Puddings and Cakes

Blackberry and Blueberry ‘No-Bake’ Cheesecake

The 52nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is THE BEST cheesecake I’ve ever made and every time I make it, I get asked for the recipe!

An absolute ‘wow’ of a decadent dessert that could take central stage at any dinner as well as a cheeky family lunch! A crispy, rich ‘Oreo’ base is perfect to underpin the light, fluffy and fabulously fruity flavour of the ‘mousse’ that is the mainstay of this delicious cheesecake; and all topped with a glossy, slightly tart yet sweet jelly that is bursting with the Autumnal flavours that are blackberries. Just yummy!

Serves 10 -12

What you need…

1 x deep, 20cm round cake tin, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

60g butter, melted

250g Oreo biscuits

200g blueberries

350g blackberries

150g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated

100ml water

400g full-fat cream cheese

250g mascarpone

300ml double cream

3 sheets fine-leaf gelatine

to decorate

Blueberries and blackberries, (optional)

What to do…

Whizz the Oreo biscuits in your food processor until quite fine crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and whizz to evenly combine. Tip into your cake tin, spread evenly over the bottom and then use the back of a spoon to press firmly into place. Chill.

Meanwhile, heat the berries, 25g of the sugar, all of the lemon juice and the water in a saucepan until bubbling. Bubble gently for around 15 minutes or until the blackberries are super mushy.

Push the fruit mixture through a sieve, using the back of a spoon to press down hard, extracting as much juice as possible. Either discard the purée or cover it and chill it to make mini blackberry and apple pies or spread on toast (like I did!) Back to the recipe: cover and cool the berry juice.

When you’re ready to assemble, tip the cream cheese, mascarpone, double cream, remaining sugar and all of the lemon zest into a large bowl and use an electric handheld whisk to beat until really stiff. Pour in 150ml of the berry juice (reserving the rest) and whisk again to incorporate. Plop the ‘mousse’ onto the base and spread evenly and level. Pop into the fridge and chill for 1 hour.

To the jelly: soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 275ml berry juice until hot (if you’re a bit short on the juice, just top it up with a little water). Remove from the heat, squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add to the juice. Stir to dissolve. Cool for 15 minutes and then pour over the ‘mousse’. Carefully, pop your cheesecake back into the fridge for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight.

To serve, gently release your cheesecake from its tin confines and peel away the parchment paper. Transfer to a pretty serving plate and decorate with blueberries and blackberries. Cut into wedges of gorgeousness and simply savour every delicious mouthful. Go for a second piece!

Tip…

Pick your blackberries, wash them, dry on kitchen towel and then freeze in bags – no need to lay them out flat on trays

Inspired by…

Good Housekeeping

How easy…

It takes time but you can do it in stages and go off and do other things whilst the different elements chill and cool. Other than that, it’s dead easy to make, requires no baking and is sensational. Also, you have to make it the day before you want it, which I love.

 

 

My Favourite Recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake

The 50th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is my ‘go-to’ recipe for the perfect, luscious chocolate sponge.

Over the years I have made many, many chocolate cakes and for me, this is absolutely the perfect recipe for a chocolate sponge that is light and fluffy as well as super chocolatey and moist – it’s fiendishly good and I have made it in many guises, with different butter creams and glazes, all sorts of decorations and fillings but always, the chocolate sponge recipe remains the same – utterly fabulous!

Serves 16+

 

What you need…

2 x 20cm / 8” cake tins (spring form or loose-bottomed ideally), liberally buttered and lined on the bottom with parchment paper

340g unsalted butter, room temperature

340g caster sugar

6 happy eggs

1 dessertspoon vanilla extract

140g milk

225g self-raising flour

85g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

for the chocolate butter cream

(This is enough to sandwich the two cake tiers and to slather over the top. Make double if you want to cover the sides as well).

 50g dark chocolate (ideally 70% cocoa) broken into pieces

100g unsalted butter, room temperature

200g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180°c  / 350° / gas 4.

Using a food processor, beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Whilst it’s still beating, add in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix in.

In a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Then, add in the ingredients from the food processor and, using a balloon whisk, fold together all the ingredients until they are thoroughly blended.  Divide the chocolate sponge mixture between the two cake tins.

Bake the sponges in the oven for 45 minutes until the cake is firm and an inserted skewer comes out dry.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tins and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the butter cream, made especially gorgeous by the use of the melted chocolate.

