Summer always looks a bit like recess, which is why summer desserts – basically an excuse to consume fruit and berries, booze and cream – always look so good. Hot weather calls for them to be light in nature – thank you, beaten egg whites! – which also makes them impossible to resist. Keep the playtime theme with the ingredients, too, swapping out the suggested fruits with whatever you have on hand.
Meringue cake with hazelnuts and cherries (top photo)
My colleague Jens Klotz is from the Black Forest region in southern Germany, where the famous cake of the same name originates. This utterly delicious meringue cake is inspired by his love of cherries and macaroons, as well as the cake he knows so well. Prepare the meringue layers the night before and keep them tightly wrapped, but don’t assemble the cake until the day you want to serve it. And be sure to let the cake sit for at least an hour before serving, as this helps soften the meringue and improves its texture.
Preparation 20 mins
To cook 2h, including maceration
For the macerated cherries
600g of fresh cherriespitted and halved (530g)
40g caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the hazelnut and chocolate meringue
230g caster sugar
130g egg whites (from 4 large eggs)
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), melted and kept warm
220 g blanched hazelnutswell grilled, 150g finely blitzed, the rest coarsely broken
For the whipped cream
500 ml fresh cream
20g icing sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
For the hazelnut spread
120g hazelnut chocolate spread
½ teaspoon flaked sea salt
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/Gas 5. Put the cherries and sugar in a medium bowl and marinate for two hours while you continue with everything else.
To make the meringues, put the sugar on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the oven to warm for five minutes (you don’t want it to melt at all). Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk over medium-high heat for a minute or two, until soft peaks form. Take the sugar out of the oven and lower the temperature to 145C (125C fan)/280F/gas 1½. With the mixer running over medium-low heat, slowly pour the hot sugar into the whipped egg whites and, once everything is added, return the speed to medium-high and whisk for five minutes until the meringue mixture forms stiff peaks and turns shiny. Using a spatula, gently fold in the melted chocolate and the 150 g of blitzed hazelnuts.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and trace with a pencil three circles of 20 cm sides. You will have two circles on one plate and one on the other. Divide the meringue mixture between the three circles and spread it evenly so that it fills the circles. Bake for 40 minutes, until crispy and slightly puffed, then remove from oven and let cool.
Pour the cherries into a sieve placed over a small saucepan to catch the juice – you will have about 80ml of cherry juice – and set the cherries aside. Place the gravy pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for six to eight minutes, until thick, syrupy and reduced by two-thirds (remove the pan from the heat if it reduces faster). Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and reserved cherries and set aside.
Place the cream and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip for three to four minutes, until the mixture forms medium peaks that hold their shape (or whisk by hand). Stir in the lemon zest and set aside.
Place the hazelnut spread and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm gently for two to three minutes, until melted and spoonable.
To assemble, place meringue on cake stand or round dish. Sprinkle with a third of the hazelnut spread, then pour in a third of the whipped cream, then a third of the cherries and a tablespoon of their syrup. Sprinkle over a third of the chopped hazelnuts, then top with another meringue and repeat twice with layers of meringue, spread, cream and cherry mixture. Scatter the remaining nuts on top, then let sit for an hour before serving, or up to three hours.
Blackberry, yogurt and orange blossom whisk
This is a simple and easy to make summer pudding. Make a head start by making the crumble up to three days in advance (store in a tightly closed container). Feel free to swap the berries for another fruit and use crème fraiche instead of yogurt, if desired.
Preparation 10 minutes
To cook 1 hour (including maceration)
For the blackberries
540g blackberriescut in two
45g caster sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
For the oatmeal crumble
50 grams giant oats30g blitz finely in a food processor
20g plain flour
40g wholemeal spelled flour (or plain wholemeal flour)
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon flaked sea salt
40g demerara sugar
45g unsalted buttermolten
2 teaspoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons fresh cream
For the cream filling
255 ml fresh cream
255 g Greek yoghurt
45g icing sugar
1½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Put the berries in a bowl with the sugar, lime zest and orange blossom water, if using, and steep for an hour while you continue with everything else.
Heat oven to 170C (150C fan)/325F/Gas 3. Combine first six crumble ingredients in medium bowl. Pour over melted butter, golden syrup and cream, and stir to combine. Transfer to a medium baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool, then coarsely break into a fine crumble with the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Place the cream, yogurt, icing sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip for three to four minutes, until the cream mixture has medium peaks that retain their shape (or whisk by hand) . Stir in a teaspoon of lime zest, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
To assemble the dish, pour 30 g of cream into 6 small glasses 9 cm high x 6 cm wide. Top each with 30g macerated berries and 10g oat crumble, then repeat the layering two more times, so you have three layers of each component, ending with the crumble on top. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of lime zest and serve immediately.
Flaugnarde peaches and raisins with vanilla cold cream
A flaugnarde is the most versatile relative of the clafoutis. It tends to deflate almost straight out of the oven, so serve it as quickly as possible.
Preparation 10 minutes
To cook 1h20
380g sable grapes (black seedless)
4 ripe yellow peaches (400g), halved, pitted and each peach cut into 6 wedges
90 g golden caster sugarplus ½ additional tbsp
1-2 lemonsfinely grated, to obtain 1½ teaspoons of zest, and juiced, to obtain 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons dark rumor cognac
50g unsalted butter
450 ml fresh cream
2½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
50ml whole milk
50g Greek yoghurt
½ tablespoon demerara sugar
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Put the grapes and peaches in a shallow 28cm x 7cm cast iron casserole dish, add 20g sugar, lemon juice, rum and a pinch of salt , toss to coat, then roast for 20 minutes, until the fruit releases its juices and is bubbly – the grapes and peaches should have softened, but have held their shape. Carefully pour the fruit into a colander placed over a large bowl, to catch all of their juice, then pour the juice into a small bowl and set it aside with the pan.
Turn the oven down to 190 C (170 C fan)/375 F/Gas 5. Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for five to six minutes, until it begins to brown and smell Hazelnut. Pour into a small bowl and let cool.
Mix 300 ml of cream with the additional half a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, then pour into a pitcher and chill.
For the pastry cream, put the butter, the remaining 70 g of sugar, the lemon zest, the eggs, a teaspoon and a half of vanilla, the milk, the yogurt, the remaining 150 ml of cream and a quarter of a spoon salt in a blender and blend until smooth and pancake-like. Reserve or chill.
When you’re ready to cook, pour the custard into the same 11-inch pan you used to cook the grapes and peaches, and carefully lay the fruit on top; some will sink, but that’s okay. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, carefully transfer pan to oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until risen and evenly browned on top.
Drizzle half of the reserved grape and peach juices over the top and serve the rest on the side with the bowl of cold cream.