Prep time:

Cooking time: 12 hours

Total time:

Serves: 4

50ml double cream

250ml whole milk

2 egg yolks

50g caster sugar

½tsp cornflour

1tbsp elderflower cordial

300g gooseberries, washed, topped and tailed

1tsp elderflower cordial

150ml double cream

50g caster sugar

Gooseberries often lose out in the popularity contest to other soft seasonal fruit. These tart and firm little berries just need a little heat and sweetness to reveal their charms. Here Robin pairs the tasty fruit with the classic pairing of elderflower, a short-lived taste of summer and one to make the most of. If foraging for your own elderflower choose a warm sunny morning as the flavour is in the pollen, so rain will wash it away. Don’t rinse the flowers, just gently shake outside to lose any insects; alternatively, use a good quality ready-made elderflower cordial. This is lovely served with lemon shortbread.

  1. Make the custard by heating the milk and cream to just below boiling point. Dip the flower heads of the elderflower into the custard (leaving the green stems outside the mixture). Put the lid on the pan and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
  2. When the infusing time is almost up, whisk together the egg yolks (save the whites for another recipe), sugar and cornflour until starting to thicken in volume and lighten in colour. Remove the elderflowers from the infused milk, or at this stage stir in the elderflower cordial and slowly pour the milk mixture into the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan and slowly heat, stirring all the time with a spatula into the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens to coat the back of spoon. Cool quickly and pour into a lidded container, or a bowl with a plate over the top, and refrigerate. The custard will ‘age’ and thicken overnight.
  3. Make the compote by gently heating the washed gooseberries in a lidded pan. The residual water will be enough. Cook for 10-15 minutes until hot and pulpy before taking off the heat and adding the elderflower heads to the mixture to infuse for 30 minutes or stir in the cordial. Chill thoroughly.
  4. To serve, whip the double cream with caster sugar before gently folding it though the chilled custard. Ripple through three-quarters of the gooseberry compote. At the table, top each portion with the remaining compote, a few reserved elderflowers and, if you like, some lemon shortbread biscuits.

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