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Desserts & Fruit

MirabelleMirabelle Owl WhispererKensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
Here are some truly wonderful desserts to put sunshine into your meals at home, and the first one is such a family favourite that we keep returning to it, time and time again.

Consommé de vin aux fruits d'été
by Matthew Fort

The effect of this concoction is exquisite. The cool, semi-set jelly trembles for a moment on the tongue before the heat in the mouth begins to melt it and it returns to its pure liquid form as it slides down the throat. I haven't specified the amount of fruit. You don't need a lot - one nectarine or peach will easily do four people, for example.

75cl bottle cheap sweet white wine - Spanish moscatel does very nicely, as does a grapey Asti.
1 tsp gelatine powder
Fruit - strawberries or nectarines or peaches or pears or blackberries or blueberries, or a mixture thereof
16 basil leaves

Pour the wine into a saucepan and place over a gentle heat. It shouldn't get too hot, or it will lose some of its flavour, but it must be hot enough to dissolve the gelatine. Add the gelatine and stir to dissolve. Pour the mixture into a bowl and put in a cool place to set.

Some time before you need to serve, peel and slice the nectarines/peaches/ pears/whatever and divide up the slices and other fruit among the plates. Slice the basil leaves into thin strips and scatter over the top. Stir the jelly to break it up into jewel-like pieces, then divide up among the plates.

'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

- Howard Gardner


  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Candied Cherries
    author unknown

    Lovely with ice cream or just whenever you feel like a refreshing mouthful, these delightful candied cherries prove very popular among family and friends.

    1 pound cherries, fresh or frozen
    1½ cups water
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 drop real almond extract

    To make the Candied Cherries:

    Remove the stems and pit the cherries. Heat the cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a large, nonreactive saucepan or skillet until the liquid starts to boil. Stainless steel is best.

    Turn down the heat to a low boil and cook the cherries for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure they are cooking evenly and not sticking.

    Once the syrup is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat, add the almond extract, and let the cherries cool in their syrup.

    Drain the cherries in a strainer for about 1 hour, then coarsely chop. Candied Cherries can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If they stay that long, haha!
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    ~ * ~ Strawberries with Mint and Raspberry Sugar ~ * ~
    by Nigel Slater

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    Now that British soft fruit growers finally realise we don't like unsweet strawberries and raspberries, they are making more effort to produce outstanding crops of delicious fragrance, though I prefer fruit in their proper season. Choose small, but intensely flavoured strawberries. Caster sugar is best.

    A neat little trick is to rush a couple of raspberries with a little sugar then use as a dressing for sliced strawberries. The marriage will make the strawberries beam with flavour. A dusting of orange zest mixed with an equal amount of sugar can lift their spirits, too. A favourite trick is to introduce a little mint into the proceedings, used very finely chopped and added to sugar. You can make a mint sugar by simply blitzing the leaves with a little caster in a food processor. The result will be a pale-green sugar that smells like toothpaste but tastes like the essence of the fresh herb. Add it to your berries to make them smile.

    The raspberries and sugar really bring out the flavour of the strawberries here. This is good as it comes, but also the most sublime accompaniment for vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Serves 4-6.

    strawberries 400g
    caster sugar 75g
    mint leaves 8
    raspberries 4

    Put the sugar into the food processor, add the mint and pulse until the mint is chopped so finely it has almost disappeared. Add the raspberries and blitz very briefly, just until the sugar has turned pink.

    Slice the strawberries, put them in a bowl, add half the raspberry sugar and toss gently. Set aside for 20 minutes, then divide between bowls, scattering a little more raspberry and mint sugar as you go.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Apricots with honey and star anise
    by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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    If you dislike apricots, peaches could be substituted in this recipe. Served with ice-cream or thick yogurt sweetened with honey, this makes an easy, pretty pudding. Note that vanilla pods being expensive so can be used again: just rinse under the tap and pat dry.
    Serves four.

