Summer Berry Crêpes

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.

 

Summer Berry Crêpes

 

 

Thin, light, crêpes are filled with a selection of delicious summer berries, then topped with velvety, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

 

Summer Berry Crêpes
Prepares: Makes 8 × 8 inch crêpes to serve 4
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 115g (4 oz) plain flour/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk (2%) (1¼ cups) OR
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) plus 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)

  • For the filling
  • 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, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides.


  1. Method
  2. Pop the chocolate in the freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe. It will make it easier to grate into shavings later.

  3. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg 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 rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.

  4. Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together 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.

  5. Let batter rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, wash the fruit and pat dry.

  7. Then whip the cream until thick.

  8. Now warm 5 plates in the oven.

  9. Get the pan really hot. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Once 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.

  10. Add a little butter to the pan before cooking each pancake. 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.

  11. Cook the pancakes over a medium–high heat. You will need 45ml (3 tbsp) of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to be able to quickly add it 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 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Grate the chocolate onto a plate to create a pile of shavings.

  15. 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.

Updated: September 22, 2019

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart

 

This strawberry tart recipe makes a super delicious summer tart. The sweet pastry is filled with a creamy crème pâtissière and decorated with small, whole strawberries which are then glazed. Just slice and enjoy.

 

Strawberry Tart
Prepares: 10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 1 hour
  • Chilling time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 28 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 170g (6 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 115g (4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 40g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)

  • For the crème pâtissière
  • 70g (2½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (5 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 28g (1 oz) cornflour/cornstarch (¼ cup)
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) semi-skimmed/2% partly skimmed milk (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180ml (6 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (¾ cup)

  • For the topping
  • 450g (16 oz) strawberries (ideally the same size) (about 3 cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) strawberry jam, sieved (¼ cup)

  • You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) round springform tin/pan.


  1. Method
  2. Whiz flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, or rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips.

  3. Add the sugar and stir to combine.

  4. Now separate the egg and reserve the white for later.

  5. Add the yolk and 1 tablespoon of very cold water to the crumb mixture and either pulse or stir with a palette knife to bring the pastry together. Shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

  6. Now make the crème pâtissière.

  7. Mix the sugar, yolks and cornflour/cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth.

  8. Heat the milk and vanilla extract until just boiling. Then gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Return this to the pan and, whisking continuously, let it gently bubble until the mixture has thickened.

    Now spoon into a large bowl, cover, and leave to cool and chill.

  9. Once the pastry has rested, roll out on a lightly floured surface.

  10. Line the tin/pan, allowing the pastry to come about 3cm (1¼ inches) up the sides. Trim to neaten. Prick the base all over with the tines of a fork then chill for 15 minutes.

  11. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  12. Line the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

  13. Remove from the oven and brush the inside of the pastry with the reserved egg white. Return to the oven for 3 more minutes.

  14. Leave to cool in the tin/pan and then remove and transfer to a serving plate.

  15. No more than 2 hours before serving, whip the cream until stiff.

  16. Next whip the crème pâtissière to loosen it a little and then fold in the whipped cream.

  17. Spoon into the pastry case. Level the surface and chill for 30 minutes until set.

  18. Meanwhile, wash, pat dry, and hull the strawberries. Arrange on top of the crème pâtissière. (If not serving straight away, chill until needed.)

  19. Just before serving, brush the strawberries with the jam to glaze.

 

Easy Summer Trifle

Easy Summer Trifle

 

A very refreshing summer trifle with fresh raspberries and strawberries, that is very quick and easy to prepare.

 

Easy Summer Trifle
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: about 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 pkt. sponge fingers, lady fingers or trifle sponges
  • 4 tbsp raspberry conserve
  • 115g (4 oz) small strawberries (about ¾ cup)
  • 115g (4 oz) raspberries
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • Bird’s custard
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (½ cup)

  • You will also need 4 glass dessert dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Break enough of the sponges into pieces to fit the base of each dish.

  3. Then spoon over 1 tablespoon of raspberry conserve in each dish, and level.

  4. Wash and pat dry the fruit. Hull the strawberries and cut in half. Reserving 4 raspberries and 8 half strawberries for decoration, equally divide the rest amongst the four dishes.

  5. 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.

  6. Make up 480ml (16 fl oz) (2 cups) of Bird’s custard, according to the directions on the packet. Pour into a small jug and cover the custard with clingfilm/plastic wrap to prevent it from forming a skin. Leave until just cold.

