Recipes: Bountiful berries

Red Gooseberry Muffins with Marshmallow Topping  

These fun muffins are a sweet treat for kids of all ages.

Serves: 12

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

What You Need

For the Jam:

300g red gooseberries

150g sugar

½ lemon, juice only

For the cakes:

120g butter, at room temperature

120g sugar

2 eggs

120g self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

For the fluff

2 egg whites

2tbsp sugar

What to do:

Firstly, make the jam. Put all of the ingredients in a jam pan or large, heavy based saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the jam holds its shape when you drizzle a little on a cold plate.

While the jam is bubbling, make the muffins. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan and line a muffin tray with paper cake cases.

Beat all of the cake ingredients together in a bowl until you have a smooth batter. Spoon into that cake cases and bake for 18-20 minutes until the sponge is springy when you gently press it.

When the cake is almost done whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until fluffy and voluminous, slowly sprinkle in the sugar as you whisk and the mixture will become shiny and smooth.

Once the cake is done bring the tray out and turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan. Spoon a heaped teaspoon on jam onto the top of each cake then either spoon or pipe some fluff on top. Return to the oven for 4-5 minutes so the fluff browns a little.
Note: Any remaining jam can be kept in a sterilised jars.

Blackcurrant, Lime and Coconut Cheesecake

Fresh and zesty, a great summer pudding for any occasion.

Serves: 10-12

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 2 hours chilling

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What You Need:

300g digestive biscuits

50g desiccated coconut

80g butter, melted

50g coconut oil, melted

350g blackcurrants, stalks removed

150g sugar

1 ½ tbsp cornflour

400g full fat cream cheese

300ml double cream

2 limes, zest only

What to do:

In a food processor, whizz together the digestives and coconut until it’s a fine crumb then add the melted butter and coconut oil and whizz again to incorporate. Tip the crumb into a lined 23cm loose bottomed tin and press out to the edges. Use the back of a spoon or the base of a glass to compact well, then refrigerate.

Put the blackcurrants in a saucepan with the sugar, cornflour and 1tbsp water and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the sauce is thick and jammy. Refrigerate to cool.

Put the cream cheese in the clean processor and whip with the zest of one lime and the cream. Stir in ¾ of the cool blackcurrant jam. Spoon this onto the biscuit base, spread to the edges and chill for 2 hours or longer.

When ready to serve, remove from the tin and slide onto a serving plate. Drizzle over the remaining blackcurrant jam. 

Mini fruit tarts

These gorgeous little puff pastry tarts can be made with any berries and are just right for a garden party or barbeque.

Serves: 12
Preparation time:  10 minutes plus 1-hour cooling time
Cooking time: 25 minutes

What You Need:

For the creme patissiere:
200ml milk
½ vanilla pod
40g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
14g corn flour

For the pastry cases:
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1tbsp milk
2tsp sugar
Berries of your choice to decorate

What to do:

Start with the creme patissiere filling, put the milk and seeds scraped from the vanilla pod into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl or large jug whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour to a smooth paste.

When the milk is boiling, pour into the egg mixture whilst whisking. Continue to whisk as you return it all to the pan. Keep whisking on a low/medium heat until it returns to the boil and thickens. Boil for 3 minutes.

Pour the creme patissiere into a bowl and press a sheet of cling film down onto the surface, to prevent a skin from forming, and cool in the fridge.

Heat oven to 210C/190C fan. Lay the pastry flat on the work surface, still on its baking paper and roll to the thickness of a pound coin.  Use a 7.5cm pastry cutter to cut pastry disks then use a smaller cutter and gently press to score a smaller circle inside. Take care not to cut all the way through.

Put each disk into a 12-hole bun tin then paint on a little milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and puffed up. Leave to cool then gently press down the centre of each tart to leave a puffed rim around the edge.

When everything is cool, spoon or pipe the creme patissiere into the pastry cases and top with your choice of berries.

Note: If using less sweet berries such as blackcurrants or gooseberries you can choose to make them into a quick compote. Heat the berries in a pan with a few spoons of sugar and a dash of water. Taste and add more sugar to suit your taste and tartness of the berries.

Crumble Traybake  

Crumbly and fruity, the perfect traybake for picnics, snacks or lunch boxes.

Serves: 18 bars

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

What You Need

For the filling:

400g red gooseberries, trimmed

200g sugar

1½ tbsp cornflour

For the crumble:

300g self-raising flour

200g porridge oats

250g salted butter

175g muscovado sugar

100g pumpkin seeds

1tbsp honey, optional

What to do:

First make the filling. Put the gooseberries, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan on a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally 8-10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the juices become thick and jammy. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan and line an oven dish approximately 18cm x 25cm with greaseproof paper.

In a bowl combine the flour, oats and butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingers. Gently break up the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

Stir in the muscovado sugar and pumpkin seeds, again using your fingers to break up the lumps of sugar, then tip half of the mixture into the prepared oven dish and press down firmly with your hands.

Spread the berry mixture over the base then top with the rest of the crumble and press down again, as firmly as you can without squishing the fruit out. If using, drizzle the top with honey then bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.

Allow to cool in the dish then cut into 18 bars and keep in an airtight tin.  
Note:  This recipe works with any berries such as strawberries, raspberries or blackcurrants, just taste the ‘jam’, when it’s cool enough, and adjust the sugar if necessary.

Red Gooseberry Bakewell Tarts  

This twist on a classic recipe makes a delightful seasonal change.

Serves: 12

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time:  50 minutes

What You Need

For the Jam:

300g red gooseberries plus 12 for decoration

150g sugar

½ lemon, juice only

For the tarts:

1 pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry

120g butter

120g sugar

2 eggs

120g ground almonds

5 heaped tbsp icing sugar

What to do:

Firstly, make the jam. Put all of the ingredients in a jam pan or large, heavy based saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the jam holds its shape when you drizzle a little on a cold plate.

Meanwhile make the tarts, heat the oven to 190C/170C fan. Lay the pastry on the work surface, keeping it on the backing paper, and roll out a little until it’s approximately 3mm thick. Use a 9cm pastry cutter to cut 12 disks and place them into the holes of a muffin tin and chill for 10 minutes.

When chilled place a paper cake case inside each one and fill with baking beans then bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cases and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Next make the frangipane. Whisk the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs then gently fold in the almonds to create a smooth batter.

Spoon 2tsp of jam into each pastry case then top with frangipane batter. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack. When the tarts are cool, mix the icing sugar with 1-2tsp water to make a thick paste. Spread the icing over the tarts and top with an extra gooseberry.

Note: When cutting out the pastry, cut the disks very close together otherwise you won’t get 12 out of the sheet. If you don’t quite make 12, gather up the remaining pastry, re roll and cut any remaining disks you need. Any remaining jam can be kept in a sterilised jar.

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