It was a summer of coulis in our house, and a great deal of desserts to go with it! The joy of holidays. It’s been quite a fruity revelation for me. I think that sauces often kick a dish from just regular ‘okay’ to fantastic – they add that little extra that makes all the difference in terms of taste, and usually they have the added bonus of having a pleasing aesthetic quality. A coulis is an easily made, highly versatile fruit puree. It is spectacular with pavlova and Eton mess because the tart, fruity flavour cuts through the cream and sweetness of the meringue.
The turning point for me was its utility when it comes to Victoria sponges and Bakewell tarts. I use coulis where jam is usually added, and then put some in a piping bag and drizzle it over the top of the Victoria sponge that already has buttercream and fresh fruit on. Seriously delicious. The other advantage is that it can be made with fresh or frozen fruit, and it keeps for at least a week in a jar in the fridge – or you can freeze it and defrost it when you need to. I have given a few variations of ingredients here, but practically any fruit can be turned into a coulis, and you can sweeten it to your taste as you get to know the flavours better.
Mixed Berry Coulis
Makes 200 mL
• 200 grams fresh raspberries, blackberries, stoned fresh cherries, or mixed berries
• 50 grams caster sugar
• 50 ml water
Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized heavy-based pan and bring to the boil over a gentle heat, stirring all the time. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until thickened.
Allow to cool and transfer the coulis to a liquidiser, or use a hand blender to puree. Finally, pass it through a sieve, pushing the pulp through with a wooden spoon to get the most out of your fruit.
Or try these variations, using the same method:
• 2 eating apples, cored and sliced with the skin still on
• 1 vanilla pod scraped out
• 300 mL fresh pressed apple juice
• Squeeze of lemon juice
• 400 grams strawberries hulled and halved (or frozen)
• 75 grams caster sugar
• A teaspoon lemon juice
This is not a typo! It jazzes up savoury dishes, and unlike all of the other coulis mentioned above, it needs no cooking at all – just jump straight to the liquidiser stage.This goes so well spooned over the top of fish and vegetables. Trust me.
• 250 grams cherry tomatoes
• A large pinch of caster sugar
• A teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
Clara has recently returned to work after almost nine years at home with her small children. Finding the time to devote to experimentation in the kitchen is a challenge these days, but cooking is still a pleasure when she has enough time to enjoy it.