Put your chocolate into a heatproof bowl and then into a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water. Gently melt the chocolate and then set aside until it is cool enough to touch.

In a separate bowl, sieve in the icing sugar and then beat together with the butter. Add the vanilla essence and then tip in the warm chocolate. Mix together using a small balloon whisk to ensure it is evenly and thoroughly blended. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Pop your bottom cake tier onto a pretty serving plate and spread the butter cream evenly across. Pop on the top sponge and slather butter cream across the top, using the tip of the spatula to create a swirly design, if you like. (You could also pipe it, if you wanted the cake to look terribly grown up!

Inspired by…

It’s a good mish mash of different recipes!

How easy…

Very easy the smell of chocolate as the sponge is cooking is to die for!

 

 Glorious Marsala-Baked Summer Peaches with Mascarpone Cream

The 49th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is the most wonderful pudding to celebrate the joys of an English summer!

Utterly delicious is my description. John’s is a little more vibrant: peaches with dogs’ bollox cream! Why? I have no idea but it’s stuck in this house, so when the British Summertime rolls around, there is an inevitable request for this dish – using John’s language – and we all know what he’s talking about! Anyway, the point is that this lovely pudding is proper summertime glorious, spectacularly easy and can be made in advance. The light and fresh ‘cream’ contrasts perfectly with the rich Marsala sauce in which the peaches sit so prettily; and the whole thing simply exudes ‘summer’. Like I said, utterly delicious! (It also keeps in the fridge very well, so can be indulged in over a number of days if there are only two of you enjoying it!)

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x shallow baking dish

6 firm ripe peaches

40g caster sugar

275ml Marsala wine

2 x cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways

1 rounded teaspoon arrowroot

for the cream

4 rounded tablespoons mascarpone

4 rounded tablespoons fromage frais

A few drops of vanilla extract

1 dessertspoon caster sugar

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

First of all, you need to relieve the peaches of their skins and there’s a really easy way to do it. Halve the peaches and remove their stones. Pop two halves into a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water. Don your marigolds and after 30 seconds, remove one of the halves from the water and just slip off it’s skin – it will come straight off – dead easy. Do the same to the second half. Then, repeat the process with the remaining peach halves, two at a time, using freshly boiled water for each set of two halves (it won’t work so well if the water has cooled slightly). That done, the rest is a delight to do!

Place the peach halves into your baking dish, rounded side down. In a jug, mix together the Marsala and sugar and then pour over the peaches. Wodge in the cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod halves and pop in the oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and, using a ladle, transfer the Marsala ‘sauce’ to a small saucepan, discarding the vanilla pod halves and cinnamon sticks. Mix the arrowroot with a little cold water and then add it to the saucepan, whisking it in over a gentle heat until the sauce has slightly thickened.

Pour the sauce back over the peaches and set aside to cool. Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge over night to allow the flavours to fully develop.

To make the ‘cream’, use an electric handheld whisk to beat together all of the ingredients and serve in a pretty bowl or jug.

Ideally, enjoy this lovely little dessert on a balmy summer’s evening with friends.

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Very easy: a simply delicious dish, all round. And, you prepare it the day before you want it, which is always a bonus in my book!

 

 

Lemon, Lime and Passion Fruit Curd Tart

The 45th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a simply taste bud-tingling tart – so good – I’m making it tomorrow for a supper with friends – can’t wait…might struggle with the sharing element…!

Wow! – this is unbelievably delicious – the crisp, sweet pastry is the perfect foil for the tangy, zesty freshness of the fruit filling that seems to shout ‘sunshine’! It’s uplifting and quite simply sensational – don’t wait until Summer – we enjoyed it in February the first time but….it will be revisited many times over!

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x  23cm fluted tart tin, with removable base, liberally buttered

Baking beans (rice or dried pulses will work equally as well)

for the pastry

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

60g caster sugar

130g plain flour

60g semolina

for the fabulous citrus curd filling

230g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons, separating the juice of ½ lemon

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes

4 large, happy eggs plus a further 4 yolks, lightly beaten

200g unsalted butter, chunked and at room temperature

Pulp from 3 passion fruit

1 gelatine sheet (I used Costa fine leaf)

80g full fat cream cheese

50g icing sugar

What to do…

First to the pastry: in your food processor, whizz together the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and fluffy. Tip in the flour and semolina and whizz to combine. Tip out onto your work surface and briefly work into a dough. Grate the dough into your tart tin and then press evenly into the base and up the sides. Pop into the freezer for 1 hour. Walk off and do something else.

