Strawberry Shortbread Sundaes

 

I love ice cream.  I love it so much that when I was child, I used to celebrate my birthdays with sundaes instead of cake.  Now that I’m an adult I celebrate with both.  Frankly, because I can.

For me, no sundae spells summer quite like strawberry.  Which is why I am going to share my strawberry shortbread sundae recipe with you.  The inspiration for it comes from one of my favorite milkshakes in Los Angeles–the strawberry shortcake from MILK on Beverly Boulevard.  It’s creamy and crunchy and bursting with strawberry sweetness.  Think of it as the summer solstice in a bowl.

Ingredients for the strawberry sauce:

400 g strawberries, halved

1/2 cup apple juice

the juice of half a lemon

caster sugar, anywhere from 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup depending on how sweet you like it

 

Method:  Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over a low flame.  Stir until all the sugar has dissolved then turn up the heat and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Purée with a hand blender.  Pour into a small pitcher and allow to cool.  Once room temperature, chill the sauce in the refrigerator.

 

 

Ingredients for the shortbread:

2 oz caster sugar + a little extra for dusting

4 oz room temperature butter

6 oz plain flour

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

 

Method:  Preheat the oven to gas 5/190C/375F.   In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in the flour a bit at a time until incorporated.  The mixture will be extremely crumbly.  Use your hand to push the dough together in the bowl.  Shape it into a disk.  Cover it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for half an hour.  After this time, remove it and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.  I actually prefer rolling mine out on wax paper.  Roll it so it’s about 1/2″ thick.  Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.  Place them on a baking tray.  Sprinkle them with a bit of sugar and bake for about 15 minutes.  Do not let the cookies brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

 

To assemble the sundaes: Crumble part of a shortbread biscuit in a bowl.  Add your ice cream.  I like a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of strawberry, sometimes a bit of strawberry sorbet.  Top with strawberry sauce and the rest of the shortbread crumbles.  Put on the Beatles and enjoy.

 

sundae

 

 

Saturday’s Sundaes

Sometimes when the sun shines and the sky is blue, life feels like a Kinks’ song.  On Saturday, I found this especially true when surrounded by good food and family in the Chilterns.  As the sun came up, the t’wit t’twoo of the previous night’s owls gave way to birdsong.  At breakfast, gray skies rolled in and rain poured threatening our afternoon of fun.  Thankfully the sun soon emerged and everyone sighed a sigh of relief then began basking in its glow.

My three year old sat listening to the ticking of the clock in the foyer (she can’t tell time), until her cousins arrived for lunch at half past noon.  This is when the real fun began.  The kind of fun that starts with the holding of little hands in the garden, laughing at grownups, and racing up and down the lawn.  Of course this merriment ends with grass stains, wine stains, coffee stains, and endless laundry for days, but all of that scrubbing is worth every giggle and good moment.

Post chicken, ham, and leek pie, we taught the little ones about spread betting.  We had to.  It was the Grand National.  Unlucky for us, we were placing a bet on Many Clouds at the last minute but the William Hill server was too busy and the race started before our transaction completed.  C’est la guerre.

The children had no interest in the Oxford Cambridge boat race and thusly engaged in their own championship game of Beetle.  The winner got the rest of last weekend’s Easter candy.  The losers got sour grapes, marmite toast, and tea with Super Ted.

Finally, we had an all family boules tournament fuelled by brownie sundaes.  With hot salted caramel and chocolate sauce to choose from, everyone was a winner.  Below are my recipes for both.  I hope you enjoy them.  The brownies I made were Alice Medrich’s from Food 52.

through the window

foyer flowers

grand national

boat race

beetle tea with super ted

boules

henry

misti

 

 Sundae Sauces

Ingredients:

300ml of thick cream (double cream)

100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), broken into pieces

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 cup of caster or granulated sugar

100 grams of butter (cut into cubes)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

fleur de sel

 

Method:

For the chocolate sauce – In a heat proof bowl, combine the chocolate and golden syrup.  Place it over a simmering pot.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.  When the chocolate begins to melt, stir it.  Add half the container of cream and continue stirring to incorporate.  Take off the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste and a pinch of fleur de sel.

For the salted caramel – Put the sugar in a small pot and melt over low-medium heat.  Stir constantly until melted.  When it starts to turn tawny in color, add the butter.  Be sure to keep stirring though take caution as the butter can cause the caramel to sputter.  Once that’s incorporated, add the remaining cream.  Take off the heat and add 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel and 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.

Serve over your favorite ice cream and enjoy.  Keep the remaining sauces in glass jars in the fridge and reheat as needed.  I keep them for about a month.

sundae sauces fleur de sel hot fudge caramel brownie sundae

Frozen Happiness

Yesterday, I took my daughter to Ladurée for her first time.  We were walking through Covent Garden when she started begging for ice cream.  The sun was brutal and there was nary a breeze so I thought “sure, let’s spend too much on a fancy sundae.”  As she’s a chocolate fanatic I ordered her (and Reg, her golden dragon and current best friend) le Chocolat Liégeois which is chocolate sorbet, iced chocolate, chantilly cream, and caramelized almond flakes served up in a frosty silver goblet.  It put any frozen dessert I’ve ever had at Serendipity to shame.  Despite the heat, it was a perfect outing and I think it set a precedent for mommy-daughter ice cream dates to come.  At least I hope so.

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