Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake {gluten-free}

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake sees in the bounty of early summer spiked with the fruity pepperiness of pink peppercorns.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

During the last few days of my pregnancy I was at the farmer’s market and was offered a taster of cheesecake. Since I was avoiding all sugar due to my borderline gestational diabetes I had to decline. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I hadn’t let any sugar pass my lips for a good month or that I am a sucker for cheesecake anyway but the thought of this humble taster haunted my dreams. I threw a fist to the sky and declared that the very first Sunday after I had the baby I was making a beeline to the farmer’s market to buy up every single last slice of cheesecake they had on offer and devouring it there and then.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

Well it didn’t quite happen like that but since Beau’s birth I have been back to the farmer’s market and treated myself to the odd slice of cheesecake. So much so that Sunday Cheesecake has now become an unfortunate habit. I really should know better than to form food habits as they are so hard for me to break.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

Cheesecake in particular is danger zone territory as it would perhaps be my number one dessert. It definitely grabs second place behind cake for my favourite sweet treat. I can rarely have it out and about though as they don’t often come gluten-free. Which is crazy. So few eateries offer a gluten-free dessert and when they do it’s usually something incredibly boring like poached pears and the inevitable ice cream option.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

However, it’s so easy to make gluten-free cheesecake without compromising on any taste or consistency. All you do is just use gluten-free biscuits as the base. Now I’m very aware that not all gluten-free biscuits are created equal. Most shop bought gluten-free biscuits are in fact diabolical, too sweet and crumbly. But they are definitely getting better and my favourite brands of gluten-free biscuits, Prewett’s and Nairn’s, are actually just as good as any wheat based biscuit. So basically, pick your brand, bearing in mind that supermarket’s own are rarely much cop. Having said that, your biscuits are soaked in delicious butter then layered beneath thick creamy cheesecake and a mound of whipped cream so any lack of biscuit quality is heavily masked.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

To bake or not to bake. There are two main types of cheesecake, one is a no-bake, quickly assembled job without eggs, just cream cheese, cream and sugar. Or the other, which we always knew growing up as New York Cheesecake, which includes eggs and is baked. I love both. No-bake cheesecake is a bit lighter in consistency but I will happily accept any on offer with unabashed glee. Don’t get involved in a discussion about their respective merits though with Luke who is unfairly derogatory about baked cheesecakes and does not see them as worthy of his time. This Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake is baked though and thinking that would mean I could have at it all to myself, I still found him sneaking into the fridge the next day to cut himself several illicit slivers. I even thought the pink peppercorns would dissuade Cole due to their ‘spiciness’ but then I forgot they are red so they only enticed him further.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

The delicate spiciness of the pink peppercorns is the real star attraction of this cheesecake, paired sublimely with this season’s brand new strawberries. The colour of the cheesecake is intoxicating and their spiky hit unexpected.

Pink peppercorns are dried berries from the Baius Rose plant but not strictly peppercorns, as they are actually from the cashew family, rather than being derived from the genus Piper. But they achieved the moniker of peppercorn due to their appearance and their sweet peppery flavour.

Strawberries can take a bit of spice so their pairing works beautifully. The amount of pink peppercorns I’ve included in the batter of the cheesecake is subtle, but the dusting of peppercorns on top can be turned up a notch if you need something spicier.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

To strawberrify the cheesecake I used freeze-dried strawberry powder which really is one of my larder essentials. I use these freeze-dried fruit powders all the time. It’s a godsend ingredient in baking, like in this Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Strawberry Sweet Pesto Cake or Raspberry Matcha Cake. However I also use it in smoothies, porridge and my one of my favourite breakfasts – coconut yoghurt mixed with strawberry powder and almond butter. In fact that last option might be worthy of a blog post of its own. So delicious.

