Pimm’s Jellies

This is a beautifully refreshing summer dessert. I’ve always been a fan of Pimm’s – it reminds of balmy nights, family BBQs and tennis – and this captures all of those memories in a silky jelly. Note: it should go without saying, but this dessert is adults only!

Ingredients (makes 6)
cup caster sugar
6 platinum-strength gelatin leaves
1 cup Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
2 cups lemonade
Handful of mint leaves
1 orange
3 strawberries
1 cucumber

Method

Soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes.

Place sugar and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is totally dissolved.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin leaves and add to the sugar liquid, stirring until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Add the Pimm’s and lemonade to the saucepan, stirring until combined.

Divide evenly between 6 serving glasses, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set.

Serve with mint leaves, orange slices, chopped strawberries and cucumber ribbons. Enjoy!

Adapted from delicious. ‘Simply the Best’ (2011)

Black Forest Meringues

Cherry season is always too fleeting for my liking, but while it’s here, I try to make the most of it. These black forest meringues showcase the cherries in a light and delicious summer dessert.

Ingredients (makes 6)
50g dark chocolate
2 egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
½ cup caster sugar
Cherry Sauce
12 cherries, pitted and quartered
1 dessertspoon white sugar
1 dessertspoon water
1 teaspoon cornflour
Whipped Cream
250ml thickened cream
1 dessertspoon icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dark Chocolate Sauce
200g dark chocolate melts
200ml thickened cream
To serve
24 cherries, pitted and halved
6 whole cherries

Preheat oven to 120°C. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Melt dark chocolate in the microwave or on the stove.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer or electric hand beaters to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and then the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking until dissolved before adding the next spoonful (test this by rubbing a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger).

Use a dessert spoon to spoon the mixture onto the prepared trays. Shape into 6 even meringues with a slight well in the centre. Spoon melted chocolate onto each meringue and use a skewer to swirl it through the meringue mixture.

Place the meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 90°C. Leave the oven on for 1 hour or until the meringues are crisp and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool gradually in the oven (approximately 2 hours).

While the meringues are in the oven, make the cherry sauce by blitzing the cherries and water in a stick blender until smooth. Add to a small saucepan with the sugar and cornflour and stir constantly until thickened. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just before you are ready to serve, make the whipped cream and chocolate sauce. To make the whipped cream, blitz the cream, sugar and vanilla with a stick blender until thickened. To make the chocolate sauce, combine the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until melted and combined.

To serve, smear the cherry sauce on the plate and place a meringue on top. Top with whipped cream, halved cherries and then drizzle with chocolate sauce. Add a whole cherry on top and enjoy!

Meringue recipe adapted from Taste.com.au ‘Basic Meringues’ and Donna Hay’s ‘No Fail Meringue Mixture’.

Inspiration from Matt Preston’s ‘Individual chewy Black Forest meringues’ in delicious.

Easy No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

This is my favourite cheesecake recipe which was kindly given to me by my high-school friend, Antonia. The filling has a silky texture with a delicious punch of lemon, and sets without needing gelatin. It’s a perfect no-stress summer dessert as you can make it the night before and leave it to set without a second thought.

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Ingredients (serves 8-10)
Juice and rind of 1 large lemon
400ml condensed milk
250g cream cheese, softened
300ml thickened cream
1 x 250g packet Arnott’s Granita biscuits (or equivalent)
75g butter, melted

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Method
Grease and line a 25cm round springform tin.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter. Use the crumb mixture to line the bottom and part way up the sides of the prepared tin, pressing it in firmly with the bottom of a glass to ensure it is even.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream until it is very thick but not fully whipped.

Gently combine the cream into the cream cheese mixture and stir until just combined. Add in the lemon rind and gradually add the juice (to taste).

Pour into the crumb lined tin. Cover the top with foil and secure with a rubber band.

Refrigerate overnight or until set (at least 7 hours).

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Recipe from Antonia

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Tropical Ice Cream

This delicious, easy dessert has all the tastes of summer and is perfect served with fresh fruit on a balmy evening. thumb_img_3009_1024Ingredients (serves 6-8)
1 litre good quality vanilla ice cream
100g unsalted pistachio nuts
¾ cup desiccated coconut
Pulp of 2 passionfruit
2 tablespoons honey
Fresh fruit, to serve

Method
Allow ice cream to soften at room temperature until just soft.

Remove pistachio nuts from shells. Cover nuts with boiling water and remove their dark skins. Dry thoroughly.

Place coconut in a dry pan and cook over a gentle heat until golden, stirring constantly. Remove from pan.

Combine ice-cream, nuts, ½ cup of the coconut, passionfruit pulp and honey. Place in a glad-wrap lined container (I use a log tin), cover and freeze for at least 2 hours

Serve topped with the remaining toasted coconut and fresh fruit. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Sydney Market Authority

Pavlova

The pavlova is a quintessential Aussie dessert that is said to have been inspired by the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova after a chef saw her perform on her world tour in 1926. A good pavlova has a beautiful high, crisp crust and a soft, pillowy marshmallow inside. It is one of my favourite summer desserts, especially when topped with seasonal fruit.

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Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
1 large cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 egg whites (at room temperature)
4 tablespoons boiling water
300ml cream, thickened
Fresh fruit (this time I used a mango, strawberries and blueberries)

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Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large tray with baking paper and trace a circle around the bottom of an 18cm cake tin (or other round object of the desired size). Turn the baking paper over (so it is pencil side down).

Add eggs whites to a large bowl. Put cornflour and caster sugar to one side of the bowl.  Add boiling water to egg whites, pour in vanilla and white vinegar, and beat on high for 10-20 minutes until thick, glossy and the sugar has dissolved (you can test this by putting a small amount of mixture on your index finger and rubbing it with your thumb, if you can feel the sugar, keep beating). **It is hugely important that you have the sugar dissolved, otherwise the pavlova may crack and weep during cooking**

Using the circle on the baking paper as your guide, spoon the pavlova mixture onto the tray and shape.

Cook at 180°C for about 8 minutes and then reduce heat to 90°C and cook for another 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven for at least an hour, to prevent collapsing.

When fully cool and you’re ready to serve it (keep the meringue free of toppings until right before serving), gently spread the thickened cream over the top and decorate with fruit.

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Recipe from my lovely Grandmother, Margaret Payne.