    16 apricots
    4 tbsp honey
    Zest of 1 small orange
    4 tbsp sweet pudding wine – we use a Pineau de Charentes (or 4 tbsp fresh orange juice)
    2 tbsp unsalted butter
    4 star anise
    2 vanilla pods, quartered lengthwise

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cut out four 30cm squares of baking parchment. Halve the apricots along the "seam" and remove the stone. Place eight apricot halves in the middle of each parchment square. Trickle over a tablespoon of honey, grate over some orange zest and pour over a tablespoon of wine (or orange juice). Place a scrap of butter on the middle of each apricot and put a star anise and two strips of vanilla in the middle of each parcel. Seal, place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, until the packets are puffed up and the apricots tender. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

    Combis • Sliced pears with brown sugar, butter and nutmeg – serve with ice-cream or Greek yogurt.
    • That old favourite, bananas in foil on the barbecue – make them more indulgent by cutting a slit in the skin and forcing bits of chocolate into the flesh before wrapping. A dash of rum wouldn't go amiss, either. ;)
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Extra Yummy Stuffed Apples with Spices and Nuts :heart::yum::heart:
    author unknown

    Illustration only
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    Depending what is in the kitchen cupboard or larder, use whatever is available. Note, alcohol always evaporates during cooking.

    4 fuji, braeburn or pink lady apples
    4 tbsp dried raisins or golden sultanas
    2 tbsp rum or Calvados
    4 tbsp walnuts, chopped, or use pecans
    4 tbsp almonds, chopped
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    a little grated nutmeg
    240 ml/ 1 cup fresh squeezed apple juice (not the clear one)
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp raw brown sugar (muscovado)

    Preheat the oven to 180C/350°. Soak raisins in liquor for 10 minutes. Cut the top off each apple and core them. In a small bowl, combine soaked raisins with their liquid, walnuts, almonds and cinnamon. In a small saucepan, heat juice with vanilla until infused. Put the apples in a baking pan and stuff them with the fruit mix. Cover with their tops, then pour the infused liquid on top and sprinkle them with sugar.

    Bake for about one hour or until their flesh is tender, spooning the cooking liquid on top every 15 minutes or so. Serve warm with their liquid and plain yogurt or ice-cream whatever you fancy.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Roasted rhubarb with sweet labneh is by Yotam Ottolenghi

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    Perfect for a late brunch. It's best to drain the yoghurt overnight, to give it time to reach the desired rich and creamy texture (four to six hours will just about do, though the labneh may not be as thick). Either way, give the yoghurt bundle a squeeze a couple of times while it's draining. If you want to avoid draining altogether, use a thick Greek or Arab yoghurt as it is – the finished dish won't be as rich and dessert-like, but it will still be wonderfully fresh. Serves four.

    800g natural yoghurt
    80g icing sugar
    400g rhubarb
    100ml muscat (or other dessert wine)
    70g caster sugar
    ½ vanilla pod, scraped
    The skin of 1 lemon, half shaved into strips and the rest grated
    20g pistachios, coarsely chopped

    Put the yoghurt in a bowl with the icing sugar and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Mix well and transfer to the middle of a clean muslin or linen cloth. Tie into a bundle with an elastic band or string, and hang over a bowl in the fridge for up to 18 hours.

    Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Cut the rhubarb into 6cm batons and mix with the wine, sugar, vanilla pod and seeds, and lemon strips. Put in an ovenproof dish that's just large enough snugly to accommodate the rhubarb and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Set aside.

    Just before serving, give the yoghurt a good squeeze to release the last of the water. Remove from the cloth and place in a bowl. Stir in the grated zest and spoon on to plates. Top with the rhubarb and some of its cooking juices and sprinkle over the nuts.

    Note: Yotam Ottolenghi is chef and patron of Nopi in London. It's a fabulous restaurant, but doesn't charge the earth and I loved it. The recipe came from there.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Pears poached in Sauternes, Cardamom and Ginger
    by Lorraine Pascale

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    In our garden in Majorca we have a pear tree, so there are always plenty to go round. All you need to do is take them out of the fridge when you are ready to serve. It's the perfect refreshing dessert to have after a warming meal. Or enjoyed just on its own. Note the alcohol eveporates during cooking. Serves 4–6

    4–6 almost-ripe pears, such as comice or conference
    375ml bottle of Sauternes (very cheap in Lidl or Aldi)
    100g soft light brown sugar
    Grated zest of 1 lemon
    2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
    4 cardamom pods, crushed (toast them in a dry pan for 3–4 minutes, to bring out the flavour, if you like)
    1 cinnamon stick
    Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla extract
    Twist of black pepper
    2 cloves
    About 200ml water
    150g mascarpone
    A squeeze of honey
    Toasted hazelnuts, for sprinkling

    Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact and cut a little bit off the base if they do not stand up. You can remove the core from the bottom with a sharp knife if you like, but I tend not to bother.

    Put the wine, sugar, lemon zest, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper and cloves into a medium pan, then arrange the pears in a single layer and put the pan over a high heat. Pour in enough water to cover the pears, then bring to the boil.