Strawberry powder has all the intense flavour of strawberries, in fact more so, but without any of the liquidity of fresh strawberries which messes around with the consistency of the bake. It is an invaluable ingredient for cake batter or buttercreams. And since the powder lives merrily in the larder for a good length of time it means I always have amazing tasting strawberry yoghurt to hand, strawberry season or no.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

For the base of the batter recipe I turned to Ottolenghi, whose cheesecakes really do exemplify the genre. His recipe for Caramel and Macadamia Cheesecake in his original Ottolenghi cookbook holds a special place in my heart as it won me my very own Bake Off title, at our in-house competition at the production company I worked for at about eight years ago. So I used the essential ingredients in that batter for adaptation here.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

I finished off my cheesecake with a beautiful cloud of unsweetened whipped double cream as I love the contrast between the lightness of the cream and the creaminess of the cheesecake. Then I dusted the top generously with more crushed pink peppercorns and strawberry powder. Also, not to be missed on top are the fresh strawberries which are finally in season and we should certainly take advantage of.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

I photographed this cheesecake whilst the royal wedding was playing in the background. It’s amazing how food memories can capture a moment and editing these photos this morning I was suddenly whisked back into the fairytale world of romantic carriages, a gleaming white dress, antique tiaras, incredibly floral displays, diddy bridesmaids and celeb spotting. I’m sure this memory is now set in stone and whenever I make this Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake in the future I will cast a thought to Harry and Meghan.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

Print Recipe
Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake {gluten-free}
Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake sees in the bounty of early summer spiked with the fruity pepperiness of pink peppercorns.
Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
  • 70 g unsalted butter
  • 160 g gluten-free oat biscuits*
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 600 g cream cheese
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 70 g sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 50 g freeze-dried strawberry powder + ½ teaspoon extra for sprinkling
  • teaspoons pink peppercorns + ½ teaspoon extra for sprinkling crushed
  • 300 g double cream
  • A handful of fresh strawberries for decorating
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
  • 70 g unsalted butter
  • 160 g gluten-free oat biscuits*
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 600 g cream cheese
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 70 g sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 50 g freeze-dried strawberry powder + ½ teaspoon extra for sprinkling
  • teaspoons pink peppercorns + ½ teaspoon extra for sprinkling crushed
  • 300 g double cream
  • A handful of fresh strawberries for decorating
Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and leave to cool for a few minutes just so the butter is warm rather than hot which helps your biscuit base from becoming too greasy.
  3. Whizz up the biscuits and salt in a food processor then with the mixer still on pour in the melted butter until it combines with the biscuit to become a thick sandy texture.
  4. Press the biscuit base into an 8 inch springform tin using the bottom of a glass and push the base slightly up the sides of the tin.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and leave to cool whilst you make the filling.
  6. Turn oven down to 140°C
  7. To make the cheesecake batter, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  8. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice, strawberry powder and pink peppercorns.
  9. Add eggs one at a time until just blended. Don’t overmix.
  10. You need to bake the cheesecake in a water bath so wrap the outside of the cake tin with tin foil to avoid water seeping in. I used 3 sheets for extra security, making sure they overlapped each other to completely cover up the sides of the cake tin.
  11. Place the tin in a large roasting dish then pour the batter on top of biscuit base, smoothing the surface.
  12. Pour boiling water into the large roasting dish around your cheesecake tin. It should reach an inch up the side of the tin.
  13. Carefully place the roasting dish in the oven and bake the cheesecake for about 60 minutes.
  14. Turn off the heat and leave the oven door ajar for a further 60 minutes before you remove the cheesecake.
  15. Take out the oven, leave to cool to room temperature then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight to chill.
  16. To remove the cheesecake from the tin, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake before you carefully release the latch of the springform tin. Use a cake lifter to slide underneath the base of the cheesecake to separate it from the tin and slide back onto a serving plate.
  17. Whip the double cream until thick and floppy but so that it holds its shape a little then dollop on top of the cheesecake, swirling to the edges with a palette knife.
  18. Dust the strawberry powder and the crushed peppercorns over the top. Then finally arrange fresh strawberries in the centre.
Recipe Notes

*I used Nairn’s Gluten-Free Biscuit Breaks Oats & Syrup

Recipe for the cheesecake adapted from the Caramel and Macadamia Cheesecake in the Ottolenghi Cookbook

SHOP THE RECIPE

Recently I have been using a lot of products from Realfoodsource.com and have been really happy with their service and quality of ingredients. I was excited when I found out they also stocked freeze-dried fruit powder and so for this recipe I really would recommend using RealFoodSource Certified Organic Freeze Dried Strawberry Powder 100G. I am not sponsored by them, I just really love their products.

