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.
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.