Summer Fruit Compôte scented with Lemon Grass
This is unusual and subtle – the scent of the lemon grass is barely there, but it does add a very interesting dimension. Any combination of fruit can be used for this, but remember that the flavour of blackcurrants does tend to dominate – so if you're using them, just use a half quantity compared with the other fruits.
|6 large plums|
|8 oz (225 g) blueberries|
|6 oz (175 g) raspberries|
|2 finger-thin stems of lemon grass, trimmed|
|2 oz (50 g) sugar|
|Need help with conversions?|
|You will also need a shallow baking dish: I used a round dish approximately 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter.|
First prepare the fruit. Halve each peach by making a slit all round through the natural crease, then simply twist in half and remove the stone. Cut the halves into three pieces each and place them in the baking dish. After that do the same with the apricots and, if they're large, slice the halves into two; if they're small, leave the halves whole.
Repeat this with the plums, but if they're clinging too tightly to their stones you might find it easier to slice them into quarters on the stone and pull each quarter off. Add the apricots and plums to the peaches in the dish, followed by the blueberries. Cut the lemon grass into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces and place them in the small goblet of a food processor or a liquidiser together with the sugar. Turn the motor on and process until the lemon grass is so small that it disappears into the sugar.
Add this mixture to the fruit in the baking dish. Place the dish in the centre of the oven and let the fruits bake (without covering) for 25-30 minutes or until they are tender when tested with a skewer and the juices have run. Then remove them from the oven and gently stir in the raspberries, tipping the bowl and basting them with the hot juices. Taste to check the sugar and add more if you think it needs it, then cool the compote and chill in the fridge. Serve with crème fraîche, or this is wonderful with Quick Nougatine Ice Cream.
NOTE: If you want to make the compôte entirely with soft berries, it needs only 10 minutes in the oven.
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It's something of a myth that ice cream is difficult to make: this recipe couldn't be easier and the addition of nougat - or turron - adds crunch and other flavours to it. Serve it with fruity desserts in the summer, or on its own.
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