This is a lovely summer brûlée with a fruity mix of berries and currants. The fruit is topped with a whipped creamy filling and then a crunchy caramelised topping.
Summer Fruit Brûlée
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Chilling and cooling time: about 5 hours
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
700g(1 lb 8 oz) soft fruits, a mix of blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, and redcurrants or other suitable soft fruit
115g(4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
285g(10 oz) Greek yogurt
285mlcarton whipping/heavy cream (1¼ cups)
170g(6 oz) demerara sugar (⅔ cup)
You will also need a shallow rectangular heatproof dish with a base measurement of 25.5 x 16 cm (10 x 6½ inches) and 5 cm (2 inches) deep.
You need to start preparing this dish early in the day as it needs to cool and chill between each stage.
First wash the fruit, remove any stalks from the blackcurrants and run the tines of a fork down the stalks of the redcurrants to separate the stalks from the currants.
Put the fruit in a pan and sprinkle over the sugar.
Now put the pan over a gentle heat for 3–5 minutes, until the sugar has just melted and the juices begin to run. Don’t stir the fruit but just move it around because you want to avoid breaking it down.
Now tip the fruit into the shallow dish and leave it to become quite cold.
Then spoon the yogurt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it is thick and then fold it into the yogurt.
Cover the fruit with the cream mixture, making sure it goes right to the edge of the dish and completely covers the fruit. Level the surface.
Cover with cling-film/plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
2 hours before you want to serve the brûlée, spread the surface thickly and evenly with the demerara sugar.
The easiest way to caramelise the sugar is to use a chef’s blowtorch but if you prefer to use the grill/broiler then you need to turn it on to a high setting and allow 15 minutes for it to get really hot.
Next, spray the sugar very lightly with water (a small plastic spray bottle is perfect for this), which will help the sugar melt and speed up the caramelisation process.
If using a blowtorch, aim the tip of the flame above one section of the sugar and once the sugar has melted and is bubbling move onto the next section. It will take about 10 minutes to completely melt all the sugar and turn it a dark golden brown colour.
If not using a blowtorch, place the dish under the grill/broiler as close to the heat source as possible. Again heat the sugar until it has melted and turned a dark golden brown colour.
Now leave to cool and then chill again until ready to serve, when the caramelised sugar will form a crusty surface.
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.
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.