Then, heat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Line the chilled pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake for 25 minutes then remove the foil and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, let’s turn to the delicious filling. In a large saucepan over a moderate heat, warm the caster sugar, juice from 2½ lemons as well as juice from both limes and also all the zest from both the lemons and limes. Heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Turn the heat down to low and then gradually pour in the beaten eggs, using a balloon whisk the whole time to prevent curdling. Continue to heat and whisk for 10 minutes or until a thick curd has been formed.

Remove from the heat and add the butter, a couple of chunks at a time, whisking them in until they are melted and fully incorporated before adding in the next couple. Once all the butter has been added, stir in the passion fruit – it is this that gives this tart its extra gorgeous dimension.

Whilst you’re adding the butter, soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Remove the gelatine from the water and squeeze out the excess liquid. Empty the bowl of its water and put the gelatine back in, adding to it 3 tablespoons of the citrus curd mixture. Using your balloon whisk beat the lot together until the gelatine has dissolved. Return this lot to your saucepan of curd and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese, juice of ½ lemon and icing sugar (again, a little balloon whisk works well).

Pour the curd into the pastry tart and then use a teaspoon to plop blobs of the cream cheese mixture all over the top. Use a skewer or cocktail stick to swirl the blobs, creating pretty patterns.

Pop the tart into the fridge for at least 3 hours before cutting generous slices of this wonderful citrusy delight – enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Tip…

Make the pastry case up to 1 month ahead and freeze, wrapped in cling film and foil.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Very easy but you need time for the pastry – it’s a good plan to make this ahead of when you need it.

 

American-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

Savoury with Smoked Salmon and Dill Sauce and Sweet with caramelised Bananas and Chocolate/Caramel

The 41st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one celebrates Shrove Tuesday but with a couple of totally gorgeous, alternative recipes to the norm!

When I first found this recipe, Shrove Tuesday was fast approaching and I decided to take a departure from the traditional pancake batter and instead try this American-style pancake recipe instead and…. it was sooooo worth it! In our indulgent taste test (in the name of blog research) we tried both savoury pancakes with smoked salmon and dill sauce followed by pancakes with caramelised bananas and either chocolate or caramel spread. Wow!!!!! (John’s first five words) Fluffy and light, smooth and indulgent, I’m afraid the days of traditional pancake batter may well be behind me, these are absolutely terrific and feel like an utter treat.

Makes 6 – 8 pancakes, depending on how big you like them

What you need for the buttermilk pancakes…

150g plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

Pinch of salt

2 large, happy eggs, separated

284ml carton buttermilk

Knob of butter for frying

What you need for the smoked salmon and dill sauce topping…

1 large, happy egg yolk

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 dessertspoon caster sugar

Pinch of salt

150ml rapeseed oil

Small bunch dill, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Smoked salmon (100g tops 3 pancakes)

A few dill sprigs, lemon wedges and creamed horseradish to serve

What you need for the caramelised banana and chocolate topping…

Per pancake:

Sprinkling of caster sugar

1 banana, sliced thickly,

Either Dulce de Leche (milk caramel spread) or chocolate spread or Nutella

Dollop of ice cream to serve (we had brandy ice cream – recipe already blogged – which was incredible but vanilla would work well)

What to do…

Make the Dill sauce up to three days in advance.This means that you can just enjoy the pancake-making on the day that you want to eat them.

Put the egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and use your handheld electric whisk to beat until a foam is beginning to form. Very slowly pour in the oil, whisking the whole time, to create a thickened Hollandaise-style sauce. Stir in the dill and lemon juice, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge until needed.

For each warmed pancake, dollop on around a dessertspoon of dill sauce and spread over the pancake. Arrange or plop on as much smoked salmon as you fancy and garnish with a few dill sprigs. Serve with lemon wedges and a little creamed horseradish on the side: wow and awesome!!!!

And to the pancakes!In a medium mixing bowl, use your handheld electric whisk to beat the egg whites until they form soft floppy peaks. Set aside. Unplug the whisk and rinse.

Mix the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and mix in. Slowly pour in the buttermilk, using your handheld electric whisk to mix it in thoroughly, forming a thick, smooth batter.

