Summer Fruits Steeped in Wine, Basil and Mint

Recipe from 'Kitchen Secrets' by Raymond Blanc. Click here to purchase book.

A simple feast for a summer’s day; the refreshing taste of red fruits combined with minty, peppery and citrus flavours.

Preparation: 30 mins, plus 6 1/2 - 12 hours macerating.

Special equipment: 2-3cm melon baller. 

Summer Fruits Steeped in Wine, Basil and Mint

Ingredients Required

For the Liquor
250ml Monbazillac or dessert wine
90ml Red wine, Cabernet sauvignon
40g Caster sugar
4 turns Freshly ground black pepper
1tsp Vanilla (the best extract)
100ml Cold water
For the macerated fruit
230g Raspberries, washed (*1)
160g Strawberries stemmed, washed halved and quartered (*1)
100g Blackberries (*1)
20g Caster sugar
12 leaves Spearmint
6 leaves Fresh basil
6 leaves Lemon verbena (optional) (*2)
1/2 Cherentais melon
For the spun sugar lattice (optional)
100ml Cold water
300g Caster sugar
1 pinch Finely grated lemon, lime, orange zest
1 pinch Finely shredded herbs (jullienne), such as mint, basil, lemon verbena
1 pinch Dried raspberries and/or dried strawberries finely chopped (*3)
To serve
Sprigs Mint or lemon verbena
100ml Chilled pink champagne

Cooking Method

To macerate the fruit (*1)

In a large bowl, combine all the berries, sugar and herbs. Toss gently to mix and leave to macerate for 30 minutes.

To prepare the liquor

Pour both wines into a small saucepan and add the sugar, pepper and vanilla. Place over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute (*4). Turn off the heat and add the cold water. Set aside to cool down to approximately 40°C (*5). Add the wine mixture to the macerated fruit. Using your melon baller, scoop the melon into 12 balls and add them too. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to a day.

To make the sugar lattice

If required, an hour or less before serving (*6), pour the water into a medium saucepan, add the sugar and let it absorb the water for 1–2 minutes. Then dissolve over a medium heat, bring to the boil and cook to a dark golden caramel (*7). Remove from the heat and dip the base of the pan in cold water briefly to stop the cooking. Allow the caramel to cool down and thicken a little before making your lattice. Using a fork, thread caramel onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper, using a back and forth motion to make a large square. Sprinkle the citrus zest, herbs and chopped dried fruit evenly over the threads. Thread caramel over the top at right angles to the first layer, creating a latticework that encases the flavourings. Leave until set, then carefully break into 4 squares. (Or you can thread the caramel over the back of a ladle to create a lovely dome; once set, de-mould and repeat to make 3 more lattices, re-warming the caramel slightly to melt if necessary.)

To serve

Transfer the fruit and liquor to a large glass serving bowl or individual bowls. Pour a little pink Champagne into each bowl and garnish with the mint sprigs (*8). At the last moment, carefully position the spun sugar lattice, if using, on each serving.


Kitchen Secrets

Recipe from 'Kitchen Secrets' by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury. 

Click here to purchase book.

Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2011.