Desserts

Desserts

By
Catherine Phipps
Contains
28 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
978 184949 900 2
Photographer
Mowie Kay

It was only when thinking about all the sweeter uses of citrus – whether in desserts, drinks, preserves and sweets – that I was struck by something I now see as obvious: I do not ever remember seeing fresh limes as a child. I do realize now that during my childhood my love of citrus desserts was quite polarized. On the one hand, I loved the “first principles” cooking of my mother – fresh lemons and oranges used in mousses, steamed puddings, ice creams, and her famous Blood Orange and Rhubarb Meringue Pie. Only very occasionally did we have Jif lemon juice – perhaps to accompany the sugar she whizzed up in a cracked coffee grinder to serve with pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. On the other hand, my paternal grandmother gave me a love of highly processed limes – Rowntree’s lime jelly, broken up with evaporated milk, limeade (her remedy for any stomach ailments), chocolate limes. I find myself nostalgic for all of these things, despite knowing I do not now enjoy them. The desserts that have stuck with me come from my mother’s kitchen. She didn’t pander to us children by diluting the sour/bitter flavours and sometimes it was a bit much – a honey and lemon steamed pudding made with lemon slices was too sharp and a bit chewy, and a marmalade steamed pudding too bitter. But I find myself doing the same with my own children and I fare better.

I have included favourite dishes, old and new, in this section, but there are so many very simple ideas that can serve as impromptu, last-minute desserts and breakfasts. For example, infusing pared zest or citrus leaves in milk or cream will make the best custards, ice creams, rice puddings. Pancakes are always best just with lemon and sugar, but try other citrus (as long as there is acidity) or use syrups adulterated with a small amount of citrus-based alcohol. Dig out your curved, serrated grapefruit knife and update the classic grapefruit half, sprinkled with demerara sugar and brûléed; perhaps add a few drops of bitters too. Above all, don’t forget the transformative powers of citrus over other fruits. I can’t imagine papaya without a squeeze of lime; try adding it to mango, watermelon, strawberries and bananas. Grilled pineapple or bananas will always benefit from a squeeze of lime and a dash of rum. Oranges have an affinity with strawberries and raspberries, lemons with blackberries. Just remember that when it comes to making fruit salads, less is more – stick to a main fruit, a citrus and perhaps another spicy herbal note (basil with orange and strawberries, mint with lime and watermelon) and you won’t go far wrong.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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