Boozy banana pie, refreshing sorbet and a crunchy granita: delicious pudding recipes by top chefs, chosen by Observer Food Monthly.
Matthew Harris's watermelon and mint granita
The refreshing crunch and tingling on the tongue of a perfectly made granita is a joy on a hot summer's day. If you want to embellish it further, a spoonful of mint flavoured creme chantilly on top is delicious. This dessert is easy enough to make, all you need is a freezer, and of course it can be made several days in advance. The trick to getting the crystals of your granita a good size is to freeze the mixture in a shallow metal tray (a very clean roasting tin will do) and to stir it with a fork every 20 minutes.
watermelon 1 medium-sized
lemon juice of ½
icing sugar 50g
mint leaves finely chopped ½ bunch
Mint crème chantilly (optional)
double cream 250ml
vanilla essence 1 tsp
crème de menthe 2tbsp
icing sugar 50g
Cut the melon into wedges and scoop out the flesh. Pop it in the food processor or blender and pulse until you have a slush. Place this in a fine sieve and push through to create the juice. Measure 1 litre watermelon juice and add the lemon juice. Whisk in the sugar and then stir in the mint leaves.
Pour the liquid into a shallow metal tray and place in the freezer. Then every 20 minutes or so open the freezer and stir the liquid. As crystals start to form scrape them away from the edge. This process will need to be repeated until you have a tray full of pink crystals, which can take 3-4 hours.
If making the mint crème chantilly, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until thick. Chill before serving.
Serve the granita in tumblers or other suitable glasses, embellished by a spoonful of the mint crème chantilly.
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Sam Harris's peaches, hazelnut and mint with ice cream
peaches 2, one sliced into thin pieces, the other halved with stone removed
lemon juice a squeeze
toasted whole hazelnuts 1 handful, smashed
mint 1 tbsp, ripped
vanilla or raspberry ripple ice cream to serve
Mix water and sugar and bring to the boil. Add the halved stoned peach and reduce heat down to a slow simmer. Poach until al dente. Remove the peach from the stock syrup and place into iced water. Reduce the stock syrup by half. It should be runny but slightly thick, and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Place the sliced peaches into a mixing bowl and cut up the poached peach into similar-sized pieces, so you have an even mix of cooked and raw. Add a good handful of the smashed hazelnuts, about a tablespoon of ripped mint and a little of the syrup. Gently mix with a spoon and add a squeeze of lemon.
Serve alongside vanilla ice cream or, as we do, raspberry ripple.
Jeremy Lee's pink grapefruit and campari sorbet
These make a sorbet with much zip and ping. Served in a frozen glass, crusted with sugar, Campari poured on top makes for splendid reviving. Slices of strawberries heaped on top has been welcomed, as a modest afterthought.
pink grapefruit juice 750ml (resulting from squeezing 6-7 fruit)
icing sugar 225g
Pour the juice into a liquidiser and add the sugar. Pour through a sieve into an ice cream churning machine. Follow the makers instructions.
When the sorbet is churned, add the Campari, mix briefly and swiftly dispatch to the freezer.
Freeze 6 small wine glasses. Remove from the freezer, let sit 5 seconds then gently dust with caster sugar until evenly dispersed and a pretty crust forms. Let stand a further few seconds until it starts to melt then return to the freezer.
Scoop the sorbet into the glasses, spit spot to the table, a bottle of Campari in attendance to be poured atop.
Claire Ptak's bourbon banana cream pie
Bananas. Tricky territory for me I can assure you. But there is something so pleasing about this cold custard pie with boozy cream and a flaky crust that I forget I don't really like bananas. It's nostalgic and brand new all at once. Just the way I like my treats. There are a few steps here, so just read the whole recipe before you start, to get yourself ready. It is best to make it the morning before you want to serve it so that it has time to set in the fridge. Many of the components can be made ahead of time
large bananas 5-6, ripe but not covered in brown spots
For the pie crust:
plain flour 175g
salt ½ tsp
cold unsalted butter 125g, cut into 1cm cubes
egg 1, beaten
dark chocolate 90g, plus 10g more for shaving on top
For the custard:
egg yolks 4
whole milk 675ml
caster sugar 100g
salt ¼ tsp
vanilla extract 1 tsp
For the cream:
double cream 560ml
bourbon or cognac 1 tbsp
vanilla extract 1 tbsp
caster sugar 2 tbsp
First make the pie crust. You will want a 23cm American pie dish, glass is best. Or you could use a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a 5cm edge.
