Food & Drinks

berried treasure

These versatile summer fruits mixed can be worked in with just about anything, from tarts to truffles

Toby Murphy

Sure, you can eat berries by the handful, but you’ll also love these versatile summer fruits mixed with pink peppercorns in just about anything, from tarts to truffles. 

peppercorn and berry tart

For the ginger mascarpone
250g mascarpone
2T preserved ginger in syrup, finely chopped

For the pastry
125g butter
100g castor sugar
1 large egg
250g flour
1t ground pink peppercorns
½t green peppercorns

For the frangipane filling
150g soft, diced butter
½ cup castor sugar
½t vanilla paste
150g ground almond flour
assorted summer berries and figs

To make the ginger mascarpone, mix the mascarpone and ginger together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the pastry, pulse the butter and sugar in a food processor until combined. While the motor is still running, add the egg and process until combined. Add the flour and the peppercorns and blend until it just comes together. Do not overwork the pastry or it will lose all its crumbly, buttery texture. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the frangipane filling, beat the butter and sugar for five minutes or until creamy and pale. Fold in the vanilla paste and almond flour and beat slowly until just combined. Keep cool in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out until about 3mm thick. Press into six greased, loose-bottomed mini tart tins and bake at 180ºC for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a little. Add a large tablespoon of frangipane to each tart and top with berries and figs. Drizzle with honey and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with the ginger mascarpone.

Makes 6 small tarts
The pastry is based on Tina Bester’s Well-Behaved Pastry recipe from her Tarts cookbook.

berry-pepper slush

500g strawberries
500g watermelon
1 cup water
1t ground pink peppercorns
1t ground rainbow peppercorns
castor sugar, to taste
Rosé MCC
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
8 frozen strawberries

Blitz the strawberries and watermelon in a blender until liquid. Stir through the water and pepper and adjust the sweetness to taste with the sugar.

Freeze for at least two hours, stirring with a fork every 30 minutes or so to break up the ice crystals. Refreeze for another 4 hours or until set solid. Flake the ice with a fork and spoon the granita into flutes. Top with the MCC and garnish with cucumber slices and frozen strawberries.

Makes 6 to 8

strawberry, pepper and rose jam

400g strawberries
4g dried organic rose petals
400g sugar
1t ground pink peppercorns
1t ground green peppercorns
squeeze of lemon juice

Toss the strawberries, rose petals and sugar in a bowl to combine, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place the macerated strawberries, ground pepper and lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the syrup begins to thicken. Pour the soft-set jam into hot sterilised jars and refrigerate. Serve with soft runny cremezola, goat’s cheese, grilled pancetta and Melba toast.

Makes 2 jars
The jam will keep for up to three weeks stored in the fridge.

raspberry and white-chocolate truffles

700g white chocolate, divided
200g raspberries
1T castor sugar squeeze of lemon juice
150ml cream
1t ground green peppercorns
2t ground pink peppercorns, divided
icing sugar, for dusting

Finely chop 450g white chocolate and place in a large glass bowl. Heat the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice together, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then simmer for five to eight minutes or until the raspberries have disintegrated to form a rich thick syrup.

Pour in the cream, green peppercorns and 1t pink peppercorns, and mix well. Then, while still piping hot, pour the raspberry mixture over the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate dissolves. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Dust your hands with a little icing sugar and roll the raspberry-chocolate mixture into balls and place on a baking tray dusted with icing sugar. Refrigerate for another hour or so, or until ready to use. For the coating, melt the remaining white chocolate in the microwave at 20-second intervals until runny. Dip the raspberry balls into the chocolate and place back on the tray. Sprinkle over 1t ground pink peppercorns and refrigerate until set.

Makes about 30