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Cooking with Summer Fruits

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 24 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cooking With Summer Fruits

Those heady days of summer fruits; a glut of colours and flavours, textures and choices. (Not to mention fresh cream and other deliciously naughty things to go with them.)

Home-grown cooking apples include rousing names like Grenadier and Early Victory.

Cherries, nectarines, main-crop rhubarb, plums and peaches succumb happily to our summer recipes; along with flavoursome berries and currants, in their many guises.

Summer Pudding

A mixture that includes more soft fruits like blueberries, blackberries and blackcurrants, can be used if preferred.

  • 450g raspberries
  • 450g redcurrants
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 8 slices of white bread, crusts removed

Gently cook the fruits together in a saucepan with the sugar until the juice begins to run from the fruit. Use the bread to line a 1.2 litre pudding basin-cutting the bread where necessary to fill any gaps. Transfer all the fruit into the bread lining then cover with a bread ‘lid’ so there are no gaps. Put a plate on top of the pudding, with a heavy can or similar to weigh it down, then refrigerate for about 8 hours, or until the juices from the fruit have completely coloured the bread.

When ready to eat, remove the weight and plate, turn the pudding upside down onto a serving plate and serve with a bowl of cream. Simple bliss!

Peach Melba

Named after a famous Australian opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, this is another simple but classic dish.

  • 2 large peaches
  • 225g fresh raspberries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream

Place the peaches in a bowl and cover them with boiling water then leave for 1 minute (maximum) drain them and peel them. Slice the peeled peaches in half and remove the stones.

Rub the raspberries through a sieve into a mixing bowl, or whizz them in a blender to form a puree. Add the caster sugar to this puree and mix in well.

Place 2 scoops of ice cream into each serving dish, then place one peach half on top (stone hollow down) and finish with a blob of raspberry puree. Serve.

Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 180C.

  • 700g rhubarb
  • 75g Demerara sugar
  • 75g shredded suet
  • 100g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together the suet, breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Put half the rhubarb into a buttered ovenproof dish and cover this with half the suet mixture. Place the other half of the rhubarb on top of this then cover with the other half of the suet mixture. Dot the top with knobs of butter.

Bake the pudding for about 40 minutes. The fruit should be soft and the top crisp.

Plums in Wine

  • 700g ripe plums
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 300ml Madeira wine or port
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Add the sugar to 300ml water and simmer in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Next, pour in the wine or port and heat to simmering point; the liquid will be more like a syrup now.

Wash and dry the plums, remove any stalks, then add them one by one, to the syrup. Place a lid on the saucepan and remove it from the heat but leave the plums soaking in the syrup for 10 minutes.

Remove the plums with a slotted spoon and arrange them in a warm serving dish, cover with foil to keep warm while finishing off the syrup.

Bring the syrup to the boil and keep it on a high heat until the liquid has thickened and reduced by about a third. Pour the syrup over the plums then scatter the almonds on top and serve immediately with cream.

This recipe can be used for nectarines and peaches too.

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