These deliciously sweet strawberry slices can take centre-stage at afternoon tea – or serve as a very impressive dessert
- 500g packet ready-made puff pastry
- 500ml (18fl oz) milk, plus a little extra for thinning
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 100g (3½ oz) sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 55g (2oz) cornflour
- 25g (1oz) chilled butter
- 150ml (¼ pt) double cream
- 300g (10½ oz) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
- To decorate:
- Sifted icing sugar
- Extra fresh fruit (eg, redcurrants)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Cut the pastry in half and roll out each piece to an 18cm (7in) square roughly 2mm thick. Transfer to two baking sheets and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the pastry for 25-30 mins or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla pod and 20g (¾oz) of the sugar. Beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar together, add the cornflour and a little milk to thin, then stir well. Add to the milk and sugar mixture and bring to the boil again, stirring constantly, for 3 mins or until the mixture is smooth and very thick.
Remove from the heat, take out the vanilla pod and beat in the butter. Leave to cool, then beat in the double cream.
Pipe or spread half the cream mixture on to one of the pastry squares, then carefully place this on a plate. Arrange strawberry halves on top, add the rest of the cream mixture and top with the other pastry square. Decorate with sifted icing sugar, a few strawberries, redcurrants or any other type of fresh fruit you like.
You can also make this cake with raspberries or other soft fruit. And save time by using whipped double cream instead of making the custard.