ripe strawberries with creme anglaise


serves 4

for the crème Anglaise:
500ml milk
6 egg yolks
125g white sugar
1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and seeds removed and set aside

for the strawberries:
500g strawberries
juice of half a lemon and half an orange
5 heaped t castor sugar

make the creme anglaise:

scald the milk with the vanilla pod over medium heat. In the meantime, cream together the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla seeds, whisking constantly until it whitens and the yolk is pale yellow. By now, your milk should be simmering. whisking constantly, pour a little of the milk into the egg mixture to warm and dilute the egg mixture slightly, gradually adding in up to half the milk. when well mixed, carefully return all the egg mixture to the milk in the pot, whisking constantly. watch out: this is where it can all go wrong! return to medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon, ensuring the cream doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pot. after just a couple of minutes, the custard will start to thicken: you need to cook it until it coats the back of the spoon (see page 236). take it off the heat and decant immediately into a large cold bowl. allow to cool and refrigerate.

macerate the strawberries:

Be a little bit picky – your strawberries must be sweetly ripe, fragrant and bright red. remove the stems and rinse them if you have to or just wipe if not too sandy. quarter the strawberries. add with the lemon and orange juice and sugar to a bowl. toss well and refrigerate for at least an hour. Leave to macerate in the fridge so they’re nice and cool.

to serve:

refrigerate four large flat soup plates so they are ice cold. divide the berries and syrup between the four chilled bowls, and present the crème anglaise in a jug on the table, making sure each guest pours a generous quantity into the centre of their chilled soup.