I really enjoy cooking lunch on a Sunday. We usually eat around 2.00 so I have plenty of time to take things slowly and to try out different things. But we are quite traditional about our Sunday lunch so it usually involves something light and fishy for a starter, a roast or other lump of meat based main course, then something fruity and refreshing for pudding (and yes, I say pudding, I hate the term dessert - just one of my quirks). Last night I had returned from three glorious days in and around Bournemouth with Mr Redding, so today was keeping everything very simple - smoked salmon to start, roast chicken and roast potatoes, runner beans and savoy cabbage and strawberries and cream to finish. But that pudding started worrying me - too simple. Strawberry mousse? Very nice but I didn't have any almond thins to go with and didn't feel up to making them. Then I thought - what about making a bit of sponge - relatively easy and very effective. So I made a fatless sponge, layered it up with kirsch, strawberries and cream and it all turned out rather well......
75g plain flour
Pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
Tblsp. warm water
Tsp. vanilla essence
200ml double cream
Icing sugar and a skewer to serve
4 3" serving rings
Line a swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 150.
To make the sponge whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk/mixer until pale, thick and frothy. Fold in the flour and salt and then add the water and vanilla essence. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch.
Use a 3 inch serving ring to cut out 8 discs of sponge. Put a disc of sponge into each of 4 rings and place on a flat plate. Scatter a few drops of kirsch on the sponge.
Selecting smaller strawberries, cut the tops off, slice in half and arrange around the edge of the sponge, with the cut side facing the serving ring. Make sure they fit tightly.
With the rest of the strawberries, hull them, add a teaspoon of caster sugar, and mash gently in a bowl. Spoon the mashed strawberry and some of the juice into each of the serving rings until they are almost filled. Whip the cream until fairly stiff and spoon on top of the strawberry mixture - don't skimp.
Finally, place the other disc of sponge in the serving ring and sprinkle more kirsch on top. Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.
To serve, upend the ring onto a plate and ease out. Heat the skewer until very hot, sprinkle the top of the sponge with icing sugar, then use the skewer to create a gird pattern on top. Serve with a little additional cream.