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.
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
For the sweet pastry: 30 minutes
For the filling: 8–10 minutes
For the sweet pastry: 12 minutes
Chilling time for the sweet pastry: 20 minutes
For the sweet 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)
1egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolk only
For the filling
250mltub crème fraîche
170g(6 oz) mixed summer fruit (1 cup)
For the sweet pastry
You will need 6 x 10 cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then mix 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/plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Roll out the pastry thinly. Then cut rounds, each 3.8 cm (1½ in) larger than the tartlet tins, re-rolling the pastry until there are six rounds.
Line the tartlet tins, gently pressing the pastry down into the edges of the tins. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Then 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 into bowl and add the crème fraîche and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
Fill the pastry cases and level the tops.
Wash and pat dry the fruit. If using strawberries, halve or quarter them so they are of a similar size to the other fruits.
Top the filling with the fruit.
Serve immediately. If left too long, the filling will begin to soften the pastry.
How about a refreshing dessert after all that rich Christmas fare? A Fresh Fruit Salad just fits the bill.
Fresh fruit salad is always a good standby for a quick dessert. A selection of fruits in season are mixed in a lemon syrup. Wine or liqueur can also be added to enhance the flavour further.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Preparation time: About 20 minutes
Standing time: 2–3 hours
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Example of ingredients for a winter fruit salad
115g(4 oz) sugar (½ cup)
½lemon, juice only
A selection of 4–5 fruits
2small or 1 large red skinned apple
115g(4 oz) seedless grapes (1 cup)
1small tin/can pineapple slices or fresh pineapple, or any other seasonal fruits
You will also need a glass serving bowl.
Dissolve the sugar in 300ml (10 fl oz ) (1¼ cups) water over a gentle heat. Then bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Now stir in the lemon juice and pour into the glass bowl.
Next 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 then cut each one into three. Slice the banana. Halve the grapes. Take four pineapple slices, halve each one and then cut 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
Replace the lemon juice with 15–30ml (1–2 tbsp) of any fruit liqueur or white wine.
A summer fruit salad
Combine summer fruits, for example, strawberries, raspberries, cherries with dessert pears and melon.
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
Preparation times: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Setting time: at least 6 hours
2½sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
1sachet 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)
Double/whipping or heavy cream.
You will also need 4 × 175 ml (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 300 g (10½ oz) (2 cups) of the redcurrants, 200 g (7 oz) (1 cup) of the sugar, and 90 ml (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 200 g (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.
A delicious light dessert of silky baked custard served with a compote of plums, strawberries and blueberries.
Baked Custard with Fruit Compote
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration time: 24 hours
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Standing time: 20–30 minutes
For the fruit compote
85g(3 oz) sugar (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
170g(6 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved (⅞ cup)
85g(3 oz) blueberries (½ cup)
For the custard
150ml(5 fl oz) whole/full fat milk (⅔ cup)
150ml(5 fl oz) single cream/table cream (⅔ cup)
2eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
28g(1 oz) caster/superfine sugar (2 tbsp)
Single cream/table cream
You will also need a shallow ovenproof dish with a capacity of 600 ml (20 fl oz) (3 cups) anda small roasting pan.
For the fruit compote
Wash the plums, halve and remove the stones.
Pour 300 ml (10 fl oz) (1¼ cups) 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 the pan, 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 and syrup 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.
Sit the dish in the roasting pan. Then slowly pour cold water into the roasting pan to a depth of at least 2.5 cm (1 inch). Carefully slide onto the middle rack in the oven and bake the custard for about 50 minutes until the custard 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 and allow it to come up 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.