Drunken Peaches

Drunken Peaches

 

Quick to prepare and just perfect for a late summer dessert. Peaches and red berries are simply marinated in a peach schnapps syrup.

 

Drunken Peaches
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 minutes
  • Chilling time: 24 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) Archers/peach schnapps (½ cup)
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 3 medium peaches
  • 200g (7 oz) raspberries (1¾ cups) or strawberries, halved (1 cup)

  • You will also need 4 x glass serving dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Pour the schnapps into a small pan.

  3. Juice the orange and add to the pan along with the redcurrant jelly.

  4. Now heat gently to melt the jelly, stirring occasionally. Then bring to a bubble for 2–3 minutes until the liquid becomes syrupy. Pour into a large glass serving bowl and leave to cool.

  5. Meanwhile, put the peaches in a large bowl and completely cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds. Drain off the water, then replace it with cold water. The skins can then be easily removed.

  6. Halve the peaches, ease out the stones and clean up the hole left with a teaspoon.

  7. Next thinly slice the peach halves and add to the cooled syrup along with the raspberries or strawberries. Gently toss to coat with the syrup. Now cover the bowl and chill for 24 hours, stirring the fruit occasionally.

  8. Note
  9. The syrup may thicken during chilling. If it has becomes too thick by the time you are ready to serve, just add 1–2 tablespoons of orange juice to thin it down a bit.

Updated: September 12, 2018

A Special Peach and Blueberry Tart

Peach and Blueberry Tart

 

This is a very easy open tart to prepare. It has a light and crispy pastry base that is filled with fresh peach slices and blueberries. What makes this extra special is the topping of crème fraîche mixed with peach schnapps liberally spooned over the tart to serve.

 

A Special Peach and Blueberry Tart
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25–30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the tart
  • 3 medium ripe peaches
  • 28g (1 oz) chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts), roasted (¼ cup)
  • 14g (½ oz) plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 50g (1¾ oz) light muscovado/soft light brown sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 1 pack frozen rolled puff pastry (you will need 250g), thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 85g (3 oz) blueberries (½ cup)

  • For the topping
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) crème fraîche (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tbsp peach schnapps

  • You will also need a shallow, rimmed baking sheet to fit a pastry circle measuring 22½ cm (9 inch).


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

  3. If you can’t buy chopped nuts that are already roasted, then roast regular chopped nuts as follows. Heat a small frying pan/skillet and tip in the nuts. Cook over a low heat, tossing frequently, until they just begin to turn colour and smell nutty. They can burn very easily so watch them. Then put to one side to cool.

  4. Put the peaches in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. Drain off the water, replace with cold water and then peel away the skins.

  5. Cut each peach into half and remove the stones. Now divide each half into three and put to one side.

  6. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are finely ground (more like ground almonds). Now add the flour and 20g (¾ oz) (4 tsp) of the sugar and stir to mix in.

  7. Next unroll the pastry on a floured surface. Depending on the size of the pastry you may need to roll it a little to achieve a square that is 25cm (10 inch). Then trim the edges to make a 22½ cm (9 inch) circle. Lift this on to the baking sheet.

  8. Sprinkle the nut mixture in the centre of the circle spreading it to within an inch of the edge of the pastry.

  9. Arrange the peaches in concentric circles on top of the nut mixture.

  10. Next brush the border of the pastry with some of the egg. Then fold in the edges of the pastry, pleating them as you go, so that the folded-in edges just touch the peaches.

  11. Now scatter the blueberries on top of the peaches.

  12. Brush the pastry rim with egg and then sprinkle the whole tart with the remaining sugar.

  13. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.

  14. Meanwhile, stir the peach schnapps into the crème fraîche and spoon into a serving jug or bowl.

  15. When the tart has cooked, remove to a serving plate and serve with the peachy crème fraîche.

 

Summer Fruited Jelly

Summer Fruited Jelly

 

This is a really special jelly recipe where real redcurrant jelly is crammed with blackberries, raspberries, and redcurrants and then smothered with more fresh fruit in a raspberry coulis. Just pour a little cream on top and you have very sophisticated jelly.

