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Summer desserts

Sun, 30 July, 2023

I hope you’re as pleased to see this week’s What to Cook as I am to write it: desserts! Puddings! Afters! Sweets! Whatever you call it, it’s a welcome topic.

It is so especially at this time of year even if the weather isn’t treating well those of us who prefer to ditch long sleeves and waterproofs. I know many people are much happier this year than they were last summer, but strawberries are not. And, my friends, berries are crucial in summer desserts.

So we have to make do, of course, and I’m jumping straight into suggestions, the first of which is a no-recipe kind. Sort of, because you have to look at slow roasted strawberries to magically turn those poor undersunned and overrained berries without much flavour into a bomb of sweetness.

Use that recipe to transform other fruit that has been suffering from the old school British summer, adjusting the roasting time perhaps if not so much the complete jamminess but rather some flavour concentration is your objective. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, even apricots and peaches cut into quarters will work.

And then, all you need is a large quantity of whipped cream and the dessert is ready. I served those strawberries like that last weekend and they disappeared in a blink.

Any fruit roasted that way is also a fabulous breakfast material, with plain yoghurt or to top overnight oats.

But let’s return the focus to pudding for now – who cares about breakfast?

Slightly more elaborate, and fresh fruit versions of the above are Athens mess, a riff on Eton mess with filo pastry shards replacing meringues, and strawberry fool with the berries puréed rather than roasted.

And then there are cakes with soft fruit, with almond raspberry, blueberry and cream, upside down cherry and peach pound cake to choose from. If you prefer muffins or bars, no problem: blueberry or raspberry? At least it’s not too hot to turn the oven on!

And then there is watermelon which to me IS dessert as it is – no need to add anything to it (though a little whipped cream won’t do harm). Don’t buy the newfangled seedless fruit – it has no flavour. Here’s advice on how to de-seed it and cube it and I usually process the whole fruit as soon as I bring it home. It keeps for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, and there’s no waste as you can make watermelon granita with the seedy, discarded bits. Happy whipping and baking!

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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