Summer Fruit Tartlets

Summer Fruit Tartlets

 

I just love the fruits of summer. Here a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants top a crème fraîche filling to make a very light tart. Although any favourite summer fruits can be used.

 

Summer Fruit Tartlets
Prepares: 4 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time
  • For the pastry: 30 minutes
  • For the filling: 8–10 minutes

  • Cooking time:
  • For the pastry: 12 minutes

  • Chilling time for the pastry: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 145g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1 cup)
  • pinch of salt
  • 85g (3 oz) cold butter, diced (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolk only

  • For the filling
  • 250ml tub crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g (6 oz) mixed summer fruit (1 cup)


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry
  3. You will need 4 × 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.

  4. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Add the egg yolk, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon cold water and mix to a firm dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Wrap in cling film/wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).

  6. Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ in) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are four rounds. Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base, using the tines of a fork, to allow air trapped underneath to escape.

  7. Lay the tins on a baking sheet and cover with baking parchment. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and cook for a further 2 minutes to crisp up.

  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully removing the cases from the tins to completely cool on a wire rack. They will be delicate until completely cold.

  9. For the filling
  10. Sift the sugar and add to the crème fraîche along with the vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then divide equally between the 4 pastry cases and level the tops.

  11. Wash and pat dry the fruit. If using any strawberries, halve or quarter them so they are of a similar size to the other fruits. Spread the fruit over the crème fraîche and serve immediately to prevent the filling from softening the pastry.

  12. Note
  13. These little tartlets made a quick dessert. I tend to make a batch of the pastry cases and freeze them so I have them ready to hand. Just remove the number needed, thaw them and then you are ready to go with the filling, which is usually very quick to put together.

 

Berry Meringue Creams

Berry Meringue Creams

 

A delicious light dessert served in individual glass dishes. Fresh raspberries and strawberries are folded in whipped cream with crushed meringue lightly mixed in. They are decorated with cut strawberries and dusted with icing sugar.

 

Berry Meringue Creams
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Preparation time if making meringues: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time for the meringues: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Standing time for the meringues: 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 340g (12 oz) strawberries (1 pint)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream (1¼ cups)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 meringue shells*
  • 140g (5 oz) raspberries
  • icing/powdered sugar to decorate

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any left over meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare these first.

  • For the meringue
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup plus 1 tbsp)

  • Equipment
  • 4 x glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (mark 1)

  4. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition until stiff and glossy.

  5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet first to keep the lining in place.

  6. Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking parchment. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues will lift from the paper easily. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues in the oven for a further 2 hours. This will allow the meringues to completely dry out. (You will only need four of the meringue shells for this recipe.)

  7. For the Berry Meringue Creams
  8. Wash, pat dry and hull strawberries. Reserve a quarter and set aside. Quarter the rest and place in a small bowl, then gently mix in 4 teaspoons of the sugar and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

  9. Pour the cream into a bowl and add the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the cream holds a soft peak.

  10. Carefully break 4 of the meringue shells into small pieces and mix into the cream. Fold in the raspberries and strawberries, including any of their juice, being careful not to over mix.

  11. Divide between the four dishes. Top with the reserved strawberries, cutting any into halves or quarters if they are too large.

  12. Dust a little icing sugar over top just before serving.

  13. They can be refrigerated for up to two hours, leaving the icing sugar to be dusted over until just before serving.

Updated: July 19, 2017

Posh Raspberry Mess

Posh Raspberry Mess

 

This is a grown up version of the famous Eton Mess but with raspberries. Raspberries are drizzled with framboise, a raspberry liqueur, and then folded with crushed meringue shells into mounds of whipped cream.

 

Posh Raspberry Mess
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time without making the meringues: 10 minutes
  • Preparation time including making the meringues: 18 minutes
  • Cooking time if making the meringues: 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Standing time if making the meringues: 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 350ml (12 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream (1½ cups)
  • 4 meringue shells*
  • 450g (1 1b) raspberries, washed
  • 2 tbsp framboise/raspberry liqueur, optional

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any left-over meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare these first.

  • For the meringue
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)

  • Equipment
  • 4 × glass dessert dishes or sundae glasses


  1. Method
  2. For the meringue
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (mark 1)

  4. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition until stiff and glossy.

