Summer Fruits Steeped in Wine, Basil and Mint

Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc.

A simple feast for a summer’s day; the refreshing taste of red fruits combined with minty, peppery and citrus flavours.

Preparation: 30 mins, plus 6 1/2 - 12 hours macerating.

Special equipment: 2-3cm melon baller. 

Summer Fruits Steeped in Wine, Basil and Mint

Ingredients Required

For the Liquor
250ml Monbazillac or dessert wine
90ml Red wine, Cabernet sauvignon
40g Caster sugar
4 turns Freshly ground black pepper
1tsp Vanilla (the best extract)
100ml Cold water
For the macerated fruit
230g Raspberries, washed (*1)
160g Strawberries stemmed, washed halved and quartered (*1)
100g Blackberries (*1)
20g Caster sugar
12 leaves Spearmint
6 leaves Fresh basil
6 leaves Lemon verbena (optional) (*2)
1/2 Cherentais melon
For the spun sugar lattice (optional)
100ml Cold water
300g Caster sugar
1 pinch Finely grated lemon, lime, orange zest
1 pinch Finely shredded herbs (jullienne), such as mint, basil, lemon verbena
1 pinch Dried raspberries and/or dried strawberries finely chopped (*3)
To serve
Sprigs Mint or lemon verbena
100ml Chilled pink champagne

Cooking Method

To macerate the fruit (*1)

In a large bowl, combine all the berries, sugar and herbs. Toss gently to mix and leave to macerate for 30 minutes.

To prepare the liquor

Pour both wines into a small saucepan and add the sugar, pepper and vanilla. Place over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute (*4). Turn off the heat and add the cold water. Set aside to cool down to approximately 40°C (*5). Add the wine mixture to the macerated fruit. Using your melon baller, scoop the melon into 12 balls and add them too. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to a day.

To make the sugar lattice

If required, an hour or less before serving (*6), pour the water into a medium saucepan, add the sugar and let it absorb the water for 1–2 minutes. Then dissolve over a medium heat, bring to the boil and cook to a dark golden caramel (*7). Remove from the heat and dip the base of the pan in cold water briefly to stop the cooking. Allow the caramel to cool down and thicken a little before making your lattice. Using a fork, thread caramel onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper, using a back and forth motion to make a large square. Sprinkle the citrus zest, herbs and chopped dried fruit evenly over the threads. Thread caramel over the top at right angles to the first layer, creating a latticework that encases the flavourings. Leave until set, then carefully break into 4 squares. (Or you can thread the caramel over the back of a ladle to create a lovely dome; once set, de-mould and repeat to make 3 more lattices, re-warming the caramel slightly to melt if necessary.)

To serve

Transfer the fruit and liquor to a large glass serving bowl or individual bowls. Pour a little pink Champagne into each bowl and garnish with the mint sprigs (*8). At the last moment, carefully position the spun sugar lattice, if using, on each serving.


Kitchen Secrets

Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury.

Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2011.