SUMMER is a perfect time to enjoy light, sweet and delicate desserts. Fresh strawberries and champagne are synonymous with summer, and you can bring the two together in a number of delicious desserts which are ideal for entertaining.
While champagne is wonderful to cook with, I have been experimenting with Crémant recently, thanks to our trusted supplier, L’Art du Vin (www.aduv.co.uk). It’s a very good alternative to champagne and works well in desserts at bringing a gentle fizz to recipes.
Even though it’s not made in Champagne, there are still very strict controls on production of Crémant and you can find the results are great, producing some excellent wines at good value.
The secret when you’re preparing these dishes is to add the sparkling wine at the very end of your preparations – that way you can still retain that lovely little element of fizz in your desserts.
Put the water and caster sugar into a small saucepan over a low to medium heat. Stir to dissolve the crystals, then raise the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the Crémant into a large, heat-proof bowl and add the gelatine. Set aside for about five minutes, or until the leaves are soft. Take out the leaves, squeezing off as much liquid as possible, and add them to the sugar syrup.
Whisk until the gelatine has completely dissolved, then pour the syrup back into the bowl with the Crémant and combine both by whisking. Allow to cool thoroughly, then refrigerate the jelly for about one hour. As soon as it starts to thicken, stir in the 150g of fruit.Divide the jelly between four moulds and cover them with cling film. Refrigerate for roughly four to six hours, or until they have completely set.
Once set, turn the moulds upside down in a serving dish and carefully remove them to reveal the jelly.
Garnish with extra strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and mint.