Add one tablespoon egg whites to the batter and use a balloon whisk to incorporate. Add the rest of the egg whites in two batches, again using the balloon whisk to gently incorporate, creating a light, fluffy batter.

Heat a large frying pan over a moderate heat and lightly grease with butter. For each pancake, drop in a ladleful of batter, smoothing it down a little with the back of the ladle to create pancakes that are about 10cm wide and 1cm thick. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes on each side and then keep warm in a low oven whilst you cook the rest. Add your choice of topping and either slowly indulge or demolish with relish!!!! (We tried the first approach but quickly made the transition to the second!)

For the caramelised banana and chocolate topping.  Warm a small frying pan over a moderate heat with the sprinkling of caster sugar covering the bottom of the pan. As soon as the sugar has melted, chuck in the banana slices. As soon as the melted sugar turns red, flip the bananas and cook for a couple of minutes until they are well caramelised. Don’t muck about with them as they’ll break up. Remove from the heat and set aside whilst you spread your choice of chocolate or caramel spread over your warmed pancake. Tip the banana slices over the top and then dollop on your ice cream. Roll your eyes in the ecstasy that is this pancake – guard it against jealous housemates!

Tip…

This quantity of the dill sauce is enough for 6 – 8 pancakes, but if like us, you only use up half the batter for savoury ones, the sauce will keep in the fridge for 3 days and is brilliant served with grilled or roasted fish.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Really easy and very worth it. I’d definitely make the dill sauce in advance though as there was a lot of washing up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luscious Lemon Polenta Cake with Rosemary Syrup

The 40th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one holds a special place in my heart – I just adore it and can taste summer just thinking about it!

My absolute favourite dessert: the sponge is soaked in sweet rosemary Syrup – a perfect foil to the summer raspberries piled up in the middle and clean, crisp Greek yogurt it’s served with. Once tried, this recipe will be with you forever!

 Serves 10-12

What you need…

1 x 1.2 litre, ring cake tin, lightly oiled

175g polenta

50g plain flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons plain yogurt

5 tablespoons rapeseed oil plus extra for greasing

Grated zest of two lemons

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 happy eggs, plus 2 happy egg whites

600g caster sugar

3 heaped teaspoons dried rosemary

Fresh raspberries

Greek yogurt to serve

What to do…

Heat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Sift polenta, flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Place yogurt, oil, lemon rind and juice into a jug and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites with 200g of the sugar for a few minutes until creamy. Beat in the yogurt mixture until smooth and then fold in the dry ingredients until just combined – don’t over mix.

Pour the mixture into your ring tin and pop into your oven to bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted thin skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 400g of sugar in a pan with 400ml water and the rosemary. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely and then strain through a sieve.

When the cake is cooked, place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then ease a blunt knife around the outside to separate the cake from the tin. Invert cake onto a serving plate.

When completely cool, prick the cake all over with a thin skewer and, using a tablespoon, drizzle over half the rosemary syrup so that it completely soaks into the cake, making it lovely and moist (tip: this part can take quite a while – I do it slowly,  sometimes whilst watching TV).

Pour the remaining rosemary syrup into a pretty serving jug and pop in the fridge until ready to use.

Tip raspberries into the hole in the middle and serve with dollops of Greek yogurt and the chilled rosemary syrup. Decorate with rosemary sprigs if desired. Divine!

Inspired by…

The Top 100 Recipes from the Food & Drink Series

How easy…

Really easy – a pleasure to create and so stunning on the eye and the taste buds!

 

Just Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The 37th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook and this one gets my vote for the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I have tried – I don’t bother looking for alternatives any more!

This is just such an easy recipe: great to do with the little ones or for them (if you’re willing to share). The cookies are everything they should be: sweet, buttery and with plenty of chocolate going on: who could resist?!

Makes 18 or so

What you need…

2 x baking sheets, lined with parchment paper

150g unsalted butter, room temperature

80g soft light brown sugar

80g granulated sugar

A pinch of sea salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large, happy egg

250g plain flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g dark chocolate chips

100g milk chocolate chips

What to do…

Using a standalone electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Chuck in the egg and beat some more until incorporated.

Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix in well. Then, tip in the chocolate chips and fold them into the mixture evenly (we can’t have any cookies deprived of their chocolate!)

Roll the dough into a long log – about 5cms diametre – wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge for 3 hours.

Preheat your oven to 170°c / 325°f/ gas 3½.

