Now I don't know if youre familiar with monster strawberries. 4kg of them later, I stood staring at them sprawled all over my kitchen bench, wondering what fabulous recipes there going to result from this bunch. Then it hit me. Why were they all so deformed, so gigantic? They're mutants! Would they sprout arms and bare teeth and start stomping around like something out of a Pnau video clip?
So I had to go and research them before they passed anyone's lips. Not that I didn't trust that they were edible, but I had to know the ins and outs of these massive red strawberries that had looked like they were joined to at least four others.
To my joy, it turns out that monster strawberries form simply out of a weather incompatibility, nothing more. They were delicious, mind you--fat, juicy and flavoursome, and just had to fill this heavenly tart--a light biscuit base, topped with airy strawberry cream mousse, finished off with a garnishing of fruit and lime jelly glaze.
STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM MOUSSE PIE WITH LIME JELLY GLAZE (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
8-10 Nice biscuits
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 3/4 tsp unflavoured gelatin
500g fresh strawberries
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
Lime Jelly Finish:
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
Grease and line a 20x20 square glass or tin dish, leaving an inch or so of baking paper overhanging at the sides for easy removal of pie.
Lay the Nice biscuits on the base of the dish, breaking biscuits if necessary to cover the bottom evenly.
In a small bowl, place the lime juice and shower the gelatin over the top of it. Leave it aside to soften for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place 400g of the strawberries in a food processor, and blend into a fine puree. Push the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan, and discard the seeds. At a medium setting, heat the puree along with 1/2 cup sugar, stirring occasionally, until bubbles begin to form around the sides of the saucepan. Add the gelatin and cook until the gelatin dissolves, stirring continually. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whip the cream and the extra 2 tablespoons of sugar for about 4 minutes until firm peaks form. Gently fold the strawberry puree into the cream with a spatula until well combined. Smooth this mousse mixture over the top of the Nice biscuit base. Slice the remaining strawberries lengthways and arrange on the top of the mousse as desired. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.
To make the lime jelly finish, Place the boiling water in a small bowl with the lime juice. Shower the gelatin on the water and sit for a few minutes to soften. Stir occasionally to ensure the gelatine dissolves, then cool to room temperature. Pour onto the mousse pie and refrigerate until set. Serve.