Posted 23rd July 2010 by Josa Young
When the first berries come into season, it's enough to eat them with cream and sugar or just by themselves straight from the punnet. Now we are used to their pleasures, it seems a good idea to start adding them to dishes and trying something different. Strawberries, with the exception of making jam or syrup, are nearly always better raw. Enhance their flavour by hulling, and dressing with lime juice and icing sugar to create a fragrant syrup. Use them to make ice cream such as quick Strawberry and Banana Sorbet, or to flavour a Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake. Or add them to Pimms, with plenty of sliced cucumber, oranges and lemons and sprigs of mint for a luxurious fruity long drink.
Raspberries are an essential ingredient in Summer Pudding - apply the basic principle of lining a bowl with slices of thinly cut white bread, with the crusts removed, and filling with gently stewed fruit. Top with more bread, and cover with a plate, weighing down and chilling to consolidate. Try combinations of raspberries, blackberries, black, and white and red currants for a classic taste of the season - in fact you can use practically any berry other than strawberries, which simply don't work in this recipe.
Turn out onto a plate, spoon over any accumulated juices, and serve with cream or Greek yoghurt and brown sugar. Raspberries also add a piquant flavour to baking - try making Raspberry Cupcakes, so good they don't need icing although a dusting of icing sugar makes them look pretty.
Cherries are wonderful cooked. The heat brings out a different flavour, rich and delicious, particularly combined with a creamy topping. Cherry Clafoutis comes from the dairy-rich Limousin region of France. Eggs, sugar, cream and a little flour, whipped to a creamy froth, tops off cherries heated in butter with a cinnamon stick. You then bake the clafoutis in the oven, and serve at room temperature. The table usually falls blissfully silent when you serve this pudding.
Take advantage of the many deals available on soft fruits in season and whip up some super summer puddings.