  7. Spoon the custard equally into the four dishes.

  8. Now whip the cream until soft peaks form and put a dollop on top of the custard.

  9. Decorate the cream in each dish with two strawberry halves and a raspberry.

  10. Serve.

Updated: June 28, 2019

 

 

Strawberry Rings

Strawberry Rings

 

These delicious little strawberry rings are a buttery biscuit filled with a layer of strawberry jam peeking through.

 

Strawberry Rings
Prepares: 18 biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the biscuit mixture
  • 115g (4 oz) butter (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g (7 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1¼ cups + 2 tbsp)
  • 28g (1 oz) cornflour/cornstarch (3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

  • For the filling
  • strawberry jam
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting

  • You will also need a 7cm (2¾ inch) and a 4cm (1½ inch) fluted cutter. If you don’t have the smaller cutter in your set, don’t be tempted to go for a larger size as it will make the hole too big. I have found the flat end of a large icing nozzle works very well.

  • Also 2 large baking trays/cookie sheets, greased.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).

  3. Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric hand mixer or food mixer. Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, gradually beat in the egg and then the vanilla extract.

  4. Sift the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix in until just combined.

  5. Now tip out onto a work surface and gently knead by hand until a soft dough has formed.

  6. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 0.5cm (¼ inch) thick. Then using the large cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place them onto the baking trays/cookie sheets.

  7. Keeping all the whole rounds on one tray and the centre cut ones on the second tray, use the smaller cutter to remove the centres of half the rounds. (Don’t try to remove the centres from any whole rounds before placing on the trays/sheets as they will become misshapen when lifting them on.)

  8. Keep re-rolling the leftover dough and cutting out the rounds, making sure there are an equal number of whole rounds and cut rounds. There should be enough dough to make about 15 finished biscuits.

  9. Bake the centre-cut rounds for 8–10 minutes and the whole rounds for 12–14 minutes, or until the biscuits are just starting to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

  10. Spread a thick layer of strawberry jam over the whole rounds and then place the cut rounds on top.

  11. Finish by dusting with icing/powdered sugar. The sugar will melt on the jam but will remain on the biscuit.

  12. Store in an airtight container.

Updated: May 27, 2019

Strawberry Cheesecake

Summer for me has always been about enjoying strawberries. I can remember when the season was very short because you could only buy locally grown ones. Memories of watching Wimbledon Tennis with a bowl of strawberries and cream – a wonderful combination where neither lasted long enough! Well perhaps the strawberry season lasted a little longer.  Now newer varieties are grown in many areas which extend the season and have a longer shelf life too. Meaning they are available in the stores for many months over the summer.

In U.K. stores they are mainly U.K. grown and here in Canada most are imported from the States, but wherever we have lived the best for me are those grown locally. Because they are not picked to travel far they tend to be left to ripen just that little bit longer which means they are sweet and full of flavour with an aroma which is always more intense. The best are those you can find being sold by the roadside outside the main towns.

A strawberry cheesecake recipe is always a must and here is my classic version. I hope you will enjoy it too.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake

 

This is a classic strawberry cheesecake. It has a sweet crumb base and a creamy cheese filling then topped with heaps of sliced strawberries and a gorgeous strawberry sauce.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake
Prepares: 8 servings (images show 4 servings size)
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Cooling time: about 15 minutes
  • Chilling time: 2 hours

  • Ingredients

  • Strawberry Cheesecake


  • For the base
  • 170g (6 oz) Graham cracker crumbs (1¼ cups) OR
  • 170g (6 oz) plain digestive biscuits (12)*
  • 55g (2 oz) sugar (¼ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup)

  • *In North America you can buy packaged baking crumbs ready for using in desserts like cheesecakes. In the U.K. these aren’t readily available, so use plain digestive biscuits and just put them in a large plastic food bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they are broken into very small crumbs.

  • For the filling
  • 2 pkgs (250g each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 140g (5 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup less 2 tsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • For the topping
  • 675g (1 lb 8 oz) strawberries (a quart container)
  • 115g (4 oz) redcurrant jelly (2 tbsp)

  • You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) springform pan or loose-bottomed pan.


  1. Method
  2. For the base
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  4. Mix the crumbs and sugar together in a bowl and pour over the melted butter. Stir to coat the crumb mixture.

  5. Strawberry Cheesecake


  6. Press into the pan, pushing some of the crumbs up the sides to form a rim about 2cm (¾ inch) high and 1.25cm (½ in) wide.

  7. Strawberry Cheesecake


  8. Bake for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool, about 20 minutes.

  9. For the filling
  10. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.

  11. Beat the two packets of cheese together until soft and creamy, using a food mixer or electric hand mixer. Now add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth. Pour into the cooled crumb crust.

