Sunday, 28 August 2011
I've been slack and idle today. We had our end of summer Ward Picnic today and so I didn't really cook anything! (I know! What am I like!!) Anyways I thought you would enjoy a delicious roundup today of my all time favourite end of summer desserts. As you have probably begun to notice yourselves . . . Summer is definitely on the wane and these tasty morsels made with fresh local fruit won't be on the menu for much longer! Enjoy them while you still can!
Oh, yes there is a courgette loaf in there as well . . . but really how can you not end summer without a glut of those tasty little devils! A courgette loaf or two or three are definitely on the menu as well!!
There's also a sneaky dessert or two which use the early autumn fruits. Deliciously enjoyable anytime!
This delicious pudding is one of my favourite things about summer. Tart . . . sweet . . . this pudding contains all the goodness of summer in every mouthful. Plan ahead as it needs to sit overnight to set up.
750g/1lb 14oz mixed summer fruit
(such as raspberries, red, white and blackcurrants, tayberries, loganberries, blackberries, cherries and blueberries)
185g/6½oz caster sugar
1 medium loaf good-quality white bread, slightly stale
2 tbsp cassis or blackcurrant cordial
creme fraiche for serving
You will need a 2 pint pudding basin.
Place all the fruit in a pan, removing any stalks as necessary. Add the sugar and then heat and cook them over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, only until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit begins to give up some of it's juices. Please be careful not to over cook them. Stir in the cassis or blackcurrant cordial. Set aside while you get the bread ready.
Trim off all the crusts from the bread and cut the bread into thin slices. Cut one round slice out of the bread to fit the bottom of the basin and place it into the basin. Line the pudding basin with the slices of bread, overlapping them and sealing well by pressing any edges together. Fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread, so that no juice can get through when you add the fruit. spoon all of the fruit and its juices into the pudding basin. Trim the tips of bread from around the edge. Cover the top of the fruit with more wedges of bread. Place the pudding basin on a plate to collect any juices. Find a saucer that fits neatly inside the bowl, and place it on top to cover the upper layer of bread, then weigh the saucer down with weights - unopened tin cans come in very handy for this.. Let it cool, then place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, remove the weights and the saucer. Run a thin blade around the edges, then invert the basin onto a shallow serving plate. Serve, cut into slices or spooned out with plenty of Creme Fraiche.
*Crunchy Blueberry Tart*
Imagine a tasty oatmeal cookie crust, filled with tart blueberries and topped with an oat crumble. This is to die for and quite simply the most delicious blueberry tart I have ever eaten. Adapted from a recipe in the book, "A Piece Of Cake," by Leila Lindholm.
For the crust:
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
6 1/4 ounces of plain flour
4 3/4 ounces of caster sugar
2 1/2 ounces rolled oats
For the Filling:
9 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup of blueberry jam
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 TBS cornflour
For the Topping:
3 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces rolled oats
4 3/4 ounces caster sugar
Creme Fraiche for serving
Begin by making the crust. Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Place the butter in a saucepan and melt. Whisk together the flour, sugar and oats. Stir this mixture into the melted butter, stirring well to completely combine. Press the dough into a 10 inch tart tin with a removable bottom. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the topping, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the oats and sugar. Mix together well, and then set aside while you make the filling.
To make the filling, gently stir together the blueberries, jam and balsamic vinegar, mixing well. Stir in the cornflour. Pour this mixture into the oat pastry case.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over top and then place the tart onto a baking tray. Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool. Remove the side from the pan before serving. Serve cut into slices with some creme fraiche for spooning over if desired.
Makes 2 9X5 inch loaves
It just wouldn't be summer without having made at least a couple of courgette loaves. This is an extremely delicious way of using up some of that "glut" in the garden. The inclusion of demerara sugar makes for a very nice crust.
14 ounces plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
11 ounces caster sugar
3 1/2 ounces of demerara sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
7 fluid ounces sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
13 ounces of grated courgettes, with the skin left on
3 ounces chopped walnuts
Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*. Grease and flour two 9 X 5 inch loaf tins. (alternately you can grease them and then line them with baking paper, and grease again)
Sift the flour, salt, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a large bowl. Whisk in both sugars.
Beat the eggs, sunflower oil and vanilla extract together.
Stir the egg mixture and grated courgettes into the dry mixture, mixing until well combined. Stir in the walnuts. Divide between the two prepared loaf tins.
Bake in the heated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaves comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes or so before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Delicious toasted and served warm with some cold butter.
*Rustic Plum Tart*
Makes one 7 by 11 inch tart
I love anything rustic and fuss free. That's why I love this tart so much. Using purchased pastry and a few additional ingredients, you can have a delicious plum tart cooling, ready to be eaten in less than an hour. I love the marzipan that lies like a tasty secret underneath the plums. This will have them coming back for more.
1 package of ready rolled short crust pastry, all butter, thawed if frozen
3 TBS golden marzipan, cut into pieces
1 TBS plain flour
half a dozen or so purple plums, pitted and cut into thin wedges
2 tsp golden caster sugar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup plum or red currant jam
2 TBS water
Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Unroll your pastry and use it to line a 7 by 11 inch baking tin, allowing the excess to overhang. Sprinkle the bits of marzipan evenly over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with the flour. Arrange the sliced plums over top of the flour and marzipan, in overlapping rows. Sprinkle with the 2 tsp of sugar. Fold the overhang over the plums, creating a 1 inch free form ragged edge. Sprinkle the edges with the granulated sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit bubbles, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool. In a small saucepan, combine the jam and water. Heat over medium heat until warm. Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve, discarding any solids. Brush the warm glaze over the plums in the tart. Allow to cool slightly, before cutting into slices to serve.
