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Strawberry, vanilla custard & baked white chocolate


Strawberry, vanilla custard & baked white chocolate

Strawberry sorbet dessert

Private chef and MasterChef finalist Louisa Ellis brought this recipe for strawberry sorbet, vanilla custard and baked white chocolate to her residency at The George at Alstonefield in 2019.

With British strawberry season in full swing, now is the perfect time to make this light and summery dessert.

  • Author: Katy


For the strawberry sorbet
600g strawberry purée
120g caster sugar
50ml water
50ml lemon juice

For the vanilla custard
400ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g sugar
5 egg yolks

For the baked white chocolate
200g Callebaut white chocolate

For the macerated strawberries
1kg British strawberries
25ml white balsamic
25g caster sugar


For the strawberry sorbet

  1. Bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to the boil.
  2. Pour sugar water onto strawberry purée and whisk.
  3. Leave to cool.
  4. Churn in ice cream machine for approximately 20 minutes or until set.
  5. Set in the freezer before serving.

For the vanilla custard

  1. Whisk the egg and sugar together lightly in a bowl.
  2. Bring the cream and vanilla pod to the boil.
  3. Pour hot cream over the sugar and egg removing the vanilla pod skin.
  4. Place custard mix into a deep tray/ramekin/silicone mould and bake in the oven at 110°C.
  5. Pour hot water around the dishes/moulds to create a bain-marie. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour (or until firm but with a slight wobble) and chill.
  6. Portion or scoop mixture as needed.

For the baked white chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Line a tray with baking parchment and spread the chocolate out so that it is flat.
  3. Bake the white chocolate for 10 minutes and check to see if it is slightly golden. If the chocolate has only melted with no colour then place it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until light brown.
  4. When caramelised, cool and break into small pieces.

For the macerated strawberries

  1. Take half of the strawberries and blend into a purée with the white balsamic and 25g sugar.
  2. Strain the purée through a sieve to remove seeds.
  3. Take the unprepared strawberries and remove the stalk but keep whole.
  4. Submerge the strawberries in the purée mix overnight.
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Louisa Ellis starts a new chapter

At the age of just 22, Louisa Ellis impressed the nation when she reached the finals of MasterChef UK in 2017. Sauce caught up with Louisa for the Autumn/Winter 2018…

At the age of just 22, Louisa Ellis impressed the nation when she reached the finals of MasterChef UK in 2017. Sauce caught up with Louisa for the Autumn/Winter 2018 edition of the magazine. 

The eldest of four siblings, Louisa’s passion for food was sparked by cooking for her parents, brothers and sister when she was younger.

“When my mum and dad were working full-time I would help out. I really enjoyed catering at school, so I took it home and experimented with it. My mum and dad didn’t like it when I started putting chilli in the spaghetti bolognese!”

While studying for her Catering NVQ Levels 1 and 2 at college, Louisa landed a job at a hotel in Luton, where she grew up. To start with it was front of house work, but a full time opportunity came up in the kitchen when Louisa left college, so she stayed until the hotel went into administration and all of the staff were made redundant.

“It was probably good that it forced me to move on,” she muses. “I went to the two rosette restaurant at The Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. We did banqueting and weddings, so it was great experience with big numbers. Having banqueting, brasserie and restaurant experience is valuable, because sometimes if you go straight into Michelin level you know that style of cooking and nothing else.”

When the head chef Louisa was working with moved to another, more ambitious, two rosette hotel restaurant in Sutton Coldfield he offered her a job on his team. It was at this stage Louisa decided her heart was set on working in a Michelin starred restaurant where she could apply her attention to detail while not having to worry about room service orders.

“From there I went on to do a year at Adam’s Restaurant in Birmingham. I’d been there for a meal and really, really enjoyed it. His food blew me away. I wanted to be able to cook that food, so I applied for a job there.

“It was hard work but it was so worth it. It felt like two years because the hours were a big step up from what I was doing before. That was definitely a shock to the system at first. The routine and discipline are a very high standard but after a few months you get used to it and it becomes natural. After moving around the sections a bit I decided meats and sauces were my passion.”

However, the long hours left Louisa with little spare time to push herself and pursue other avenues such as entering into competitions. After another move, to The Wilderness in Birmingham, she found a bit more flexibility and a better balance.

“It was nice to have time to relax but also to do things that could be productive for my career,” she explains. “When I started working there I decided to apply for MasterChef. I was hoping I would get a callback but didn’t really expect it. I got interviewed and it all went so quickly. Before I knew it I was in the skills test!”

Although none of it was easy, this was probably the most nerve-racking part of the whole competition. Louisa recalls walking into the huge room where the judges were standing surrounded by the TV production crew.

“You’ve never met any of these people before and you’re looking at the ingredients thinking ‘What are they going to ask me to do?’,” she relates. “You just forget everything – it all goes out of your head. It gets a bit easier after that when you realise the judges are just people and they’re there to see your skills as a chef. They’re there to support you, not be nasty or intimidating.”

To find out more about the private dining experiences Louisa offers, take a look at her website or follow her on social media.

To read our interview with Louisa in full, pick up your copy of Sauce from one of our stockists.

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