  12. Strawberry Cheesecake


  13. Bake for 35 minutes until the cheesecake is just firm around the edge and just set in the middle. There still needs to be a slight wobble as this will prevent it cracking when cooling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. If you have time, leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. This will allow it to cool down very slowly which again helps prevent cracking. Then refrigerate for 2 hours.

  14. Strawberry Cheesecake


  15. For the topping
  16. Wash, pat dry and hull the strawberries.

  17. Set aside 170g (6 oz) (about ½ pint container) and purée. Then strain through a sieve so you are left with a smooth sauce.

  18. Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan over a low heat, stirring in the purée until blended together.

  19. Strawberry Cheesecake
  20. Strawberry Cheesecake


  21. Remove from the heat and pour into a small serving jug. Set to one side to cool.

  22. Slice the remaining strawberries.

  23. To serve
  24. No more than one hour before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.

  25. Strawberry Cheesecake


  26. Serve, cut into wedges and pour the strawberry sauce over the top.

Updated: September 28, 2018

Drunken Peaches

Drunken Peaches

 

Quick to prepare and just perfect for a late summer dessert. Peaches and red berries are simply marinated in a peach schnapps syrup.

 

Drunken Peaches
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 minutes
  • Chilling time: 24 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) Archers/peach schnapps (½ cup)
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 3 medium peaches
  • 200g (7 oz) raspberries (1¾ cups) or strawberries, halved (1 cup)

  • You will also need 4 x glass serving dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Pour the schnapps into a small pan.

  3. Juice the orange and add to the pan along with the redcurrant jelly.

  4. Now 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 glass serving bowl and leave to cool.

  5. Meanwhile, put the peaches in a large bowl and completely cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds. Drain off the water, then replace it with cold water. The skins can then be easily removed.

  6. Halve the peaches, ease out the stones and clean up the hole left with a teaspoon.

  7. Next thinly slice the peach halves and add to the cooled syrup along with the raspberries or strawberries. Gently toss to coat with the syrup. Now cover the bowl and chill for 24 hours, stirring the fruit occasionally.

  8. Note
  9. The syrup may thicken during chilling. If it has becomes too thick by the time you are ready to serve, just add 1–2 tablespoons of orange juice to thin it down a bit.

Updated: September 12, 2018

Strawberry Tartlets

Strawberry Tartlets

 

Strawberry tartlets always say summer to me. These are very light and have a sweet, crisp pastry base which is filled with a creamy custard filling and topped with glazed strawberries. Mmm…just perfect!

 

Strawberry Tartlets
Prepares: 4 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sweet pastry
  • 2 eggs, yolks only
  • 55g (2 oz) softened butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup)
  • 115g (4oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • few drops vanilla extract

  • For the filling
  • Bird’s Custard Powder
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (½ cup)
  • 285g (12 oz) small strawberries, washed and hulled (about 2 cups)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream/double or heavy cream (½ cup)
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  • You will also need 4 x 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.


  1. Method
  2. For the sweet pastry
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl cream together the egg yolks, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.

  4. Sift the flour and add to the bowl. Now mix to from a firm dough.

  5. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Then wrap in a plastic food bag and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  6. Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ inches) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are 4 rounds. (Rolling it between two large sheets of cling film/wrap that have been dusted with flour will prevent the pastry sticking to the rolling pin.) Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Now 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 and chill again while the oven is heating up.

  7. Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).

  8. Line the pastry with parchment paper and baking beans, then bake for 10 minutes.

  9. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until lightly golden and crisp. Leave to cool, then remove from the tins.

  10. For the filling
  11. Meanwhile make up the custard according to the directions on the packet using 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) milk. (You want a thick custard). Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin. Leave to become cold.

  12. Now whip the cream until stiff. Then whip the cold custard to loosen it and fold in the whipped cream until thoroughly combined. Spoon into the tart cases and level the tops.

  13. Decorate with the strawberries, cutting them, if necessary, into halves or quarters depending on their size.

  14. Add a little boiling water the jelly (about 1 teaspoon). Stir to melt the jelly and then brush over the strawberries to glaze.

Updated: August 17, 2018

Crêpes aux Fraises

Crêpe aux Fraises

 

Crêpes aux fraises is a simple traditional recipe that tastes heavenly. Very light crêpes are filled with strawberries and then topped with mounds of whipped cream.

