Michelin-star chef Tom Kitchin recalls fond memories of berry picking and creates three wonderful dishes which showcase Scottish summer berries
At this time of year, Scottish berries come into their own and we get the chance to enjoy vibrant reds, pinks and purples on the plate. At our restaurant, even our desserts follow our From Nature to Plate philosophy, using only the very best seasonal ingredients in our sweet dishes too.
Scottish strawberries start to arrive at our restaurant around the end of April and are followed by raspberries and blackberries in June or July. Blueberries also arrive in the summer months. They have become one of Britain’s fastest growing berries, with more local producers in the UK than ever before. Gone are the days when these lovely little berries were an exotic ingredient. In fact, often the blueberries you’ll find here are much tastier and tangier because of the colder climate they’re grown in. They’re still not as easy to get hold of locally as strawberries and raspberries are, but it’s worth seeking them out for their sweet, rich flavour.
Perthshire is renowned for its fantastic berries, thanks to the balance of rain and the fertility of the soil in the area. I’ve been working with trusted suppliers in Blairgowrie ever since we opened our restaurant The Kitchin, as they bring us some of the best summer berries in the world. I still have fond memories of my first job picking strawberries at a berry farm near our family home in Perthshire. I have never forgotten the flavour of those berries, just picked and fresh from the field. To this day I still can’t think of anything better than a sunny day spent enjoying newly picked summer berries.
SCOTTISH BLUEBERRY MACARON
170g icing sugar
80g egg whites
50g caster sugar
Purple food colouring
For best results, use a food processor to blend the almonds and icing sugar together then set aside. If you do not have a food processor you can use an electric whisk to combine the almonds and icing sugar.
Whisk the egg whites in the processor or with an electric whisk and add the caster sugar, whisking until the eggs are white and glossy, avoiding over whisking. At this stage, add a little food colouring to give a subtle colour to the macarons, gel or powder colour tends to work best. Mix the egg whites with the sugar and almond mixture using a spatula to combine the two, being careful not to over work. The ideal texture will drop from your spatula and not hold its shape when it rejoins the mixture – this is called the ‘macronage’. If your mix is still thick then mix one or two times more.
Pre-heat oven to 120°C. Fill a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle with the macaron mix. Prepare a large sheet of greaseproof paper and cut to the size of a large flat baking tray. On the greaseproof paper prepare a template for each individual macaron with a ring of your desired size, I have used 7mm, run a pen around the outer edge. Repeat this, leaving 1cm gaps between each template. Place the paper on your baking tray and pipe the macaron mix in to the centre of each template until the edges of the mix touch the rim of the template circle. Repeat this until the tray is full.
Using the heel of your hand, hit the underside of the tray 4-5 times until the excess air has dispersed and the macaron fills out slightly. Leave to dry out for 35-40 minutes, this helps the cooking process. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the macaron lifts off the paper without leaving a trace. Garnish with blueberries and raspberries and serve.
55g caster sugar
500ml pink sparkling wine or pink Champagne
4 leaves of gelatine
150g raspberries, or any seasonal
fruit you like
Put the water and sugar into a small saucepan over a low to medium heat. Stir to dissolve the crystals, then raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, simmer for five minutes then remove the pan. Pour the sparkling wine into a large heatproof bowl and add the gelatine. Set aside for about five minutes, or until the leaves are soft and squidgy. Take out the leaves, squeeze off as much liquid as possible, and add them to the sugar syrup. Whisk furiously until the gelatine has completely dissolved, then pour the syrup back into the bowl with the sparkling wine and whisk to combine.
Allow to cool thoroughly, then refrigerate the jelly for about one hour. As soon as it starts to thicken, stir in the raspberries or other selected fruit. Divide the jelly between six glasses and cover them with cling film. Refrigerate for four to six hours, or until they have completely set. Serve in a bowl and pour over champagne.
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH SUMMER BERRIES
8oz white chocolate
2oz caster sugar
2 leaves bronze gelatine, soaked in water until soft
In a heavy bottom pan, on a low heat, gently warm the water and sugar until dissolved. Add the white chocolate and gelatine and stir slowly until both the chocolate and gelatine have dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Meanwhile, whip the cream until it begins to thicken before folding in the cooled chocolate mix. Set in small round moulds and leave in the fridge to set for approximately two hours.
FOR THE STRAWBERRY SAUCE
200g strawberries, hulled
20g icing sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Mix the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove pips.
FOR THE BERRIES
50g each of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries
FOR THE SORBET
250g raspberries, puréed
60g caster sugar
1tbsp liquid glucose
In heavy bottom pan gently warm 50g raspberry purée with the liquid glucose. Then add remaining purée before churning in an ice cream machine or alternatively pour mixture in to a tub and place in freezer. Stir every 20 minutes until sorbet is completely frozen.
Turn mousse out of mould and set in centre of serving plate. Dress with mixed berries, sorbet and strawberry sauce.