My Head Chef shares her favourite late summer recipe with you and it won’t disappoint…

Elderberry, elderflower and blackberry fool with Walnut shortbread

It seems like summer has flown the coop and we are faced with ever present signs of autumn approaching. There is a point in the mingling of seasons where the stars align and magical things can happen. Fruit trees and hedgerows take their final bow and give us an abundance of shiny purple fruit in a multitude of hues. This recipe encapsulates the best of summer, including elderflower cordial and early autumn elderberries and blackberries in a boozy syrup which are perfect for an Indian Summer afternoon treat, if we can sneak one in between the British monsoons!

Charlene Basan, Head Chef, One Great George Street

Elderberry, elderflower and blackberry fool with Walnut shortbread

For the syrup:

  • 1 punnet of blackberries
  • 1 cup of port
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of elderflower cordial
  • 1 cup of elderberries (or blackcurrants)

For the cream:

  • 1 cup of lightly whipped cream
  • 1 cup of Greek style yoghurt
  • Zest of an orange

For the walnut shortbread:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 45g icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 25g finely chopped hazelnuts
  • Small amount of caster sugar for dusting

Start by making the shortbread. Preheat the oven to 160oC. Rub the butter and the flour together by hand. Add the icing sugar and walnuts and form into a ball, roll into a log shape and wrap in clingfilm and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Tip all the syrup ingredients into a saucepan and reduce by half. Strain the berries out of the syrup and allow the syrup and the berries to cool separately.

Remove the shortbread from the freezer and remove the clingfilm. Slice in 5 mm rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Bake at 160oC for 15 minutes and sprinkle with caster sugar while still hot.

To assemble the dessert, whisk the yoghurt and orange zest into the cream and pour half the syrup into the mixture and mix. Put the mixture into serving glasses and top with the reserved blackberries and elderberries, serve with the walnut shortbreads on the side. You will have some of the syrup left over and this can be kept for another sunny day, serve it over vanilla ice cream or slosh some into a gin and tonic and toast the Indian summer.

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