There is a time and a place for apple crumble, and that is not now. With summer fully here, it’s time to start breaking out the season’s desserts. We’re talking classic chilled puddings, full of fruit and cream, that are made with minimal fuss but land with maximum impact. But what to make? We asked some of our favourite chefs and food writers for their go-to summer dessert choices. The rules: no clag, no stodge and – just to make things especially hard on them – no ice-cream.
Summer syllabub trifle
Helen Saberi, author of Trifle
Line a glass bowl with a layer of boudoir biscuits. Cover with 500-750g of mixed summer berries, reserving some of the fruit to decorate the top of the trifle. Sprinkle with a little sugar, according to taste. Top with a layer of amaretti biscuits. Whisk three egg whites until stiff. Gradually add 90g of sugar and continue whisking until the meringue holds its shape. Fold in another 90g sugar. Carefully pour 150ml of white wine, the juice of half a lemon and two tablespoons of brandy over the egg whites and fold in gently. Whip 150ml of double cream until it just holds its shape and then fold it into the frothy meringue mixture. Now pour it over the amaretti. Leave to stand for several hours in a cool place so the biscuits become moist. Decorate with the reserved fruit.
Audacious fruit ice lollies
Sam Bompas, food and drink design agency Bompas & Parr
Begin by making a simple syrup with 900g sugar and a litre of boiling water. Simmer in a saucepan until completely dissolved, then allow to cool. Juice six lemons to get roughly 130ml of fresh lemon juice, and add 100ml orange juice. Combine this with the sugar syrup for your lolly base.
Now select the fresh fruit for your lolly. I recommend a slice of blood orange, strawberry, peach, blueberry and fresh raspberry for each 150ml ice. Carefully place the first of the fresh fruit slices in a lolly mould – say the blueberry, raspberry and blood orange – then fill hallway up the mould with lolly juice mixture. Allow to freeze for 30 mins. Remove from the freezer, and add the peach slice and strawberry. To complete the lolly, fill to the top with the same liquid and insert the stick. Place back in the freezer for a further two hours before serving.
Roasted apricot pain perdu
Luke Frost, pastry chef at Valrhona, Northern Europe
One of my favourite things to do in summer is stop at the side of the road in the south of France and buy fresh apricots, and this is the perfect recipe for them. Cut a white loaf into 8-10 thick slices, and spread them out on a tray. Mix five large eggs with 175g golden caster sugar, and add 250g milk (you can also add a glug of rum if the mood takes you). Pour the mixture over the bread and leave it to soak. Drain the bread and place it in a hot oiled non-stick pan until golden brown. Turn the bread over and reduce the heat so the mixture cooks all the way through. Remove the crusts, dust with icing sugar and top with roasted apricots (halved, stoned, drizzled with honey and roasted in a hot oven for five minutes).
Lemongrass and yuzu panna cotta
Andrew Holden, chef at the Cave Hotel, Kent
This is one of my all-time favourite desserts; a great combination of flavours and textures. Soak three leaves of gelatine in cold water for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add 500ml double cream, 165ml milk, 75g sugar, three split and crushed lemongrass stalks and 100ml of yuzu to a pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, add the softened gelatine leaves and whisk until dissolved. Take the pan off the heat, cover for 30 minutes, strain, pour into individual dishes and refrigerate. Once it’s set, cover with granola, add a scoop of strawberry sorbet and three teaspoons of diced strawberry. Finish with a few sprigs of micro mint.
Rhubarb and custard cheesecake
Beth Coombes, pastry chef, Pili Pala Cakehouse, Poole
Blend 200g bought shortbread and mix with 100g melted butter to form a wet sand consistency. Press into a lined, tall, 8-inch round tin and refrigerate. Then make your rhubarb compote: add 200g rhubarb, sliced into batons, to a pan with 100g caster sugar and the juice of half a lemon, and gently cook until the rhubarb breaks down almost completely. Place in a sieve and leave until the liquid has drained away; it should be sharp but not overbearingly tangy. Spread it all over your biscuit base.
Next, whisk 25g of custard powder and 25g caster sugar into 100ml of milk in a pan, and thicken on the stove. It will be super thick. Place 350g cream cheese, one egg, two egg yolks, 100g caster sugar, 10g plain flour and the seeds from half a vanilla pod into a blender. Pulse until smooth and add the mixture to the custard. Pour this custard-cream over the base, top with grated nutmeg and bake for 30 minutes at 150C. It should be mostly set, but a little wobbly. Switch the oven off and leave the door open so it completely cools before removing. Refrigerate.
Lemon meringue pie
Hannah Catley, founder and owner of Lockdown Loaves, Bristol
Mix 125g butter with an equal quantity of sugar, then slowly stream 1 egg and 20g egg yolks into the mix, followed by 300g flour added in three parts. Once a dough has formed, rest in the fridge for at least three hours, then line your tart case and blind bake at 180C for about 40mins.
For the lemon custard: mix together six eggs and 250g caster sugar, then gradually add 250g double cream and the juice of 3 lemons, while continuing to mix. Pour this liquid mix into your pre-baked tart and bake at 100C for around an hour. Chill in the fridge.
For the meringue: slowly whip 240g egg whites while heating 200g sugar with 75g water to 121C, then slowly pour the sugar on to the whites while still mixing. Whisk to soft peaks and pile it on to your pie. Then it’s time to light up your blowtorch and burn the top to your heart’s content; or put it under the grill for a few moments to toast it slightly.
Matcha roll cake
Roselle, assistant manager at Kova Patisserie, London
Preheat the oven to 190C and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Divide three eggs into whites and yolks. Beat the whites at medium speed until they form a meringue. Slowly add 65g sugar and whip until the mixture forms medium peaks. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the yolks with 8½tsp vegetable oil, 15g sugar, 40ml milk and a splash of vanilla extract. Gently fold the meringue into the yolk mixture, and sieve in 40g plain flour, half a teaspoon of baking powder and 4½tbsp matcha powder. Pour on to the sheet pan, spread evenly with a spatula and bake for 30 minutes.
For the filling, whip 180ml double cream with 1½tbsp sugar and 2tsp of matcha powder to medium peaks. Now remove the cake from the pan and lay out on new parchment. Spread the filling on the cake, leaving one end uncovered. Roll from the filled end and tighten gently. Wrap the cake with the parchment end down and refrigerate for at least 2½ hours.
Vegan strawberry tart
Clarisse Flon, founder of The Sunny Spoon, London
Combine 300g flour, a pinch of salt, 2 tbsp of icing sugar and 150g margarine in a chilled mixing bowl until crumbly and fine. Make a well in the middle and pour in 3 tbsp of ice-cold water and the same amount of vegetable oil. Make a twisting motion with your hands, blending the flour and liquid until it starts to stick together between your fingers. Tip the dough on to a floured surface and quickly knead until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. The next morning, roll out the pastry, place in a tart tin and let it chill for another 30 mins before blind baking in the oven at 180C.
For the crème pâtissière, boil 500ml of oat milk with two tsp of vanilla seed paste. Mix 60g of cornflour with 120g sugar, and pour a tiny amount of the milk on top. Mix until combined, pour back into the pan and mix on medium heat for two minutes until it thickens and bubbles come up to the surface. Take off the heat and add 40g of margarine. Pour the crème pâtissière into the tart shell and leave it to cool for about 20 minutes. Slice 500g of strawberries in half, and use them to cover the tart. Warm 2 tbsp of apricot jam and 1 tbsp of water on the stove. Brush this across the strawberries and leave to set for 30 minutes.