Berry Meringue Creams

Berry Meringue Creams

 

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.

 

Berry Meringue Creams
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Preparation time if making meringues: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time for the meringues: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Standing time for the meringues: 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 340g (12 oz) strawberries (1 pint)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar/white 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)

  • Equipment
  • 4 x glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (mark 1)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.)

  7. For the Berry Meringue Creams
  8. 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.

  9. Pour the cream into a bowl and add the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the cream holds a soft peak.

  10. 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.

  11. Divide between the four dishes. Top with the reserved strawberries, cutting any into halves or quarters if they are too large.

  12. Dust a little icing sugar over top just before serving.

  13. They can be refrigerated for up to two hours, leaving the icing sugar to be dusted over until just before serving.

Updated: July 19, 2017

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: 50 minutes
  • Cooling time: about 15 minutes

  • Ingredients

  • Strawberry Cheesecake


  • For the base
  • 170g (6 oz) Graham cracker crumbs (1¼ cups) OR
  • 170g (6 oz) plain digestive biscuits (12)*
  • 50g (1¾ oz) sugar (¼ cup)
  • 50g (1¾ 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 (about 1½ quart punnets)
  • 115g (4 oz) redcurrant jelly (2 tbsp)

  • Equipment
  • 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. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth. Pour into the crumb crust.

  12. Strawberry Cheesecake


  13. Bake for 40 minutes or until just set. Leave to cool then refrigerate while preparing the topping or until 1 hour before you want to serve the cheesecake.

  14. Strawberry Cheesecake


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

  17. Set aside 170g (6 oz) (about ½ small punnet) and purée. Strain 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.

Updated: July 17, 2017

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
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter to mix. Add to the biscuit crumbs and stir to coat.

  • For the filling
  • 280g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 170g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (½ pint punnet)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • For the topping
  • 85g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (¼ pint punnet)
  • 55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate (8 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds

  • Equipment
  • 17cm (6½ in) square metal baking pan at least 5cm (2 inches) deep

  • 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 pan.


  1. Method
  2. Cut two sheets of baking parchment larger than the baking pan so that they can be laid across one another and overhang the edges of the pan on all sides. Press well into the corners of the pan.

  3. For the base
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and the sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs. Spread evenly in the pan 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.

  7. Slice the strawberries and put into a small bowl. Toss with the sugar then let stand for 10 minutes, stirring 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, then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended. Spoon evenly over the chocolate base in the pan and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

  10. Frozen Strawberry Sundae


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

  13. 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 will burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when they are ready, too.) Put to one side.

  14. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl and melt over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.). Once melted, remove from the heat. Add the remaining chocolate to the bowl and stir until it has melted and there is a smooth chocolate sauce. Leave to one side to cool.

  15. To finish
  16. Top each square just before serving.

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

  18. Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares. Drizzle the chocolate over and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Updated: July 10, 2017

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) strawberries (about ⅓ of a pint container)
  • 115g (4 oz) raspberries
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) Bird’s custard (1 cup)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream (½ cup)

  • Equipment
  • 4 glass dessert dishes


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

  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of raspberry conserve on top of the sponge and level.

  4. Reserve 4 raspberries and 4 strawberries for decoration. Equally divide the rest of the fruit between the four dishes, cutting the strawberries in half.

  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. At this stage it can be left for up to an hour.

  6. 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.)

  7. Divide the custard between the four dishes.

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

  9. Half the reserved strawberries and decorate each dish with two strawberry halves and a raspberry.

  10. Serve.

 

 

 

Eton Mess

Eton Mess

 

Eton Mess – a mix of strawberry halves, soft whipped cream and crushed meringue.

 

Eton Mess
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time:
  • 15 minutes plus 30 minutes standing time, if using ready-made meringues
  • 25 minutes plus 20 minutes standing time, if making the meringues as well
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes (only if making the meringues)

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 6 small meringues*
  • 284ml carton double cream/whipping cream

  • * This dish is a great way to use up any leftover meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare them first.

  • For the meringues
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (1 cup + 1 tbsp)

  • Equipment
  • 4 glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas mark 1)

  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until stiff and glossy.

  5. 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.

  6. Spoon six mounds of meringue onto the baking paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringues should now lift easily from the paper. Leave to cool.

  7. For the Eton Mess
  8. Wash, hull and halve the strawberries. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle over the sugar and drizzle with the Grand Marnier if using. Mix gently and leave for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  9. In a separate bowl, break the meringues into bite-sized pieces.

