Not much makes me happier than this summery strawberry sundae

Kitchen Cabinet: A weekend indulgence with ice cream, cream and biscuit crumble

Make the most of Irish strawberry season with this classic dessert.

Nothing makes me happier than making desserts. I just love that feeling you get when you create something that can bring so much joy. But when it comes to what I like to eat for dessert, it’s at the other side of the spectrum. Give me jelly and ice cream any day.

One of the first things I learned to make as a young girl was strawberry jelly with fresh strawberries set inside, served with whipped cream and crushed biscuits on top. I was sure I had invented it and it even took pride of place in my first recipe book (a copy book wrapped in an old Odlum’s flour packet). Yes, I still have that book.

These days I’ve upgraded to a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, a simple elderflower and mascarpone cream and biscuit crumble. I am sharing a recipe for a vanilla parfait which is easy to make at home and doesn’t require an ice-cream machine, but a nice shop-bought vanilla ice cream works perfectly with this, too.

Paula Hannigan is a pastry chef and tutor


Strawberry, elderflower and mascarpone sundae

Serves six

For the elderflower cream
100ml whipping cream
10g sugar
80g mascarpone
Fresh elderflowers and elderflower cordial

For the biscuit crumble
55g brown sugar
95g flour (I use Ballymore Organics)
Zest of ½ a lemon (keep the juice)
90g butter

For the strawberries
250g fresh strawberries
Juice of ½ a lemon (just the juice)
1 tbsp sugar

For the vanilla parfait
160g caster sugar 
50ml water 
5 egg yolks 
250ml double cream 
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped or a good vanilla extract

If you are using fresh elderflowers, heat the cream and infuse with the flowers for five to 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and leave to cool before adding the sugar and mascarpone. Whip lightly until it just starts to thicken. If you are using cordial, you can simply add it to the whipped cream and mascarpone.

2 Mix everything for the biscuit crumble together to a crumble consistency. Scatter onto a flat baking tray and bake at 175 degrees Celsius for seven minutes. Give it a little stir and bake for a further five to seven minutes, or until its golden brown. Leave to cool.

3 Slice the strawberries in half ,or quarters if they are really big. I like to take about a quarter of the strawberries that I'm using and make a marinade by mashing them up with a fork and heating them gently to dissolve the sugar. Then add the lemon juice (you could use a splash of limoncello liqueur, if you have it) and let it cool. Dress the chopped strawberries with the marinade.

4 To make the parfait, heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan. While the sugar is cooking begin to whisk the egg yolks in a mixer. When the sugar reaches 121 degrees Celsius pour the sugar onto the yolks and continue to whisk until the mixture is room temperature. Gently whip the double cream with the vanilla then fold into the egg and sugar. Pour into a container/ bowl and freeze.

5 To assemble: Start with a generous scoop of ice-cream or parfait, then strawberries, a scattering of crumble, a good spoon of cream, more strawberries, more crumble and finally topped with cream.

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