I don’t think you can go wrong with ingredients from Whole Foods and I used these Peppercorns Pink 250g to make this Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake.

The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these links to buy your ingredients then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund my shopping list so if you do click through then many thanks!! To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble is a marriage of the best of this year’s sweet and tangy berries under a crisp and slightly chewy crumble topping.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Gooseberry season is pretty much over but I am hoping you hoarded as many as I did during their too short lifespan this year and stashed them in the freezer to make this crumble.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

I feel like I have been eating Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble all summer and I have to tell you I am not getting bored of it. The combination of sweet juicy strawberries with their tangy gooseberry brethren is so perfect that this is the pudding that I have been serving up warm with ice cream most Sunday evenings after our roast dinner. Luckily there is always some left for Mondays and Tuesdays but it would be a sin to warm it back up as there is even more joy to be had when the crumble is cold.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

I came up with the recipe last year and meant to post about it then but time got away with me and so it was first on my hitlist this summer. However, the gluten-free crumble topping has proved a little elusive. The main reason being that I wanted to shy away from using rolled oats which is how I’ve been making my crumbles lately. But this time I wanted something more authentic to the crumbles we used to enjoy when I was a child.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

I cracked the code though. A crispness on top with a slight chew thanks to the sweet rice flour and the use of brown sugar with the roughly chopped almonds giving a pleasant crunch. The crumble topping is generous, there is much more crumble than fruit but again, that was always the way when we were younger.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

I macerate the gooseberries and strawberries for a few hours in sugar which preserves the shape of the fruit during the bake so they don’t fall into a mushy slump. Then I mix the fruit with a bit of cinnamon and ginger and a couple of tablespoons of tapioca pearls which absorbs the excess fruity liquid at the bottom of the crumble and forms an almost jelly. This jelly is the crown jewel of the crumble and I defy you not to drag your spoon at the bottom of the dish seeking out more whilst the crumble is cooling and you have already had your fill.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

If you have fallen short of gooseberries this year then you don’t have to wait until next year as wild blackberries would make an ideal replacement. They have the same tartness which would pair very well with the last of the season’s strawberries.

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}
Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble is a marriage of the best of this year’s sweet and tangy berries under a crisp and slightly chewy crumble topping.
Overhead image of a bowl of Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble with ice cream and a spoon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 400 g strawberries
  • 300 g gooseberries
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca pearls
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Crumble Topping
  • 80 g sweet rice flour
  • 60 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 25 g tapioca flour
  • 80 g almonds roughly chopped
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 400 g strawberries
  • 300 g gooseberries
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca pearls
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Crumble Topping
  • 80 g sweet rice flour
  • 60 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 25 g tapioca flour
  • 80 g almonds roughly chopped
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Overhead image of a bowl of Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble with ice cream and a spoon
Instructions
  1. Hull the strawberries and top and tail the gooseberries then tip into a large bowl and toss with the caster sugar.
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for at least 4 hours to macerate (overnight is okay).
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  4. Pour the fruit and the juice into the bottom of a baking dish and stir in the tapioca pearls.
  5. Sprinkle the ginger, cinnamon and vanilla extract over the fruit and stir in.
  6. In a separate bowl mix the flours, almonds and sugars together then rub in the butter until it starts to clump together. I used the paddle attachment of a food processor for ease in this step but don’t take the crumble too far or it will be too sandy.
  7. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping then place in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top of the crumble is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up from within.

