白酒: baijiu, also known as Chinese firewater, lives up to its name. The smell is pungent and hits you right at the back of the throat, and the taste is sweet, herbal, smooth and burn-y. I quite like it.
I figured the herby bitter notes qould go quite well with strawberry, which is why I chose it as this recipe's boozy component. The amount I've used here is just enough to get a subtle kick, but not enough to feel the burn!
Ready? Let's go.
Ingredients for Base and Sides:
1 packet sponge fingers
A few slices of vanilla cake
1 tbsp strawberry jam
Ingredients for Spiked Syrup:
200g demerara sugar
4 tbsp baijiu
Ingredients for Mousse:
3 egg whites
3 tbsp caster sugar
100g strawberries, puréed
4 tsp gelatine, soaked in 3 tbsp water
3 tbsp baijiu
100ml double cream
Ingredients for Glaze:
100g caster sugar
100ml double cream
50g white chocolate
1tsp gelatine, soaked in 1 tbsp water
A few drops of strawberry flavouring and red food colouring
150ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks
A few strawberries
1. Make the syrup by boiling the water and sugar together for three minutes. Take off the heat, leave to cool for five minutes and stir in the baijiu.
2. Dip the unsugared sides of the sponge fingers into the syrup (just dip, don't soak), and line a 7" springform tin with them sugar side facing outwards. At the same time, dip slices of the cake into the syrup and line the bottom of the tin (you may need to alternate a little to make sure the sponge fingers don't fall over as you go). Spread the strawberry jam onto the bottom.
3. To make the mousse, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff white peaks, and whisk in the sugar until glossy. Heat the strawberry purée in a small pan until just simmering, take off the heat and dissolve the soaked gelatine in it. Leave to cool, and in a separate bowl whisk the cream to soft peaks. Stir the cooled strawberry mixture into the cream, and carefully fold into the egg white mixture.
4. Pour your mousse into your prepared tin. Cut some left over sponge fingers in half, dip in the spiked syrup and lay them on top of the mousse, and chill the whole thing for about two hours.
5. To make the glaze, boil the water and sugar for three minutes to make a syrup similar to the one you made before. Take off the heat, leave to cool a bit for a couple of minutes, then while still warm dissolve the gelatine in it. In a separate saucepan, bring the cream to the boil, and as soon as it boils pour it over the chocolate in bowl. Stir well until the chocolate has fully melted. Stir the chocolate mixture into the syrup mixture, stir in the flavouring and food colouring, and leave to cool to room temperature.
6. Pour the cooled glaze over the top of the cake, and put back in the fridge for another three hours or overnight. Once it's chilled, decorate with more cream and strawberries if you like, and slice and serve.