Summer Fruits

Whether you’re picking them from a garden or buying them in the shops and markets, this is a wonderful time for summer fruits. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and currants, they’re all fresh and ripe around now.

Please forgive what might seem like a lazy collection of archived recipes. I know it seems absurd when we’re still in lock-down, but I really have been pushed for time this week and rather than give you a rushed recipe I haven’t properly tested, I’d rather reprise some that I know work and which celebrate the season.

Starting with strawberries, once you’ve got past the eating-them-straight-from-the-plant-warm-from-the-sun stage followed by the cream and sugar stage, you might like to try this tart. With its no-cook creamy filling and piled high with glistening strawberries, it is the essence of summer to me.

If you have ripe redcurrants, this is the perfect time to make this no-fuss redcurrant and almond cake, one of my favourite creations.

As an added bonus, it’s gluten-free, so it’s a very useful recipe to have up your sleeve, but mostly I’d urge you to make it because it tastes so good.

These raspberry crumble bars/squares/slices have been hugely popular with friends and family and with readers.

If you haven’t tried them, give them a go and sit back and wait for the compliments. They might be a bit muffled, as the chances are everyone will have their mouth full.

This is the first year we’ve had a decent crop of cherries, after I finally managed to make the netting blackbird-proof. We ate lots raw and I put some in a compote I’m planning to put on top of a cheesecake (watch this space), but I also made boozy cherries from a recipe by Regula Ysewijn, a wonderful sight sitting in their jar of brandy.

I’ll have to wait until nearer Christmas to see how they turn out but what a lovely thing to look forward to in the depths of winter!

Gooseberries are gorgeous in a pie or crumble and very good made into a jam, especially with strawberries. I made what I think is one of my best ever last week, using a mixture of two-thirds strawberries to one-third goosegogs.

Around 700g of strawberries, sliced; 300g of gooseberries, topped and tailed; the juice of a lemon and 900g of sugar, if you fancy a go. The gooseberries help the set but also provide a welcome sharp edge to the jam. 

Their tartness works well in savoury dishes, too. I made a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall gooseberry sauce to go with sage-rubbed pork chops in this recipe but it would also be good with oily fish.

Whatever you make, I hope you enjoy it and if you do, please write and tell me about it! Happy scoffing and fingers crossed for a fruitful and sunny summer.

19 thoughts on “Summer Fruits

  1. Lovely! I have to rely on the shops and markets for my soft fruit, and gooseberries and redcurrants are increasingly hard to source. When I do find them, they often don’t make it home intact …

  2. I’ve foraged loads of wild cherries and gooseberries this year. They’re from an old Lock Keeper’s orchard. The cherries are preserved in brandy – but I didn’t bother with a recipe; just trusted my instinct and added sugar and brandy to the pitted cherries. They’re “blo*ody lovely”, according to my husband, and are going in a chocolate cherry cake today. The gooseberries are in the freezer and will be put into a tart. I might try a type of custard around them.
    It’s lovely to use the fruits of your labour in a homemade tart or cake, isn’t it? And they taste so much better than shop-bought.

      • As an update to this, I unearthed a truly amazing find at the orchard on Sunday – a very old Serviceberry/Juneberry tree…or as Sutton’s Seeds are now marketing it: “The Saskatoon Berry – the NEW blueberry!!”. It was hidden in the undergrowth, and heaving with berries at different stages of ripeness, and it truly tastes divine. So I stood there for half an hour picking these 5mm berries – and came away with enough to fill about 6 deep dish mince pie cases!
        I’ve frozen them, but I’ll pick some more and put them with elderberries for a cheesecake topping I think.
        Have you come across this? It was a certainly a brand new fruit to me.
        So, a gorgeous berry, and one that keeps cropping throughout summer, but a pain in the neck to pick!

      • That’s really interesting, Alison. I hadn’t realised until now that the serviceberry is another name for an amelanchier. I’m not sure if the fruits of all varieties are edible and I think the birds probably eat all of ours, but I’ll certainly look out for them in future. What a great find!

  3. Redcurrant cake in the oven and smells amazing . Also, FWIW, that Hugh FW gooseberry sauce is delicious with Xmas goose, and even works well made with tinned fruit x

    • Hi Clare, blimey, you don’t hang about! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do. And yes, I can imagine that gooseberry sauce is perfection with roast goose, great idea. Lx

  4. Good morning from the colonies. I am now on the lookout for local cherries! My raspberry crumble came out a bit tenuous as a ‘bar’ but fabulous. I’ll try to do better when I can handle the calories but I did buy everything but the raspberries. Pulling some out of the freezer a month or more after it was even more tenuos but became a fabulous ice cream topping. I went back to the refirerator cookie post to give my props but I am guessing comments close down after a period so here they are. Mine were white chocolate and dried pear. I’ve managed to not yet bake the second one but time is running out. Can those logs be frozen, or perhaps as individual uncooked slices? I’d imagine but you know best! I hope you frolicked in a meadow somewhere during National Meadows Day! Stay well Linda.

    • Hi Chip, good to hear from you. It’s crucial with the raspberry crumble bar to pack the crust down really firmly. Perhaps I didn’t make that clear enough. Anyway, I approve your alternative usage! Not sure why you have been unable to comment on the cookie post, shouldn’t be a cut-off point, but to answer your question yes, you can freeze the roll, well wrapped. I wouldn’t freeze them as slices as I think they’d be more likely to get freezer-y, if you know what I mean. Hope this helps. Cheers, Linda x

      • Ahh. Thanks. That ‘really firmly’ will help as all things baking are new to me. (Bread remains a distant galaxy.) I just might crumble it into the ice cream the last two minutes of mixing it if I fail again. Crumbled Crumble. Mmm. I don’t know what I did wrong with the other comment but I wanted to be sure to thank you! They were very good. Stay well…

  5. Top post Linda. The disconnect between population and native fruits here in Ireland depresses me. Gooseberries are an ‘exotic’ now. Back in the day, they were a free, wild fruit. I saw a small punnet in a local grocer at €20 a half kilo. How could I make a fool without making a fool of myself?

    • Flippin’ heck! That’s extortion! Wish I could send you some but the birds have had most of ours this year (and I think they’d arrive ready pureed for your fool). Thanks as ever for the kind words. Lx

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