 

Crêpes aux Fraises
Prepares: 4 servings (2 crêpes each)
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 115g (4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup)
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)

  • For the filling
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
  • 500ml (16 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar, plus extra to dust

  • You will also need a heavy gauge aluminium frying pan


  1. Method
  2. Warm 5 plates in the oven.

  3. Stir the milk and water together.

  4. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

  5. 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.

  6. Meanwhile, wash, hull, and pat dry the strawberries. Cut any large strawberries into quarters and smaller ones in half so they will all be of a similar size. Set to one side.

  7. Pour the cream into a large bowl and add the icing sugar. Whisk until stiff.

  8. When the batter has stood for its 20 minutes, start cooking the crêpes.

  9. First, melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk in. Then pour the rest into a small bowl and set aside to use for greasing the pan.

  10. Wipe the pan clean with a piece of kitchen paper and then turn up the heat to get the pan really hot first.

  11. Now turn the heat down to a medium setting and smear the pan with a little butter. It does not need to be running with butter. Smear the pan between cooking each crêpe.

  12. Use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first as a guide as the batter needs to be tipped into the pan quickly. Pour the batter into the pan close to the surface and in the centre. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip the pan from side to side to swirl the batter, and evenly coat the base of the pan. If there are any holes, just fill them in with a little batter using a teaspoon. It will only take a minute to cook.

  13. Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden, then flip the crêpe over, using the palette knife, and cook the the underside. It will cook very quickly. Slide it out of the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper on one of the warmed plates.

  14. Continue until you have 8 crepes, overlapping them on the plate with a sheet of kitchen paper between each one. Return the plate to the oven as you cook them covering the top one with a piece of foil so it won’t dry out.

  15. Now fold the strawberries into the cream.

  16. Fold each crepe in half and lay 2 on a plate. Then divide the strawberries and cream between the 8 crêpes, spooning the mixture inside the fold.

  17. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Updated: August 12, 2018

Summer Trifle

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.

 

Summer Trifle

 

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.

 

Summer Trifle
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
  • ½ vanilla pod split lengthways, OR
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp + 1 tsp)
  • 10 lady fingers or sponge fingers
  • 1 tbsp sweet 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)
  • 1 tsp caster/white sugar
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, or walnuts (¼ cup)


  1. Method
  2. Chill four dessert plates in the fridge.

  3. 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.

  4. Meanwhile put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in the sugar to make a paste.

  5. 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.

  6. Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in half and lay in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.

  7. Now 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 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 the spoon to get all the remaining sauce.

  8. Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.

  9. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and then fold in the cooled custard.

  10. Now to arrange the plates. Carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each plate.

  11. Divide the sponge fingers between the plates arranging them around the edge.

  12. Pour the custard over half of each the sponge finger then sprinkle the nuts on top.

  13. Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.

Updated: August 12, 2018

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

Frozen Strawberry Sundae

 

These squares of strawberry ice cream are on a chocolate base and topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Frozen ahead of time, they make an impressive dessert and take no time at all to add the toppings just before serving.

 

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Freezing time: 4 hours
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 115g (4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter, melted (3 tbsp)

  • *This is a North American recipe where the chocolate baking crumbs are bought ready in a box. Use the following for a substitution for the ingredients to make the base in England:

  • 115g (4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter then add to the biscuit crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.

  • For the filling
  • 280g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 170g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • For the topping
  • 85g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp slivered/flaked almonds

  • You will also need a 17cm (6½ in) square metal baking tin at least 5cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.

  • Note
  • Once the base and filling have been left to freeze, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.

  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; just use a 24cm (9½ in) square tin.


  1. Method
  2. First line the container with two pieces of cling film/plastic wrap so they are laid across one another and large enough to overhang the edges of the container on all sides. Press well into the corners of the container.

  3. For the base
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs. Now spread evenly in the container, pressing well into the corners. Freeze while making the filling.


  5. For the filling
  6. Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little while preparing the strawberries.

  7. Slice the strawberries and put in a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

  8. Meanwhile, scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl and leave until the strawberries are ready. It should not thaw completely.

  9. Purée the strawberries until smooth and then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended.

  10. Spoon evenly over the chocolate base and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.


  11. Frozen Strawberry Sundae


  12. For the topping
  13. Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.

  14. Tip the almonds into a small frying pan/skillet and toast over a medium to low heat until golden, tossing frequently. They will take about 5–10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when ready.) Put to one side.

  15. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate by sitting the bowl over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.)

  16. Remove the bowl from the heat once the chocolate has melted and add the remaining chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.