Shop The Recipe

There are not a lot of kitchen gadgets that I think are worth the space in the kitchen but I do so love my strawberry huller. It is cute and takes the stem off my strawberries with barely any strawberry waste. I use the Chef’n StemGem Strawberry Huller which has been brilliant. The image is an amazon affiliate link so if you purchase through this link then I will get a small commission at no cost to you but will go towards funding this blog.

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

This recipe was invented by my sister, a connoisseur of all things cocktail. We are a pretty lethal double act; I’ll provide the food, usually of epic quantities, and my sister invariably whips up a large bottle of some delicious alcoholic concoction which will knock you for six, in the best way possible.

Ingredients for Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

This particular sangria, bursting with bright British strawberries and zingy with sweet stem ginger, was brought over to my house on May bank holiday a couple of years ago. I needed cheering up after a failed round of IVF and had thrown a small and impromptu barbecue to thrust two fingers up at the powers that be.

That afternoon was spent sloshing around my shoeboxed size North London back garden, bellowing out ‘Let It Go’, I imagine much to the chagrin of my very accommodating neighbours, and drinking copious amounts of this enticing sangria.

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

I became pregnant only a few months later, by natural means as it goes, and so this occasion stands in my memory as the two sisters’ last hurrah for cocktails and karaoke. Now my sister is expecting and although she cannot partake in the sangria when I go and visit her this weekend, I wanted to celebrate our wonderful baby-fortunes by toasting the occasion with her fantastic creation. For the non-alcoholic version of this Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria (which is what she’ll be drinking), just make the strawberry and stem ginger base as per the method below, then instead of mixing it with red wine and bourbon, top with soda water. A pretty fantastic virgin cocktail by anyone’s standard.

I think we’re all going to need a little bit of sweet and spicy sangria this bank holiday as by all accounts the heatwave is pawing the ground ready to charge and everyone knows in the UK you have to grab the bull by the horns – this might be the only few days of summer we’re going to get!

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

2 balls stem ginger plus 1 tablespoon of the syrup
300g strawberries, hulled
Juice of 2 limes
1 bottle rioja (or similar Spanish red wine)
60ml bourbon

  • Place the stem ginger, syrup, strawberries and lime juice in the blender and whizz up until smooth.
  • Pour into a large jug along with the red wine and bourbon and stir together.
  • Serve over plenty of ice.
Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

Strawberry Honey Cake

A beautiful summer inspired Strawberry Honey Cake.

Strawberry Honey Cake.
It was an exciting moment this week when I found the first of the British strawberries in the supermarket. I love their newly prolonged season, especially since I never get bored of a strawberry. As Spring moves into Summer the taste of the strawberries evolve meaning you get a little bit of something different as the seasons progress.

Strawberry Honey Cake

These strawberries I took home this week were sweet and juicy. It was excellent forward thinking on my part that I had picked up a couple of punnets as the first one was unashamedly eaten during the prepping stages of baking this cake.

Strawberry Honey Cake

I couldn’t help but pair this cake with honey, I have been collecting local honey from all the little farm shops and farmer’s markets I have been visiting these past few months so I have quite the larder full. I chose a light clear floral honey for the cake and baked it into the batter along with some sour cream to add density and offset the sweetness. I then topped the cake in the same way, a simple buttercream which I then imbued with more of the honey and sour cream.

Strawberry Honey Cake

Strawberry Honey Cake is a perfect teatime treat, enjoyed out in the garden with the distant sound of a lawnmower buzzing in the background. Although it did lead me to contemplate what a sorry state my garden is actually in at the moment and fret over the grassless lawn and ghostly pots of long gone plants so it wasn’t the perfect idyll.

Strawberry Honey Cake

I regret not drizzling my finished cake with honey as well before I took the photos, the idea only came to me as I was tucking into the cake afterwards. The extra drizzle really lifted the strawberries and accentuated the honey so make sure you don’t forget it like me.

