Meringues

Swiss Meringues
Crisp and sweet!

Meringues

I am sure that there are  recipes for meringues in hundreds of cookery books and blogs.  However, I’m posting this one, for convenience, as an accompaniment to my recipe for Elderflower Ice-cream.  The ice-cream recipe needs four egg yolks and the meringue recipe needs four egg whites.  Therefore, when I make ice-cream, I generally make meringues too.  They keep for around a week in a tin so you don’t need to gorge on both ice-cream and meringues at the same time (although admittedly that is what sometimes happens in my house..)

We generally eat meringues sandwiched together with unsweetened whipped cream and accompanied by a few berries – strawberries, blueberries or, my favourite, raspberries.   The home-made version, crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, is so much better than dry and powdery ready-made!

Swiss Meringues
Just out of the oven!
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Swiss meringues

Meringues

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 medium sized meringues 1x
  • Category: Meringues
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, these delicious home-made Meringues are the ultimate light summer dessert.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 225 g caster sugar

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 140 C/275F or Gas Mark 1.
  2. Cover two baking sheets with baking parchment. Spread a very thin film of flavourless oil, such as rapeseed oil, on the baking parchment (the best way is to rub it over the parchment with your fingers and then remove the excess with a piece of kitchen towel).
  3. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they form soft peaks.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar to the egg whites and whisk again until very stiff and shiny.
  5. Fold in the rest of the sugar.
  6. Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment.  You can make your meringues small, medium or large depending on the size spoon you use – teaspoon, dessert spoon or tablespoon.
  7. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake until they are hard on the outside but still gooey in the middle.  This will take between an hour and an hour and a half.
  8. Remove the meringues from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Keywords: meringues

Swiss Meringues
Out of the oven and cooling off!
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Elderflower Ice-cream

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Elderflower ice-cream

Elderflower Ice-cream

I make Elderflower Ice-cream using my standard ice-cream recipe.  I use this to make many different flavours of ice-cream – including Rose and Ginger and, of course, Vanilla.   Elderflower Ice-cream is one of my favourites.  It has a wonderful floral creaminess which is perfect eaten in the garden on a sunny English summer day.

I think my Lemon Biscuits go very well with my Elderflower Ice-cream but you could serve it with fresh berries – or just on its own!

To make my Elderflower Ice-cream, I use Elderflower Cordial to add the flavour, rather than fresh elderflowers, which means that you can make this recipe at any time of the year.  However, for me, this is an early summer recipe.    I make my own home-made Elderflower Cordial and you can find the link to the recipe here.   However, there are lots of great ready-made versions available  in supermarkets now.

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You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites.  As I hate waste, I pretty much always make Meringues when I make ice-cream as, very conveniently, my Meringue recipe requires four egg whites.

Elderflower and lemon
Elderflower ice-cream and lemon biscuits
Ingredients (for 4-6 people)
Equipment

Whisk and bowl.  This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 8 of Method)

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Method
  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  3. Add the Elderflower Cordial to the cream.
  4. Pour the cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
  5. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  6. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  7. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  8. When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.
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Lemon Biscuits

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Lemon Biscuits

Lemon Biscuits

These Lemon Biscuits are very quick and easy to make and also very versatile.  They are made of lovely buttery shortbread, flavoured with zesty lemon, and the addition of ground almonds keeps them moist and gives them a lovely crumbly texture.

I tend to make mine heart-shaped (if you look at the rest of my blog you will see that I love heart-shaped food) as I think hearts are pretty!  However, round is fine – or any other shape you like.   They are great biscuits to make with children, as they are very straight-forward, so if you want to get creative (and have the right kind of cookie cutters) you could go for flowers or rabbits or trains or whatever takes your fancy!

These biscuits are excellent as an accompaniment to ice-cream – I particularly like them with my Elderflower Ice-cream – but they are also great with morning coffee or afternoon tea.    I think they would also make a good edible gift for a birthday or Mothers’ Day.

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Lemon shortbread

Lemon Biscuits

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 30 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Crisp, buttery and zesty,  these Lemon Biscuits make a fantastic accompaniment to ice-cream or sorbet but are also great with a cup of tea!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 225 g butter
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 275 g plain flour
  • 25 g ground almonds
  • Zest of one lemon
  • A little extra caster sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest and combine to form a soft dough.
  4. Gently roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.  I tend to make them either heart-shaped or round or  any shape you like!
  5. Place the dough shapes on a lightly floured baking tray.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until firm and golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for five minutes or so. If you wish, sprinkle each biscuit with a little caster sugar while it is still warm.
  8. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Keywords: lemon biscuits

Lemon shortbread
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Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

Elderflower and pannacotta

Beautiful Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

Elderflower Pannacotta

This recipe for Elderflower Pannacotta is based on one by Stevie Parle  although I make it without the addition of eau de vie and make individual pannacotta moulds rather than one big one.  Parle’s recipe suggests an accompaniment of strawberries, which do go very well with it, but I prefer to serve it with Muscat Syrup.