*Fresh Plum Crumble*
I think Plums are one of Todd's and my favourite fruits. Especially during plum season when the trees around here are just dripping with them like little purple jewels. This is one of my favourite ways to prepare them. You get the lovely sweetness of the plums, topped with the sweet and nutty crunch of a delicious streusal. It's just wonderful!
2 pounds pitted and quartered plums
3/4 cup of soft light brown sugar, packed
2 heaped TBS of plain flour
3 TBS of creme de cassis liqueur (If not available you can use fruit juice)
For the Streusal:
3/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup soft light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 ounces cold butter, cut into cubes
Creme fraiche or clotted cream, for serving
Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Combine the fruit, brown sugar, flour and cassis together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Set aside.
Measure the flour, white sugar, brown sugar and salt together into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add the oats and pultz again. Add the butter bits and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. You want the butter to be the size of peas. Add the walnuts and pulse a couple times just to combine. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over top of the plum mixture in the baking dish. Place on a baking tray to help prevent a nasty spill in your oven!
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the plums are bubbling and the streusal is nicely browned. Serve warm or at room temperature, spooned into bowls with a dollop of creme fraiche or clotted cream on top of each. (Or ice cream!)
*Frozen Lemon Souffle*
Makes 1 large, or 12 individual souffles
This is a fabulous dessert that is not only delicious but impressive. Perfectly light and tasty for after a heavy meal. This contains raw eggs so be careful not to serve it to the very elderly and the very young.
250g shortbread biscuits
50ml butter, melted
4 large eggs, separated
the juice from two large lemons
the finely grated zest from two large lemons
225ml of caster sugar, divided
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
375ml double cream
Lemon peel and black berries to garnish
Crush the shortbread biscuits in the food processor. Mix with the melted butter and blitz once more. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan, or in the bottom of 12 3-inch rings that you have laid out on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and 50ml of the sugar. Blend together well.
In another, but very clean, bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar and the salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Whip the cream in another bowl until soft peaks form.
Fold the egg whites and whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture. Spoon into the prepared pan(s). Cover with foil and freeze for at least 8 hours. Allow to soften in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving if you have made a large one. If you made small ones, you can warm the sides of the rings with your hands and push them out carefully. Place on individual plates and garnish with some lemon peel and blackberries.
*Bramley Berry Slump*
Serves 6 to 8
This is so lovely with the sweet blueberries and the tart apples. The hidden surprise of creamy mascarpone cheese really makes it special, as does the crunchy biscuit topping!
2 large Bramley apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3 cups sliced apple)
1 knob of butter
2 small punnets of blueberries (about 2 cups)
3 ounces sugar
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
For the topping:
3 ounces cold butter, cut into bits
8 ounces self raising flour
2 ounces sugar
the zest of one lemon
150ml of whole milk
2 TBS Demerara sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Butter a 1 1/2 litre baking dish. Set aside.
Melt the knob of butter in a nonstick skillet. Add the apples and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften. Add the sugar to the apples along with the blueberries. Mix well, and then tip the whole mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dot with the mascarpone cheese.
Rub the butter into the flour until it is quite crumbly. Rub the sugar and lemon zest together until quite fragrant. Stir into the crumb mixture. Add the milk all at once and stir to combine. Drop on top of the fruit and mascarpone in big blogs, making it look a bit craggy. Sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over all. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30- minutes, until crusty and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before spooning into dessert dishes. Serve warm with custard* or vanilla ice cream* if desired.
*Really you won't need it with the mascarpone cheese, that is unless you are feeling totally hedonistic!
*Caramelized Pears with Mascarpone Cream*
This is one of my favourite desserts. I love the subtle flavour of the spices with the sweet creaminess of the pears. I like this much better than any alcohol based recipe. Mascarpone cheese goes with them so perfectly. If this doesn't become one of your favourites, I'll eat my hat!
4 forella pears
(can use larger ones, but they will take a bit longer to cook)
2 TBS butter
2 TBS runny Italian honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 star anise, broken in half
2 bruised cardamom pods
1/2 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 TBS brown sugar
the juice of one lemon
1/2 cup double cream
1/2 cup of full fat mascarpone cheese
the grated zest of one lemon
2 TBS caster sugar
Peel the pears and then cut them in half, leaving the stems on if possible. Scoop out the centre seeds with a melon baller.
Place the butter and the honey into a large deep and heavy skillet. Melt together and then add the vanilla bean, scraping out the seeds into the mixture. Add the star anise, cardamom pods, and the cinnamon stick. Grate the nutmeg over top. Bring to a boil and once the mixture starts to foam, add the pears, cut side down. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until the pears are golden brown on the underside and tender when tested with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove to a serving bowl. Stir the lemon juice and the brown sugar into the pan drippings. Bring to the boil and cook until the mixture is syrupy. Pour over the pears. You can remove the spices if you wish, but I think they look lovely. Just warn your guests not to eat them.
Whisk the mascarpone cheese and double cream together with the sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in the lemon zest.
Serve the pears warm with a drizzle of syrup over top and a dollop of the mascarpone cream.
Over in The Cottage today I'm sharing visions of my new Picnic Basket and How to Cook the Perfect Steak!