 

Summer Fruited Jelly
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation times: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Setting time: at least 6 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 2½ sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
  • 1 sachet powdered gelatine
  • 450g (1 lb) redcurrants (3 cups)
  • 225g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 140g (5 oz) blackberries (1 cup)
  • 300g (10½ oz) raspberries (2½ cups)

  • To serve
  • Double/whipping or heavy cream.

  • You will also need 4 × 175ml (6 fl oz) (¾ cup) mini pudding moulds. Alternatively, you can make them in one large jelly mould as shown in the photograph.


  1. Method
  2. First soften the gelatine.

  3. If using leaf gelatine, place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, snapping them in half to fit if necessary, and leave for 5 minutes to become very soft.

  4. If using powdered gelatine, stir the contents of 1 sachet into ¼ cup of cold water then add ¼ cup of boiling water and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

  5. Now mix 300g (10½ oz) (2 cups) of the redcurrants, 200g (7 oz) (1 cup) of the sugar, and 90ml (3 fl oz) (⅓ cup) water in a medium-sized pan. Slowly bring the water to the boil and then simmer briskly, uncovered, for 3 minutes to cook the redcurrants. Strain the mixture into a jug through a plastic sieve, pushing the juices through with the back of a spoon.

  6. If using leaf gelatine, squeeze out the excess liquid and then stir it into the hot redcurrant juice.

  7. If using the powdered gelatine, stir the dissolved gelatine into the hot redcurrant juice.

  8. Now continue stirring until the gelatine has completely dissolved and then leave until the mixture is just warm.

  9. Meanwhile mix the remaining redcurrants with the blackberries and 200g (7 oz) (1½ cups) of the raspberries. Fill the moulds almost to the top with the fruit. You will have some fruit left over which will be used for garnishing.

  10. Fill each mould to the top with the jelly and then leave to cool completely. Cover with cling film/wrap and refrigerate to set for at least 6 hours.

  11. Meanwhile you can purée the remaining raspberries in a food processor or blender along with the remaining sugar and 3 tablespoons of water.

  12. Strain the coulis through a sieve into a bowl to remove the pips and then add the left-over fruit and stir to coat.

  13. When the jellies are set, remove them from their moulds by dipping the bottom of each one in boiling water for 5–10 seconds. Turn them out immediately onto four serving plates. Spoon the coulis and the fruit around the jellies and serve with cream.

 

English Sherry Trifle

English Sherry Trifle

 

There are many different recipes for a trifle but a sherry-soaked sponge first brings to mind the traditional English trifle. The delicious flavour of raspberries make this the fruit of choice with a silky, smooth custard topped with dollops of whipped cream and then decorated with more raspberries and toasted flaked almonds.  Just a heavenly dessert.

 

English Sherry Trifle
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Standing and chilling time: about 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • Plain sponge cake, for example a Madeira cake
  • 3 tbsp raspberry conserve
  • 350g (12 oz) raspberries (2¾ cups)
  • 6 tbsp medium or sweet sherry
  • 480ml (16 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¾ cups)
  • 14g (½ oz) toasted flaked almonds
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting

  • For the custard
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g (3 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) milk (2½ cups)

  • You will also need a large, flat-based glass serving bowl for this dish. Alternatively, if you need fewer than 6 servings, you can make these trifles in individual dishes (as seen in the photograph), reducing the quantities of ingredients in proportion as needed.


  1. Method
  2. First make the custard. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour/cornstarch, vanilla, sugar, and three tablespoons of the milk.

  3. Heat the remaining milk in a small pan and, as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and whisk into the egg mixture. Now pour this back into the pan and, over a gentle heat, stir until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  4. Pour into a jug and cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin, then leave to cool.

