Redcurrant Soaked Strawberries with Cracked Black Pepper Biscuits

Author
Yield 6 - Servings

We all think of strawberries and cream at this time of year.  Not only are the strawberries in season, of course, but they are also very much part of Wimbledon fever. 

My Grandmother always served strawberries with a twist of black pepper which really brings out their flavour and reminds me of her summer kitchen. 

This recipe combines the zing of redcurrants and the warmth of the black pepper.  You can prepare a couple of hours before you eat and then assemble at the last minute, in between sets!

Ingredients: 
For the biscuits
115g butter
55g caster sugar
115g plain flour
55g cornflour
1 tsp peppercorns either crushed very well in a pestle and mortar or ground through a, not too fine, pepper grinder. (note 1 tsp ground black pepper is too much - it must be 1 tsp peppercorns, crushed.)
Icing sugar for dusting
For the Redcurrant Soaked Strawberries
115g redcurrants
30g caster sugar
1 tblsp water
600g strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
Clotted cream or creme fraiche, to serve
Instructions: 
  1. First make the biscuits: preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, gas mark 3.
  2. Beat the butter until soft, add the sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
  3. Sift in the flours, add the peppercorns and work to a smooth paste.
  4. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin and stamp into 8cm rounds with a pastry cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 10 minutes.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, put on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Meanwhile prepare the strawberries: pull the redcurrants off their stalks, wash them and put in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and push through a sieve. Taste the puree; you may need to add more sugar as redcurrants can vary in sweetness. Allow the puree to cool completely.
  7. Pour the cooled redcurrant puree over the strawberries and allow them to soak for at least two hours before serving. Place the strawberries in a sieve and collect the coulis in the bowl underneath.
  8. Lay a biscuit on a serving plate and spoon some of the drained strawberries carefully on the top. Place another biscuit on top of that and dust with icing sugar. Spoon some of the reserved sauce around the biscuit and finish with a spoon of clotted cream if wished. 

NOTE: make sure you slice the strawberries thickly or if they are small just cut in half. Do not allow the strawberries to soak in the redcurrant puree for more than 2 hours in advance, as they will start to go soggy. Assemble just before required.