  5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet first to keep the lining in place.

  6. Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking parchment. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues will lift from the paper easily. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues in the oven for a further 2 hours. This will allow the meringues to completely dry out.

  7. For the fool
  8. Pat dry the washed raspberries and put in a bowl, reserving 12 for later.. Drizzle over the framboise, if using, and set to one side.

  9. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

  10. Roughly crush 4 meringue shells and fold into the cream.

  11. Just using a few strokes, fold in the raspberries along with any juice.

  12. Divide between the glass dishes and top each one with three reserved raspberries.

  13. Note
  14. This summer dessert still tastes delicious without the framboise. It just misses that little bit extra. To make your own, see Drinks – Framboise Liqueur.

Updated: July 19, 2017

Steak in Red Wine Sauce

Steak in Red Wine Sauce

 

Tender marinated steak is served with a lovely red wine sauce. This is very easy to prepare; the sauce adding that little bit extra when enjoying a steak.

 

Steak in Red Wine Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 20 minutes
  • Marinading time: at least 6 hours or overnight
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 sirloin steaks or other good quality steak
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) red wine (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)

  • Serving suggestion
  • Thin French fries, mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce leaves


  1. Method
  2. With tip of a knife, lightly score each steak to allow the marinade to seep into the steak.

  3. Prepare the marinade by whisking the red wine, olive oil and pepper together.

  4. Place the steaks in a single layer in a dish. Add the shallots, garlic and bay leaves. Pour the marinade over the steaks and turn them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight if possible.

  5. Lift the steaks out of the dish and dry on kitchen paper, reserving the marinade.

  6. Brush a heavy based pan with oil. (A ridged one works well.) Heat the pan and, when it is hot, add the steaks and cook over a medium–high heat, turning once. As a rough guide, allow 1 minute per side for rare, 2 minutes per side for medium–rare, and 3 minutes for medium. Place the steaks on a warm plate and and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes, turning halfway through, to allow the juices to settle evenly.

  7. Meanwhile, allow the pan to cool down slightly. Add the reserved marinade to the pan with the redcurrant jelly and half a cup water. Bring the mixture to the boil. Add the butter and boil down until reduced by about half. Season. Remove bay leaves.

  8. Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over.

 

Chelsea Buns

Chelsea Buns

 

A traditional Chelsea bun is a currant bun which was first created in the 18th century in the Bun House in Chelsea, London (demolished in 1839). It had a rich yeast dough which was filled with currants, spices and brown sugar.

This version has a light rich yeast dough which is filled with mixed fruit tossed in brown sugar and spices. The top is glazed with honey and sprinkled with sugar. So good!

 

Chelsea Buns
Prepares: 8 buns
 
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 450g (16 oz) strong plain white/all-purpose flour (4 cups less 3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 28g (1 oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 56g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 7g sachet quick-rise dried yeast (2 tsp)
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) warm milk (½ cup + ⅓ cup)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten

  • For the filling
  • 115g (4 oz) mixed dried fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas) (¾ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) soft light brown sugar (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice (all-spice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger)
  • 28g (1 oz) butter, melted (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)

  • For the topping
  • 2 tbsp runny/clear honey
  • 6 sugar cubes, crushed OR
  • 2 tbsp granulated/white sugar

  • Equipment
  • Non-stick baking tin/pan, 28 x 18 x 4cm (11 x 7 x 1½ ins), lightly buttered


  1. Method
  2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cube the butter, add to the bowl and rub in until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the yeast and mix in.

  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the warmed milk and eggs and mix to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Then turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes (6 minutes if using a stand mixer with a dough hook) until silky smooth.

  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 23cm (9 in) square.

  5. Now for the filling. Mix together the dried fruit and brown sugar. Stir though the mixed spice and melted butter until well mixed in.

  6. Evenly distribute the mixture over the dough to within 5cm (¼ in) of the edge. Now carefully roll the dough up as tightly as possible. Cut the rolled dough into eight equal slices and place in the prepared tin with the cut sides down, spacing evenly apart.

  7. Loosely cover the tin/pan with cling film and leave in a warm place until the buns have risen and almost fill the tin/pan. The dough should retain an indentation when lightly pressed with a finger.

