Strawberries and almond croquant

Soft peaks of marsala-scented mascarpone topped with strawberries and crunchy praline brittle make a dreamy summer dessert from Theo Randall
By Theo Randall
Strawberries and almond croquant
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the almond croquant

  • 200 g whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

For the crema di mascarpone

  • 400 g mascarpone
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp marsala
  • 300 g double cream
  • 150 g strawberries, hulled and quartered

Method

1. For the almond croquant: lightly oil a large plate and set aside.

2. Pour the sugar and water into a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Swirl the pan from time to time until the sugar dissolves, but dont be tempted to use a utensil to stir the liquid as this can cause it to crystallise.

3. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently until the liquid forms a pale golden caramel.

4. Tip in the toasted almonds and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until the caramel is a rich golden colour (be careful not to let the caramel turn too dark because it will taste bitter) then immediately pour onto the oiled plate and set aside to cool.

5. When the almond croquant is cool and hard, place it into a plastic food bag and bash with a rolling pin until you get a rough brittle.

6. For the crema di mascarpone: in a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together the mascarpone, vanilla seeds and icing sugar, then mix in the marsala.

7. In a separate bowl whip the double cream until soft peaks form then fold the cream into the mascarpone.

8. To serve, divide two-thirds of the crema di mascarpone between 4 chilled martini glasses. Arrange the strawberries on top, spoon over the remaining crema di mascarpone and scatter generously with the almond croquant.

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