Puddings and Cakes

Little Sticky Toffee Puddings with Naughty, Decadent Sauce

The 2nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my recipe book: I can see I’m going to get fat doing this – we’re going to have to indulge in these soon!

Soooooo gorgeous, sooooo yummy, soooooo bad for you! Well, in reality I guess the puddings aren’t that bad but the sauce!!!! Simply melt together butter, cream and sugar – that says it all. Oh, and there’s also the ice cream that we like to serve them with – that’s not healthy either, but what a heavenly combination. Like many desserts, it is after all the naughty element that tempts us, making them an absolute treat. These are a real winter favourite in our house. Give them a go, and they will be in your house too!

What you need…

8 x 175g metal pudding basins, thoroughly buttered and with a little round of greaseproof paper in the bottom.

1 x baking tray

175g stoned, chopped dates

175ml boiling water

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

2 teaspoons coffee essence (I use Camp)

¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

75g butter, at room temperature

150g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

175g self-raising flour, sifted

for the naughty sauce

175g soft brown sugar

110g butter

6 tablespoons double cream

What to do…

Pre-heat the oven to 180c / 350 °f / gas 4.

Begin by putting the chopped dates in a bowl and pouring the 175ml boiling water over them. Add the vanilla, coffee essence and bicarbonate of soda and leave on one side. Next, in a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy.

Gradually add the beaten egg, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. After that, carefully and lightly fold in the sifted flour, using a metal spoon. Then, fold in the date mixture, including the liquid.

Right now, it’ll look really sloppy – that’s fine: it’s supposed to. Divide the mixture equally between the eight pudding basins. Place on a baking tray and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.

When cooked, leave to cool for five minutes. Slide a small palette knife around each pudding and turn it out. If they’ve risen too much, you may need to lop off the tops so that they will sit evenly on the plate when you turn them (which means you get to sample the sponge – yipppeee: chef’s privileges.

Place the puddings into a shallow baking tray.

Next, make the sauce by tipping all the ingredients into a saucepan and very gently heating them until the sugar has completely dissolved.

To serve, pre-heat the grill to a medium-high setting and pour the sauce over the wee puddings. Place under grill so the tops of the puddings are about 13cm from the heat and let them warm through for five minutes (keep an eye on them: different grills pump out different heats and you don’t want them to burn). The tops should go slightly crunchy and the sauce will be hot and bubbling

Serve either with double cream or salted caramel ice-cream (recipe to follow later this week). Simply, to die for!

Serving suggestion…

Indulge with a good bottle of dessert wine, Monbazillac, Chateau Peyronnette, 2014 in this instance, takes these little lovelies from being ‘sodding incredible’ (with the ice cream) to ‘wow! Just wow!’ with the wine!!! Just fabulous!!! One of those experiences without which life just isn’t complete!

Tips….

This recipe is for eight puddings. I always make eight and then freeze those not required at that time in their moulds, which just leaves you to decide how much of the naughty sauce you make – totally yummy, I can eat this by the spoonful…without the puddings! Really, very naughty but wickedly good.

So, for two people: 60g soft brown sugar, 40g butter, 3 tablespoons double cream; for four people: 120g soft brown sugar, 80g butter, 6 tablespoons double cream.

Inspired by…

Delia Smith, whose fabulous and ingredient-stained ‘Christmas’ cookery book contains the original recipe, un-tinkered-with.

Trio of New Year’s Eve Puds

Looking forward to a lovely New Year’s Eve get together with friends, where we all contribute a course. Mine, happily, is puds so we have tried and tested recipes: Tiramisu, Luscious Lemon Pavlova (both courtesy of Nigella Lawson) and a half-sized 365 Chocolate Celebration Cake (which is not being shared with friends but devoured by my kids!) Cheers! And wishing everyone a lovely New Year’s Eve and a fabulous 2019 xx

For the recipe for each delectable pud, type in the pudding name in the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page.

Merry Christmas: The Icing on the Cake!

