Jellies are so adaptable to the seasons. Earlier in the summer there are elderflowers, and Champagne, and as autumn approaches, you can use apple juice with the blackberries. Imported berries are available for most of the year, but tend not to have the flavour of seasonal fruit. But the growing season of our native berries stretches into autumn now, and if you can find different varieties such as tayberries, blueberries (also grown in Dorset into the autumn), wild blackberries as well as any remaining strawberries, this jelly is a great way to make them go further.
Juice of half a lemon
150g caster sugar
5 sheets leaf gelatine
120g soft fruit such as raspberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackberries
Bring 300ml of water and the lemon juice to the boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then remove from heat. Soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water for a minute or so until soft. Squeeze out the water and add the gelatine to the syrup along with the riesling. Stir until dissolved.
Put the jelly somewhere cool, but do not let it set. Fill individual jelly moulds, or one large one, with half the berries, 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 berries and unset jelly. This allows the berries to stay suspended and not float to the top. Return to the fridge. To serve, turn out, and offer thick Jersey cream to go with it.
Torcolato (Veneto - north-east Italy)
Orange Muscat and Flora (Victoria - Australia)
Not any old dessert wine will do for this chunk of hedonism on a plate. Bring up from the cellar a bottle of Torcolato, the Italian sweetie. This white is a deep gold in hue, made from tocai, vespaiolo, and garganega grapes in the Veneto. It is made from half-dried berries, and, with age (not anywhere near as long as with other sweet wines), it offers some delicious honey and tropical fruitiness with an underlying hint, in some vintages, of candied cherries.
Botrytis, the so-called noble rot, can also be present in the grapes, so they are already dehydrated before being picked and left to dry further. The only wine I am familiar with over several years of tasting is produced by Faustino Maculan. This won't be found in every street-corner bottle shop, and so, in its absence, I can recommend Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora from the state of Victoria, Australia. When young, this is excellent with this dessert. Some even claim it is superior to many fine sweet Bordeaux.
From 'The Simple Art of Marrying Food and Wine' by Mark Hix and Malcolm Gluck. Published by Mitchell Beazley, £20. To order for the special price of £18 (including p&p), call Independent Books Direct on 08700 798897Reuse content