Remove from the fridge and slice the log into 1cm pieces. Shape the slices into balls and pop onto the baking sheets, leaving plenty of space between each one for spreading. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven but leave on the baking sheets for a minute or two whilst they firm up and then transfer to a cooling rack, popping one in your mouth just to check that they taste as good as they smell. Maybe have another just to be doubly sure…. When cool, serve on a pretty plate and watch them be demolished!

Inspired by…

Nathan Outlaw

How easy…

Rather too easy: I knock these up on a regular basis!

Mini Yum Babas

The 35th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a fabulous recipe for a truly spectacular pud that looks and tastes like it was complex to create but is in fact, super easy and quick.

Wow! Wow! Wow! I am soooooo pleased I found this recipe! Individual, little gorgeous very grown up cakes that, whilst saturated in a rum-infused syrup, are so light, that you could very easily devour at least two, perhaps three, in one sitting: so tempting are they!

I’ve wanted to make rum babas for as long as I can remember but was put off by the apparent complexity and time involved in their creation. I read this alternative to the traditional recipe and my first thought was ‘well, I can’t see how that will work’ but I gave it a go anyway – ridiculously quick and easy as well as spectacularly gorgeous, these little retro lovelies will be gracing our dinner party tables until all of our friends have indulged in them! Welcome back from the 1970s, a thoroughly modern version of the fabulous rum baba!

Makes 8

What you need…

1 x 12-cavity mini fluted non-stick pan (I bought one from Amazon for £15 – I can make all sorts of lovely treats in it).

110g icing sugar, sifted

40g ground almonds

100g egg whites (from 2 – 3 large, happy eggs)

2 teaspoons maple syrup

60g unsalted butter, melted and then cooled but still soft

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

50g flour, sifted

½ teaspoon baking powder

for the rum syrup

300ml hot water from the kettle

300g caster sugar

100 – 150ml Caribbean dark rum

for the glaze

1 rounded dessertspoon apricot jam

2 tablespoons water

What to do…

The evening before you want to indulge in your babas, use an electric handheld whisk to combine the icing sugar and ground almonds in a large bowl. Tip in the egg whites and whisk to blend, then add the maple syrup, butter and vanilla extract, still whisking. Finally, add the flour and baking powder, whisking to combine. Cover with cling film and pop into your fridge and leave overnight.

Perhaps now is a good time to make the rum syrup: tip the caster sugar into a jug and top up with the water from the kettle. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool. Pour in 100ml rum, taste and then add more rum until it tastes just the way you like it (150ml for me!). Set aside.

The following morning, preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Liberally butter 8 of the baba moulds and then dust with flour, tipping them upside down to get rid of the excess.

Spoon the baba mixture into the prepared moulds, filling them to just over half way. Pop into your oven for 12-14 minutes until golden and firm.

Leave in their moulds for 5 minutes, then use the tip of a knife to tease them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Place your babas into a shallow dish and then use a cocktail stick to prick them all over. Pour the syrup all over them and leave them to soak for 40 minutes, occasionally using a spoon to baste them with the syrup – it will mainly soak into the babas, leaving only a little in the bottom of the dish.

Make the glaze by putting the jam and water into a small saucepan and gently heating, stirring to combine. Brush the glaze all over the babas.

Transfer them to serving places and share them to delighted friends and family (but NOT their children!) with sweetened, whisked double cream and fruit of your choice. Be ready to offer seconds!

Inspired by…

The ‘sponge’ recipe was in the Mail on Sunday’s ‘You’ magazine and the syrup and glaze were taken from a 1970’s classic: Supercook!

Truly Scrumptious Lemon Drizzle Cake

The 31st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this cake is kinda a ‘go-to’ for instant cake-satisfaction – fast, easy and scrumptious!

I just love this cake! For two reasons: firstly it is spectacularly easy to make and secondly, because it is truly scrumptious! Not naturally a spontaneous baker, I have even taken to quickly whipping up this cake on a whim just when we fancy a little slice of something yummy (gorgeously moist and gently zingingly lemony) with our afternoon cuppa (him: tea, me: double espresso). Try it once and it will be on your favourites list!

Serves 8

What you need…

900g loaf tin, liberally buttered and parchment paper-lined

3 large eggs

175g self-raising flour

175g caster sugar

175g butter, softened

1½ teaspoons baking powder

Zest of 1½ lemons, finely grated

for crunchy lemon icing

100g granulated sugar

Juice of 1½ lemons

What to do…

Preheat oven to 180c / 350 F / gas 4.

