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Friday, 1 July 2011

Raspberry Heaven

As June rolls into July British Raspberries come into season. To me they are even more of a Summer fruit than Strawberries as they are tastier and more versatile.

This time I have given you a recipe for Jam that is very easy and quick. The Jam is great on bread and butter or scones, can be a cake filling, top a steamed pudding or be swirled into ice cream for the legend that is Raspberry Ripple. In the depths of winter, spread on hot, buttered toast or crumpets it will evoke those warm days of summer.

The next recipe is for a cake using the jam as a filling and with a devilishly rich chocolate covering, though serving the cake with a whipped cream and fresh raspberry filling and a dusting of icing sugar would also be very acceptable in the taste department!

Raspberry Jam – This is the recipe that I used at Ballymaloe Cookery School, quick, easy and works every time

900 g white sugar, (use 110g less if the fruit is very sweet)

900 g fresh raspberries

(if you have more/fewer raspberries just adjust the sugar to match their weight and the number of jars for potting)

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Wash and dry 3 x 450g jars, then pop into the oven for 15 minutes to sterilise them.

Tip the sugar onto a tray and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes to heat through.

Put the raspberries into a wide stainless steel saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the juice begins to run. Add the hot sugar and stir over a gentle heat until fully dissolved.

Turn up the heat and boil steadily for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Test for a set by putting about a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate, and leaving it for a few minutes in a cool place. It should wrinkle when pressed with a finger.

Remove from the heat immediately, skim off any scum from the surface and pour into the sterilised jam jars. Cover immediately and store in a cool place.

Nice Summer Sponge Cake with a decadent topping.

125g (4 ½ oz) butter, softened

175g (6oz) caster sugar

3 eggs

175g (6oz) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour the sides of two 18cm (7in) cake tins, and line the bases with discs of greaseproof paper.

Cream the butter until soft, then gradually add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well all the time. Make sure the butter is well creamed and that the eggs are added slowly or the mix will “curdle” and you will get a heavier –though still delicious sponge, Sieve the flour and baking powder, and stir in gently, then stir in the milk until just combined

Divide the mixture between the two tins, hollowing it slightly in the centre, so that it will be flat on top when cooked. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the centre of the cake springs back when you push it gently. Turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool. (Place the cake that will become the top layer on its base so that the top isn't marked by the cooling rack.)

When cooled spread Raspberry Jam on the cake chosen to be the base and then sandwich the other on top.

Meanwhile make the Chocolate Covering

110 grams Dark Chocolate (I use a minimum 70% cocoa content) broken into small pieces/squares

110 grams unsalted butter

I tablespoon rum

In a bowl over hot water combine the chocolate and rum and melt. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and that the heat is off or the chocolate may “block” and set solid. (if it does start again and enjoy the failed chocolate)

When the chocolate has melted add the butter in small amounts until all melted in, stirring all the time.

Allow to cool and thicken before spreading over the cake.

Decorate the top with fresh Raspberries then ENJOY!

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