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Author: Sue Nowak, Beer Editor

FLUMMERY. What a luscious, lip-smacking word, it just rolls around the tongue. And it is a word with more than one meaning. In the past week it’s rather described what we’ve been getting from our politicians on various topics. “I was driving 200 miles up to Barnard Castle to see if the old jalopy could hit 110mph on the M6, officer.” Flummery. A dictionary definition tells us the word flummery indicates “meaningless flattery” – there’s a bit of that about as well. But my favourite definition is flummery as a dessert dating back to the 17th century – and even there we find duality; the Scots make Highland flummery involving oats, honey, cream and a wee dram, the English style is more of a creamy jelly set in a mould. I’ve taken a bit of both – porridge base and fruity whipped cream topping to create a cool, decadent dessert exactly right for the heatwave. My wee dram is Aspall’s Imperial Cyder from Suffolk made from “a single year’s harvest of bittersweet apples,” and that is precisely the taste in every sip. Dark gold with a lively champagne sparkle it is temptingly moreish; but be warned, the 8.2% ABV is not to be trifled with. The makers describe it as full-bodied with a decadent candied fruit aroma and recommends pairing with rich desserts. So here goes…

Pear and blueberry flummery with Imperial Cyder (serves two)

75g oats; bottle of medium dry cider; 1 large dessert pear; 100g blueberries; 280ml double cream.

Soak oats overnight in around 100ml medium dry cider. Next day drain oats and discard soaking liquor. Peel and core pear and quarter lengthways; place in a smallish pan with the blueberries, add cider to cover, bring to a gentle bubble and simmer very briefly, a couple of minutes, until the pear is just softened (it turns a lovely blush pink from the blueberries). Drain the fruit, reserving the cooking syrup, and leave to cool. Whip cream to form fairly stiff peaks.

You now build your dessert in layers. Take 2 stemmed glasses and divide oat mix between them. Spoon in a layer of cream, cut each pair quarter into four and arrange on top of the cream reserving 6 pieces to decorate the top. Then another layer of cream followed by the blueberries and a final layer of cream. Trickle in a little of the pink cider syrup so it filters down through the glasses. Top each with three pieces of pear. Chill for 2-3 hours and serve with a glass of sparkling cider. Cheers – and bon appétit.

Susan Nowak

Susan Nowak, pictures by Fran Nowak

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