This impressive-looking dessert is like a summery tiramisu. It doesn’t cope too well against time or heat, so eat it straight out of the fridge. The espresso adds a grown-up twist, but you can leave it out if you prefer.
850g strawberries, hulled
135g caster sugar
1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp orange zest
2 egg yolks
50ml sauternes dessert wine
80g mascarpone, at room temperature
80ml Grand Marnier
1 shot (30ml) espresso (optional)
150ml double cream
140g Savoiardi biscuits (also known as sponge fingers or ladyfingers)
- Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Line a 24cm x 14cm loaf tin with clingfilm, so it drapes over the sides.
- Cut the larger strawberries into quarters and smaller ones in half.
- Put 550g strawberries in a 30cm baking dish, then stir in 100g sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and two-thirds of the orange zest. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the strawberries have produced a syrup, then leave to cool.
- To make a sabayon, whisk the egg yolks, sauternes and 20g sugar in a medium heatproof bowl, then set over a saucepan of simmering water (ensure the base is not in contact with the water). Whisk for four to five minutes, until the mixture resembles a thick, foamy cream, then take the bowl off the pan and leave to cool, whisking once or twice as it does so. Set aside to cool, then mix in the mascarpone using a spatula.
- In a small bowl or cup, mix the Grand Marnier with the shot of espresso, if using.
- Put the double cream and the remaining orange zest and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip to soft peaks – about a minute.
- Blitz the remaining strawberries with the remaining tablespoon of sugar for 30 seconds.
- To assemble the cake, pour the roasted strawberries and their syrup into the lined loaf tin. Cover with a row of biscuits, pushing them down so they soak up the syrup. Turn over the biscuits and push them down again, to soak the other side, too. Drizzle half the Grand Marnier mix over the biscuits, then spread the sabayon on top in an even layer. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the sabayon, then pour the blitzed fresh strawberries over the cream. Top with a second layer of biscuits (you may need to cut some in half lengthways to fill in any gaps) and drizzle the remaining Grand Marnier evenly over the biscuits. Push the biscuits into the blitzed strawberries, then turn them over to soak the other side. Pull the clingfilm tightly over the top, and refrigerate for at least five hours, or overnight.
- To serve, unwrap the clingfilm lid and put a large plate on top of the loaf tin. Hold the plate and tin together, then quickly flip over to invert. Gently lift off the tin: the cake should release itself from the tin and on to the plate; if it does not, tap the tin gently until it does. Peel off the clingfilm and serve at once.