Juice the orange and add to the pan along with the redcurrant jelly.
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 bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil and then pour over the peaches in a separate bowl, making sure they are completely covered. Leave for 1 minute. Discard the water. The skins can then be easily removed. Halve them and remove the stones. Thinly slice and add to the cooled syrup along with the raspberries or strawberries. Gently stir to coat with the syrup. Cover the bowl and chill for 24 hours, stirring the fruit occasionally.
The syrup may thicken during chilling. If it is too thick when you come to serve, just add 1–2 tablespoons of orange juice to thin it down a bit.
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.
Thin, light, crêpes are filled with a selection of delicious summer berries, then topped with velvety, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
450g/1 lb a selection of fresh berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, or strawberries
240ml (8 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1 cup)
28g (1 oz) plain/dark chocolate
A heavy gauge aluminium frying pan
Warm 5 plates in the oven.
Mix the milk and water together.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
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.
Meanwhile, wash the berries and pat dry. Hull any strawberries, if using. Place in a bowl and set to one side.
Over a shallow bowl, grate the chocolate to create chocolate shavings to be used for decoration.
Then, in a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff and put to one side while making the crêpes.
When the batter has stood for its 20 minutes start cooking the crêpes.
First melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk it in. Pour the rest into a small bowl and set aside. Use a wodge of kitchen paper dipped in the melted butter to smear the pan between cooking each crepe.
Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.
Use about 2 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. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with the batter. If there are any holes, just fill them in with the batter using a teaspoon. It will take less than a minute to cook. Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden.
Flip the crêpe over with the palette knife and cook the the underside until it is golden. It will cook very quickly. Then slide it out of the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper on one of the warmed plates.
Continue until you have 8 crêpes, overlapping them on the plate with a sheet of kitchen paper between each one. Return the plate to the oven to keep warm.
Divide the fruit between the crêpes spooning it into the middle. Fold in two sides of the crêpe over the fruit to create a cone shape.
Spoon a generous dollop of cream on top of each crêpe and sprinkle with some of the chocolate shavings.
150ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
14g (½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ tbsp)
115g (4 oz) raspberries (1 cup)
large baking sheet/tray lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) gas 1.
Whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until stiff. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Using a metal spoon, spoon a third of the meringue into another bowl and sift over 2 teaspoons of the cocoa powder. Gently fold the cocoa into the meringue.
Spoon the cocoa meringue over the white meringue and then, using the metal spoon, fold together once to create a rippled effect.
Put a little dab of meringue on the four corners of the baking sheet/tray and top with the baking parchment. (This will help the lining stay in place.) Spoon the meringue into four mounds on the baking parchment and bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, until the meringue is crisp on the outside and peels away easily from the parchment. Cool on a wire rack.
Divide the meringues between four serving dishes. Then whisk the cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form and spoon over the meringues. Top with the raspberries and then dust with the reserved cocoa powder using a small sieve.
142ml carton double/whipping cream or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
1 tbsp powdered gelatine
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
For the coulis
170g (6 oz) blackberries
1½ tbsp icing/powdered sugar
6 ramekin dishes
For the mousse
Line the dishes with cling film/wrap, pressing well down into the edges and letting it hang over the rim.
Push the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds, using the back of a spoon. Then stir in the sugar.
Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold into the raspberry sauce and then set to one side.
Sprinkle the gelatine over 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and leave for 3 minutes for the gelatine to become spongy.
Pour some hot water into a dish that is just larger than the bowl of gelatine and then sit the bowl of the gelatine in it. Make sure there is only enough water to come halfway up the sides of the smaller bowl. Leave for 2 minutes for the gelatine to dissolve.
Once it has dissolved, remove the bowl of gelatine from the water and let the gelatine cool for a couple of minutes. Stir into the raspberry sauce. Then stir in the kirsch, if using.
Divide the mixture between the ramekin dishes and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
For the coulis
Reserve 8 blackberries for decoration. (If the blackberries are large just reserve 4.) Push the rest through a sieve to remove the seeds. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Pour into a jug, cover and refrigerate until the mousse is ready.
Lift each mousse out of the ramekins and invert onto serving plates. Then, carefully peel away the cling film/wrap. Pour the coulis round the outside of the mousse.
Put a dollop of crème fraîche on the top of each one and decorate with the reserved blackberries.
Whisk the mascarpone and yogurt together until combined.
Reserve 4 strawberries, 8 raspberries and 8 blueberries for decoration, then lightly mix the other fruits together in a small bowl and dust with icing/powdered sugar to sweeten.
Break the biscuits into small pieces.
Begin layering the glasses. First, divide half the biscuits between the glasses, spreading them evenly over the base. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Marsala (or whatever you are using) over the biscuit crumbs, then top with a quarter of the mascarpone mixture.
Next, divide half the fruit between each of the glasses and layer with another quarter of the mascarpone mixture.
Now, sprinkle the remaining biscuit pieces over the mascarpone mixture and add 2 more tablespoons of the Marsala (or whatever you are using). Top with another quarter of the mascarpone mixture.
Add the other half of the fruit and finally the last quarter of the mascarpone mixture.
You should now have 4 layers of the mascarpone mixture, 2 layers of the amaretti biscuits and 2 layers of fruit.
Decorate with the reserved fruit and sieve over a dusting of icing/powdered sugar just before serving.
Finely grate enough of the lemon peel to produce ½ teaspoon and set aside. Then juice the lemon.
Make up the jelly/jello according to the packet and add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Refrigerate until partially set (the consistency of unbeaten egg whites).
