Another summer favourite. These little parcels are delightful. Raspberries are folded in a creamy blend of mascarpone and cream cheese and then chilled. They are topped with a mixed berry compote and decorated with raspberries.
You will also need 4 x 8cm (3 inch) ramekin dishes.
For the parcels
Line the four ramekin dishes with cling film/food wrap, overlapping the edges, and put to one side.
Beat together the cream cheese and mascarpone in a large bowl until smooth. (A food mixer or hand-held whisk does this easily.)
Now in a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in the vanilla extract. Add to the cheeses and beat well to combine.
Reserve 12 raspberries for decoration and gently fold the rest into the cheese mixture.
Divide the mixture amongst the ramekins, tapping them a few times on the work surface to remove any air pockets. Fold excess film/wrap over the top and place in the freezer to become firm, about 45 minutes.
For the fruit compote
Meanwhile prepare the fruit compote. Place the fruit in a small pan and sprinkle over the sugar. Now cook the fruit over a medium heat until it starts bubbling. Then reduce the heat to a medium–low setting and, using a wooden spoon, break up any larger fruit pieces, mashing the fruit slightly. Gently cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Unfold the cling film/food wrap from the top of the ramekins and invert each one onto a plate. Then peel off the rest of the film/wrap.
Spoon the fruit compote over the parcels and place 3 raspberries on each to decorate.
Place the raspberries in a small pan. They don’t have to be thawed but break up any raspberries frozen in a clump. Sprinkle over the sugar and add the zest of the lemon. Then squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan.
Bring the juice to the boil over a medium heat and then reduce and gently simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and become syrupy.
Now press the raspberries and juice through a sieve to remove the seeds. This will leave a lovely thick syrup. Then leave to become cold.
While the raspberry purée is cooling, transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator so it can soften up, about 30 minutes.
If the ice cream comes in a rectangular container, the raspberry ripple can be created in this container. However if it comes in a tub, scoop the ice cream into a 2 litre rectangular container which has a lid. Now break up the ice cream with a spoon.
Pour half the purée over the ice cream and quickly cut in with a palette knife using a few strokes. (Avoid over working or it will turn into a raspberry mess!!) Now pour over the remaining raspberry purée which will just run through any gaps.
Pop on the lid and return to the freezer. It will take about 3 hours to refreeze.
Preparing the apples as a purée and then mixing with meringue make these filled crêpes very light. They are finished off in the oven where they will puff up and look quite impressive. Then a dusting of cinnamon – this a very different type of crêpe.
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) and 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
For the filling
565g (1¼ lb) dessert apples (4 medium)
120ml (4 fl oz) water (½ cup)
3½ tbsp caster/superfine sugar
20g (¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15cm (6 inch) crêpes.
First make up the batter for the crêpes. 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.
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.
Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the apples and place in a large pan. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a pulp.
Now to cook the crêpes. Get the pan really hot and then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or another flavourless oil (not olive oil) and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of the pan for each crêpe. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions to spread the batter. You are aiming to make a 15cm (6 inch) crêpe.
Turn when the batter 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, until you have 8 crêpes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Now once the apples have been reduced to a pulp, turn up the heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick. Stir continuously to prevent the apple catching on the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to melt the sugar.
Now to make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff.
Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is glossy.
Stir a quarter of the meringue into the apple to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest.
Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of the meringue mixture over half of each crêpe. Then fold the other half of the crêpe over the meringue mixture.
Grease the ovenproof dishes with butter and place two crêpes in each dish, a little apart so they are not touching. Bake for 10–12 minutes until puffed up and hot.
Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately before the soufflé has a chance to sink.
This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.
The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!
So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.
This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.
225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour, plus extra for dusting (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
85g (3 oz) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
3 tbsp milk
14g (½ oz) melted butter (1 tbsp)
For the filling
340g (12 oz) strawberries (1 pint container)
150ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
icing/powdered sugar for dusting
You will also need a 20cm (8 in) sandwich tin that is 5cm (2 in) deep and brushed with a little melted butter.
For the filling
Wash the strawberries and pat dry. Hull, then slice them lengthways and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss to coat. Put to one side for at least 1 hour to draw out the juices.
For the shortcake
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in with fingertips.
In a smaller bowl, add the egg, and whisk with a fork to break up. Next whisk in the sugar and milk to mix. Now pour the mixture liberally over the dry ingredients and, using a table knife, cut through the mixture to begin bringing it together. Then with floured fingers continue bringing the mixture together to make a rough, soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly a few of times to smooth the surface.
Divide the dough in two equal pieces and gently pat each half out to a circle that will fit the buttered tin. With floured fingers, lift one circle of dough and lay it in the tin. Brush the surface of the dough liberally with the melted butter. Now place the second circle of dough on top.
Bake the shortcake for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Using the tip of a palette knife, gently separate the two pieces of shortcake. The melted butter separating the two layers will have allowed them to remain separate.
Place the shortcake base on a serving plate. Cut the top into 8 equal slices, which will make cutting the dessert easier to serve.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Now spoon the strawberries and their juice over the base and then cover with the whipped cream. Place the 8 slices on top in exactly the order they were cut so they will fit back together perfectly.
Dust with icing sugar/powdered sugar using a small sieve and serve immediately.
