There’s almost nothing better than eating outside in the summer. (photo by Cynthia Ramsay)
Think lazy summer days. Think warm evenings under a star-strewn sky. Think entertaining friends. Think luscious fruits, the chill of ice cream on your tongue, party desserts to tempt your palate. It’s time to be adventurous and try some wonderful summer puddings and desserts.
When the mercury soars, making a fancy dessert can seem like a tall order. The solution is to do most of the work in the cool of the morning or the night before. Finish the preparation at the last minute and present it with a flourish.
Here are a few tips you should keep in mind before trying out the recipes that follow. Egg whites for soufflés and meringues should always be beaten at room temperature, the eggs removed from the refrigerator two hours before beating. They should be fresh and, when you separate the whites, make sure not a speck of yolk gets in. One foolproof method is to break the egg into a saucer, covering the yolk with half an eggshell. Tilt the saucer, pouring off the whites into a clean, dry bowl and use dry beaters. Add a pinch of salt to the whites before beating.
The success of making good cold and frozen puddings often depends on using gelatin (all supermarkets in Israel and many abroad sell a kosher version). Stir it into cold liquid and only afterwards add to the hot mixture. When turning out a frozen pudding, wring out a towel in hot water and hold it over the mold for a few seconds … it will then slide out easily. Egg custards should never be allowed to boil: cook on very low heat or in a double boiler, stirring all the time.
So, let’s get started!
2 red apples
1 small tin pineapple rings
a few cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup liqueur or sweet sherry
1 cup chilled, whipped cream
other seasonal fruits as desired
Peel and remove skin from oranges. Slice unpeeled apples into thin rings. Peel and slice bananas. Cover apples and bananas with lemon juice to avoid discoloration. Drain pineapples, remove stones from cherries and halve.
In a glass dish, layer the fruit, sprinkling each layer with a teaspoon of sugar. Reserve cherries for the top. To the pineapple syrup, add liqueur or sherry and pour over the fruit. Cover tightly and chill overnight.
Serve with cream that is passed around in a separate bowl.
MIXED BERRY COBBLERS
6 cups mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, fresh or frozen)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant tapioca
1 cup flour
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 egg white lightly beaten
1 tbsp sugar
Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.
Mix berries, lemon zest and juice, sugar and tapioca in large bowl until well combined. Let stand 15 minutes. Spoon one cup of the mixture into each of six one-cup ramekins. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
For the topping, stir together flour, wheat germ, baking powder and salt in a medium-size bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk. (The dough will be sticky.)
Remove the baking sheet with ramekins from the oven. Gently stir the filling in each ramekin. Drop 1/4 cup of dough over each ramekin, brushing the dough with egg white. Sprinkle with sugar. Return to the oven, and bake a further 20 minutes until topping is golden. Serve in the ramekins, warm and topped with whipped or ice cream.
APPLE SPONGE PUDDING
4 large cooking apples
2 sticks cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar
300 grams stale cake
1/2 cup thick, whipped cream
Cut up the peeled apples and cook them with the cinnamon and a little water until soft. Grate the cake or crumble to crumbs. In a glass dish, put a thin layer of mashed apple, sprinkle with sugar and cover with a layer of cake crumbs. Continue until all the cake and apples are used up. Spread cream smoothly on top and chill. Serve very cold.
250 grams plain chocolate
4 tbsp sherry or sweet red wine
Cut chocolate into small pieces and melt over hot water.
Separate whites and yolks from the eggs. Beat yolks thickly and stir into chocolate until blended. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and beat till very stiff. Fold into the chocolate mixture with sherry. Spoon into glass dishes, chill and serve.
1 large pineapple
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp butter
1 cup whipped, sweetened cream
Slice off pineapple top to make a “lid.” Trim base so that the pineapple stands upright. Scoop out flesh and cut into pieces, removing the core. Sweeten with sugar and rum, then put the mixture back into the shell. Dot top with pieces of butter and wrap the pineapple in foil. Wrap the “lid” separately in foil. Stand upright on baking sheet and bake in hot oven (350˚F) for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cover with “lid.” Place pineapple on serving dish and serve with cream or ice cream separately.
GRAPE-PINEAPPLE ICE CREAM
1 cup grape juice
1/2 cup drained, crushed pineapple
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup pineapple syrup
1/2 cup water
Heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves completely. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well. Pour into ice trays and freeze until hard. Remove to a chilled bowl and beat for one minute, until fluffy and light. Return to trays and freeze three hours.
Serve in chilled glasses topped with fresh mint leaves.
Dvora Waysman is the author of 13 books. She can be contacted at [email protected] or through her blog dvorawaysman.com.