    Keep them on the boil for 3–4 minutes to get rid of the strong alcoholic taste, then turn the heat down so the liquid is just simmering. Leave for about 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and set the pears aside in the liquid to cool.

    Once the pears are cool, they can be stored in the poaching liquid in the fridge for 2–3 days.

    When you are ready to serve, put the mascarpone in a bowl and gently stir in the honey. Sprinkle over some toasted hazelnuts and serve alongside the pears.

    • This is an edited excerpt from Home Cooking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale (HarperCollins, £20).
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Iced Berries with Hot White Chocolate Sauce

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    This is the simplest and most moreish pudding you will ever make and could become a dinner party classic. For this recipe I use any combination of fresh berries – raspberries, red currants, blueberries, blackberries – but I avoid strawberries because they don’t freeze well. "Serves 4". I somehow doubt it. ;)

    4 oz (100-120 g) of berries per person – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries

    For the Sauce:
    22 oz (600 g) Green & Black‘s White Chocolate
    1 pint (600 ml) double cream

    Put a selection of fresh berries on four flat white china plates. Pop them into the freezer for an hour or two. Break up the chocolate bars into small pieces and put in a bowl or basin and add the cream. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often until it is a smooth sauce. Warm the jug.

    About 5 minutes before serving take the plates with the berries out of the freezer. A frosty bloom develops. Place the plates in front of each person and pour over the hot sauce at the table. Cover the berries generously for the best result. Eat straight away!
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Perfect for Easter or any time, Almond meringue with rhubarb and custard is love on a plate.

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    Recipe by Jeremy Lee, chef-proprietor of Quo Vadis restaurant in London and published in The Guardian.

    This almond meringue heaped with rhubarb and custard looks so wonderful that it could be used for a weekend treat or a special occasion. Providing you stick to Jeremy Lee's recipe directions exactly, it's not too tricky to make - and I've made it a few times with Mandy, no probs! Though Jeremy Lee says it will serve 12 to 14, realistically the meringue serves 6 with seconds.

    For the meringue
    9 egg whites
    500g caster sugar, split between two bowls
    120g whole almonds, coarsely chopped

    For the rhubarb
    12 rhubarb stems
    1 lemon
    1 orange
    1 vanilla pod
    4 tbsp golden caster sugar

    For the custard
    30g flour
    30g cornflour
    9 egg yolks
    120g golden caster sugar
    1 vanilla pod
    750ml whole milk

    To finish
    500ml double cream
    50g almonds, coarsely chopped and roasted until golden

    1. Preheat the oven to 130C/265F/gas low. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Scrupulously clean and dry a mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and add the first bowl of sugar in a steady shower. Beat furiously, allowing no distractions, until peaks form once more. The best test is to tip the bowl upside down but that might be somewhat cavalier. Add in the chopped almonds and the remaining sugar and fold in with care.

    2. Divide the meringue between the two baking sheets and form two roughly shaped discs. Whirls and swirls are most welcome. Pop them in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 100C/212F and bake for 1 hour, keeping an eye out for any misbehaviour. The resulting cakes should be a pale golden colour and a delicate crisp shell. Remove them and set aside to cool.

    3. To cook the rhubarb, preheat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3½. Trim and wash the rhubarb. Cut into 1cm long pieces, and lay in a wide baking sheet in one layer. Peel the lemon and the orange to achieve strips that can be laid in among the rhubarb. Split and scrape the vanilla pod. Juice the orange and lemon, stir in the vanilla, then spoon this over the rhubarb. Seal with tinfoil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or so. Lift a corner of the tinfoil with care to see if the rhubarb is tender. If so, remove and let the rhubarb cool. It is best left undisturbed, retaining its form, until needed.

    4. To make the confectioner’s custard, sift the flours into a small bowl, and put the egg yolks and sugar in another, then beat wildly until lightened and pale. Split the vanilla pod and put in a heavy bottomed pan with the milk. Put this on a gentle heat and stir regularly as it comes to the boil. Reduce the speed of the beater and gently stir in the flours. Now pour in the infused milk in a steady stream. Mix well and add to the pan.

    5. Whisk this thoroughly until thickened then beat for a further minute to ensure the flour is cooked. Decant this mixture to a bowl. Cover with clingfilm, spiked a few times to allow the steam to escape. Cool and refrigerate.

