Strawberries poached in their own juices have intense flavour,
and need little more than a dollop of crème fraîche and a
scattering of crumble to top them off.
1 kgstrawberries (about 4 punnets), hulled3thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to serveZested rind and juiceof ½ orange and ½ lemon75 gmcaster sugar375 gmcrème fraîche25 gmpure icing sugar, sieved½lemon, finely grated rind onlyAlmond shortcake crumble75 gm(½ cup) self-raising flour30 gmpure icing sugar, sieved1lemon, finely grated rind only70 gmbutter, coarsely chopped50 gmnatural almonds, coarsely chopped
Coarsely chop 750gm strawberries and place in a large heatproof bowl with thyme, citrus rind and juice, then cover tightly with several layers of plastic wrap to seal. Place over a large saucepan of simmering water and cook until strawberries become pulpy and juices leach (45 minutes-1 hour). Strain through a fine sieve (don’t press solids), transfer juices to a large deep-sided frying pan with caster sugar and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Thickly slice remaining strawberries lengthways, add to pan, bring just to the simmer, remove from heat and cool completely.
Meanwhile, for almond shortcake crumble, preheat oven to 180C. Sieve flour and icing sugar into a bowl, then add lemon rind and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Add butter, rub in with your fingertips until mixture clumps together, then stir in almonds. Spread onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden brown and crisp (20-25 minutes). Cool completely, then coarsely crumble and set aside. Crumble will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 1 week.
Whisk crème fraîche, icing sugar and lemon rind in a bowl to combine (if the crème fraîche is very thick, add a little milk to the mixture). Serve poached strawberries and syrup scattered with a topping of almond shortcake crumble.