Summer Fruits Steeped in Wine, Basil and Mint
Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc.
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.
|For the Liquor|
|250ml||Monbazillac or dessert wine|
|90ml||Red wine, Cabernet sauvignon|
|4 turns||Freshly ground black pepper|
|1tsp||Vanilla (the best extract)|
|For the macerated fruit|
|230g||Raspberries, washed (*1)|
|160g||Strawberries stemmed, washed halved and quartered (*1)|
|6 leaves||Fresh basil|
|6 leaves||Lemon verbena (optional) (*2)|
|For the spun sugar lattice (optional)|
|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)|
|Sprigs||Mint or lemon verbena|
|100ml||Chilled pink champagne|
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.)
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.
Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.
Photograph © Jean Cazals 2011.