  5. Now to make the trifle. You will need enough of the cake to cover the base of the serving dish and be about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep. Slice the cake in half horizontally and then spread one half with the raspberry conserve. Now sandwich back together and lay in the base of the serving bowl, cutting it to fit as necessary.

  6. Scatter ⅔ of the raspberries over the sponge, reserving the rest for decoration.

  7. Now spoon the sherry over the sponge and raspberries, top with the custard, smoothing the surface, and then chill for at least one hour.

  8. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and dollop spoonfuls over the custard but this time don’t smooth the top.

  9. Decorate with the reserved raspberries and toasted almonds then, just before serving, dust the top with icing/powdered sugar.

 

Peach Perfect

Peach Perfect

 

Juicy peaches and blackberries are grilled/broiled and smothered in honey-butter, rich cream, and crunchy ratafia. What a perfect summer dessert.

 

Peach Perfect
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 ripe peaches
  • 4 tsp runny honey/liquid honey
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp), cut into small pieces
  • 140g (5 oz) blackberries (1 cup)
  • 113g tub clotted cream or thick Jersey cream (UK) OR
  • 1 cup whipping or heavy cream (North America)
  • 2 tbsp peach schnapps
  • 8 ratafia (small almond macaroons)

  • You will also need 4 small heatproof dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the grill/broiler.

  3. If using whipping or heavy cream, whisk until thick.

  4. Now whip the peach schnapps into the cream and then crumble in the ratafia.

  5. Halve the peaches and ease out the stones. Put them cut-side up in the four individual dishes. Now drizzle over the honey and dot with the butter. Grill/broil for 2–3 minutes until the honey and butter begin to bubble.

  6. Remove the dishes from the heat and then spoon over the cream mixture and scatter over the blackberries. Place under the grill/broiler for a further 2 minutes, until the cream has melted and the peaches are golden brown.

  7. Serve immediately.

 

Summer Berry Crêpes

I love making crêpes to fill with summer fruits. They are so light and make a really impressive summer dessert.

Crêpes aren’t difficult to make. My tip is to start off with a really hot pan and then turn the heat down a little. The pan only needs to be smeared with melted butter between cooking each one. It should just glisten, not be running with the butter.

I hope you will want to try them and enjoy them too.

 

Summer Berry Crêpes

 

Thin, light, crêpes are filled with a selection of delicious summer berries, then topped with velvety, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

 

Summer Berry Crêpes
Prepares: Makes 8 × 8 inch crêpes to serve 4
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 115g (4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed/2% milk (1¼ cups) OR
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) plus 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cups)
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)

  • For the filling
  • 450g (1 lb) selection of fresh berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, or strawberries
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 28g (1 oz) plain/dark chocolate

  • You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20-23cm (8-9inch) in diameter with rounded sides.


  1. Method
  2. Pop the chocolate in the freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe. It will make it easier to grate it into shavings later.

  3. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.

  4. Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.

  5. Let batter rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, wash the fruit and pat dry.

  7. Then whip the cream until thick.

  8. Now warm 5 plates in the oven.

  9. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting. Melt the butter in the pan and then spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk it in. Pour the rest into a small bowl and set to one side.

  10. Add a little butter to the pan before cooking each pancake. Just add enough to be able to tilt the pan and cover the base with butter. The base should just glisten not run with butter.

  11. You will need 45–60ml (3–4 tablespoons ) of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to tip the batter into the pan in one go. Using the ladle or cup, hold it so that the base is very close to the bottom of the pan in the centre and then pour it in. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions so the batter spreads thinly over the base. If there are any holes, just fill them in with batter using a teaspoon.

  12. Turn when the the crêpe starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems a bit sticky give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time.

  13. Stack the crêpes up on a warmed plate as they are cooked with a piece of kitchen paper between each one, then cover loosely with foil so the top one doesn’t dry out. Keep warm in the oven.

