May 13th, 2009


Pink Peppercorn Strawberry Jelly and Thyme Infused Honey Custard

Wow did I have fun making this dish today!

Thanks to Great British Menu last week featuring the Welsh heat with Stephen Terry and James Sommerin. Both their desserts reminded me of my childhood. I love jelly and custard and James made a trifle that looked like my mums Christmas delights.

So being inspired by the Great British Menu and my wonderful box of seasonal vegetables from the market I was happy as Larry. The box contained the most fragrant strawberries, it did really remind me of summer. I have almost forgotten the aroma and taste of ripe strawberries.

I cooked up a jelly from half of the strawberries using an old technique that I used to use when working in the restaurants, we called it jus-de-fraise. The beauty with this technique is that you should use the ripest and most bruised strawberries to make the strawberry jus as they do provide the most natural flavours. I still love it after all these years, happy memories.

I have recently started to use alternative herbs and spices in my desserts. It’s brilliant and gives desserts a slightly savoury, interesting and less sweet taste.

I have chosen to add fruity pink peppercorns to the jelly and thyme to the custard. Then combined the thyme, pink peppercorns and brioche crumbs for a garnish to bring all the flavours together.
It works a treat! Revelation!!


strawberries_jellyStrawberry and Pink Peppercorn Jelly

  • 250g over ripe and bruised strawberries
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • ½ tsp pink peppercorns
  • 50g water
  • 1 leaf of gelatine

Wash, hull and cut the strawberries in ¼ ‘s. Place the strawberries with the rest of the ingredients, except the gelatine, in a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water. Cover the metal bowl with cling film.

Let the strawberries cook over the boiling water for 30 minutes, set aside to infuse.

Pass the strawberry juice through a fine sieve and let it drip dry over night in the fridge, do not squeeze, as it will make the juice go cloudy.

Once the juice is cold, measure 200ml of the juice and soak one leaf of gelatine. Dissolve the gelatine and add to the strawberry juice.

Pour the jelly into the moulds and set in the fridge.

Strawberry Salad

  • 8 large strawberries
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Pinch of course sea salt
  • Pinch of fresh chopped thyme

Wash, hull and cut the strawberries in slices.

Add the rest of the ingredients, mix lightly and set aside to macerate at room temperature.

Thyme and Honey Custard

  • 150g milk
  • 100g double cream
  • 40g honey
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 large sprig of thyme

Heat the cream, milk and thyme to just before boiling point. Let the cream infuse for 10 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks and honey.

Bring the cream to the boil, add a ladle of the warm cream to the egg, mix, and return the mixture back to the saucepan. Do not boil, turn the heat down and stir until the cream starts to thicken.

Remove the custard from the heat; pass the custard through a fine sieve.

Pour the custard into a cream whipper and charge with two gas pellets shake vigorously and let the custard cool completely.

Pink Peppercorn Crumb Garnish

  • 1 slice of brioche
  • ½ tsp pink peppercorns
  • 1tbs fresh chopped thyme

Toast the brioche under the grill until golden and crispy, cool.

Grind the toasted brioche and pink peppercorns to fine crumbs and mix in the chopped thyme.

Meringue Sticks

  • 200g large free range egg whites
  • 400g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a medium saucepan.

Gently heat the egg whites over low heat,wear a disposable on one hand and use to stir the egg white and sugar, this will help to pasteurise the eggs and dissolve the sugar.

Use your hand as a temperature control, the temperature should not exceed 37°C, this takes about 5 minutes. Do not boil the egg whites.

Transfer the egg mixture to a mixer with a balloon whisk and whip the meringue until stiff and glossy.

Transfer the meringue to a piping bag and pipe long meringue sticks.

Place the meringues in the preheated oven and dry them for about 30 – 45 minutes.

Assembly of the dish

Spoon the strawberry salad onto the set jelly.
Crush the meringue sticks and place a layer of the meringue bits onto of the strawberries followed with another layer of strawberries.
Shake the cream whipper and squirt the custard on top and finally garnish the dish with the pink peppercorn crumb.
Serve immediately

Makes 4

Food Fanatics Tip
If you require the custard to hold it’s shape for a longer period of time add two leaves of dissolved gelatine leaves to the custard before you pour it into the cream whipper. The added gelatine will stabilise the custard.

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4 Comments to “Pink Peppercorn Strawberry Jelly and Thyme Infused Honey Custard”

  1. Barry says:

    Like the trifle idea.. as u say memories… eating the custard out of the pot after they made the trifles in the patisserie was a favourite.. Baies Roses grow wild here.. amazing with a cream sauce for fish.. have you tried green peppercorns cooked with cream and hus de fraises and served with a strawberry filled crepe… now thats a wow

  2. Gala says:

    Amazing, the flavors and pictures are gorgeous!

  3. Margaret says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Love the kilner jar presentation.
    Have just visited a restaurant in Mid Wales and the lady chef is a friend of the two aforementioned chefs. On her coffee table there was a signed book from Stephen Terry!

  4. Y says:

    Looks so tasty! I love the way the trifle was presented in that episode too.

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