I’ve been watching the news from Australia with a bit of a heavy heart – due to industrial sabotage the strawberry growing community has been devastated. For those who haven’t been following, some one, or someones unknown has/have been hiding needles inside fresh strawberries with over 100 cases so far across the whole continent. While the idea of dangerously contaminated food plays into some of our greatest fears, it has caused the bottom to completely drop out of the strawberry market, with tonnes of strawberries being dumped to landfill which is absolutely heart breaking.
The Australian government has reacted quickly and is encouraging the ‘Smash A Strawb’ or #smashastrawbcampaign – encouraging people to slice up strawberries before eating – a quick and easy way to make sure the fruit are safe to eat. This not only supports the local industry now, it ensures that the farmers will be able to afford to grow the crops next year and prevents the supermarkets dumping untold more strawberries into landfill.
As a consumer, I really hate food waste, and as a cook, I believe firmly in supporting local industries. As someone who is always on the look out for a bargain, this is absolutely the time to take advantage of rock bottom strawberry prices and to do a good deed at the same time.
Here is one of my very, very best strawberry recipes, perfect for using up the fruit and ideal for keeping cool as the weather warms up in Australia. Strawberry Ripple Semifreddo is quick and easy to make, uses diced and pureed strawberries and tastes like a burst of summer and sunshine. To any Australians reading, get into those beautiful strawberries and be sure to use pure cream (not thickened) as it freezes much better.
Support a farmer and #smashastrawb!
As with all semifreddo, it’s important to take this out of the freezer at least 10 minutes before you want to eat it, it should be really lovely and creamy, not crunchy at all. If it is very hot where you are, it is worth transferring it from the freezer to the fridge about half an hour before eating so that it is ready to go when you are.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
Strawberry Ripple Semifreddo
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks, large
- 1 egg, large
- 300 g strawberries, hulled
- 2-3 Tbsp icing sugar
- 400 ml cream
- 200 g strawberries, sliced
- Line a 2 litre capacity loaf tin with 2 sheets of cling film (one long and one sideways) leaving an overhang on all sides.
- Weigh the caster sugar into a large, heat-proof bowl, then add the vanilla and the eggs. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (taking care that the bowl is not touching the water) and using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture on high for five minutes, until light and airy. Remove from the heat, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and set aside to cool completely.
- Using a food processor, blender, or just a fork if you want a more rustic effect, puree the strawberries and icing sugar together. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Pour one third of the mixture into the prepared mould, and set the remainder aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks, then carefully fold the cooled egg mixture through the cream, trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Pour into the prepared tin, using a spatula to get it all out of the bowl. Pour over the remaining strawberry puree and use a fork to ripple it through. Transfer to the freezer for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, folding over the overhanging cling film when the top has set a little.
- To serve, turn out onto a platter, remove the clingfilm and decorate with the remaining strawberries. Allow to soften for at least ten minutes (*unless it is very hot, see note above) Cut into thick slices and enjoy.
TIPS & TRICKS:
This dessert is suitable for people of all ages as, unlike other semifreddo the eggs are cooked before stirring through the cream. Hooray!
It is important to let the semifreddo soften, or ‘ripen’ before eating as it will be too hard directly from the freezer. Use your judgement, if it is a very hot evening and it is melting everywhere it is probably good to go. In hot climates I recommend letting it warm slightly in the fridge for up to half an hour before serving.
Please use pure or plain pouring/whipping cream – cream thickened with carrageenan doesn’t seem to freeze as well (and cream doesn’t really need additives – does it?)