  14. Grate the chocolate onto a plate to create a pile of shavings.

  15. Now divide the fruit between the crêpes, spooning it into the middle. Fold two sides of the crêpe over the fruit to create a cone shape, then spoon a generous dollop of cream on top and sprinkle with some of the chocolate shavings.

  16. Serve immediately.

Updated: August 19, 2018

Strawberry Tartlets

Strawberry Tartlets

 

Strawberry tartlets always say summer to me. These are very light and have a sweet, crisp pastry base which is filled with a creamy custard filling and topped with glazed strawberries. Mmm…just perfect!

 

Strawberry Tartlets
Prepares: 4 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sweet pastry
  • 2 eggs, yolks only
  • 55g (2 oz) softened butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup)
  • 115g (4oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • few drops vanilla extract

  • For the filling
  • Bird’s Custard Powder
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (½ cup)
  • 285g (12 oz) small strawberries, washed and hulled (about 2 cups)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream/double or heavy cream (½ cup)
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  • You will also need 4 x 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.


  1. Method
  2. For the sweet pastry
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl cream together the egg yolks, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.

  4. Sift the flour and add to the bowl. Now mix to from a firm dough.

  5. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Then wrap in a plastic food bag and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  6. Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ inches) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are 4 rounds. (Rolling it between two large sheets of cling film/wrap that have been dusted with flour will prevent the pastry sticking to the rolling pin.) Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Now 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 and chill again while the oven is heating up.

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

  8. Line the pastry with parchment paper and baking beans, then bake for 10 minutes.

  9. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until lightly golden and crisp. Leave to cool, then remove from the tins.

  10. For the filling
  11. Meanwhile make up the custard according to the directions on the packet using 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) milk. (You want a thick custard). Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin. Leave to become cold.

  12. Now whip the cream until stiff. Then whip the cold custard to loosen it and fold in the whipped cream until thoroughly combined. Spoon into the tart cases and level the tops.

  13. Decorate with the strawberries, cutting them, if necessary, into halves or quarters depending on their size.

  14. Add a little boiling water the jelly (about 1 teaspoon). Stir to melt the jelly and then brush over the strawberries to glaze.

Updated: August 17, 2018

Lemon Meringue Nests with Raspberries

Lemon Meringue Nests with Raspberries

 

A very light meringue that is flavoured with lemon. The nests are filled with a thick raspberry purée and fromage frais, topped with fresh raspberries and then a coulis is poured over the top.

 

Lemon Meringue Nests with Raspberries
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the meringue
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 1 lemon
  • 70g (2½ oz) caster/white sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 70g (2½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp), sifted

  • For the raspberries
  • 115g (4 oz) fresh raspberries (½ cup)
  • 340g (12 oz) frozen raspberries (1½ cups)
  • 170g (6 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)

  • For the filling
  • 200g (7 oz) fromage frais (⅞ cup)
  • 40g (1½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (⅓ cup), sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • You will also need a medium sized baking sheet.


  1. Method
  2. First measure out the frozen berries and leave to thaw.

  3. For the meringue
  4. Heat the oven to 140°C (235°F) (gas 1).

  5. Zest the lemon and and then squeeze out the juice into a small bowl.

  6. Now put the egg whites and lemon zest into a large bowl and whisk until firm peaks form.

  7. Gradually add the caster/white sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

  8. Sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and reserve the rest for the raspberries. Whisk briefly to mix.

  9. Now carefully fold in the sifted icing sugar using a large metal spoon or spatula.

  10. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper dabbing a bit of the meringue from the whisk onto each corner first to keep the paper in place.

  11. Now spoon four rough circles of the meringue onto the parchment paper. Take a metal teaspoon and dip it in some hot (not boiling) water and make a depression in the centre of each meringue. Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.

  12. Remove and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. If you like a crispier meringue and you have time, then leave in the oven to cool.

  13. For the raspberries
  14. Gently wash the fresh raspberries and put to one side for decoration.

  15. Now add the thawed berries to a blender with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of reserved lemon juice. Add 60ml (2 fl oz) (¼ cup) water. Purée and then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the pips.

