As the evenings are stretching out and bright sunny days are mercifully increasingly common, a bountiful array of seasonal goat's milk cheeses grace our counters once more. Here, we take a look at some ideas to make one of these cheeses the centrepiece of a seasonal dessert.
Yoghurty, bright cheeses such as Sinodun Hill, Dorstone, Karst or Blackmount all pair remarkably well with sweet accompaniments. The freshness and creaminess of the cheese offsets floral, syrupy flavours of poached fruits beautifully.
We also share a recipe for homemade oat biscuits below. These bring an element of crunch, as contrast to the soft textures of the other components. They are subtly sweet, complimenting the acidity of the cheese.
Choose your cheese from the list of suggestions above. Those mentioned here will comfortably serve 4 people.
We have included two options for poached fruit below, choose one or the other.
For the oat biscuits:
115g each: salted butter (softened to room temp), self-raising flour, caster sugar
1 large egg beaten
250g porridge oats
1. Pre-heat your oven to 190'/170' fan.
2. Whisk the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the beaten egg and give the mix a light further whisk.
3. Add the flour and oats, and shape first with a spatula and then with your hands to form a ball of dough.
4. Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin, roll out the dough approx. 1.5cm thick. Cut into rounds with a scone cutter.
5. Bake on a lined baking sheet for about 17-20 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on a wire tray. They should be crisp but not too crunchy.
For the Poached Rhubarb:
poaching syrup: 250g caster sugar, 250 ml of water
optional additions: 1/2 a vanilla pod, split lengthways or a couple of strips of orange zest taken with a potato peeler.
400g of forced Yorkshire Rhubarb, trimmed and cut into batons about 5/6cm long
For the Poached Pears:
poaching syrup: 200g golden caster sugar, and enough water or white wine to cover the fruit.
optional additions: 1/2 a vanilla pod, split lengthways, or a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme.
4 pears, peeled
1. Choose your poaching vessel, for the rhubarb you want a wide pan so that you can arrange the fruit in one even layer. For the pears you want a neater, small deep pot, so the fruit can be fully immersed.
2. Cut a circle of parchment paper to use as a lid over the liquid. This helps to stop sugar burning on the sides of the pan as it cooks.
3. Bring your sugar, flavourings if using, and liquid to the boil, gently simmer without stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Add the fruit, and top with parchment paper. For the rhubarb you want to poach by simmering gently for 5-6 minutes, until the fruit is softened but holding its shape. For the pears, depending on how hard they are, you are typically looking at poaching for 20-30 minutes. Test with a skewer.
5. The fruit will will store well in the fridge for 3-4 days.