Scrumptious summer desserts

FOOD

Things seem to be looking up for us here in Mayo. What a lovely Bank Holiday weekend we had last week. The weather is great; well it’s not raining every day so that’s a plus. I think a few easy summer dessert recipes are called for this week.

Simple strawberry trifle

We will start out with an alternative to the traditional sherry trifle. This one is easy and quick to make as it doesn’t have jelly in it.

Ingredients

350g Madeira cake

Good quality strawberry jam

Strawberry or raspberry liqueur or crème de cassis

400g strawberries, sliced or halved

1 tbsp golden caster sugar

500g pot of good quality custard

284ml pot double cream, lightly whipped

Method

Slice the cake and sandwich the slices together with jam. Cut into cubes. Sprinkle the sugar over the strawberries in a bowl. Divide the cake between six glasses and sprinkle a little liqueur over each. Spoon over the sliced strawberries and any juice and then top each with a layer of custard and a layer of cream. Decorate with strawberries. How simple is that?

Summer pudding

Just because it's summer doesn't mean that you can't have a delicious pudding. This summer pudding dish is a great summer treat.

Ingredients

300g strawberries

250g blackberries

100g redcurrants

500g raspberries

OR 1.25kg/2lb 12oz mixed berries and currants of your choice

175g golden caster sugar

7 slices day-old white bread, from a square, medium-cut loaf

Method

Bring out the juices: Wash fruit and gently dry on kitchen paper - keep strawberries separate. Put sugar and three tbsp water into a large pan. Gently heat until sugar dissolves - stir a few times. Bring to a boil for one minute, then tip in the fruit (not strawberries ). Cook for three minutes over a low heat, stirring two to three times. The fruit will be softened, mostly intact and surrounded by dark red juice. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the fruit and juice.

Prepare the bread: Line the 1.25-litre basin with cling film as this will help you to turn out the pudding. Overlap two pieces in the middle of the bowl as it's easier than trying to get one sheet to stick to all of the curves. Let the edges overhang by about 15cm. Cut the crusts off the bread. Cut four pieces of bread in half, a little on an angle, to give two lopsided rectangles per piece. Cut two slices into four triangles each and leave the final piece whole.

Build the pudding: Dip the whole piece of bread into the juice for a few secs just to coat. Push this into the bottom of the basin. Now dip the wonky rectangular pieces one at a time and press around the basin's sides so that they fit together neatly, alternately placing wide and narrow ends up. If you can't quite fit the last piece of bread in it doesn't matter, just trim into a triangle, dip in juice and slot in. Now spoon in the softened fruit, adding the strawberries here and there as you go.

Let flavours mingle then serve: Dip the bread triangles in juice and place on top - trim off overhang with scissors. Keep leftover juice for later. Bring cling film up and loosely seal. Put a side plate on top and weight down with cans. Chill for six hours. Or overnight. To serve, open out cling film then put a serving plate upside-down on top and flip over. Serve with leftover juice, any extra berries and cream.

I hope that you find these recipes easy to follow and please give them a try, they are delicious. If you would like a recipe for anything at all, or have any cookery question, please feel free to contact me on markchefmayo@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to help you. Talk to you next week, enjoy the sun, long may it last.

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