  16. Measure 180ml (6 fl oz) (¾ cup) of the purée into a small pan and stir constantly over a medium heat until reduced by a half. This will take 6–7 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and leave to cool. It will become the texture of jam.

  17. Bring the remaining purée to the boil then simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

  18. For the filling
  19. Place the fromage frais into a bowl with the icing/powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat together until combined. Chill until needed.

  20. To assemble
  21. Spoon the reduced raspberry ‘jam’ into the centre of the meringues and top with the filling. Then decorate with the fresh raspberries and pour the raspberry sauce over top.

  22. Serve immediately.

Updated: August 17, 2018

Crêpes aux Fraises

Crêpe aux Fraises

 

Crêpes aux fraises is a simple traditional recipe that tastes heavenly. Very light crêpes are filled with strawberries and then topped with mounds of whipped cream.

 

Crêpes aux Fraises
Prepares: 4 servings (2 crêpes each)
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 115g (4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup)
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)

  • For the filling
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
  • 500ml (16 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar, plus extra to dust

  • You will also need a heavy gauge aluminium frying pan


  1. Method
  2. Warm 5 plates in the oven.

  3. Stir the milk and water together.

  4. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

  5. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break in the eggs. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from around the edge of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, wash, hull, and pat dry the strawberries. Cut any large strawberries into quarters and smaller ones in half so they will all be of a similar size. Set to one side.

  7. Pour the cream into a large bowl and add the icing sugar. Whisk until stiff.

  8. When the batter has stood for its 20 minutes, start cooking the crêpes.

  9. First, melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk in. Then pour the rest into a small bowl and set aside to use for greasing the pan.

  10. Wipe the pan clean with a piece of kitchen paper and then turn up the heat to get the pan really hot first.

  11. Now turn the heat down to a medium setting and smear the pan with a little butter. It does not need to be running with butter. Smear the pan between cooking each crêpe.

  12. Use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first as a guide as the batter needs to be tipped into the pan quickly. Pour the batter into the pan close to the surface and in the centre. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip the pan from side to side to swirl the batter, and evenly coat the base of the pan. If there are any holes, just fill them in with a little batter using a teaspoon. It will only take a minute to cook.

  13. Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden, then flip the crêpe over, using the palette knife, and cook the the underside. It will cook very quickly. Slide it out of the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper on one of the warmed plates.

  14. Continue until you have 8 crepes, overlapping them on the plate with a sheet of kitchen paper between each one. Return the plate to the oven as you cook them covering the top one with a piece of foil so it won’t dry out.

  15. Now fold the strawberries into the cream.

  16. Fold each crepe in half and lay 2 on a plate. Then divide the strawberries and cream between the 8 crêpes, spooning the mixture inside the fold.

  17. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Updated: August 12, 2018

Summer Trifle

This is a really light trifle. Not what you normally think of as a trifle although it uses the same ingredients. It’s very refreshing for a summer dessert and looks good too.

 

Summer Trifle

 

This very light summer trifle has a selection of seasonal fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, tossed in a fruit purée and surrounded with little boozy sponge fingers coated in a vanilla custard.

 

Summer Trifle
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
  • ½ vanilla pod split lengthways, OR
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp + 1 tsp)
  • 10 lady fingers or sponge fingers
  • 1 tbsp sweet white wine or sherry
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) summer fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants
  • a splash of white wine (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tsp caster/white sugar
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, or walnuts (¼ cup)


  1. Method
  2. Chill four dessert plates in the fridge.

  3. Pour the milk in a small pan and add the vanilla pod or vanilla extract. Slowly heat on the lowest setting for 10 minutes, without boiling.

  4. Meanwhile put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in the sugar to make a paste.

  5. Slowly stir the milk and vanilla into the egg and sugar until the mixture is smooth. Return the custard to the pan and stir, over a low heat, until it begins to thicken. Do not let it boil. You want it to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and cool.