  17. To finish
  18. Top each square just before serving.

  19. Holding the edges of the baking parchment, remove the frozen sundae to a cutting board. Now using a serrated knife, cut into six even pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to soften a little.

  20. Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares.

  21. Then drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

  22. Note
  23. Once the base and filling has frozen, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.

  24. This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; but use a 24cm (9½ in) square container.

Updated: July 27, 2019 8, 2018

Summer Fruit Glory

Summer Fruit Glory

 

Summer Fruit Glory is a quick summer dessert to prepare that looks very impressive. Layers of mascarpone and strawberry yogurt, summer fruits and amaretti biscuits soaked in Marsala. Delicious!

 

Summer Fruit Glory
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 250g or 275g tub mascarpone
  • ½ x 500g pot strawberry yogurt
  • 12 strawberries, hulled
  • 140g (5 oz) raspberries (1¼ cups)
  • 140g (5 oz) blueberries (¾ cup heaped)
  • 1 tbsp icing/powdered sugar for dusting
  • 225g (8 oz) amaretti biscuits (about 24)
  • 4 tbsp Marsala, medium sherry or brandy

  • You will also need 4 x pretty glasses, sundae glasses or short tumblers.


  1. Method
  2. Whisk the mascarpone and yogurt together until smooth.

  3. Reserve 4 strawberries, 8 raspberries and 8 blueberries for decoration, then lightly mix the other fruits together in a small bowl and dust with 2 teaspoons icing/powdered sugar to sweeten.

  4. Crush the biscuits.

  5. Now 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.

  6. Spoon a quarter of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit crumbs and smooth the surface.

  7. Next, divide half the fruit between each of the glasses and then layer with another quarter of the mascarpone mixture and smooth the surface.

  8. Now, sprinkle the remaining biscuit pieces over the mascarpone mixture and add 2 more tablespoons of the Marsala (or whatever you are using). Add another quarter of the mascarpone mixture and smooth the tops.

  9. Finally spoon over the remaining fruit and finally the last quarter of the mascarpone mixture.

  10. You should now have 4 layers of the mascarpone mixture, 2 layers of the amaretti biscuits and 2 layers of fruit.

  11. Halve the reserved strawberries and decorate each glass with the reserved fruit.

  12. Sieve over a dusting of icing/powdered sugar just before serving.

Updated: August 5, 2018

Red Berry Jelly

Red Berry Jelly

 

There is nothing like homemade jelly. The intensity of flavour of the berries come bursting through and makes for a perfect dessert on a hot summer’s day.

 

Red Berry Jelly
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Setting time: 6 hours or overnight

  • Ingredients
  • 250g (9 oz) strawberries (about 2 cups)
  • 170g (6 oz) raspberries (1½ cups)
  • 115g (4 oz) redcurrants (¾ cup)
  • 140g (5 oz) caster/white sugar (⅔ cup)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
  • 1½ sachets of powdered gelatine

  • You will also need a 1 litre (4 cup) jelly mould or six individual glass dessert dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Wash and pat dry the fruit. If the strawberries are large, cut them in half, and remove the stalks from the redcurrants.

  3. Put the fruit in a medium-sized pan along with the sugar, lemon juice, and 540ml (18 fl oz) (2¼ cups) cold water. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is beginning to bubble. Now put a lid on the pan and let the fruit continue to cook gently until it has become very soft, about 5 minutes.

  4. If using leaf gelatine prepare it now. Place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, snapping them in half to fit if necessary. Leave for 5 minutes to become very soft.

  5. Now strain the fruit mixture through a large, fine sieve into a bowl. Press the fruit through the sieve, using a wooden spoon, to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible.

  6. If using powdered gelatine, stir the contents of 1½ sachets in ⅓ cup of cold water then add ⅓ cup of boiling water and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

  7. Either lift the softened gelatine leaves from the water and add to the fruit juice or stir in the dissolved powdered gelatine. Now stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved into the fruit juice, about 2 minutes. Keep stirring until you are sure the gelatine has dissolved, otherwise, when the fruit juice sets, there will be little grains of solid gelatine in it.

  8. Pour the jelly into the jelly mould or individual glass dishes and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight to set.

  9. To turn out the jelly mould, dip it halfway in a large bowl of hand-hot water for about 5 seconds. Then place a flat serving plate on top and turn out the jelly onto the plate. Shake for a couple of seconds until you hear the jelly loosening, then lift the mould away.

  10. Note
  11. Can be served with single/half-and-half cream or dollops of whipped whipping/double/heavy cream and extra fresh raspberries.