Stir the berries into the jelly/jello and then pour the berry mixture into the dish and refrigerate until the jelly has completely set.
Meanwhile, remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (about 1 hour).
Once the jelly/jello has set, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Cube the cream cheese and add to the cream, then sift in the icing sugar and beat well until combined. The mixture will become fluffy and thicken. Stir in the grated lemon peel.
Carefully spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over the jelly mixture and gently level with a palette knife making sure the mixture reaches the edges. Refrigerate for a further 1 hour.
Heat a small frying pan/skillet and tip in the nuts. Over a gentle heat stir the nuts to toast them. This will only take a few minutes. They are ready when they have turned a light golden colour and they begin to smell nutty. Remove from the pan and set to one side to cool.
To serve, sprinkle the nuts over the cream cheese mixture and cut into 6 portions. The first portion is always tricky to remove from the pan but then it becomes much easier.
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert where cream is sweetened and flavoured then left to set in a mould using gelatine. Here I have used a mixture of cream and yogurt to make to make a light summer dessert. Raspberry coulis is then drizzled over the top and topped with fresh raspberries.
A true summer trifle – one that is so simple but so light and delicious. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and redcurrants sit on a sponge base and are topped with a wine syllabub.
The syllabub originated in 16th century England. It was a drink of milk or cream curdled with a little wine or cider, sweetened and flavoured. In modern recipes a dessert syllabub is a thick or heavy cream curdled with wine or sherry, sweetened and flavoured, usually with lemon. It is whipped until thick and foamy.
340g (12 oz) a mix of strawberries, raspberries, and redcurrants (2 cups)
40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (1½ tbsp)
60ml (2 fl oz) dry white wine (¼ cup)
2 sponge cases
55g (2 oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup + 1 tsp)
142 ml carton double/whipping cream (⅔ cup)
4 × squat glass tumblers or similar pretty glasses
Wash and pat dry the fruit. Hull and slice the strawberries and strip the redcurrants from their stalks. Place all the fruit in a bowl and sprinkle over 40g (1½ oz) sugar. Toss to coat the fruit and set to one side for 2 hours to draw out the juices.
Measure the wine into a small bowl. Pare a couple of slices of rind from the lemon, cut them in half and add to the wine, making sure they are covered. Put to one side for 2 hours.
After the 2 hours, cut the sponge cases to fit the base of the four glasses. Divide the fruit and their juices between the four glasses, spooning over the sponge base.
Remove the lemon rind from the wine. Squeeze one and half tablespoons of juice from the lemon and add to the wine, along with the remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the cream into a large bowl and stir in the wine mixture. Whisk until it is thick and frothy to form a syllabub. Because the wine dilutes the cream, it will take longer than usual to thicken but it will become thick and frothy. Spoon this equally over the fruit and swirl the top. Chill for 3 hours.
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile put the egg yolks in a small bowl and stir in the sugar to make a paste.
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 briefly.
Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in two and lay them in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and then stir in the cooled custard.
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 teaspoon of sugar and wine. 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.
Carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each plate.
Divide the sponge fingers between the plates arranging them around the edge.
Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.
Pour the custard over the sponge fingers then sprinkle the nuts on top.
Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.
A delicious light dessert served in individual glass dishes. Fresh raspberries and strawberries are folded in whipped cream with crushed meringue lightly mixed in. They are decorated with cut strawberries and dusted with icing sugar.
300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream (1¼ cups)
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 meringue shells*
140g (5 oz) raspberries
icing/powdered sugar to decorate
*This dish is a great way to use up any left over meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare these first.
For the meringue
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup plus 1 tbsp)
4 x glass dessert dishes
For the meringues
Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (mark 1)
Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition until stiff and glossy.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet first to keep the lining in place.
Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking parchment. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues will lift from the paper easily. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues in the oven for a further 2 hours. This will allow the meringues to completely dry out. (You will only need four of the meringue shells for this recipe.)
For the Berry Meringue Creams
Wash, pat dry and hull strawberries. Reserve a quarter and set aside. Quarter the rest and place in a small bowl, then gently mix in 4 teaspoons of the sugar and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Pour the cream into a bowl and add the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the cream holds a soft peak.
Carefully break 4 of the meringue shells into small pieces and mix into the cream. Fold in the raspberries and strawberries, including any of their juice, being careful not to over mix.
Divide between the four dishes. Top with the reserved strawberries, cutting any into halves or quarters if they are too large.
Dust a little icing sugar over top just before serving.
They can be refrigerated for up to two hours, leaving the icing sugar to be dusted over until just before serving.
Break enough of the sponges to fit the base of each dish.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of raspberry conserve on top of the sponge and level.
Reserve 4 raspberries and 4 strawberries for decoration. Equally divide the rest of the fruit between the four dishes, cutting the strawberries in half.
Now sprinkle ½ tablespoon of sherry over the fruit in each dish and leave while preparing the custard so the sherry can be absorbed by the fruit and sponge. At this stage it can be left for up to an hour.
Make up 1 cup of Bird’s custard according to the packet. Pour into a small jug and cover the custard with clingfilm so it does not form a skin. Leave until just cold. (I usually like to make my custard from scratch but, hey, this is supposed to be an easy, summer recipe! You could even buy a carton of ready-made custard.)
Divide the custard between the four dishes.
Whip up the cream until soft peaks form and put a dollop on top of the custard.
Half the reserved strawberries and decorate each dish with two strawberry halves and a raspberry.