THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
For those who’ve been following my series on elderflower, hopefully you made a batch of cordial. More hopeful still, you have some left! If not, don’t despair. There is plenty of decent elderflower cordial on the market. It doesn’t compare to homemade, but in a pinch…
Once the elderflower season is over, strawberries announce the arrival of summer. Fresh strawberries and a few spoonful’s of cordial make an excellent dessert with no fuss. With just a little more effort though, you can make my favourite summer pudding. I will give you the simplest version first. It’s quick, easy and requires few ingredients. Then, if you wish, you can tweak the recipe according to your taste. It’s not an exact science, so you can also add more or less of any of the ingredients to suit your palate and adjust for the sweet and tart flavours.
For the fool:
4 medium-large stalk of rhubarb (about 450 grams) the redder, the better
125 g raw or golden granulated sugar
50 ml water
300 ml whipping cream
Put the water and sugar in a pot and bring it to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
Chop the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and add them to the pot. Bring it back to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Give it a stir every few minutes so the rhubarb breaks up. Some like it smooth. I like it a bit chunky. The more you stir, the smoother it will be. When it has the consistency you want, pour it into a sieve over another pot and leave it to drain for about 30 minutes. Place the compote in a bowl and chill. Reserve the juice for later.
When the compote is chilled, whip the cream and fold it in. You can either mix it completely, or let the compote swirl through the cream. Just make sure it’s evenly distributed. I mix mine completely. Chill until ready for use. It will keep for several days.
My personal variation is to replace the water with fresh orange juice and add a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger when the compote is simmering. Grated orange rind also works well. You can also fold in a few spoons of Greek yoghurt, crème fraiche or sour cream with the whipped cream. This will add a tart dimension and make a denser fool. Personally, the last thing I need is another dense fool!
For the soup:
400 g strawberries
400 ml elderflower cordial (unfiltered apple juice will suffice if elderflower isn’t available)
The juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
A handful of ice cubes
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until the ice stops crunching. Voilà!
Have a taste and correct the sugar or lemon according to taste.
To serve, place a scoop of fool in a bowl, pour the soup around it, drizzle the fool with the reserved rhubarb juice and decorate with a slice of strawberry and a sprig of mint or basil.
More elderflower cordial loveliness.
For something really simple, add 4 tablespoons of elderflower cordial and the grated rind of 1 unwaxed lemon to your favourite unflavoured yoghurt. Put this on fruit or porridge or use it instead of whipped cream on pies and tarts. So simple. So good!
For a quick, sweet brekkie, pour fine porridge oats in a bowl, cover with unfiltered apple juice and top with a dollop of the elderflower yoghurt. No cooking required!
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