170g (6 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved (⅞ cup)
170g (6 oz) blueberries (1 cup)
For the custard
150ml (5 fl oz) whole/full fat milk (⅔ cup)
150ml (5 fl oz) single cream/table cream (⅔ cup)
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
28g (1 oz) caster/white sugar (2 tbsp)
½ tsp vanilla extract
Single cream/table cream
a shallow ovenproof dish with a capacity of 600ml (20 fl oz) (3 cups)
a small roasting tin/pan
For the fruit compote
Wash the plums, halve and remove the stones. Pour 300ml (10 fl oz) of water into a pan, add the sugar and stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the syrup-water to a simmer and add the plums. Cook for one minute. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for 10–15 minutes until the fruit has softened but still keeps its shape.
Meanwhile, wash the berries, hull and halve the strawberries. Add them to the plums and stir to distribute the fruit. Transfer the fruit to a serving dish, cover and chill for 24 hours.
For the custard
The next day prepare the custard.
Heat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)
Pour the milk and cream into a mixing bowl and add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine and then strain the custard into the ovenproof dish.
Pour the custard into the ovenproof dish and place this in the roasting tin/pan. Then slowly pour cold water into the roasting tin/pan to a depth of at least 2.5cm (1 inch). Carefully slide onto the middle rack in the oven and bake the custard for 50 minutes until it is set but still has a slight wobble in the centre when gently moved. It will also have an attractive golden skin. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20–30 minutes.
Remove the fruit compote from the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
Divide the custard between four dessert dishes and then spoon the compote around. Cream can also be poured over for a little bit of extra indulgence.
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.
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)
For the pastry
You will need 4 × 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.
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.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 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.
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.
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.
For the filling
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.
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.
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.
1 small tin/can pineapple slices or fresh pineapple
or any other seasonal fruits
Glass serving bowl
Dissolve the sugar in 300ml (10 fl oz) (1¼ cups) water over a gentle heat. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cool and add the lemon juice. Pour into a glass serving bowl.
Prepare the fruits and put them into the syrup as you go. Quarter, core and thinly slice the apples. Peel the oranges making sure all the pith is removed, break into its segments and divide each one into three. Slice the banana. Halve the grapes. Take four pineapple slices and halve each one and then divide into three. Mix them in the syrup, coating all the fruit.
Let the fruit salad stand for 2–3 hours to allow the flavours to blend.
A tipsy fruit salad
Add 15–30ml (1–2 tbsp) of any fruit liqueur or white wine to the syrup.
A summer fruit salad
Combine summer fruits, for example, strawberries, raspberries, cherries with dessert pears and melon, or any other seasonal fruits.