The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

May 18, 2013

COOKING WITH SIMON: Keep Your Cool with Summer Desserts

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Temperatures are finally on the rise and while the heat hasn’t set in yet, soon we’ll be longing for something cool.

In the summer heat there is nothing better than a light dessert. Plus we are all trying to cut back on sugar and take advantage of East Texas fresh fruit.

So what do you choose when you long for something sweet after you finish a meal? Pies are good but usually very sugary and heavy in your stomach along with everything else that is trying to digest. How about two desserts that are light as air on your tongue and in your stomach – and they’re pleasing to the eye, as well.

Summer pudding is one of my old English favorites made with fresh berries and white bread – plus no cooking. It’s just assembly, chill overnight and serve. Top with cream or Greek yogurt for a light and refreshing dessert.

And of course, the dessert I make the most – Pavlova. It’s the queen of desserts and as beautiful as a crown. Sweet meringue topped with cream and fresh berries. I make about a dozen or so of these every week, but each time I take a bite it brings back fond childhood memories from New Zealand.



10 egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 cups heavy cream, beaten to stiff peaks

2 cups assorted fresh fruit, kiwis, berries, cherries, star fruit, mandarin oranges



Beat egg whites until thick and stiff. Mix together sugar and cornstarch and add to egg whites one spoon at a time while continuing to beat the egg whites. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and draw 8” round in middle. Using a long spatula or knife, spoon egg mixture in the middle and carefully shape into a tall cake. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. When cool invert onto a plate, remove parchment paper and top with a thick layer of fresh whipped cream. Top with assorted fresh berries and fruit.



2 pounds mixed berries

1 cup sugar

32 slices Sunbeam white bread, crusts removed


Place berries in a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Allow the berries to defrost with the sugar in the refrigerator overnight. You will need 4 pieces of bread for each individual pudding. Using four ounce ramekins or small individual molds, cut a round from a piece of bread that fits into the bottom of the mold. Using two other pieces of bread cut them into large sections that can overlap and line the inside of the mold. Spoon berries into the bread lined mold. Spoon some of the berry liquid over the bread to soak. Take a fourth piece of bread and cut a round large enough to place on the top of the mold to seal completely. Spoon more liquid over that piece of bread. Repeat process with the eight remaining molds. Refrigerate the molds for two hours or overnight. To unmold, place a plate over the mold and flip over. Gently tap on the mold and let the pudding slide out. If necessary use a small thin knife to loosen the sides. Serve with whipped cream and/or powdered sugar.

Makes 8 individual puddings.


Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to or call 903-729-9500.