Mark Hix's best ever summer recipes, part 2 - Features - Food + Drink - The Independent

Mark Hix's best ever summer recipes, part 2

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Elderflower buttermilk pudding with raspberries

Serves 4

Elderflowers are starting to appear around now, but the season is quite short, so make the most of it while you can. Even if you only manage to make a cordial, you can combine a dash of it with champagne to create a refreshing summer cocktail.

12g leaf gelatine (4 sheets)
8-10 elderflowers
700ml buttermilk
70g caster sugar
100ml Jersey cream

For the raspberry compote

200g raspberries
60g caster sugar

The day before, wash the elderflowers and dry them. Place them in a pan with the buttermilk and sugar and bring to the boil, simmer for a minute then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 5-6 hours or overnight.

Strain the milk through a fine-meshed sieve. Soak the gelatine in cold water – a baking tray is ideal for this – for a few minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess water. Bring about 60-70ml of the milk to the boil, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Stir into the remaining infused milk with the Jersey cream and mix well. Pour into moulds, like individual pudding bowls or ramekins, or a cup and leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight.

To make the raspberry compote, put 60g of the raspberries into a saucepan with the sugar and a tablespoon of water. Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl, pushing the raspberries with the back of a spoon to give the syrup body and colour. Leave to cool; mix with the fresh raspberries. To serve, dip the pudding moulds very quickly in and out of hot water, then turn out on to serving plates. Spoon a little of the raspberry compote around.

Dorset blueberry trifle

Serves 4

Memories of the trifle I had as a child consist of tinned fruit and sherry-soaked sponge under a pile of custard. But trifle can be adapted to use all sorts of other fresh summer fruits.

150g blueberries
1 blueberry or plain muffin
4-6tbsp Julian Temperley's Pomona (or a medium sherry)

For the jelly

300ml water
150g blueberries
80g caster sugar
6g leaf gelatine (2 sheets)

For the custard

Half a vanilla pod
300ml single cream
5 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
2tsp cornflour

For the topping

300ml double cream
40g caster sugar
50-60g cooked meringue

For the jelly, put the water, blueberries and sugar into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 5-6 minutes, remove from the heat and strain the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve, pushing some of the pulp through. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a minute or so until soft. Squeeze out the water, add to the syrup and stir until dissolved, then leave the jelly to cool but do not let it set.

Put half of the blueberries into 4 individual glass serving dishes or 1 large one, break up the muffin and add to the berries, then pour over the Pomona and all of the jelly and leave to set in the fridge.

Repeat with the other quarter of the blueberries and the rest of the jelly and leave to set. Meanwhile, make the custard. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the point of a knife.

Put the single cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together. Take out the vanilla pod and pour the cream on to the egg mixture and mix well with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens. (Don't let it boil!)

Remove from the heat and give it a final mix with a whisk. Transfer to a bowl, lay a sheet of clingfilm over the surface of the custard to prevent it forming a skin and leave to cool for about 30 minutes. Once the jelly has set, spoon over the custard then leave to set for half an hour or so.

For the topping, put the double cream and sugar into a bowl and whisk until firm. Leave in the fridge until the custard has set, then break the meringue into pieces and fold in.

Spoon the cream mixture on top of the trifle and scatter the rest of the blueberries on top.

Turkish Delight ice-cream

Serves 6-8 (makes about 1 litre)

You can serve this ice-cream in various ways or just on its own. It would go really well with a fruit salad of, say, mangoes and papaya tossed with chopped, preserved stem ginger and its syrup; or a bowl of fresh strawberries or raspberries.

450ml full cream milk such as gold top, Guernsey or Jersey
50ml rose water
400ml Jersey or clotted cream or a mixture
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
200g good-quality Turkish Delight, chopped, with the excess sugar dusted off
70g shelled weight of pistachios

Bring the milk to the boil and remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and then pour the milk on and whisk well. Return the mixture to the pan on a low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly using a whisk, but making sure that it does not boil.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and rose water. Leave to cool and then churn in an ice-cream machine. Fold in the chopped Turkish Delight and pistachio, either in the machine or out, then transfer into an airtight container and freeze. Serve with a garnish of redcurrants and a baklava, if you wish.

