So last week, my internet broke. Yes, I know that’s not the correct terminology for what really happened. Bottom line – I couldn’t connect to the internet, and more importantly, I couldn’t blog. It was a sad, sad week. The biggest problem dear reader, for me at least, is that I don’t speak ‘Computer’. In fact most of my interaction with any of you is a miracle. I am certain a monkey could do better. Seriously. So I phoned the help line – bear in mind I was already fuming after an hour of trying to get online, before I made the call. I then had a further hour to fume even further as Katy Perry’s ‘Fireworks’ played on repeat. The irony of this is not lost on me.
Eventually, I got through to the technician. I think it was a man, although his voice was really high-pitched. Note to self – do not make gender based comments when uncertain. Anyway, he/she started to speak. I still don’t know what was said. Words were flung out at the rate of knots: modem, GPRS, cookies – to name a few. In situations like these – one cannot be a smartass, one merely has to accept defeat. “I’m sorry, could you say that again, in dumbass-computer-illiterate language, please?” My technician laughed politely and rephrased what it was I had to do – again, most of it went over my head. Especially when I was asked to remove the sim card on my 3G device. “It doesn’t have a sim card” I responded despairingly, this was followed by a long silence and then step by step instructions as to how to remove aforementioned non-existent sim card. At least I now know that an invitation to stick a 3G card into my USB port is not a pick up line.
So to celebrate my return, I made a pudding. A decadent, luscious pudding. This dessert, is like an English Tiramisu – layers of champagne soaked biscuits, creamy vanilla speckled mascarpone and juicy strawberries. This is a fabulous celebratory dish, perfect for the festive season.
Wimbledon Mess (Strawberries, Cream and Champagne Pud)
Adapted from Cakebread, Pudding and Pie by Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy
2 cups (300g) fresh strawberries
1 tbsp castor sugar
1 bottle (750ml) Methode du cap/ champagne/ sparkling wine ( I used a sweet sparkling wine)
2 tubs (500g) Mascarpone cheese
65-125ml fresh cream
1/4 cup (50g) castor sugar
1 vanilla pod
24 boudoir biscuits (lady fingers)
Start by prepping the strawberries. Hull and slice two-thirds of them. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 tbsp castor sugar and splash with 1/2 cup of the sparkling wine. Set aside for 10 minutes to macerate and pour yourself a nice big glass of champagne. Go on, you deserve it!
In a large mixing bowl, stir the mascarpone, cream and 50g of castor sugar together, with a wooden spoon. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of fresh cream, but I ended up using about half a cup, simply because the mascarpone was too thick to spread and coat the biscuit layers and I wanted it to go further. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add them to the mascarpone mixture. Don’t throw away the pods, add them to a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar.
Pour 1 cup (250ml) sparkling wine into a bowl, dip the boudoir biscuits into it and then arrange a layer of the biscuits in the bottom of a serving dish. Spoon half the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit layer and spread evenly. Spoon the sliced strawberries and some of the champagny juice on top. Repeat with another layer of dipped biscuits, followed by the remaining mascarpone mixture. Smooth the top and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Decorate with remaining whole strawberries and drizzle with sparkling wine. Scrumptious.