Print Recipe
Strawberry Honey Cake
A beautiful summer inspired Strawberry Honey Cake.
Strawberry Honey Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 270 g plain flour *for gluten-free see below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 150 g strawberries hulled and chopped into quarters
Honey Buttercream:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 165 g icing sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 50 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 270 g plain flour *for gluten-free see below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 150 g strawberries hulled and chopped into quarters
Honey Buttercream:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 165 g icing sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 50 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
Strawberry Honey Cake
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until pale and fluffy
  3. Add the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
  4. Pour in the honey and mix well, then the vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour to the rest of the cake batter, mixing well. Then follow with half the sour cream, mix it in then another 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the sour cream then the last third of the flour. Mix until the batter has just combined.
  7. Pour nearly all of the cake batter into the baking tin.
  8. Puncture the batter with the chopped strawberries in a single layer before spreading on the very last of the cake batter to cover the strawberries.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack completely before icing.
  10. For the honey buttercream beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  11. Pour in the honey, sour cream and a pinch of salt and mix until completely combined.
  12. Using a palette knife spread the buttercream thickly on top of the cake.
  13. Decorate with strawberries and drizzled honey.
Recipe Notes

* For a gluten-free version of the cake, substitute the plain flour for a blend of:
60g sweet rice flour
45g oat flour
35g millet flour
20g potato starch
15g tapioca flour

Homemade Pimms

Nothing brings in summer like a cool refreshing glass of Pimms. This homemade version is delicious and great fun to have a bash at.

Homemade Pimms

Last week I had a helluva time fine tuning my Homemade Pimms recipe let me tell you. Exhausting taste testings were happening at all hours of the day just so I could get the recipe extra right. It was essential that these taste testings happened in the garden as well, when the sun was just so, to guarantee the drink would work perfectly in an authentic environment. Even when I was ultra sure that the balance of sweetness from my cucumber, lemon verbena and mint syrup was exactly correct and the blend of the gin, vermouth, orange curacao and aperol complimented each other impeccably, well, then started the road testing of all the mixers. I cannot tell a lie, it was a very trying week, and did not at all involve getting terribly merry in the middle of the working week for kicks. It was extremely hard work. You can thank me later.

Homemade Pimms

Pimms is the best-known brand of summer fruit cup and it has become synonymous with the cocktail. It was invented in 1823 by James Pimm at The Oyster Bay in Lombard Street, London and was the first mass-produced summer fruit cup. Before then pubs and households just used to make their own blend, consisting of an alcohol base, usually gin, infused with herb and fruit extracts, then topped with a mixer to create a long drink. These days we are completely reliant on trusty old Pimms to herald our barbecues, sports days and of course Wimbledon, and why not, it’s a best seller for a reason.

Homemade Pimms

It has been very important for me to get a good homemade version of the summer cup on the go. It’s absolutely quintessential this time of year and should you run out mid-barbecue it can incite riots amongst even the most polite members of middle England. A social gathering throughout the months of May-September would not be worthy of this country should Pimms not be involved and the great thing about it is how healthy it is. You should stuff as much fruit into your huge plastic jugs as you possibly can as then it has the added benefit of counting as part of your five a day, and that’s not even being facetious, like when you’re swigging back the sunny d and claiming it’s all for the greater good. In the early 1800s when summer cups were at the most popular they were sold as having health benefits, and I don’t see why we need to quibble, they all lived to a ripe old age back then didn’t they?

Homemade Pimms

Making your own Pimms is extremely easy; it begins with an infused sugar syrup. All you need to do is add equal quantities of sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved, then tuck in mint leaves, lemon verbena and cucumber, which are the quintessential flavours to a summer cup. Simmer for a couple of minutes then take off the heat to infuse for an hour or so. This sugar syrup is then the base to which you add the alcohol, it just takes the edge of the potent concoction and sparks up notes of summer before you have even mixed it with all the fruit. The recipe for the syrup below is slightly too much for the amount of summer cup I made, I would have reduced the quantities for you, but making extra is a huge boon as I have been experimenting with this syrup in my drinks left, right and centre. It turns out it is pretty versatile, but the most successful use of it has been drizzling a bit in the bottom of a glass of prosecco to make the most summery bellini you could ever imagine. It’s definitely worth making the syrup for this purpose alone.