Chocolate mocha and cardamom ice-cream

Serves 6-8 (makes about 1 litre)

The secret to a good chocolate ice-cream lies in the quality of the chocolate you are using. I'm a big fan of Amedei Tuscany chocolate but a good 70 per cent cocoa bar will also do.

You can find Turkish coffee, flavoured with cardamom, in Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarkets, or you can simply make some espresso and crush up some cardamom pods in a coffee grinder, and infuse it in the coffee for a few minutes.

1 cup (100ml) of strong Turkish coffee with cardamom (see above)
1 litre milk
125g glucose syrup
125g sugar
100g good-quality cocoa powder
300g extra bitter chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa solids

Bring the milk, sugar, glucose and cocoa powder to the boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar has melted.

Pour on to the chocolate with the strained Turkish coffee and stir until all the chocolate has melted.

Leave to cool before churning in an ice-cream machine. Serve in a bowl with Turkish Delight.

Peach Melba

Serves 4

Dame Nellie Melba, the celebrated Australian opera singer, gave her name not only to this dessert but also to Melba toast. The famous chef Auguste Escoffier of the Savoy saw her perform at Covent Garden in 1894 and he was so impressed by her singing that the following day he created peach Melba, a perfect marriage of peach, vanilla ice-cream – and raspberry sauce, of course.

Ripe peaches just need blanching, but you'll have to poach them if the peaches aren't quite ready – as is usually the case with supermarket ones. If you need to do this then cover your peaches with boiling water and about 120g sugar and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until tender.

2 large ripe peaches
4 scoops of good-quality vanilla ice-cream
100ml double cream
30g caster sugar
2-3 drops of vanilla essence

For the Melba sauce

150g caster sugar
150g raspberries
3 tbsp water

First make the sauce. Put 50g of the raspberries in a pan with the sugar and water, bring this to the boil and cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.

Blend the cooked raspberries and syrup with the uncooked raspberries in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve.

If the peaches are ripe, bring a pan of water to the boil, drop them in and simmer for 50-60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into cold water. Now peel off the skins. They should come away easily; if not give them a little more time in the water. Halve them with a knife and carefully remove the stone. If the peaches aren't ripe you'll have to poach them (as above), then leave to cool and slip off the skins.

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla essence until stiff. To serve, cut the peach halves in half again and place into coupe glasses if you have them, or bowls. Divide the whipped cream between the four glasses or bowls – if you want to be fancy you can pipe it round the peach slices – then put a ball of ice-cream on top. Spoon the raspberry sauce over the ice-cream and serve immediately.

Loganberry leaf and silver-tip tea jelly

Serves 4

Loganberries appear slightly later in the season, but you could always use raspberries as a substitute. I've used green silver-tip tea here from the Rare Tea Company ( rareteacompany.com), but you could use any good silver-tip tea.

500ml water
120g caster sugar
A couple of good pinches of green silver-tip tea
A couple of handfuls of loganberry leaves
A few sprigs of mint with some of the small leaves reserved
3 sheets of leaf gelatine (11g)
100-120g logan or tayberries (or raspberries)

Bring the water and sugar to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved, stir the tea, loganberry and mint leaves and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Strain the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve and leave to cool but not set.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water for a minute or so until soft. Squeeze out the water; heat about 100ml of the liquid and stir in the gelatine until dissolved, then stir into the rest of the liquid. Put the jelly somewhere cool, but do not let it set.

Fill individual jelly moulds, or glasses, or one large mould, with half the loganberries, then pour in half of the cooled jelly. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to set, then top up with the rest of the loganberries and unset jelly. This allows the berries to stay suspended and not float to the top. Return to the fridge. Serve with thick cream or ice-cream.

Summer fruit fool

Serves 4-6

This is a simple dessert to knock up. It would be perfect for a picnic – but do surround it with plenty of ice packs, or the cream will melt in the heat.

You can use whatever berries are available at the moment, or just raspberries or strawberries.

400ml double cream
60g caster sugar
The juice of 1 lemon
250-300g mixed berries
100g extra strawberries or raspberries, blended in a liquidiser

Whisk the cream and sugar until the mixture is beginning to thicken, then pour in the lemon juice and stir carefully until the cream thickens up.

Gently fold in the blended raspberries or strawberries to form a rippled effect. Transfer to a container that is suitable for a picnic, if necessary.

To serve, simply scatter the mixed berries over the fruit fool.

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