Creamy and light Pannacotta is a lovely summer dessert.  It is great for dinner parties as it looks beautiful, can be made in individual portions and can be made the day before.    This recipe uses fresh elderflowers to flavour the pannacotta.  If you don’t have access to these, you can make it using 2 tablespoons Elderflower Cordial instead and halving the amount of sugar to 50 g.  If you do not reduce the amount of sugar, your pannacotta will be too sweet.

Muscat Syrup
Gooseberries and elderflowers

Muscat Syrup

Muscat Syrup is a beautiful summer syrup, flavoured with gooseberries and elderflowers, which are a classic combination – both because they are in season at around the same time and because their tastes compliment and enhance each other.   The recipe for Muscat Syrup is based on one in the brilliant book “” by Geraldene Holt, which dates back to the 1980s, and is one of my favourite cookery books, beautifully designed and produced, with fantastic recipes.

My recipe also uses fresh elderflowers.  Again, if you don’t have access to these, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of Elderflower Cordial and reduce the sugar to 200 g.

Muscat Syrup and Pannacotta
Gooseberries and Elderflowers
Equipment

Muscat Syrup and Pannacotta
Gooseberries and Elderflowers
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Elderflowers and gooseberries

Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: for 4 people 1x
  • Category: Pannacotta
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Elderflower Pannacotta, with gooseberry-flavoured Muscat Syrup is a fantastic show-stopping dessert for an early summer dinner party.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Elderflower Pannacotta:

  • 4 sheets gelatin
  • 200 ml milk
  • 400 ml double cream
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 20 elderflowers

For the Muscat Syrup:

  • 250 g green gooseberries
  • 250 g  caster sugar
  • 4 tbs water
  • 4 elderflower blooms

Instructions

Method –   Elderflower Pannacotta

  1. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan and heat to simmering point.  Add the sugar and the elderflowers and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper to remove the elderflowers.
  3. Soak the sheets of gelatin in warm water until soft.
  4. Add the softened sheets of gelatin to the infused milk and cream mixture and stir until dissolved.
  5. Pour the mixture into four dariole moulds.
  6. Put the moulds in the the fridge for at least 4 hours or, ideally, overnight until set.
  7. When ready to eat, dip the moulds briefly in a bowl of warm water,  making sure the pannacotta does not get wet.  Up-turn each of the moulds over a serving plate to release the pannacotta.
  8. I serve Elderflower Pannacotta with a puddle of Muscat Syrup on the plate (and more in a jug on the table) but any fresh summer berries such as  strawberries or raspberries are also a good accompaniment.

Method – Muscat Syrup

  1. Put the gooseberries in a saucepan – there is no need to “top and tail” them.  Add the sugar and water and cook over a low heat until the gooseberries are soft.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and add the elderflower blooms.
  3. Allow the syrup to cool.  The flavour of the elderflower blooms will diffuse into the syrup.
  4. When cool, strain the syrup through a sieve into a jug or bowl.

Keywords: elderflower pannacotta, muscat syrup, gooseberries

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Herb Tartlets

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Herb tartlets

Herb Tartlets

This recipe is based on on “” by Geraldene Holt, which dates back to the 1980s, and is one of my favourite cookery books, beautifully designed and produced, with fantastic recipes.   My version of this recipe is slightly different as I use more garlic, fewer eggs and make individual tartlets rather than one large tart.

These tartlets are all about the taste of the herbs.   Often herbs are used to enhance the flavours of other foods but here they are the stars of the show, rather than a supporting act.  The choice of herbs to include is up to you, depending on what you have to hand and which flavours you prefer, but they need to be soft herbs (no bayleaves!) and you need to think about the balance of flavours as some stronger herbs, such as rosemary, will dominate the others.    I generally include chives as I love their mild oniony flavour and then add other soft, milder herbs that are growing in my herb garden such as parsley, tarragon, chervil or sorrel.   You can choose to just use one herb – tarragon or sorrel are good on their own as they both have very distinctive flavours – or use several.   If using more than one variety, I would stick to three or four, otherwise the flavours will not be distinct.

Combined with a mixed green salad and maybe a potato salad, these tartlets make a fantastic light summer lunch or supper.   They are also good as part of a buffet at a summer party or as a snack at a drinks party.

Chives, parsley
Herbs
Equipment

, round

Parsley, chives
Chopped herbs
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Mixed herb tart

Herb Tartlets

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tartlets 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These Herb Tartlets allow the flavour of fresh herbs to be the star of the show rather than a supporting act.


Scale

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 55 g mixed fresh herbs – such as parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon or sorrel
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Method:  for the pastry

  1. Set oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
  2. Roll out your pastry and use a round pastry cutter to cut circles.  Put a circle in each indentation in your tartlet tin.

Method:  for the filling

  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat until mixed.
  2. Add the crushed clove of garlic.
  3. Chop the fresh herbs finely and add them to the cream and egg mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the filling into each pastry circle in your tartlet tin.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. When slightly cooled, remove from the tartlet tin, and place on a cooling rack.
  7. The tartlets can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.

Keywords: herb tartlets, fresh herbs

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Herb tartlet – filling and pastry cases

 

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