Vanilla cream with red berries

Home-made vanilla cream with red berries | H is for Home

Have you been watching Wimbledon? Haven’t the Brits been doing well this year? Scrap that – I’ve just watched Murray get knocked out!

Making vanilla cream | H is for Home

Nothing says Wimbledon fortnight more than strawberries & cream. I’ve adapted a Nigel Slater recipe to create a little twist on the classic – vanilla cream with red berries.

Strawberries and grenadine | H is for Home

I planned on using our home and allotment-grown strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants but we didn’t have a large enough quantity that was ripe all at the same time. I made a quick trip to the supermarket for a punnet of strawberries to bulk up our rations.

Home-made vanilla cream with red berries | H is for Home

Slater used orange juice and passion fruits in the original recipe. However, I used a few glugs from a bottle of grenadine syrup I’ve had in the store cupboard for ages. What a fantastic, last-minute idea – it worked brilliantly, with the strawberries especially. From this day forward, I’ll always team my fresh strawberries with it!

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Vanilla cream with red berries
Ingredients
  1. 250g/9oz crème fraîche
  2. 250g/9oz mascarpone
  3. 1 vanilla pod
  4. 800g/28oz mixture of red berries (I used strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants)
  5. 50ml/1 ¾ fl oz grenadine syrup
  6. sprig of mint to garnishHome-made vanilla cream with red berries ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Place a sieve or small colander over a mixing bowl and line it with a piece of muslin (I used a jelly bag)
  2. Spoon the crème fraîche and fromage frais into a mixing bowl
  3. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways with a sharp knife, open it flat and scrape out the dark, sticky seeds. Fold the seeds through the crème fraîche/fromage frais mixture and spoon it into the muslin-lined sieve
  4. Cover the sieve/colander and its under-bowl with cling film (Saran wrap) and leave in the fridge overnight, during which time the vanilla cream will thicken to cheesecake-like texture
  5. Hull & slice the berries (not redcurrants if using), put them into a mixing bowl, pour over the grenadine syrup. Mix gently to cover all the fruit with the liquid, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about an hour
  6. Upturn the sieve/colander on to a plate and allow the muslin and cream to slide out
  7. Carefully peel away the muslin
  8. Spoon the marinated red berries and liquid around the vanilla cream
  9. Drizzle an extra capful or two of grenadine syrup over the top of the vanilla cream
  10. Serve!
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Jelly making

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Jar of home made wild raspberry jelly with scone & clotted cream | H is for Home

I’ve just finished my first batch of summer jelly making.

wild raspberry bush covered in ripe raspberries

Anyone following our Instagram feed will be aware of the hedgerow foraging in which I’ve been partaking over the past few weeks. The weeks of hot, sunny weather combined with some heavy downpours have made for a bumper wild fruit crop.

wild raspberries in a vintage Cathrineholm 'Lotus' bowl

From the start of the wild raspberry season I was picking the fruit (I even managed to find a few white raspberries), rinsing them in a colander under the kitchen tap, freezing them… and then doing the same the next day, and the next, and the next until I had three 1-litre tubs full.

vintage jam pan full of wild raspberries

Jelly making day had arrived! I love the taste of raspberry preserve but I much prefer seedless jelly to jam.

detail of jam pan full of wild raspberries

I received this Tala jam straining kit, jelly bag replacement and wax discs from the nice people at the Craft Company. They have everything you could need to get started on your jam & jelly making odyssey!

Tala jam straining kit, spare jelly bag and wax discs from The Craft Company

Prior to having these, I was using a home-made contraption consisting of some muslin, a pair of chopsticks… it wasn’t a pretty sight!

Tala jam straining kit from The Craft Company

The straining kit worked a treat. Simple to assemble and no mess and stains on the counter tops for a change!

raspberries being strained through a jelly bag

I (loosely) followed a recipe I found in Cordon Bleu Preserving (it’s currently available at a penny!)

jelly set test on a plate

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 kg wild raspberries, rinsed & drained
  • 1 kg jam sugar (as opposed to ‘normal’ granulated sugar it contains pectin to help with setting and citric acid as a preservative)
  • 1 litre water

METHOD

  1. Put the raspberries into a large jam/preserving pan with the water and cook gently on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit becomes a soft pulp
  2. While the raspberries are cooking, set up your straining kit and place it over another saucepan (see photo above)
  3. Carefully turn the cooked fruit out of the preserving pan into the jelly bag and allow to drip through overnight. Do not force it through as this turns the finished product cloudy
  4. Measure out the juice and add the jam sugar (the ratio is 1lb of sugar to every pint of juice or 500g to 600ml)
  5. Turn the sugar and juice back into the preserving pan and set on a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved
  6. Turn up the heat & boil rapidly until the jelly sets (see photo above). If you have a jam thermometer, the temperature should reach 104°C/220°F
  7. Decant into sterilised jars, cover each with a wax disc then screw the lid on once cooled

decanted wild raspberry jelly decanted into jars using a jam funnel

The quantity makes about 4½ jars-worth. Some for us and a couple of jars for presents.

jars of wild raspberry jelly with H is for Home labels

We tucked in straight away with scones, clotted cream and a cup of tea each! We’ll be using the rest for morning toast & croissants. It will also make the perfect filling for a Victoria sponge.

scone with wild raspberry jelly & clotted cream and cup of tea

The wild raspberry season round here is more or less done now but fat, juicy blackberries are just beginning to appear. I’ve already been stockpiling!

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