  10. Whip the cream until it just forms soft peaks. It should still fall from a spoon.

  11. Put 20 strawberry halves and about a quarter of the broken meringues to one side for decoration.

  12. Now gently mix the cream into the strawberries in the large bowl and add the remaining meringue pieces. Divide between the glass dishes and top each dish with an equal quantity of the reserved strawberry halves and meringue.

  13. Serve immediately.

Updated: June 25, 2017

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 sugar/white sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence/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 sugar/powdered sugar for dusting

  • Equipment
  • 7cm (2¾ in) and 4cm (1½ in) fluted cutters
  • 2 large baking sheets/trays, 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 creamy, gradually beat in the egg and then the vanilla essence/extract.

  4. Sift the remaining ingredients into the bowl and blend into the mixture using a spoon until just combined. Now gently knead by hand until a soft dough has formed.

  5. Take the dough and roll it 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 sheets/trays. Now using the smaller cutter remove the centre of half the rounds. (Don’t try to remove the centres before placing the rounds on the sheets/trays as they will become misshapen.) Keep re-rolling the leftover dough and cutting out the rounds, making sure there are an equal number of the whole rounds and cut-out rounds. There should be enough dough to make about 18 finished biscuits.

  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are just starting to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

  7. Spread a thick layer of strawberry jam over the whole rounds and then place the cut rounds on top. Finish by dusting with icing sugarpowdered sugar. The sugar will melt on the jam but will remain on the biscuit. Store in an airtight container.

 

Baked Custard with Fruit Compote

Baked Custard with Fruit Compote

 

Baked custard with fruit compote is a delicious light dessert of silky baked custard served with a compote of plums, strawberries and blueberries.

 

Baked Custard with Fruit Compote
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 24 hours
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes
  • Standing time: 20–30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • 150ml/5 fl oz whole/full fat milk
  • 150ml/5 fl oz single cream/table cream
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 30g/1 oz caster sugar/extra fine sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • For the fruit compote
  • 85g/3 oz sugar
  • 170g/6 oz plums
  • 170g/6 oz strawberries
  • 170g/6 oz blueberries

  • To serve
  • Single cream/table cream

  • Equipment
  • A shallow ovenproof dish with a capacity of 600ml/1 pint


  1. Method
  2. For the fruit compote
  3. Wash the plums, halve and remove the stones. Pour 300ml/10 fl oz of water into a pan, add the sugar and stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the plums and bring to a simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cover for 10–15 minutes until the fruit has softened but still keeps its shape.

  4. Meanwhile, wash the berries and hull the strawberries. Add them to the plums and stir to distribute the fruit. Transfer the fruit to a serving dish, cover and chill for 24 hours.

  5. For the custard
  6. The next day prepare the custard.

  7. Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

  8. Pour the milk and cream into a mixing bowl and add the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine the mixture and then strain the custard into a jug. Set the ovenproof dish in a roasting tin and pour in the custard. Then slowly pour cold water into the roasting tin to a depth of at least 2.5cm/1 inch. Carefully put on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. The custard will be set but should have a slight quiver in the centre when gently moved and it should have an attractive golden skin. Allow to cool for 20–30 minutes.

  9. The baked custard can be served warm or cold with the fruit compote.

 

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
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 120g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 200ml/7½ fl oz full fat/whole milk mixed with 75 ml/2½ fl oz water
  • 60g/2 oz butter

  • For the filling
  • 450g/1 lb strawberries
  • 600ml/20 fl oz/1 pint double cream/whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

  • Equipment
  • a heavy gauge aluminium frying pan


  1. Method
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

  3. 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.

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

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

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

  7. First melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter 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 crêpe.

  8. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.

  9. 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.

  10. Flip the crêpe over with the palette knife. The other side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper on a plate.

  11. Continue until you have 8 crêpes, overlapping them on the plate with a sheet of kitchen paper as you go.

  12. Divide the strawberries evenly between the crêpes, spooning them onto a quarter of each one. Fold the crêpes in half and then half again. Top each crêpe with a good dollop of cream.

  13. Serve immediately.

 

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
  • 1 vanilla pod OR
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml/7 fl oz milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75g/2½ oz caster sugar, plus ½ tsp
  • 20 sponge fingers/lady fingers
  • 1 tbsp sweet white wine or sherry
  • 284ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 1kg/2lb 3½ oz summer fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants
  • a splash of white wine (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 100g/3½ oz unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, or walnuts


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

  3. Pour the milk in a small pan. Split the vanilla pod in two lengthways and add to the pan or add the extract, if using. Slowly heat on the lowest setting for 10 minutes, without boiling.

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

  5. Slowly add the milk and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Return to the pan and stir over a low heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Do not let it boil. You want it to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. This will take about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool briefly.

