Nick Cullen urges us to make the most of raspberries while they are in season

FRESH raspberries are often considered to be the best flavoured of all the berries with their delicate yet intensely perfumed taste and beautiful vivid colour.

They have been cultivated in the UK since the 1600s and remain a firm favourite during the summer months. Most of the raspberries sold in the UK come from Scotland, which forms an important part of the country’s economy, with over 15 tonnes cultivated annually.

Luckily for us raspberry lovers, they also score highly on the nutritional scale, containing more vitamin C than oranges and being high in fibre, potassium, vitamin A and calcium.

Raspberries are best eaten when freshly picked or straight from the box but you can also incorporate them into a variety of summer dishes.

Toss them into salads, add them to yoghurt, cakes and ice cream, create cocktails, cordials and sauces (for savoury and sweet dishes) or use them to create classic British desserts like summer pudding and Eton Mess. You can even have a bash at making your own jam if you’re feeling fruity.

Today’s recipe is quite a ‘chef-y’ dish but don’t be put off by its fancy name – it’s easy enough to make at home if you’re having a special meal or dinner party. It’s a great way to use fresh raspberries and is regularly on my restaurant menu during the summer months. Make things easy on yourself and use ready-made puff pastry, nobody will be able to tell the difference!


(Serves 6)

350g puff pastry

250ml whipped cream

3 tbsp Icing sugar plus extra to decorate

200g fresh raspberries

For the crème Patisserie

250ml full fat milk

4 egg yolks

1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

60g caster sugar

2 tsp cornflour

2 tsp plain flour

To make the crème patisserie, heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl and add the cornflour and flour, whisking well to ensure there are no lumps. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously as you do so to create a smooth consistency custard.

Return the custard to the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool completely, covering with cling-film to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate until needed.

Pre-heat the oven to 200c/Gas 7.

Unroll the pastry sheet and place on a non-stick baking tray. Sprinkle with icing sugar and a layer of baking parchment and sit another heavy baking tray on top. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes until the pasty is crisp and golden.

Allow to cool then transfer to a board and cut into 18 equal sized pieces. Or you can create one large mille-feuille that you can slice into portions at the table; simply divide the pastry into three at this stage.

Whip the cream with three tbsp. of icing sugar then very gently fold into the crème patisserie - the idea is to loosen it slightly. Add to a piping bag fitted with a plain, wide nozzle.

To assemble, place a spot of the cream onto each plate and sit a piece of pastry on top (this holds it in place). Pipe the cream onto the pastry and top it with a few raspberries.

Place another piece of pastry on top, more piped cream and more raspberries. Finish with a third layer of pastry and dust the top with icing sugar to serve.