This is a very creamy lemon tart which balances the tartness of the redcurrants. These are scattered over the top of the tart just before serving.
Creamy Lemon Tart with Redcurrants
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Chilling time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Cooling time: about 2 hours
For the pastry
200g(7 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1½ cups)
100g(3½ oz) cold butter, cut into cubes (⅓ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
For the filling
115g(4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
1egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolk only
85g(3 oz) unsalted butter cut into cubes (³⁄₈ cup, or ¾ stick)
150ml(5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
icing/powdered sugar for dusting
You will also need a 20 cm (8 inch) loose-based tart tin.
For the pastry
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
Rub in the butter, at the same time lifting the flour well out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible.
When the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs, add the sugar.
Then sprinkle over 2½ tablespoons of cold water and, using a palette knife, bring the mixture together until it begins to form clumps. Add a little more water (no more than ½ tablespoon) if the mixture seems dry. Using your hands, bring together into a ball by kneading lightly.
Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes to relax the pastry.
(Alternatively, use a food processor.)
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the size of the tart tin.
Carefully transfer to the tin without stretching the pastry and gently press down into the sides. Then trim the pastry by running the rolling-pin over the top to cut the pastry level with the rim. Prick the pastry base all over and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes to firm up.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas mark 6).
Line the pastry with baking paper and add baking beans, making sure they spread to the edge. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden.
Put to one side to cool a little before filling.
For the filling
Meanwhile, make the filling.
Zest one lemon and put to one side.
Now strain the juice of both lemons into a large bowl.
Add the sugar, whole eggs, and egg yolk and whisk until just combined.
Place the bowl over a pan of just simmering water and add the cubes of butter, one at a time, whisking until each one has melted.
Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.
Now stir in the cream and lemon zest.
Remove the bowl from the pan.
Carefully remove the pastry case from its tin and place on a baking sheet.
Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for a further 12–15 minutes until the filling is just set.
Leave to cool.
Just before serving, decorate the top with redcurranrs (you can leave them on their stalks) and dust icing/powered sugar over the tart using a small sieve.
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.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
120ml(4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
½vanilla pod split lengthways, OR
40g(1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp + 1 tsp)
10lady fingers or sponge fingers
1tbspsweet white wine or sherry
500g(1 lb 2 oz) summer fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants
a splash of white wine (about 1 tablespoon)
150ml(5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
28g(1 oz) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, or walnuts (¼ cup)
Chill four dessert plates in the fridge.
Put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in the sugar to make a paste.
Next, pour the milk into a small pan.
If using the vanilla pod, add it to the milk and slowly heat on the lowest setting for 10 minutes, without boiling. Then remove the vanilla pod.
If using vanilla extract, omit heating the milk for 10 minutes first but add it to the cold milk now.
Bring the milk up to the boil.
Now 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. You want it to thicken enough to be able to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover the custard with cling film/plastic wrap to prevent it forming a skin and then leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in half to give two small fingers and lay them in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.
Next, wash and pat dry the fruits. Remove the currants from their stalks and hull and halve the strawberries.
Set aside half the berries and currants, picking out the best ones.
Put the remainder in a food processor or blender and add the wine and sugar.
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 a clean spoon to get all the sauce.
Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Stir one spoonful into the cooled custard to loosen it a little and then fold in the remaining cream.
Now to assemble, carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each cooled plate.
Arrange the sponge fingers evenly around the edge of the plates.
Pour the custard over half of each the sponge finger then sprinkle the nuts on top of the custard.
Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.
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.
Summer Berry Crêpes
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Standing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
For the crêpes
115g(4 oz) plain flour/all-purpose flour (1 cup less 1½ tbsp)
450g(1 lb) selection of fresh berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, or strawberries
300ml(10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
28g(1 oz) plain/dark chocolate
You will also need a shallow-rimmed lightweight pan/skillet, 20–23 cm (8–9 inch) in diameter with rounded sides.
Pop the chocolate in the freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe. It will make it easier to grate into shavings later.
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the eggs 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 remaining milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First whisk the eggs and milk together and 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, wash the fruit and pat dry.
Then whip the cream until thick.
Now warm 5 plates in the oven.
Get the pan/skillet really hot. Remove from the heat and add the butter. As soon as it has melted, spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and set to one side.
Add a little butter to the pan before cooking each crêpe. Just add enough to be able to tilt the pan and cover the base with the melted butter. The base should just glisten not run with butter.
Cook the crêpes over a medium-high heat. You will need 45 ml (3 tablespoons) of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first so you can quickly add the batter to the pan. 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. Immediately lift and tilt the pan/skillet in all directions so the batter spreads thinly over the base. If there are any holes, just fill them in with batter using a teaspoon.
Turn when the the crêpe 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 to be sticking to the base of the pan 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. This will only take about 30 seconds. 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 remaining batter, greasing the pan each time and stacking the crêpes up on a warmed plate as they are cooked. Put a piece of kitchen paper between each one and cover loosely with foil so the top one doesn’t dry out. Keep warm in the oven.
Grate the chocolate onto a plate to create a pile of shavings.
To serve, spoon the fruit into the middle of each crêpe. Fold two sides of the crêpe over the fruit to create a cone, then spoon a generous dollop of cream on top and, using a small spoon, sprinkle over the chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
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 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.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Standing time: 2 hours
Chilling time: 3 hours
340g(12 oz) a mix of strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants (2 cups)
40g(1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
60ml(2 fl oz) dry white wine (¼ cup)
2mini sponge cases
55g(2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup)
142mlcarton double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
You will also need 4 x squat glass tumblers or similar pretty glasses for this recipe.
Wash and pat dry the fruit. Hull and slice the strawberries. Strip the redcurrants from their stalks by gently running the tines of a fork down the stalks.
Place all the fruit in a bowl and sprinkle over 40 g (1½ oz) sugar. Toss to coat the fruit and leave 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 these 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 the juice between the four glasses, spooning it 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.
In a large bowl whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Now slowly add the wine mixture, whisking continuously, until the cream mixture becomes thick and frothy. Spoon this equally over the fruit and swirl the top.