Chuck all the cake ingredients into a food processor and beat together thoroughly.

Tip into the loaf tin and bake in oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and shrinking away from the sides of the tin slightly.

Pop tin on a cooling rack and leave from 10/15 minutes until the cake is warm rather than hot.

Prick over the top of the cake with a skewer.

Mix together the sugar and lemon juice and pour over the top of the cake whilst it is still in its tin. It will look like there’s loads too much topping – keep the faith and pour the lot in. Walk away.

Come back 10/15 minutes later and the lemon drizzle topping will have largely disappeared – it’s gone into the cake (with the help of your skewering) to ensure that it is wonderfully moist.

When it’s cool rather than cold, loosen the sides away from the tin and lift out, using the paper. Dispense with the parchment paper and serve your delicious lemon drizzle cake – lovely fat slices! At this point, it is beyond delicious – light, reminiscent of being warm with a gentle but gorgeous citrusy tang that simply says, “eat more”. Wonderful!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Spectacularly!

 

 

 

 

 

Light and Zesty Lemon Tart

The 29th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is truly scrumptious and was the recipe in which I finally conquered pastry! (The first time I made it, it fell apart and I was sooooo cross – I woke up at 3am and announced – to myself – that I would not be beaten my a lemon tart! Sad, I know but the perseverance paid off – now I don’t know what the problem was – this is so easy!

A really light, creamy yet zesty, fresh version of this classic dessert, this lemon tart is quite simply, delightful. Seconds all round, please.

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 23cm/9in shallow tart tin, with removable base, liberally buttered

1 x flat baking sheet

for the pastry

175g flour

Pinch of salt

100g butter, straight from the fridge

25g caster sugar

1 egg, separated: yolk in one cup and white in another

2 dessertspoons water

for the filling

3 eggs

125g granulated sugar

Juice and grated zest of 2 lemons

100ml double cream

What to do…

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture is like crumbs. Add the sugar and gently mix in with a spatula. Beat the egg yolk and then tip into the mixture, stirring until the mixture sticks together. At this point add the water, one teaspoon at a time until the mixture comes together – you may not need the whole 2 dessertspoons.

Cover your working surface with cling film and then flour lightly. Roll out your pastry on the cling film until about 5mm thick, creating a circle as best you can. Cover with another piece of cling film and then slide a flat baking sheet underneath the whole lot to lift it and pop in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas 5.

Remove pastry from fridge and, keeping the pastry between the two pieces of cling film, gently roll it out until it’s about 3mm thick and large enough to line the bottom and sides of the prepared tart tin.

Remove the top piece of cling film and gently place the pastry upside down (cling film facing up) into the tin. Gently press into the edges and using your thumb, break off the pastry of the top edge of the tin to give a neat finish. Remove the cling film and pop the pastry into the freezer for 10 minutes.

The pasty needs to be blind-baked now so line it roughly with parchment paper, making sure the sides are also covered with the paper. Chuck in a load of baking beans (or dried pulses which can be used many times over) and blind-bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry feels dry.

Remove the paper and beans. Lightly beat your egg white and use it to brush over the pastry. Pop the pastry back in the oven for two minutes.

Take out of the oven and put to one side until you are ready to make your filling (this could be immediately, later on in the day or even the next day).

Set the oven to 120°c / 250°f / gas ½.

In a food processor, pop your eggs and sugar and whizz for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add the lemon juice and zest and process for a further 5 minutes. Pour in the cream and whizz for another 5 minutes.

Pour into the pastry case and pop it straight in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has just set in the centre.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before taking the tart out of its tin and transferring to a pretty plate or cake stand. When it’s completely cool, dredge icing sugar over the top. Slice and serve your light and zesty lemon tart – it’s fresh and zingy, light and frankly, delightful!

Serving suggestion…

A little splash of double cream works wonderfully and this is a great dessert to serve with a ‘sticky’ dessert wine.

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Well, at the time of first making this, I had never made my own pastry but I nervously followed that element of the recipe to the letter and ….it was too ‘short’. The second time, I adapted it and added more water and it was absolutely delightful. The lemon filling is quite heavenly and a dead easy – just a case of processing.

I do love this recipe, because the ‘tricky’  bit, i.e. the pastry, can be done in advance and the filling is dead easy.

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