Summer in Provence is a hot affair, but it’s also the moment when we benefit from a glut of locally grown and delicious fruit at rock bottom prices. Here are 3 lovely summer puds inspired by our life here in Provence, which are fun and easy to make, while being light enough to be eaten on a properly hot day.
Summer fruit salad with Rosé reduction & mint
This relies on a nice selection of summer fruit and your willingness to share a glug of Rosé with these delicious flavours.
To serve 4:
- 1 Melon
- 1 Pack of Raspberries
- 2 Peaches or Nectarines
- some mint leaves
- two tablespoons of sugar & a glass of Rosé for the syrup
Chop the melon and nectarines into rough cubes and set aside, keep the empty melon shells if possible to use as bowls.
Pour the glass of Rosé into a heavy based saucepan, add the sugar and a few cubes of the fruit you have chopped and two raspberries. Add a 1/2 a cup of water.
Gently boil everything to reduce it to a syrupy consistency. Pass through a sieve and pour into a small jug to cool.
Arrange your cubed fruit salad in a bowl (or the melon skins) and decorate with raspberries and roughly torn mint leaves. Pour the syrup over carefully to cover as much of the fruit as possible. If you made it much in advance return it to the fridge and get it out 15 minutes before serving.
Pure summer flavour!
Creamy Lavender Honey and Almond Pots
Delicious and a little bit naughty, this unites the flavours of Provence in a creamy little pot!
To make 6 little pots or ramequins:
- 1 tub of double cream (250ml)
- 1 handful of whole unpeeled almonds
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of lavender honey
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- A few red berries to decorate
Put the cream in a heavy based saucepan and bring to a very gentle boil.
Crush the almonds with a pestle and mortar, or inside a freezer bag using a rolling pin. You’re looking for finely crushed, not powdered.
Seperate the eggs, keep the yolks & discard the whites.
Add the honey, sugar & almonds to the cream. Turn down the heat and let it cool down a little before you add the egg yolk- you want to avoid scrambled eggs!
Leave it on low heat and stir regularly for about 10 minutes, then pour into your ramequins and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. Just before serving add a few crunchy almonds to the top of the ramequins and some red summer fruit for decoration.
Works nicely with a shortbread biscuit on the side.
Tarte a l’Orange
The classic Tarte au Citron works beautifully with oranges instead of lemons to give a lush and softer edge to this light desert. I try and pick good quality, non treated oranges and have decided to reduce the juice a bit to get a more pronounced flavour. I made the sweet pastry myself, but a good quality « pure butter » supermarket version will do the trick and is less prone to failure..
To serve 8-10 you will need:
For the pastry:
- 200g pastry flour
- 40g icing sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 tablespoons of cold milk
For the filling:
- 6 oranges
- 200g brown sugar
- 150ml of double cream
- 3 whole eggs + 3 yolks
If you are making the pastry yourself add the icing sugar and sifted flower to a bowl, then the cubes of cool butter. Crumble it through your fingers (using as little time and body heat as possible) until it’s well mixed.
Then add the egg yolk & 3 tablespoons of milk (or water if you’re milk free) and form a ball.
Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Switch the fan oven on on 160 degrees celsius.
In them meantime start the filling. Press the oranges and put them in a saucepan with the sugar and add some grated orange zest for extra intensity. Boil to reduce the liquid by about 1/3, this will concentrate the flavours (you should still have about 200ml left by the end), let it cool.
Put 3 whole eggs in a bowl & add 3 egg yolks and scramble to mix.
Mix the eggs into the cooled juice and leave to stand for a few minutes. Pass through a fine sieve to remove orange bits, then add the cream and stir.
Take the dough from the fridge. I use a cake tin with a removable bottom, but double up with parchment paper to be sure to get the tarte out in one piece.
Cut a circle larger than the upper ring of the cake form and lay it out flat.
I roll out the pastry on top of the parchment paper to roughly match this circle which I then transfer into the baking tin.
Press down to the circumference of the bottom of the tin and arrange the edges to be relatively solid and even in terms of height and repair any breaks.
Use parchment paper and baking beans to make sure the pastry bakes flatly and put it in oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes to make sure it’s crispy.
Pour in the liquid and return to the oven for about 30 minutes, until it firms up but retains a nice wobble.
Remove from the oven, let it cool a little, but it’s best eaten while it’s still a little warm..
Wishing you more happy summer moments from Provence,