Summer for me has always been about enjoying strawberries. I can remember when the season was very short because you could only buy locally grown ones. Memories of watching Wimbledon Tennis with a bowl of strawberries and cream – a wonderful combination where neither lasted long enough! Well perhaps the strawberry season lasted a little longer. Now newer varieties are grown in many areas which extend the season and have a longer shelf life too. Meaning they are available in the stores for many months over the summer.
In U.K. stores they are mainly U.K. grown and here in Canada most are imported from the States, but wherever we have lived the best for me are those grown locally. Because they are not picked to travel far they tend to be left to ripen just that little bit longer which means they are sweet and full of flavour with an aroma which is always more intense. The best are those you can find being sold by the roadside outside the main towns.
A strawberry cheesecake recipe is always a must and here is my classic version. I hope you will enjoy it too.
This is a classic strawberry cheesecake. It has a sweet crumb base and a creamy cheese filling then topped with heaps of sliced strawberries and a gorgeous strawberry sauce.
Prepares: 8 servings (images show 4 servings size)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Cooling time: about 15 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
For the base
170g (6 oz) Graham cracker crumbs (1¼ cups) OR
170g (6 oz) plain digestive biscuits (12)*
55g (2 oz) sugar (¼ cup)
55g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup)
*In North America you can buy packaged baking crumbs ready for using in desserts like cheesecakes. In the U.K. these aren’t readily available, so use plain digestive biscuits and just put them in a large plastic food bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they are broken into very small crumbs.
For the filling
2 pkgs (250g each) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
140g (5 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup less 2 tsp)
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
675g (1 lb 8 oz) strawberries (a quart container)
115g (4 oz) redcurrant jelly (2 tbsp)
You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) springform pan or loose-bottomed pan.
For the base
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas 3)
Mix the crumbs and sugar together in a bowl and pour over the melted butter. Stir to coat the crumb mixture.
Press into the pan, pushing some of the crumbs up the sides to form a rim about 2cm (¾ inch) high and 1.25cm (½ in) wide.
Bake for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool, about 20 minutes.
For the filling
Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.
Beat the two packets of cheese together until soft and creamy, using a food mixer or electric hand mixer. Now add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth. Pour into the cooled crumb crust.
Bake for 35 minutes until the cheesecake is just firm around the edge and just set in the middle. There still needs to be a slight wobble as this will prevent it cracking when cooling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. If you have time, leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. This will allow it to cool down very slowly which again helps prevent cracking. Then refrigerate for 2 hours.
For the topping
Wash, pat dry and hull the strawberries.
Set aside 170g (6 oz) (about ½ pint container) and purée. Then strain through a sieve so you are left with a smooth sauce.
Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan over a low heat, stirring in the purée until blended together.
Remove from the heat and pour into a small serving jug. Set to one side to cool.
Slice the remaining strawberries.
No more than one hour before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.
Serve, cut into wedges and pour the strawberry sauce over the top.
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
170g (6 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
2 tsp coffee essence
For the filling
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
For the decoration
1 level tsp cocoa powder
You will also need a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle.
For the meringues
Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1).
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Sprinkle over the coffee essence and whisk again until blended in. The meringue should form stiff peaks and be glossy.
Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Dabbing a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheets first will keep the linings in place.
Spoon the meringue into the piping bag and pipe 20 swirls of meringue onto the paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues are dry. Allow to cool, then remove from the paper.
For the filling
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and use it to sandwich the meringues together in pairs.
Dust a coating of cocoa powder over the meringues using a small sieve.
If you like your meringues really crisp and have the time, leave them to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.
Juice the orange and add to the pan along with the redcurrant jelly.
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.
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.
Halve the peaches, ease out the stones and clean up the hole left with a teaspoon.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
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.
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.
Cut each peach into half and remove the stones. Now divide each half into three and put to one side.
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.
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.
Sprinkle the nut mixture in the centre of the circle spreading it to within an inch of the edge of the pastry.
Arrange the peaches in concentric circles on top of the nut mixture.
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.
Now scatter the blueberries on top of the peaches.
Brush the pastry rim with egg and then sprinkle the whole tart with the remaining sugar.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, stir the peach schnapps into the crème fraîche and spoon into a serving jug or bowl.
When the tart has cooked, remove to a serving plate and serve with the peachy crème fraîche.
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.
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.
First soften the gelatine.
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.
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.
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.
If using leaf gelatine, squeeze out the excess liquid and then stir it into the hot redcurrant juice.
If using the powdered gelatine, stir the dissolved gelatine into the hot redcurrant juice.
Now continue stirring until the gelatine has completely dissolved and then leave until the mixture is just warm.
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.
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.
Meanwhile you can purée the remaining raspberries in a food processor or blender along with the remaining sugar and 3 tablespoons of water.
Strain the coulis through a sieve into a bowl to remove the pips and then add the left-over fruit and stir to coat.
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.
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.
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.
First make the custard. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour/cornstarch, vanilla, sugar, and three tablespoons of the milk.
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.
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.
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.
Scatter ⅔ of the raspberries over the sponge, reserving the rest for decoration.
Now spoon the sherry over the sponge and raspberries, top with the custard, smoothing the surface, and then chill for at least one hour.
Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and dollop spoonfuls over the custard but this time don’t smooth the top.
Decorate with the reserved raspberries and toasted almonds then, just before serving, dust the top with icing/powdered sugar.