  6. Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in two and lay them in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle over the wine or sherry.

  7. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and then fold into the cooled custard.

  8. 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 ½ teaspoon of sugar and wine. Purée until smooth and then push through a plastic sieve to remove the pulp, using the back of a spoon. Once the purée is pressed through, wipe the underside of the sieve with the spoon to get all the remaining sauce.

  9. Divide the sponge fingers between the chilled plates, arranging them around the edge.

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

  11. Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.

  12. Pour the custard over the sponge fingers then sprinkle the nuts on top.

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

 

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 8–10, 8 inch crêpes to serve 4
 
  • Preparation time: 15–20 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 120g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 200ml/7½ fl oz semi-skimmed milk mixed with 75 ml/2½ fl oz water
  • 60g/2oz butter
  • 450g/1 lb a selection of fresh berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, or strawberries
  • 600ml/20 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 60g/2 oz plain/dark chocolate

  • Equipment
  • heavy gauge aluminium frying pan
  • 4 plates


  1. Method
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. 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.

  4. Meanwhile, wash the berries and pat dry. Hull any strawberries, if using. Place in a bowl and set to one side.

  5. Over a shallow bowl, grate the chocolate to create chocolate shavings to be used for decoration.

  6. Then in a large bowl whip the cream until stiff and put to one side while making the crêpes.

  7. Melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter 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 each crêpe.

  8. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.

  9. Use about 3 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.

  10. Flip the crêpe over with the palette knife. The other side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a plate.

  11. Continue until there are 8 crêpes, (you may not use all the batter) overlapping them on the plate as you go and separating each one with a piece of kitchen paper. Keep them warm by covering the plate loosely with foil.

  12. They can now be filled. Divide the fruit between the crêpes, spooning a portion onto a quarter of each crêpe. Fold the crêpe in half and then in half again to form a triangle. Place two on each plate.

  13. Then spoon a generous dollop of cream on top of each crêpe and sprinkle with the chocolate shavings.

 

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 pastry
  • 145g/5 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 85g/3 oz cold butter, diced
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar, extra fine sugar
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolk only

  • For the filling
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz whipping cream
  • custard powder
  • 110ml/4 fl oz full fat milk/whole milk
  • 350g/12 oz small strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  • Equipment
  • 4 × 10cm/4 inch tartlet tins


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir 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/wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  5. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface then use to line the tartlet tins. Prick the bases with a fork, line with parchment paper and baking beans, then cook for 10 minutes.

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

  7. For the filling
  8. Make up the custard according to the packet using 110ml/4 fl oz of milk. You want a thick custard. Cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin and leave it to become cold.

  9. Whip the cream until stiff and then fold into the cold custard. Spoon into the tart cases.

  10. Decorate the top with the strawberries, cutting them into halves or quarters, depending on their size.

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

 

Fruity Delight

Fruity Delight

 

A really scrumptious dessert. A shortbread base is topped with a light, creamy cheese mixture, topped with glazed raspberries and strawberries and then dusted with icing sugar.

 

Fruity Delight
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 120g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • 30g/1 oz icing sugar
  • 60g/2 oz butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk

  • For the topping
  • 200g/7 oz full-fat soft cheese
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 200g/7 oz strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 200g/7 oz raspberries, washed
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • icing sugar to dust


  1. Method
  2. For the base
  3. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Mix in the butter using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add enough egg yolk a little at a time until the mixture starts to bind together. I find starting off using a small palette knife to bring the mixture together is helpful as it keeps the dough light. Once it is binding together, knead lightly to form a ball.

  4. Roll out the dough to a 20cm/8 inch round, then place on a baking sheet. Prick well with a fork, decorate the edges using the tines of the fork, then, using a knife, mark the pastry lightly into 8 equal sections.

  5. Chill, while preheating the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  6. Bake the base for 15 minutes until just starting to brown. Re-mark the sections while it is still hot to make it easier for serving. Cool on a wire rack.

  7. For the topping
  8. Beat the soft cheese until it is creamy, then add the crème fraîche, icing sugar and vanilla essence. Beat until light and fluffy.

  9. Spread on the shortbread base, leaving a narrow border so that the decorative edge shows and the marked sections are still visible.

  10. If the strawberries are large, halve or quarter them. You want the raspberries and strawberries to be of a similar size. Cover the topping with the fruit.

  11. Put the redcurrant jelly in a small container and stir in 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave on medium for 30–60 seconds when the jelly should have dissolved and the mixture is bubbling. Leave to cool. Alternatively, heat in a small pan.

  12. Carefully brush the fruit with the jelly and then, just before serving, dust with icing sugar.