Fresh strawberries à la Pimm’s & lemonade

Fresh strawberries à la Pimm’s & lemonade

Paris Pastry Club
Helen Cathcart

There is French summer. Mornings at the market, with the complusory cup of café au lait; afternoons in the garden, picking strawberries and herbs for dinner.

And then, there is the English summer. One day – two, if you’re lucky – that makes you forget about the many shades of grey. Yes, for one day, it’s all about laying in the grass and watching clouds go by. Of course, there is that jug of Pimm’s and lemonade too. And this dessert is all of this. On a plate.

For the basil pâte de fruit


Quantity Ingredient
250g water
185g caster sugar
20g basil leaves, blanched in boiling water and squeezed
50g glucose syrup
9g yellow pectin
15g citric acid
15g water

For the crystallised basil leaves

Quantity Ingredient
1 egg white
granulated sugar, to coat
6 small basil leaves

For the Pimm’s and lemonade sorbet

Quantity Ingredient
180g water
90g caster sugar
100g dehydrated glucose
250g lemonade
120g pimm’s

For the strawberry coulis

Quantity Ingredient
900g strawberries
50g icing sugar

For the cucumber lemonade

Quantity Ingredient
1 cucumber
500g lemonade
2 fat pinches xanthan gum


  1. The crystallised basil leaves

    Whisk the egg white until just frothy. Spread the sugar in a thin even layer on a baking tray or plate.
  2. Coat the basil leaves, one at a time, with the egg whites, removing any excess with your fingers. Dip into the sugar to cover evenly. Gently place onto a lined baking tray and leave to dry overnight at room temperature.
  3. The Pimm’s and lemonade sorbet

    Bring the water and sugars to the boil. Allow to cool down completely and mix in the Pimm’s and the lemonade. Transfer to a plastic container and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Churn according to your ice-cream machine manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. The strawberry coulis

    Blitz 500 g strawberries and sugar in a blender until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve and chill in the fridge. An hour before servng, halve the remaining strawberries and mix with 200 g of coulis. Keep at room temperature.
  5. The cucumber lemonade

    Slice half the cucumber lengthwise into four 5-mm thick slices, trimming the edges to neat rectangles. Add into 300 g of the lemonade, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  6. Juice the rest of the cucumber in a juicing machine and mix with the remaining lemonade. Mix in the xanthan gum by hand, taking care not to create too many bubbles. Keep chilled until needed.
  7. The basil pâte de fruit

    Line a baking tray with a large piece of acetate or baking parchment and set aside.
  8. Bring the water and the 25 g of the sugar to the boil in a small pan and pour onto the basil leaves in a blender. Blitz until smooth, then pass through a fine-mesh sieve lined with muslin cloth.
  9. Weigh out 250 g of this juice into a small pan and add the glucose syrup. Combine the remaining sugar and pectin in a bowl and set aside. Cook the basil syrup on a high heat until it reaches 40°C. Then add the sugar-pectin mix, whisking as you go. Heat to 107°C and take off the heat. Mix the citric acid with the water and add to the syrup. Immediately pour the syrup onto the prepared acetate sheet and leave to set at room temperature.
  10. Use a small knife to cut the pâte de fruit into thin long strips and keep on the acetate until ready to use.
  11. To serve

    Drop a spoonful of strawberry coulis onto the left-hand side of each dessert plate and drag it across diagonally. Place a small mound of marinated strawberries on the left of the plate.
  12. Dice the soaked cucumber slices into tiny cubes and scatter over the strawberries. Top with a couple of crystallised basil leaves and a strip of basil pâte de fruit.
  13. Form quenelles of Pimm’s sorbet and place on the right-hand side of each plate. Drizzle with the thickened cucumber lemonade.
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