Kevin Thornton’s stunning strawberry showstopper dessert

Kitchen Cabinet: A patisserie project from chef Kevin Thornton

 

I always enjoy using seasonal produce and love strawberries in summer. This recipe is a play on classic flavours and one that I never tire of making. It requires a little time and patience, but the result is guaranteed. Use fresh Irish strawberries, their flavour is delicious.

Kevin Thornton is a chef and founder of Kooks, bespoke private dining events and cooking masterclasses.

Sablé and strawberries

Serves four

Ingredients

For the pâte sablé biscuit:
250g butter, diced and softened
166g icing sugar
8g salt
416g all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod

For the crème anglaise:
9 egg yolks
130g Icing sugar
500ml (each) cream and milk
1 vanilla pod

For the crème pâtissière:
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
180g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
80ml cream
200ml full fat milk
150g all-purpose flour
200g butter, diced

For assembly:
2 punnets fresh Irish strawberries
20g icing sugar for dusting
60ml crème anglaise
120ml crème pâtissière
50ml raspberry coulis for garnish
100g crystalised rose petals for garnish

Method

1 For the crème anglaise: Place the milk and cream into a heavy-bottom saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrap all the beans into the mixture. Heat gently. Concurrently, whisk the egg yolks and icing sugar till pale in a large mixing bowl. Once the milk and cream mixture starts to bubble around the edges, take it off the heat. Gently pour the milk and cream mixture into the egg yolk and sugar mixture while whisking vigorously. Pour the mixture back into the pan and gently heat while stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Once it can coat the back of the spoon, remove from heat and strain the mixture using a chinois (fine sieve) and cool quickly in an ice bath. Store in a sterilised container and cover the top layer with cling film. Keep chilled till ready to use.

2 For the pâte sablé biscuit: Cream the softened butter in a mixing bowl until smooth and pale. Add the icing sugar and salt. Gently mix before adding the flour and egg yolks. Mix until just the dough comes together and no more flour is visible. Remove the dough and roll it in between two pieces of parchment paper till even. Remove the parchment paper and wrap the dough well with cling film.

Rest the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. After that, place the dough in between parchment paper and roll out to 4mm thickness. Rest the pastry in the fridge once more for 10 minutes. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and cut the pastry into discs with a 5cm diameter round cutter. Rest the pastry once more and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degees Celsius until golden brown.

3 For the crème pâtissière: Whisk the whole eggs, yolks and icing sugar in a large stainless steel bowl until smooth. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the cream. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrap all the beans into the mixture. Heat the mixture and stir constantly. When bubbles start to form, add a little of the heated cream mixture into egg mixture. Whisk vigorously and once combined, add the mixture into the saucepan.

Whisk the mixture until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, cook on low heat for 25 minutes. Spread the mixture out on a flat tray to speed up the cooling process. Once the mixture has cooled but is still a little warm, gently mix in the diced butter. Keep chilled till ready to use.

4 To serve: If you want to go for restaurant standard presentation follow the instructions below, otherwise just sandwich the sable discs with crème pâtissière, top with the strawberries, as in the photograph, and serve with some crème anglaise on the side.

Place five dots of raspberry coulis, decreasing in size, from 12 to 3 o’clock on the plate. Place five dots of crème anglaise in between these, again decreasing in size. Draw a cocktail stick through them to make heart shapes. Place one pâte sablé disc in the middle of the plate. Pipe the crème pâtissière from the centre out. Take four strawberries, remove the leaves and quarter them. Arrange the strawberry slices on the crème pâtissière where the narrow end is pointing towards the centre. Pipe a blob of crème pâtissière in the middle and place another pâte sablée on the top. Repeat the step one more time, creating three layers. Garnish with the crystalised rose petals and icing sugar.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome

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