Honey & Co’s summer pastry recipes

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We could hardly believe it when the editor of these pages called and asked if we wanted to redo the summer cooking feature. Has it really been a year? It feels like yesterday working with peaches and apricots, and now they’re here again.

So much fruit has come and gone since then, and after the last blood orange was peeled and eaten, the fruit bowl in the kitchen sat a bit empty for a few months. That lull between the end of winter fruit and the start of summer is filled with plenty of rhubarb but not much else. There are always all the green things that spring brings and something to keep the cook busy in the kitchen, but after a few months we are ready for the balmy summer and the glorious fruits of this island.

British berries are the best in the world and traditional British baking makes the most of them – scones and jam, strawberries and cream and fruity Bakewells to name a few. All of these things come into their own in this country, a place where a sunny day is cause for celebration.

These recipes are for some of our favorite British summer treats and while we may have tweaked a few with a hint of spice, they are still true to their origins.

Strawberries and cream

© Patricia Niven

This simple dessert is like the best bit of a baked cheesecake — the filling and the fruit — but without the hassle of making it all. A few minutes in the oven, then cool, garnish and serve a slightly different take on a timeless, winning combination. Whip up the granita if you want to up the ante, but if you’re short on time or prefer to enjoy the summer, forget it – you’ll still have a glorious dessert.

To make 4 servings

  1. Heat your oven to 200°C with fan assistance. Mix sour cream with dark brown sugar and let sit for a few minutes. This will allow the sugar to dissolve completely.
  2. Place the strawberries in a small roasting tin or ovenproof skillet and add the ginger slices, then sprinkle with sugar and roast for eight minutes in the very hot oven. Carefully remove and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 170C.
  3. Mix the sour cream again – the sugar should now be mostly dissolved – and divide it into four small ovenproof bowls. Place on a baking sheet in the oven for seven minutes, then remove and let cool completely.
  4. Move the roasted strawberries to a serving platter, leaving the ginger slices and as much of the cooking liquid in the pan as possible. Squeeze the pomegranate into the pan, extracting as much juice as possible. Mix the contents of the pan and strain into a small tray or container and place in the freezer. You can now discard the ginger slices and pomegranate seeds.
  5. Let the mixture freeze for about an hour; Use a fork to break it up and freeze again for an hour. Then, using a fork, crush the ice to create shiny red snow. Serve the cooked cream garnished with roasted strawberries and add the snow at the last moment.

Apricot and Elderflower Summer Punch

The floral flavors of elderflower and apricot create such a summery and bright combination that it only seemed right to try it in liquid form. Be careful though – this punch drops very easily.

Apricots and elderflower

© Patricia Niven

  1. Heat your oven to 200°C with fan assistance. Cut five of the apricots into quarters and remove the pits.
  2. Place two of the elderflower heads in a small frying pan or ovenproof roasting pan. Garnish with the apricot pieces, lemon juice, sugar and half of the wine. Roast 15 minutes and remove. Use a spoon to mash it all up and transfer to a large carafe. Let the mixture infuse for about 15 minutes.
  3. Cut the last three apricots into small slices and place them in the pitcher. Add the last elderflower head and the remaining wine. Top up with sparkling water or sparkling wine for an extra kick.

Bakewell pistachio cherry

This recipe has some great ingredients – pistachios and cherries are some of our favorites – and surprisingly it also has a small amount of spinach. Shocking, even if it really works: you won’t taste it much but, like carrot cake, the vegetable keeps the cooked filling moist to produce a frangipane like you’ve never tried before. The bright green color is also a wonderful bonus – a different way to get your kids to eat their vegetables. Use a long rectangular tart pan or a 20cm round tart pan (preferably with a loose bottom).

Bakewell pistachio cherry

© Patricia Niven

  1. Place all of the dough ingredients in a blender with a paddle attachment and mix until the dough comes together into a ball. Remove and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before thinly rolling out and lining your mould. Place in the fridge until all your other components are ready.
  2. Heat a frying pan on the fire and sprinkle all the sugar. Mix until it begins to melt and caramelize, and add the pitted cherries all at once. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved, keep the heat high and cook for five minutes, then reduce the heat to very low and continue cooking for another five minutes until you have a very thick compote. Leave to cool a little. Heat your oven to 170°C with a fan.
  3. Prepare the cream by placing the pistachios in a food processor and crushing them into a powder. Add the butter and sugar and mix again, then add the egg, yolk, salt, cooked spinach (if using – just wilt in a pan or microwave) and flour and mix until you get a homogeneous green paste.
  4. Now fill the pie shell (no need for pre-cooking) with all the cherry compote and cover with the green pistachio paste (we use a piping bag for an even topping, but you can use a spoon or a spatula).
  5. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachios if using. Place in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then gently turn the pan and bake for another 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned. It should be quite firm. Leave to cool in the pan before unmolding and serving.

Fig and Cardamom Scones

Sarit’s mother received a Kenwood blender when she married in the 1960s and with it came a small cookbook, from which she learned how to make scones. The family moved to Israel, taking a blender and a booklet with them, and they were preparing a batch for afternoon get-togethers with their growing family and group of friends, creating a bit of Britain in the Middle -East. A testament to good craftsmanship and good housekeeping, Sarit’s mom still uses that same blender, that same recipe – and with great results. We didn’t change anything, just added a pinch of spice and replaced the currants with figs.

  1. Heat your oven to 180°C with a fan. Place the butter, flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, orange zest and ground cardamom in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment and rub until crumbly (you can also easily mix these ingredients by hand).
  2. Add the chopped dried figs then half the milk. Mix a little and add as much milk as needed to create a nice soft dough that doesn’t stick too much. Place on a lightly floured surface and press down to create a rough rectangle about 1 inch high. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out four to six rounds. Gather all the toppings and cut out a few more rounds.
  3. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush the tops of the scones with a little more milk and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C and bake another five to six minutes or until nice and golden.
  1. Put all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and put on high heat. Bring to a boil and stir well, then cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from fire.
  2. Serve with scones and clotted or whipped cream or just a knob of butter.

Lemon and saffron posset

The key to summer cooking is ease of preparation and this is the best example you could hope to find. You won’t need to scour the markets for obscure ingredients or special equipment – in fact, this method doesn’t even require an oven, just a baking sheet, saucepan and a few glasses to pour the posset. The result: clean, creamy, crisp and fresh, perfect for a hot day.

Lemon and saffron posset

© Patricia Niven

  1. Place the cream, sugar, saffron and zest in a small saucepan and, over medium-low heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Arrange your glasses on a tray, ready to be filled as soon as the cream is ready.
  2. As soon as the cream begins to boil, reduce the heat to very low. Stir slowly counting to 20, remove from heat and add lemon juice, stirring all the time. Quickly pour into glasses.
  3. Lift the tray and place it in the refrigerator until it is firm (it will take at least two hours for it to cool completely).
  4. While you wait, boil the water, pour over the sugar, stir to dissolve completely and add the rose water. Let the mixture cool a little then add the raspberries.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish each posset with a few dipped raspberries and a little syrup, then bring to the table.

Photographs: Patricia Niven

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