- Preheat the oven to 190°C, Gas 5. Roll out the puff pastry to roughly 40cm x 30cm, you want it nice and thin. Place on a baking sheet and dock really well with a fork.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes or until nicely risen and golden brown – it’s very important that it is cooked right through, but take care with puff pastry as it tends to burn very quickly once you take your eye off it
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool
- Whip together the vanilla and cream and keep as cold as possible
- Once the pastry has cooled, cut it lengthways into three equal pieces, trimming to make perfect
- Spread two of the pastry pieces with jam, this is a novel idea to not only sweeten the dessert, but also bring out the flavour of the strawberries. Place the strawberries on top of the jam.
- Using a palette knife, spread a thick layer of whipped double cream on top of the strawberries and jam. Then carefully use the palette knife to lift one of the strips of pastry on to the top of the other and nestle down nicely.
You can dust the top with icing sugar at this stage or top with fondant icing by mixing the fondant icing sugar with a little water or lemon or lime juice and spread about half of it over the last pastry slice
- Quickly divide the remaining icing in half and colour one bowl pink and the other brown. Using small paper piping bags, pipe pink lines about 1cm apart along the fondant, then fill in with chocolate ones.
- Use the tip of a knife or a skewer to swipe through the icings leaving a 1-2 cm gap, then turn the board round and swipe the other way to get a zig zag effect
- Place on top of the strawberry and pastry stack and then use the palette knife and any excess cream to carefully fill in the gaps around the layers of pastry and strawberries. Once it’s nice and tidy carefully stick the almonds to the outside of the pastry.
- Chill until the fondant is set. Press lightly and slice, serving with any left over double cream and strawberry sauce.