and custard

Makes four shot glass portions or one small bowl


1 sheet of leaf gelatine

100ml champagne

5 tsp strawberry purée

4 roughly chopped strawberries

A little caster sugar, to taste

125g pastry cream

50ml double cream, preferably Jersey

10ml Cointreau

50ml Chantilly cream (whipped cream with icing sugar and fresh vanilla)

To garnish:

Tiny sprigs of garden mint


Soak the leaf gelatine in a little cold water. Squeeze ‘dry’ and set aside. Gently warm the champagne, without boiling, add the gelatine, strawberry purée and chopped strawberries. Check sweetness, adding sugar as necessary. Spoon into the shot glasses or bowl and allow to set in the fridge for 1 hour.

Then top with a little pastry cream let down with a little double cream and Cointreau. Pipe a little whipped Chantilly cream on top, garnish with the springs of mint, and rose petals, if you wish.

Strawberry and elderflower ice-cream

(Serves eight)

200ml full fat milk

250ml double cream

½ vanilla pod, split and scraped out

6 egg yolks

100g caster sugar

250g chopped strawberries

1tsp elderflower cordial

Add the vanilla pod to the milk, heat the milk then leave for an hour or so to allow the flavour to infuse. Beat together the egg yolks and the sugar until pale.

Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, reheat the milk and pour on top of the egg and sugar mixture stirring constantly, return to the heat and cook until the mixture thickens a little and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, lightly beat the double cream and add to the custard.

Sieve the strawberries and mix in. Keep a little of the purée for decorating the plate, then churn in an ice-cream machine. When nearly set, add a little elderflower cordial to taste.

To serve:

Place a strawberry stack on to the plate with a shot glass of strawberry jelly and custard and a scoop of strawberry and elderflower ice-cream alongside (you can use crushed shortbread to hold the ice-cream in place). Garnish the plate with strawberries, strawberry purée and edible flowers.