Berry good show: Mark Hix's seasonal fruit desserts provide the perfect end to late-summer dinner parties - Features - Food + Drink - The Independent

Berry good show: Mark Hix's seasonal fruit desserts provide the perfect end to late-summer dinner parties

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Last year I bought a few Tayberry plants for my garden in Charmouth. I have tried to grow them in the past, but with little success. This time, I planted them up against my back fence and the combination of sea air and warm weather seems to have done the trick. But don't get too excited – I'm not talking about harvesting kilos here; just half a dozen portions or so; highly satisfying, none the less.

There is some confusion between the Tayberry and Loganberry but basically they are more or less the same fruit. The Tayberry was named in 1963 by the Scottish Crops Research Institute and named after the famous River Tay. It's a cross between a blackberry and raspberry and similar to the hybrid American Loganberry which was accidentally created in the 1880s by James Harvey Logan when his blackberry cross-pollinated with a raspberry.

There are a few commercial growers of Tayberries and Loganberries but the demand for them isn't high, even though I reckon they could be the summer fruit of the future. If you can't get hold of them, then you could use a mixture of raspberries and blackberries instead.

Buttermilk pudding with Tayberries

Serves 4

This dessert is rather similar to an Italian panna cotta. In the UK we don't tend to use buttermilk that much, although in Ireland it is a fairly commonly used ingredient. You can get hold of it in good supermarkets and dairy shops; or you can just use Jersey milk. You can use different fruits as they come into season or just one fruit as I have done so here.

4 sheets of leaf gelatine
350ml buttermilk
50g caster sugar
250ml double cream
100ml good quality elderflower cordial

To serve

180g Tayberries
2tbsp caster sugar

Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess water. Bring 100ml of the buttermilk to the boil with the sugar; then remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Leave to cool then whisk into the cream, the rest of the buttermilk and the elderflower cordial. Pour into shallow moulds; leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, put 60g of the Tayberries in a saucepan with the sugar on a low heat, simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the Tayberries have gone to a mush. Strain through a sieve, pushing the Tayberries through with the back of a spoon and leave the syrup to cool. To serve, dip the pudding moulds quickly in and out of hot water, then turn out onto serving plates. Scatter the rest of the Tayberries around the puddings; spoon around the syrup.

Tayberry fool

Serves 4

This fool can be made with most fruits, from gooseberries to red summer fruits.

250g Tayberries
2tbsp caster sugar

For the fool

5tbsp dessert wine
Juice from ¼ lemon
40g caster sugar
250ml double cream

Put about 100g of the Tayberries in a pan with the sugar, and cook on a low heat for about a minute, then remove from the heat and blend in a liquidiser until smooth; refrigerate for about an hour.

For the fool, mix the dessert wine, lemon juice and sugar, then add the cream and whip the mixture slowly with an electric whisk or by hand until thick. Then carefully fold two-thirds of the purée and half of the remaining Tayberries to form a rippled effect. Put the rest of the purée into the bottoms of individual glasses or a serving dish and spoon the cream mixture on top and chill for at least half an hour. Serve with the remainder of the Tayberries on top of the fool.

Tayberries with Kingston Black zabaglione

Serves 4

In posh restaurants, zabaglione used to be made in front of you at the table. I've replaced the classic masala here with Kingston Black, an apple apéritif made by Julian Temperley (ciderbrandy.co.uk).

400g Tayberries

For the zabaglione

4 medium egg yolks
3tbsp caster sugar
120ml Kingston Black

To make the zabaglione, put the egg yolks and sugar in a round-bottomed steel or Pyrex bowl (not aluminium or it may go a grey colour). Beat well with a whisk for 2-3 minutes, then beat in the Kingston Black. Hold the bowl with a cloth and fit it over a pan containing 3-4cm of simmering water. Whisk continuously for a few minutes (use an electric whisk if you prefer) until the mixture is thick and frothy.

To serve, put the Tayberries in bowls or plates and pour over the warm zabaglione.

Ridgeview jelly with Tayberries

Serves 4

I discovered Ridgeview at a reception at South Downs College which I annually visit to work with the students. I thought it was Champagne and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it was made in the Sussex Downs. Awarded Best British Sparkling Wine in 2009, it's now comfortably up there with Nyetimber and other great British vintages.

50g caster sugar
4 sheets leaf gelatine
450ml Ridgeview sparkling wine or Champagne
100-120g Tayberries

Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 3-4 minutes until soft; remove and squeeze out the water. Meanwhile, bring 100ml of water to the boil, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine leaves until fully dissolved. Add the wine, then half fill 4 individual jelly moulds, or one large one, with the jelly liquid and half of the Tayberries. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to set, then top up with the rest of the Tayberries and unset jelly. This allows the berries to stay suspended and not float to the top. Return to the fridge for an hour or so. Turn out, and serve with thick Jersey cream.

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