  8. Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  9. Bake the buns for 25 minutes until they are golden brown and feel firm when lightly pressed with a finger.

  10. Remove the buns from the oven. Heat the honey in a small pan until just warm and then brush all over the buns. Now just sprinkle the crushed sugar over the top.

  11. Allow to cool in the tin/pan before removing and then gently separate the buns.

Updated: August 13, 2017

Double Chocolate Melting Moments

Double Chocolate Melting Moments

 

Soft chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with a creamy chocolate filling. They are very light and really do melt in the mouth.

 

Double Chocolate Melting Moments
Prepares: 16 filled biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–14 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the biscuit
  • 170g (6 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g (5 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1 cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) cocoa powder (¼ cup)

  • For the filling
  • 85g (3 oz) butter, softened (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (1 cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) cocoa powder (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Equipment
  • 2 large baking sheets
  • large piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle


  1. Method
  2. For the biscuit
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  4. Take two pieces of baking parchment and cut to fit the baking sheets. Mark one side of each piece of parchment with sixteen 4.5cm (1.75 in) lines, spaced evenly apart. (This will give a good guide when piping the biscuit mixture.)

  5. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

  6. Then sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and fold in until completely combined.

  7. Dab a small amount of mixture on each corner of the baking sheets and place the baking parchment to fit making sure the marked side is facing down on the sheets. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe 32 lengths as marked on the pieces of baking parchment.

  8. Bake for 12–14 minutes until they are just starting to become darker around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to become cold on the baking sheets, then remove with a palette knife to a cooling rack.

  9. For the filling
  10. While the biscuits are cooling make the filling.

  11. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cold water, then beat until it is smooth and creamy.

  12. Turn 16 of the biscuits over and using a teaspoon divide the filling between them. (This way it is easier to see if the mixture is evenly divided before spreading.) Then using a small palette knife, carefully spread the filling over the biscuits. Now sandwich together with the remaining halves.

 

Haddock with a Parsley-Cheese Sauce

Haddock with Parsley and Cheese Sauce

 

Another quick dish for summer. Haddock is poached with lemon and parsley, then covered in a parsley-cheese sauce and garnished with chopped egg.

 

Haddock with a Parsley-Cheese Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Standing time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5–10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 750g (1lb 10 oz) haddock
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 5 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
  • 28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
  • 55g (2 oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated (½ cup)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), hard-boiled

  • Serving suggestion
  • French fries and peas

  • Equipment
  • A large lidded frying pan/skillet and a shallow flameproof dish.


  1. Method
  2. Slice half the lemon and juice the other half.

  3. Lay the haddock in a single layer in a lidded pan. Add milk, lemon slices and juice, parsley sprigs and peppercorns. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and leave for 15 minutes until the haddock can be flaked. Strain, reserving the milk. Then flake the fish and place in the flameproof dish.

  4. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

  5. Next, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook over a low heat for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the reserved milk until there is a smooth sauce, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, season and stir in the chopped parsley. Pour the sauce over the fish and then sprinkle with cheese.

  6. Place the haddock under the grill/broiler and cook for about 5 minutes until bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.

  7. While the fish is under the grill/broiler, shell the eggs and chop.

  8. Once the fish is ready, garnish with the chopped egg.

 

Coated Chicken with Peppers

Coated Chicken with Peppers

 

A chicken dish that can be barbecued or popped under the grill/broiler for just 10 minutes.

Chicken fillets are coated with oregano, garlic and sundried tomato in olive oil that makes it super tasty. Just serve with a green salad and crusty rolls.

 

Coated Chicken with Peppers
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the chicken and peppers
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 55g (2 oz) sundried tomato paste (¼ cup)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Romano peppers /long red peppers or shepherd peppers

  • For the salad dressing
  • 115g (4 oz) Mary Berry’s Special Mustard Dressing/Walden Farms Honey Dijon Dressing (⅓ cup)
  • 1½ tsp clear/runny honey
  • 1 small orange, juice only

  • To serve
  • A green salad and crusty rolls


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the barbecue or grill/broiler.

  3. Slice each chicken fillet in half to make 2 thinner fillets.

  4. Stir together the garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, oregano and seasoning. Spread over both sides of the chicken.