  6. Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in half and lay in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.

  7. Now wash and pat dry the fruits. Remove the currants from their stalks, hull and halve the strawberries. Set aside half the berries and currants, picking out the best. Put the remainder in a food processor or blender and add the wine and sugar. Purée until smooth and then, using the back of a spoon, push through a plastic sieve to remove the pulp. Once the purée is pressed through, wipe the underside of the sieve with the spoon to get all the remaining sauce.

  8. Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.

  9. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and then fold in the cooled custard.

  10. Now to arrange the plates. Carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each plate.

  11. Divide the sponge fingers between the plates arranging them around the edge.

  12. Pour the custard over half of each the sponge finger then sprinkle the nuts on top.

  13. Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.

Updated: August 12, 2018

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

Frozen Strawberry Sundae

 

These squares of strawberry ice cream are on a chocolate base and topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Frozen ahead of time, they make an impressive dessert and take no time at all to add the toppings just before serving.

 

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Freezing time: 4 hours
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 115g (4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter, melted (3 tbsp)

  • *This is a North American recipe where the chocolate baking crumbs are bought ready in a box. Use the following for a substitution for the ingredients to make the base in England:

  • 115g (4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter then add to the biscuit crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.

  • For the filling
  • 280g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 170g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • For the topping
  • 85g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds

  • You will also need a 17cm (6½ in) square metal baking tin at least 5cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.

  • Note
  • Once the base and filling have been left to freeze, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.

  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; just use a 24cm (9½ in) square tin.


  1. Method
  2. Cut two sheets of baking parchment larger than the baking tin so that they can be laid across one another and overhang the edges of the tin on all sides. Press well into the corners of the tin.

  3. For the base
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs. Now spread evenly in the tin, pressing well into the corners. Freeze while making the filling.

  5. For the filling
  6. Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little.

  7. Now slice the strawberries and put into a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  8. Meanwhile, scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl and leave until the strawberries are ready. It should not thaw completely.

  9. Purée the strawberries until smooth, then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended. Then spoon evenly over the chocolate base in the tin and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

  10. Frozen Strawberry Sundae


  11. For the topping
  12. Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.

  13. Tip the almonds into a small frying pan/skillet and toast over a medium to low heat until golden, tossing frequently. They will take about 5–10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when ready.) Put to one side.

  14. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.). Remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate to the bowl. Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.

  15. To finish
  16. Top each square just before serving.

  17. Holding the edges of the baking parchment, remove the frozen sundae to a cutting board. Now using a serrated knife, cut into six even pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to soften a little.

  18. Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares. Drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Updated: August 8, 2018

Apple and Sultana Crumble

Apple and Sultana Crumble

 

Apple crumble – a very classic dish. The first dessert I ever made. Here sultanas are added to the apples to make it a little more interesting and also giving it more flavour. Using oats as well as flour for the crumble topping reduces its sweetness too. A very tasty crumble.

 

Apple and Sultana Crumble
Prepares: 4–6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900g (2 lb) Bramley apples/cooking apples (about 5 or 6)
  • 115g (4 oz) sultanas (¾ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) granulated sugar (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice/pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ lemon

  • For the topping
  • 85g (3 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup)
  • 85g (3 oz) porridge oats/rolled oats (1 cup)
  • 85g (3 oz) chilled butter, cubed (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish and a baking tray/sheet for this recipe.


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

  3. Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a large bowl along with the sultanas, sugar, and spice. Toss to mix. Now tip into the ovenproof dish and even out the top.

  4. Squeeze the juice from the half-lemon and sprinkle over the fruit. Then put to one side while making the topping.

  5. For the topping
  6. Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the oats. Now rub in the butter. Next mix in the sugar. Spoon over the fruit and lightly press down.

  7. Put the dish on the baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (350°F) (gas 5) and bake for a further 30–40 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the juices are bubbling around the edge.

  8. Note
  9. This is good served hot with custard.