In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and unsalted butter. I like to use those old-fashioned pastry cutters that consist of about 5 or 6 blades of stainless steel curved like a mezza luna with a comfy handle at the top. You can work quickly, keeping your ingredients cold and it cuts the butter into just the right size. If you don't have one, a large fork or food processor will work. Once the butter is cut into the flour in nice little pieces, you can sprinkle over the ice-cold water. Mix for just a few seconds to get the water into the dough. With your hands (whilst the mixture still looks crumbly) press the dough together into a disc. At this point you could wrap and freeze or chill the dough to use later, or simply let it rest for 5 minutes and then use right away.
Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Roll out the pie dough into a circle about 25cm in diameter. Roll it onto the pin and gently unroll it over your baking dish. Press it down into the dish and then turn the over-hanging edge under and using the back of a fork, gently press the edge down, making a sweet pattern as well as helping the dough stay put whilst it bakes.
Line the dough with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans so that you can blind bake it. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking beans and brush the pie crust with the beaten egg. Return to the oven and bake a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
On a very low heat, melt the chocolate in a heavy-bottomed pan. Do not burn the chocolate. You can just get the melting started and then remove it from the heat without stirring it and it will continue to melt slowly. Stir and pour into the bottom of the baked pie crust. Rotate the pie so that the chocolate coats the inside in a nice, thin even layer. Place in the fridge to chill. This can be done the day before.
Have a fine sieve placed over a bowl ready. Whisk together all of the custard ingredients thoroughly in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over a very low heat and whisk constantly for about 10-15 minutes until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. When the custard is ready, pour through the sieve and into the bowl. Give the custard a stir to release some steam and then press a piece of cling film directly onto the top of the custard so it does not form a skin. Chill for at least an hour. This can also be done the day before. *Tip: If your custard curdles, do not fret, simply use a stick blender or food processor and it should come back together in no time!
To make the cream, put all of the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to soft, voluptuous peaks. Chill if you are not assembling right away. Just before using, stir the cream once or twice to make sure it has not separated.
To assemble the pie, remove your chocolate-lined crust from the fridge. Slice your bananas thinly and lengthways or on an angle. Line the bottom of the crust with half of the banana slices and then pour over the chilled custard. Add the remaining banana slices reserving one or two slices for the top of the pie.
Use a large metal spoon and take scoops of the whipped cream and blob them across the top of the pie so that they are all touching and completely conceal the contents inside. The blobs should have peaks and swoops and look totally luxurious. Place one or two remaining slices of banana on top and grate the remaining 10g of dark chocolate over the top. Chill until ready to serve, at least one hour.
Sam Harris's French toast, grilled apricots and almonds
For the french toast
whole milk 1 litre
caster sugar 2 tbsp
vanilla pod 1 split
butter a good knob
stale sourdough bread 6 slices
For the apricots:
ripe apricots 10, halved
soft butter enough to brush
caster sugar to sprinkle
lemon a squeeze
toasted flaked almonds to serve
Line a baking tray with foil and set the grill to its highest setting. Place the apricots cut side up and brush with soft butter, and sprinkle with caster sugar. Set under the grill and allow to slowly heat and turn golden brown, remove and add a squeeze of lemon.
For the french toast, bring the milk to the boil with the sugar and the split vanilla pod, switch off the heat and allow to cool. Beat the eggs, add the cold milk, and place in a shallow dish.
Slowly heat a good knob of butter in a wide non-stick frying pan. Then dip the bread on both sides in the milk mixture, fry until golden brown, remove from the pan and sprinkle some more sugar on top.
To serve, place the warm grilled apricots on top of the french toast and scatter with toasted flaked almonds. Serve with either vanilla ice cream or sweetened mascarpone.
Jeremy Lee's pink grapefruit and campari sorbet. Photograph: Jean Cazals