We’ve had the most disappointing weather this summer – it’s been cold and wet, literally raining every day. I was watching Wimbledon this year, but if I had been one of the players I don’t think I could have put up with the constant suspensions due to rain! I went a bit mad buying summery dresses and shoes when I was in the States, but there is no way I can wear them here in this weather…
Despite these disappointments, I’ve made some summery desserts in the hope of lifting my spirits and this is one of them. I was intrigued by a recipe by Mark Hix when I was watching the Great British Menu – I saw it just after I had made some elderflower cordial, so I just had to try it out.
He paired perry jelly and summer fruits with elderflower ice-cream – I adapted the recipe to use mousse instead of ice-cream as I wanted to be able to carry them around for my regular dessert distribution to our friends :)
I had never had perry before – it’s sparkling (alcoholic) cider made from pears and tastes quite similar to the more common apple cider. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan, but the jelly recipe sounded interesting enough to give it a try. It worked really well with the elderflower flavoured mousse and I loved it – but it’s got quite a ‘punchy’ flavour so I used a slightly larger proportion of mousse. In the programme, he was serving it with some deep-fried elderflower on top, but when I made this the flower season was long over sadly.
For those who can’t easily get hold of elderflower cordial or perry/cider – feel free to experiment with any booze like champagne or rosé for the jelly (I’ve tried it with rosé also and it was rather nice :)) and flower water/syrup (orange blossom, lavender, rose etc) for the mousse. Let me know when you find a favourite combination :)
The dessert has certainly made me feel a bit more summery, but I do hope we’ll have a real summer soon…!
Perry jelly and summer berries with elderflower mousse
For the elderflower mousse
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
120ml elderflower cordial
3 gelatine leaves (about 2g each)
300ml double cream
For the perry jelly
4 gelatine leaves
80g caster sugar
Mixed berries of your choice (I used strawberries, raspberries, red & black currants)
For the elderflower mousse, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water and leave until soft. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then mix in the sugar and 100ml of the cordial. Place the bowl on a bain-marie, whisk until it falls in ribbons from the whisk (the temperature of the mixture should be around 60ºC). Remove the bowl from the heat, add the rest of the cordial and stir well. Drain and squeeze the gelatine leaves then add to the hot yolk mixture and stir gently until melted.
Lightly whip the double cream, fold one third into the yolk mixture, then carefully fold the mixture back into the remaining cream (try not to mix too much!). Pour the mousse into your serving glasses or moulds, then chill until set.
For the perry jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water and leave until soft. Place 150ml of the perry in a saucepan, bring to the boil and dissolve the sugar into it. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain and squeeze the gelatine leaves then dissolve into the perry while still hot. Add the rest of the perry and leave to cool.
Arrange the berries on the mousse, then carefully pour the jelly on top and chill in the fridge until set. (If your layer is quite deep, the berries will float to the top; if you want them to appear suspended, start with a shallow layer of fruit, set the jelly and then top it up and set again.)
Note: When making mousse, it’s important that all the components have the same consistency so that they mix together easily. Also, depending on how sweet the cordial is, you may need to adjust the quantity of the sugar you add into the yolk mixture.