This is a lovely summer brûlée with a fruity mix of berries and currants. The fruit is topped with a whipped creamy filling and then a crunchy caramelised topping.
Summer Fruit Brûlée
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Chilling and cooling time: about 5 hours
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
700g(1 lb 8 oz) soft fruits, a mix of blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, and redcurrants or other suitable soft fruit
115g(4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
285g(10 oz) Greek yogurt
285mlcarton whipping/heavy cream (1¼ cups)
170g(6 oz) demerara sugar (⅔ cup)
You will also need a shallow rectangular heatproof dish with a base measurement of 25.5 x 16 cm (10 x 6½ inches) and 5 cm (2 inches) deep.
You need to start preparing this dish early in the day as it needs to cool and chill between each stage.
First wash the fruit, remove any stalks from the blackcurrants and run the tines of a fork down the stalks of the redcurrants to separate the stalks from the currants.
Put the fruit in a pan and sprinkle over the sugar.
Now put the pan over a gentle heat for 3–5 minutes, until the sugar has just melted and the juices begin to run. Don’t stir the fruit but just move it around because you want to avoid breaking it down.
Now tip the fruit into the shallow dish and leave it to become quite cold.
Then spoon the yogurt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it is thick and then fold it into the yogurt.
Cover the fruit with the cream mixture, making sure it goes right to the edge of the dish and completely covers the fruit. Level the surface.
Cover with cling-film/plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
2 hours before you want to serve the brûlée, spread the surface thickly and evenly with the demerara sugar.
The easiest way to caramelise the sugar is to use a chef’s blowtorch but if you prefer to use the grill/broiler then you need to turn it on to a high setting and allow 15 minutes for it to get really hot.
Next, spray the sugar very lightly with water (a small plastic spray bottle is perfect for this), which will help the sugar melt and speed up the caramelisation process.
If using a blowtorch, aim the tip of the flame above one section of the sugar and once the sugar has melted and is bubbling move onto the next section. It will take about 10 minutes to completely melt all the sugar and turn it a dark golden brown colour.
If not using a blowtorch, place the dish under the grill/broiler as close to the heat source as possible. Again heat the sugar until it has melted and turned a dark golden brown colour.
Now leave to cool and then chill again until ready to serve, when the caramelised sugar will form a crusty surface.
This is a very creamy lemon tart which balances the tartness of the redcurrants. These are scattered over the top of the tart just before serving.
Creamy Lemon Tart with Redcurrants
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Chilling time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Cooling time: about 2 hours
For the pastry
200g(7 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1½ cups)
100g(3½ oz) cold butter, cut into cubes (⅓ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
For the filling
115g(4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
1egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolk only
85g(3 oz) unsalted butter cut into cubes (³⁄₈ cup, or ¾ stick)
150ml(5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
icing/powdered sugar for dusting
You will also need a 20 cm (8 inch) loose-based tart tin.
For the pastry
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
Rub in the butter, at the same time lifting the flour well out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible.
When the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs, add the sugar.
Then sprinkle over 2½ tablespoons of cold water and, using a palette knife, bring the mixture together until it begins to form clumps. Add a little more water (no more than ½ tablespoon) if the mixture seems dry. Using your hands, bring together into a ball by kneading lightly.
Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes to relax the pastry.
(Alternatively, use a food processor.)
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the size of the tart tin.
Carefully transfer to the tin without stretching the pastry and gently press down into the sides. Then trim the pastry by running the rolling-pin over the top to cut the pastry level with the rim. Prick the pastry base all over and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes to firm up.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas mark 6).
Line the pastry with baking paper and add baking beans, making sure they spread to the edge. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden.
Put to one side to cool a little before filling.
For the filling
Meanwhile, make the filling.
Zest one lemon and put to one side.
Now strain the juice of both lemons into a large bowl.
Add the sugar, whole eggs, and egg yolk and whisk until just combined.
Place the bowl over a pan of just simmering water and add the cubes of butter, one at a time, whisking until each one has melted.
Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.
Now stir in the cream and lemon zest.
Remove the bowl from the pan.
Carefully remove the pastry case from its tin and place on a baking sheet.
Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for a further 12–15 minutes until the filling is just set.
Leave to cool.
Just before serving, decorate the top with redcurranrs (you can leave them on their stalks) and dust icing/powered sugar over the tart using a small sieve.
You will also need 4 ramekin dishes with a capacity of 150 ml(5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) or 4 small pretty dessert dishes.
First wash the strawberries and then hull and pat dry.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture has thickened.
Now pour the cream into a small pan and bring to the boil.
Using an electric whisk, slowly pour the cream over the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
Return the mixture to a clean pan and let it cook over a low heat, beating with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of the spoon. (The heat needs to be low because the custard must not be allowed to boil or it will curdle.) Then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, purée half the strawberries in a food processor or blender, and then pour into a bowl.
Reserve four whole strawberries for decoration from the other half. Dice the remainder.
Add the diced strawberries to the purée and then add the cooled custard and gently stir together.
Fold in the crème fraîche and a couple of drops of lemon juice until well incorporated.
Spoon equally into the four dishes and chill for at least four hours.
Garnish the top with a reserved strawberry before serving.
There is nothing like homemade jelly. The intensity of flavour of the berries come bursting through and makes for a perfect dessert on a hot summer’s day.
Red Berry Jelly
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Setting time: 6 hours or overnight
250g(9 oz) strawberries (about 2 cups)
170g(6 oz) raspberries (1½ cups)
115g(4 oz) redcurrants (¾ cup)
140g(5 oz) caster/superfine sugar (⅔ cup)
5sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
1½sachets of powdered gelatine
You will also need a 1 litre (4 cup) jelly mould or six individual glass dessert dishes.
Wash and pat dry the fruit. If the strawberries are large, cut them in half. Remove the stalks from the redcurrants by gently running the tines of a fork down the stalks.
Put the fruit in a medium sized pan along with the sugar, lemon juice, and 540 ml (18 fl oz) (2¼ cups) cold water. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is beginning to bubble. Now put a lid on the pan and let the fruit continue to cook gently until it has become very soft, about 5 minutes.
If using leaf gelatine prepare it now. Place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, snapping them in half to fit if necessary. Leave for 5 minutes to become very soft.
Now strain the fruit mixture through a large, fine sieve into a bowl. Press the fruit through the sieve, using a wooden spoon, to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible.
If using powdered gelatine, stir the contents of 1½ sachets in ⅓ cup of cold water then add ⅓ cup of the hot fruit juice and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Either lift the softened gelatine leaves from the water, squeezing out the water, and add to the fruit juice. Or stir in the dissolved powdered gelatine. Stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved into the fruit juice, about 2 minutes. Keep stirring until you are sure the gelatine has dissolved, otherwise, when the fruit juice sets, there will be little grains of solid gelatine in it.
Pour the jelly into the jelly mould or individual glass dishes and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight to set.
To turn out the jelly mould, dip it halfway in a large bowl of hand hot water for about 5 seconds. Then place a flat serving plate on top and turn out the jelly. Shake for a couple of seconds until you hear the jelly loosening, then lift the mould away.
Can be served with single/table cream or dollops of whipped whipping cream/whipping or heavy cream and extra fresh raspberries.