Pimm's jelly with cucumber sorbet - a Josh Eggleton recipe
It's always handy to follow a few social media accounts in the world of food. At least it is if you want to steal some of the best ideas around. I am certainly not one of the 'Great British Chefs' but I am most certainly up for the challenge of replicating some of the recipes posted on their site.
This is one of my frequent 'Look, if I did this... you can too!' posts. The whole thing is a lovely nod to the Great British Summer. In fact, with Wimbledon not long gone, you might even get more parochial and say this is part of the Quintessential English Summer.
Tasting here is a must before you decide on your final approach. Remember that freezing dulls flavours. Jelly setting is not quite an exact science. And fierce ginger can distract tastebuds from more delicate elements. Take notes. You might even have to make this once or twice more than a few times... just to attain perfection, eh!
The cucumber sorbet is not at all demanding. You could freeze and agitate regularly in a tub but the best texture will come from churning in an electric ice cream maker. Here it will be used as a required element in this dessert take on a Pimm's drink. But the result is a wonderful, refreshing mix on its own which gives a whole new meaning to being 'as cool as a cucumber'.
Jellies are reasonably straightforward but I can only agree with the online comment advising an extra leaf of gelatine. I'm still figuring out the difference between platinum and bronze grades for successful setting. The fruit is certainly better encased in the initial layer since that will eventually form the top of the jelly.
Work your way through topping up the jelly and preparing the 'garnish'.
Turning out the jelly is one of those moments of trepidation, excitement and, hopefully, satisfaction as you end up with a nicely formed centre-piece to work around.
This is my plating after the first time of making. A few added elderflowers didn't seem a step too far.
I had already decided to make a couple of fluid gels for this one. I reckon I can justify them for flavour but they also contribute in the more esoteric area of presentation.
Cucumber was a fairly obvious choice. Strawberry and beetroot snuck in too. Our raised bed beetroot had just become available so I really was using local, seasonal produce! Maybe I was going for colour in the main but an extra vegetable component didn't seem too much.
A second evening cooking for more friends saw a second helping of 'Pimm's'. Time to play around a little with the plating rather than copy Chef Eggleton's suggestion again.
The summer of 2018 is still with us. You still have time to make this dessert. Perhaps not this year. Maybe, like me, it's one of those desserts which you will finally approach after another year or two of consideration.
Wouldn't it be great if the head of a pastry section were looking over my shoulder to say, "Hey, don't let that go before you've put on the mint and basil leaves!" Oh dear. My version didn't have the perfection of a Great British Chef but a few friends have been seduced into thinking it's near enough.
My job here is done if I've encouraged you to get anywhere close... but, of course, first you must get started.
There is a separate gallery here to show a few more photographs from my journey to Pimm's and beyond.