Andrew Pern can't decide if this is a pudding or sweet afternoon tea, either way it is a fresh and delicious summer recipe

For the jelly

500ml (17fl oz) water

200g (7oz) caster sugar

20 elderflower heads

4 gelatine leaves
Combine the water and caster sugar. Boil for five minutes, remove from heat, add the elderflower and leave to infuse for an hour. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve to remove flower heads and bring to the boil. Soak the gelatine in cold water and squeeze out the excess water. Warm the syrup and add the gelatine, stirring until dissolved, then pour into jelly moulds and let it set in the fridge. [To make with cordial use 400ml (14fl oz) water, 100ml (31⁄2fl oz) cordial and sugar to taste. Warm the liquid and add the gelatine.]
For the sponge fingers

5 eggs

85g (31⁄4oz) caster sugar

85g (31⁄4oz) flour

25g (1oz) unsalted

butter (melted)

Strawberry jam

Icing sugar

Line a baking tray with parchment. Begin by whisking the eggs until they have doubled in size. Whisk in the sugar then fold in the flour, followed by the butter. Pour a thin layer straight into the baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes at 180°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut in half, cover one half with strawberry jam and place the other half on top. Cut into generous fingers. Dust heavily with icing sugar.

For the custard

275ml (1⁄2pt) milk

275ml (1⁄2pt) cream

100g (31⁄2oz) sugar

Small bunch lemon balm

6 egg yolks

Boil milk, cream, sugar and lemon balm to infuse. Remove lemon balm and whisk the mixture into the egg. Return to pan and cook gently until it coats the back of a spoon. Allow to cool. Then, just before serving, finely chop a few lemon balm leaves and add to the custard.

To arrange


Sprigs lemon balm or mint

Icing sugar

Strawberry purée, optional

Unmould jelly by dipping the mould quickly into hot water. Place at one end of a plate with a little row of strawberries and a sponge cake finger. Spoon a little lemon balm custard on to the plate leaving the remainder in a small jug. Garnish the plate with lemon balm or mint sprigs and dust with a little icing sugar. Add little blobs of strawberry purée, if wished. Serve immediately.