  5. Halve the peppers lengthways, de-seed and then cut into thin strips.

  6. Whisk together the dressing with the honey and orange juice. and stir through the salad.
  7. Barbecue or grill/broil the chicken for 5 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.

  8. After the first 5 minutes of cooking the chicken, add the pepper strips to the barbecue or grill/broiler and cook for about 5 minutes, turning them a couple of times. They should be just soft but not blackened.

  9. Divide the peppers between 4 plates, top with 2 pieces of chicken and serve with the salad, and crusty rolls on the side.

Updated: July 9, 2017

Easy Summer Trifle

Easy Summer Trifle

 

A very refreshing summer trifle with fresh raspberries and strawberries, that is very quick and easy to prepare.

 

Easy Summer Trifle
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: about 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 pkt. sponge fingers, lady fingers or trifle sponges
  • 4 tbsp raspberry conserve
  • 115g (4 oz) strawberries (about ⅓ of a pint container)
  • 115g (4 oz) raspberries
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) Bird’s custard (1 cup)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream (½ cup)

  • Equipment
  • 4 glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. Break enough of the sponges to fit the base of each dish.

  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of raspberry conserve on top of the sponge and level.

  4. Reserve 4 raspberries and 4 strawberries for decoration. Equally divide the rest of the fruit between the four dishes, cutting the strawberries in half.

  5. Now sprinkle ½ tablespoon of sherry over the fruit in each dish and leave while preparing the custard so the sherry can be absorbed by the fruit and sponge. At this stage it can be left for up to an hour.

  6. Make up 1 cup of Bird’s custard according to the packet. Pour into a small jug and cover the custard with clingfilm so it does not form a skin. Leave until just cold. (I usually like to make my custard from scratch but, hey, this is supposed to be an easy, summer recipe! You could even buy a carton of ready-made custard.)

  7. Divide the custard between the four dishes.

  8. Whip up the cream until soft peaks form and put a dollop on top of the custard.

  9. Half the reserved strawberries and decorate each dish with two strawberry halves and a raspberry.

  10. Serve.

 

 

 

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tartlets

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tartlets

 

Fresh fruit tarts always say summer and these blackberry and cream cheese tartlets don’t disappoint. Sweet pastry tartlets have a creamy cheese filling and are topped with fresh blackberries.

 

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tartlets
Prepares: 6 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 to 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • For the rich sweet pastry
  • 140g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (CA)/all-purpose flour (U.S.) (1 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • 28g (1 oz) caster/ white sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 85g (3 oz) unsalted butter, diced (⅜ cup or ¾ stick)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract, optional

  • For the filling
  • 250g (8 oz) cream cheese/Philadelphia (1 packet)
  • 85g (3 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 3 tbsp double cream/whipping cream

  • For the topping
  • 170g (6 oz) blackberries
  • icing sugar/powdered sugar to dust

  • Equipment
  • 6 tartlet tins


  1. Method
  2. For the rich sweet pastry (using a food processor or mixer)
  3. Put the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor or mixer. Whizz for a couple of seconds to mix. Add butter and whizz for a few seconds to blend. Then add egg yolks and vanilla extract, if using, and whizz until the mixture starts to bind together. knead lightly, then wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 10 minutes.

  4. Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ in) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are six rounds. Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base using the tines of a fork, to allow air trapped underneath to escape. Now chill again while the oven is heating up.

  5. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  6. Lay the tins on a baking sheet and cover with baking parchment. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and cook for a further 2 minutes to crisp up.

  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully removing the cases from the tins to completely cool on a wire rack. They will be very delicate until completely cold.

  8. For the filling
  9. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest together until creamy and well blended. Add the cream and beat again until there is a light, soft mixture.

  10. Once the pastry cases are cold they can be filled. Divide the mixture equally between the cases using a small pallet knife to spread the mixture into the edges of the pastry and then smooth the top.

  11. To finish
  12. Divide the blackberries between the cases pressing them down a little into the filling. Cover the tartlets loosely with clingfilm and then chill for 1 to 2 hours.

  13. Just before serving, dust the icing sugar/powdered sugar over the top of the tarts using a small sieve.

Updated August 10, 2017