Summer dessert

Desserts which are rich, heavy and hot tend to work best in Winter. In the warmer months it’s better to keep it light and refreshing, whilst making good use of all the tasty fruit which is in season.

You will need
4 egg whites (medium, each weighing 30g)
225g caster sugar
Paste red food colouring
100ml Pimms
8 strawberries, halved
6 mint leaves
Panna Cotta:
125ml full fat milk
125ml natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
30g caster sugar
6 leaves of gelatine
To serve:
2 strawberries, cut into 6-8 wedges
6 frozen raspberries
2 shortbread biscuits, crumbled

Serves 2

Preheat oven to 110C and line a baking sheet with a non-stick parchment
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and dry
Add a table spoon of sugar for each egg white and whisk after each addition until stiff
Add half the remaining sugar and whisk in, localised whisking, will turn shiny and glossy
Add the rest of the sugar and gently fold in
Pipe mixture onto the baking sheet
Bake for 35 minutes until the meringues lift off easily of the paper
To colour it:
We’ve taken a tube of red food colouring, and squeezing a line of red up the side of the piping bag
It doesn’t have to be neat – we just want part of the meringue mix to slide over it as it is pushed through the piping bag, colouring it red
If you’re keen to use totally natural colouring, you can combine powdered beetroot with a little water to get the desired consistency

The strawberry jelly:
Just halve the strawberries and cook in a small pan along with some Pimm’s with the lid on for 5 minutes
After 5 minutes, remove the lid and bring to boil for about half a minute, checking that they have softened
Turn off the heat, and add a handful of mint leaves, without the stalks
Put this through a blender until smooth, then return to the pan on a medium heat again, putting it through a sieve first
Push any remaining liquid through with a spoon, and discard the rest
Always soak gelatine leaves for 5 minutes before using and add to the warm Pimms mixture
Stir gently until they are completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and pour onto a plate or baking tray – anything flat with a decent edge
As always, cling film it first
Spread it out and aim for a thickness of 2 to 3 millimetres.
Leave in the fridge to set for a minimum of one hour

Panna Cotta:
To make the panna cotta, heat the milk, vanilla and sugar until scalded
Soak the gelatine in cold water and add to the milk followed by the yoghurt
Pour into a jug and keep to one side
Get a clean piece of acetate and roll it up into a tube
Use adhesive tape or elastic to hold it together, then tightly cover one end in cling film to keep the liquid from escaping
Stand it up in a tall glass or something similar
Give the panna cotta at least 3 hours to make sure it has set throughout

Slice the cylinder into sections first, and then cut a strip of jelly to the same width
Roll it up and trim the jelly to fit, then assemble the rest of the dish
A line of crumbled shortbread
Add a few mini meringues and the fresh strawberry, sliced neatly
To add a little extra punch to the presentation and flavour, we added some raspberry, frozen solid, then broken into individual drupelets just before service and sprinkled across the plate