In season: Strawberries, shortbread and homemade creme fraiche

Photo supplied.
Photo supplied.
Sun-ripened, sun-sweetened strawberries are finally available at the Otago Farmers Market. With strawberries this good, I recommend keeping it simple and natural. Strawberries and cream is truly one of life's joys.

Makes 6

1-2 punnets fresh strawberries

Austrian shortbread
Makes 12
230g butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup icing sugar

Homemade creme fraiche
(allow 2 days!)

1 cup cream
1 Tbsp buttermilk

To make Austrian shortbread
Cream butter in bowl of electric mixer with the paddle until soft and fluffy. Add egg yolks, and mix well. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated and the dough starts to come together.

Turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and form into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours, overnight if possible.

Heat oven to 180degC.

Remove the dough from freezer, coarsely grate it by hand or use a food processor with the grating disc. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and either draw circles on the paper about the size of a teacup or use round metal cooking hoops.

You need to place enough mixture to loosely cover the surface. Do not be tempted to pat the mixture down, and don't put too much on, as it rises a little.

Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. As soon as you remove them from the oven, dust them generously with icing sugar. Cool.

To assemble: Top and tail some strawberries, arrange 1 or 2 shortbreads on the plate, add a generous amount of strawberries and a large dollop of your homemade creme fraiche (you may find yourself needing more).

To make creme fraiche
Add the cream and buttermilk to a pot and heat gently to blood temperature. Remove immediately from the heat and stir, pour into a clean glass jar with a lid (300ml). Let sit at room temperature for about 12 hours. Then put into the fridge for another 12 or until cold and the cream has thickened. It will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

• Alison Lambert will be demonstrating this at the Otago Farmers Market on Saturday morning.


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