Recipe of the Month: Berries

By Harriet Hawksworth 28 June 2012

Strawberry chutney

Makes 2 small jars (around 500ml)

For the chutney

250g caster sugar
200ml cider vinegar
200ml pomegranate juice or
2 tsp salt
4 cardamom pods
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
250g shallots, finely chopped
30g ginger, finely chopped
600g strawberries, quartered

For the open sandwich

200g crusty bread
150g vintage Cheddar cheese
60–80g of the chutney
4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
A handful of basil leaves

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Sterilise 2 small jam jars and lids by placing them in the oven for around 30 minutes and allowing them to cool.

2 Put all of the chutney ingredients, apart from the strawberries, into a medium-sized pan and heat gently. Remove from the heat once the liquid becomes syrupy and the shallots are translucent (around 15 minutes).

3 Add the strawberries to the mixture and continue to heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking. After around 15 minutes, when the strawberries have become sticky, remove the chutney from the heat and pour it into the jars.

4 Serve with an open sandwich of vintage Cheddar topped with pomegranate seeds and basil leaves. Store any leftover chutney in a cool, dark place. Once opened, consume within a few weeks.

Redcurrant meringue pie

Serves 6-8

For the pastry

100g unsalted cold butter,
cut into small pieces
175g plain flour
25g sugar
A pinch of salt
2–3 tbsp water
1 egg yolk

For the redcurrant curd

250g redcurrants, washed
2.5 tbsp cornflour
60ml lemon juice
(from approx. 1 lemon)
160ml orange juice
(from approx. 2 oranges)
90g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter,
cut into chunks
3 egg yolks and 1 egg,
lightly whisked

For the meringue

4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

1 Place the butter, flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and whizz until texture is crumbly. Gradually add the water and whizz again until a dough forms. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2 Roll out the dough 3mm thick, press into a 23cm fluted flan tin and prick holes in it with a fork. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

3 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Put foil over the pastry, place baking beans on top and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, and cook for 8–10 minutes more, until the pastry is dry. While the pastry is still hot, brush it with the egg yolk. Cool on a wire rack.

4 For the curd: cook the redcurrants in a saucepan overM a low heat for 15 minutes. Sieve the fruit, discarding the pulp and reserving the purée.

5 Put the cornflour in a pan and whisk in the lemon and orange juice. Add the sugar and purée, then heat until the mixture thickens. Add the butter, then the eggs; cook until it thickens again. Remove from heat and set aside.

6 For the meringue: preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300°F/ Gas 2. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the meringue becomes stiff. Add the cornflour and mix well.

7 Pour the warm curd into the pastry case and spoon the meringue on top. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly brown. Rest on a cooling rack for 30 minutes, then remove from the tin and serve.

Blackberry and Cassis Fizz

Serves 8

For the purée

100g blackberries
100g blackcurrants
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp water

For the fizz

Plenty of ice
240ml vodka
150g blackberries
150ml of the purée
150ml gomme syrup
½ lemon, sliced
60ml lemon juice
800ml soda water
8 sprigs of mint

Heat the berries, sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture starts to boil, turn down the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly, then sieve, discarding the pulp and reserving the purée. The purée can be made up to 3 days in advance. Keep refrigerated.

Fill a large jug with ice, and pour in the vodka. Add 100g of the blackberries as well as the purée, gomme syrup, lemon slices and lemon juice, and top with soda water. Garnish with the remaining 50g of blackberries and a sprig of mint, and serve immediately.

Rose water Panna Cotta with Red Berry Compote

Serves 4

For the panna cotta

3 gelatin sheets
400ml double cream
100ml semi-skimmed milk
75g caster sugar
100ml half-fat crème fraîche
A few drops of rosewater (optional)
A few drops of vegetable oil

For the compote

300g strawberries, quartered
150g raspberries
2.5 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp dessert wine
1 tsp rosewater
½ tsp lemon juice
Organic rose petals to decorate

1 For the panna cotta, soak the gelatin sheets in a small bowl of water. Leave for 5 minutes, then gently squeeze out the excess water.

2 Place the gelatin, double cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then add
the crème fraîche and mix thoroughly using a whisk. Stir in the rosewater and set aside.

3 Place a few drops of vegetable oil around the sides and base of each mould. Pour in the cream mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

4 For the compote, put the strawberries, raspberries, sugar and wine in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, then add the rosewater and lemon juice. Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

5 Remove the panna cotta from the moulds by dipping them in hot water for 2–3 seconds, then turning them out onto plates. Serve with warm or cold compote and decorate with organic rose petals.