London has reached a Monica’s-massive-hair level of humid, so sorbet seems like the only sensible thing to make. Strawberries are a must this month (I know they’re linked with Wimbledon- that’s where my knowledge of tennis starts and ends), so I’ve used them to create a fresh puree which forms the base of this sorbet, along with elderflower cordial.
- 800g fresh strawberries, stalks removed
- 100g caster sugar
- 50ml elderflower cordial
- 20ml water
- Blitz the strawberries with a hand blender or in a food processor, then pass through a sieve. Discard the seeds. Weigh out 650ml of puree.
- Place the caster sugar, cordial and water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Pop the syrup and the puree in the fridge until both are chilled, then stir together.
- Taste and add stir in a little more elderflower cordial, if necessary. Tip into an ice cream churner and churn until smooth and thick.
- Decant the sorbet into an airtight container and leave to freeze for at least 3 hours. Take the sorbet out of the freezer around 10 minutes before you’d like to serve it.
These little dessert pots are really easy to throw together and make for a great plant based alternative to a conventional dairy cheesecake. The combination of sweet filling, salty crumble and tart but slightly floral rhubarb is delicious, and I love the contrasting textures too. Give them a try, and don’t hold back on the halva.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
For the sesame crumble
- 75g rye flour
- 25g plain flour
- 50g coconut oil, chilled
- 50g demerara sugar
- large pinch salt
- 2tbsp white sesame seeds
For the roast rhubarb
- 250g rhubarb
- 2-3tbsp caster sugar
- 1tbsp rose water
For the ‘cheesecake’ mix
- 250g dairy free cream cheese
- 100g dairy free yoghurt
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 100g plain halva
- few dried rose petals (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- To make the crumble rub the coconut oil into the flours until the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then stir through the sugar, salt and sesame seeds. Tip onto the prepared baking tray in one even layer and chill for 20 minutes (chilling will help keep any clumps of crumble together to create more texture once baked).
- Once chilled, bake the crumble for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Set aside to crisp up while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Slice the rhubarb into 2 inch batons and toss in the sugar and rose water. Line a high sided roasting tray with greaseproof paper and arrange the rhubarb pieces over the base in one layer. Roast for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender but still holding its shape. Roughly shred half the rhubarb to form a compote consistency and leave the rest in whole pieces. Set aside to cool.
- While the rhubarb is roasting, make the ‘cheesecake’ mix. To do this simply whisk together the dairy free cream cheese, dairy free yoghurt, sugar and lemon zest until smooth (it will be looser in consistency than a classic dairy cheesecake, but the flavour is very similar and it works really well in a pot with the other ingredients). Chill.
- When all the elements are cool, you’re ready to assemble. Start off by distributing the shredded rhubarb between the pots to cover the bases. Now fill the pots to 3/4 full with the cheesecake mix. Add a generous spoonful of crumble on top, then a baton or two of rhubarb. Finish with a good sprinkling of crumbled halva and garnish with rose petals, if you like.
This is a proper grown up spin on the classic Bakewell tart, with chocolate pastry encasing an earthy pistachio frangipane and sweet spiced fig filling. Served up warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with creme fraiche, it would make for the perfect way to round off a late summer lunch or dinner party.
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
For the chocolate pastry
- 225g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 3tbsp icing sugar
- pinch salt
- 140g cubed butter, cold
- 2 egg yolks mixed with 2tbsp cold milk
For the spiced fig compote
- 300g figs
- 2tbsp honey
- 6-8 cracked cardamom pods
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 1 cinnamon stick
- zest and juice 1 orange
For the pistachio frangipane
- 150g soft unsalted butter
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 125g ground pistachios (I just blitz pistachios up in a food processor for this)
- 25g plain flour
- a couple of extra figs
- a few pistachios, chopped
- 50g dark chocolate
- Start off by making the pastry. To do this place the flour, cocoa, icing sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and pulse again until the mix starts to come together and form large lumps. Tip this onto a work surface and shape into a disc, about 1.5 inches thick (handling as little as possible). Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170c and grease a deep tart tin with butter. Once the pastry has chilled and firmed up a little, lightly flour your work surface and roll it out to about 3mm thick. Roll up around a rolling pin then unravel over the prepared tin. Push the pastry down into the tin, using a spare piece to get it right into the corners and grooves (avoid stretching the pastry as this can lead to shrinkage when baking). Once well lined, trim any overhanging excess and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes.
- Now take a piece of greaseproof paper, screw it in a ball and unwrap. Push it down into the pastry case and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sides are set. Once you reach this stage remove the baking paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through and sandy to the touch.
- Make the compote next. To do this just slice the figs into small pieces and place in a pan along with the honey, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Cook gently until it forms a sticky jam-like consistency then set aside to cool (you may have to add a little water during this process if the figs get a little dry before softening completely).
- By this point your pastry case will be ready, so set aside to cool a little and reduce the oven temperature to 160c. For the frangipane, beat together the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Once all the eggs are well incorporated, mix in the pistachios and flour to form a smooth mixture.
- Spoon the fig compote/jam into the base of the tart case and spread out. Spoon the frangipane on top and level off, then add a few extra fig slices in a pattern of your choice. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the frangipane is set and golden. Set aside to cool (if serving cold).
- To finish the tart, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle all over the top. Sprinkle with extra pistachios and serve with cream, ice cream or creme fraiche.