    6. To assemble, choose a splendid, appropriately sized dish or plate for the meringue. Whisk the double cream until soft peaks form. Remove the cover from the confectioner’s custard. Add a quarter of the cream to the custard, and then fold in the rest of the cream to form a creme chibouste. Put a spoonful of this creme on the plate to anchor the first disc of meringue, worrying not in the least should fissures and cracks appear. Heap on half the creme, spreading it only lightly over the meringue. Spoon on half the rhubarb. Lay on another spoonful of creme chibouste then lay on the second meringue. Pour on the remaining creme then follow with the remaining rhubarb. Strew over the chopped almonds and the job is done.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Syrup Sponge Pudding

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's syrup sponge pudding ticks all my boxes for a cold rainy day.

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    Buttery, sweet and lusciously light, it's what dreams of piggishness are made from. Steamed sponge puddings – as opposed to suet puddings – have a special texture: buttery and sweet, but also lusciously light. And that sticky, syrupy bottom is, of course, irresistible. Serves four to six.

    3 good tbsp golden syrup
    100g unsalted butter, softened
    100g caster sugar
    2 medium eggs
    100g self-raising flour, sifted
    A splash of milk
    Chilled double cream, to serve

    Generously butter a pudding basin with a capacity of around one litre. Spoon the syrup into the base. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until really light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each, then fold in the remaining flour. You should have a batter with a good dropping consistency. If not, stir in a little milk to loosen it.

    Spoon the batter into the basin on top of the syrup (don't worry if it comes up the sides a little – that's the idea).

    Tie a double layer of buttered foil or baking parchment, buttered side down, over the basin. Put a trivet, rack or upturned small heatproof plate in a large saucepan and stand the pudding on it. Pour in boiling water to come about halfway up the side of the basin, then cover the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer. Steam for an hour and a half, topping up the boiling water with more from the kettle a couple of times along the way.

    Remove the foil and loosen the edges of the pudding with a knife. Place a plate on top then invert the plate and basin, and unmould the pudding. Slice and serve piping hot with chilled double cream.

    Jam or marmalade pudding: Replace the syrup with three heaped tablespoons of marmalade or your favourite jam. And if you're trying a marmalade pudding, consider adding the grated zest of an orange to the sponge batter, too.

    Lemon pudding: Replace the syrup with the juice of one lemon combined with 25g soft brown sugar. Add the grated zest and juice of another lemon to the sponge batter.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Lebanese Rice Pudding
    by Nigel Slater

    Attachment not found.

    Prep time less than 30 mins
    Cook time 10 to 30 mins
    Serves 4

    150g/5½oz pudding rice
    250ml/9fl oz double cream
    250ml/9fl oz full-fat milk
    2 tbsp golden caster sugar
    1 vanilla pod, split
    16 dried apricots
    1 cinnamon stick
    ½ unwaxed lemon
    2 tsp rosewater
    2 tsp orange blossom water
    50g/1¾oz shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
    2 tbsp food-grade rose petals

    Put the rice in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan, then pour in the cream, milk and sugar and add the vanilla pod. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat until the milk is bubbling gently. Allow to simmer for 25 minutes, or until tender, giving it the occasional stir.

    Fill another pan with 300ml/10fl oz water, add the dried apricots, cinnamon stick and the lemon half. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

    When the rice is soft, remove the vanilla pod and stir in the rosewater and orange blossom water.

    Divide the rice pudding between four bowls. Spoon four apricots into each bowl with a little of the juice from the pan. Scatter over the pistachios and a few rose petals and serve.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Banana and Cinnamon Waffles

    Waffles should be in a class of their own. This is one of my family recipes, very special.

    This recipe serves 4

    230g plain flour
    2 teaspoons of baking powder
    One-quarter teaspoon of salt
    2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons brown sugar (Demerara sugar)
    400ml milk
    1 teaspoon of real vanilla syrup (we use Nielson-Massy real bourban vanilla essence)
    Either 60ml oil, or 60g melted butter. (I'd go with the butter and use unsalted)
    1 ripe banana, mashed

    Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl and stir to combine.

    Break the eggs into another bowl. Add the sugar, milk, vanilla and oil or melted butter, and whisk well together.

    Fold in the mashed banana, then combine the wet and dry ingredients, pouring the egg mixture into the flour, and folding the egg mixture into the flour, and folding them together swiftly so no lumps remain. Allow the batter to rest for a few minutes while the waffle iron heats.

    Fill the waffle grid approximately two-thirds full and cook for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, or according to the manufacturer's instructions.

    Waffle makers are not cheap, but the more expensive ones which use Teflon are easy care and are often of very high quality.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
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