Desserts + drinks

Desserts + drinks

By
Rosie Birkett
Contains
12 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742709147
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

I’ve always been a sucker for a pud, and as much as I love a cheeseboard, I’m not one of those ‘I’ll skip dessert’ types.

I’ll take dessert and then some cheese please. Simple, seasonal sweets float my boat, probably because that’s the way I grew up eating: raiding the cherry, pear and plum trees in our garden as soon as their spoils were ripe for the picking.

Now I live in the city, it’s the greengrocers and markets I raid (don’t worry, I always pay), but I still like to work with whatever fruit is abundant at the time: you get fruit at its prime and it ends up costing less. That said, I’m not puritanical about it, so you’ll notice that a couple of these puddings rely on tinned fruit, which I find can be really handy to have in the cupboard for when you get a craving for something sweet, or during the colder months when exciting fruit is a bit thin on the ground. The elderflower cordial also features, because its sweet, summery, floral notes are perfect for desserts.

When it comes to baking, I’ve taken my lead from the pies and puddings I ate while living in Canada, where I found myself surrounded by artisan bakeries and coffee shops selling the most wonderful array of bakes and sweet treats. My cherry pie is a version of a dish I ate loads of while living there, because fruit pies are a north American staple, and it was inspiring to see how the locals adapted them with the seasons, filling them with the fuzzy white peaches, deep purple cherries and the plumpest, juiciest blueberries. In Vancouver there was even a Twin Peaks-themed bar that sold cherry pie by the slice, along with cups of ‘joe’ (coffee).

I spent some time helping (or quite possibly hindering) the pastry chefs at a local patisserie called Thierry, where I was shown how to properly handle a piping bag and tasked with making macarons. One of my favourites was filled with a gorgeous lemon curd and maraschino cherries, and I’ve taken those flavours and used them for the basis of my super-simple Lemon meringue posset.

My mum has also had a big impact on what I cherish for pudding, and she instilled in me a healthy love of fluffy, perfectly whipped cream and light, squidgy meringues, which both come into play in this chapter. She also introduced me, and many of my friends, to the delights of lychees, which were still quite exotic and unusual when I was growing up. They’re the centrepiece of the hazelnut pavlova, and as much as I love them, they’ll always remind me of the Halloween parties we used to have where my mum would fill bowls with them and ask my friends to try them blindfold, telling them they were eyeballs. It never seemed to put anyone off her pavlova though.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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