I didn’t want my Pimms to be as sweet as the commercial stuff so I was a bit restrained when adding the sugar syrup. I also achieved a more personal blend by adding a splosh more gin that a traditional recipe might include and also a little spritz of aperol which just grabs you just at the end.

Homemade Pimms

Now, the main issue I have when drinking Pimms out and about is not the drink itself but the mixer that it generally paired with – commercial lemonade. It’s just too sweet for me and I can usually just about manage a whole glass before I’m done. I much prefer the taste of the other traditional mixer, ginger ale, but even that can be a bit sweet towards the end of the glass, particularly when you have reached the booze soaked strawberries. After my trials and tribulations going through all the mixers last week I had two absolute standouts. My preferred mixer was half ginger ale (preferably Fever tree) and half tonic water (ditto). Or, my personal favourite, if you want to go completely off piste, was when I paired the summer cup with iced tea. For me, it had the perfect levels of sweetness and refreshing vitality. I find the best ratio of any of your preferred mixer is 1 part summer cup to 3 parts mixer.

The final step is to make a huge jug of the stuff, fill with ice and a fruit salad of your choice, but the absolute necessities to include are cucumber, strawberries and fresh mint. The latter of which you must leave whole, there is nothing worse that picking bits of chopped mint out of your teeth when you’re trying to have a civilised conversation. Although feel free to add any other fruit you fancy as anything else is just fruity gravy.

Homemade Pimms

I urge you to experiment with your own summer cup this summer and you’ll grow even more fond of this most cherished British summertime tradition.

Print Recipe
Homemade Pimms
Nothing brings in summer like a cool refreshing glass of Pimms. This homemade version is delicious and great fun to have a bash at.
A glass of Homemade Pimms filled with fruit and ice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
75 cl
Ingredients
For the cucumber mint syrup:
  • 250 ml water
  • 250 ml white sugar
  • ½ cucumber
  • tiny handful lemon verbena
  • 2 sprigs apple mint
For the Pimms:
  • 300 ml Gin
  • 200 ml Red Vermouth Martini Rosso
  • 100 ml Orange Curacao Triple Sec
  • 1 tbsp Aperol
  • 200 ml summer cup syrup
For mixing:
  • Either lemonade, ginger ale, tonic water or iced tea
For serving:
  • Strawberries, mint leaves and cucumber
  • Slices of orange, apple, lemon and other fruits are optional
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
75 cl
Ingredients
For the cucumber mint syrup:
  • 250 ml water
  • 250 ml white sugar
  • ½ cucumber
  • tiny handful lemon verbena
  • 2 sprigs apple mint
For the Pimms:
  • 300 ml Gin
  • 200 ml Red Vermouth Martini Rosso
  • 100 ml Orange Curacao Triple Sec
  • 1 tbsp Aperol
  • 200 ml summer cup syrup
For mixing:
  • Either lemonade, ginger ale, tonic water or iced tea
For serving:
  • Strawberries, mint leaves and cucumber
  • Slices of orange, apple, lemon and other fruits are optional
A glass of Homemade Pimms filled with fruit and ice
Instructions
  1. To make the syrup, heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Add the other ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside the saucepan to cool and the flavours to infuse for 1-2 hours. Strain then decant the syrup into a jar, you won’t need all of it for the recipe.
  4. Mix 200ml of the syrup with the alcohol, stirring it all together well. Decant into a jar until you are ready to drink it.
  5. Make up with 1 part summer cup to 3 parts mixer, plenty of ice and lots of mint, cucumber and chopped fruit.
  6. The summer cup will keep happily in your drinks cabinet for the whole of the summer, not that mine lasted the week.