The final finishing touches to my Christmas cake, I love rough royal icing: it’s so forgiving of any patchy marzipan application and also of my total lack of ability to cake-decorate beautifully. Anyway, here we are my attempt. Only two sleeps to go!!!!

Makes enough for a rough snow scene for a 20cm round cake

What you need…

500g icing sugar

3 egg whites from happy eggs

1 teaspoon glycerine

What to do…

Dump the icing sugar and egg whites into a large bowl and whisk together until stiff peaks form, using an electric handheld whisk.  Add the glycerine and whisk until evenly incorporated.

Apply to your cake using palette knife, spreading the icing evenly around the sides and across the top. Use the back of a teaspoon to ‘whip up’ snowy peaks!

Wodge in your chosen figurine(s) and sit back and admire your handiwork! Your Christmas cake is now complete! A glass of fizz would go down nicely now! Merry Christmas!

Tip…

For the ‘frosted’ rosemary that I opted for this year, lightly whisk an egg white until its frothy and then brush fresh rosemary sprigs with it before rolling the sprigs around in caster sugar. Set aside on baking parchment for at least three hours. I also sprinkled a little icing sugar over them. A bit different – I like them anyway!

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

As about as simple as it gets!

 

 

Cocoa Rum Dessert

This boozy, moussy choco-oozy dessert is gorgeously decadent and quite unlike anything I have ever eaten. Crunchy amaretti biscuits on the bottom give way to a velvety chocolatey middle and then a silken caramel topping…all with a distinct but delicate infusion of rum – fabulous! (And it’s easy and you can make it ahead of when you want to indulge in it).

Serves 10

What you need…

1 x 1.5 litre loaf tin

1 x medium, deep-sided roasting tin

100g caster sugar

50g brown sugar

4 large, happy eggs

500ml full fat milk

3 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder

50ml golden rum

200g amaretti biscuits (the crunchy ones, not soft), crumbled

Crème fraîche, to serve

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 160˚c / 325˚f / gas 3.

Melt the caster sugar in a small frying pan (I like to use copper for this sort of thing) over a moderate heat until you get a rich, chestnutty-coloured caramel – swirl the pan to help the sugar melt but don’t touch it or stir it!

Pour the caramel into your loaf tin and tilt it around until the base is evenly covered. Set aside.

Into your food processor tip the brown sugar and eggs and whizz for around 3 minutes or until the mixture is pale and slightly thickened. Tip in the milk, cocoa and rum and whizz for 30 seconds. Remove the mixing blade and then use a spoon to stir through the amaretti biscuits.

Tip the whole lot into your loaf tin. Pop the loaf tin into the roasting tin and fill the latter up with just-boiled water from the kettle. Carefully transfer to the middle of your oven and bake for 1 hour.

Remove and leave to cool in the tin, then pop into the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, or until needed.

To serve, carefully run a knife around the edge of the tin and then invert the dessert onto a pretty serving plate, spooning over any caramel left behind in the tin.

Slice and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche – decadently indulgently delicious!

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver who in turn was given this dessert by Baroness Susanna in Turin!

How easy…

Very and it looks and tastes like waaaaaay so much more effort was required.

Halloween Black Forest Cupcakes

There’s absolutely no reason why Halloween treats should be restricted to children and these delicious little cakes with their naughty Kirsch-infused cherry filling within the dark chocolate sponge are quite magical. The fiendish dollop of sweet cream on the top completes the wicked trickery! Enjoy!

Makes 12

What you need…

1 x 12-hole muffin tin, lined with paper cases

180g unsalted butter, softened

180g caster sugar

3 large, happy eggs, beaten

130g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

for the filling and topping

450g frozen black cherries

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 star anise

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Kirsch/cherry brandy

300ml double cream

2 teaspoons icing sugar

10g dark chocolate, shaved or grated (or one broken up Flake bar!)

What to do…

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

Into your food processor tip the butter and sugar and then whizz until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour in the beaten egg, making sure that each addition is fully incorporated before you add any more. Tip in the flour and cocoa, whizz to combine; add the vanilla bean paste and whizz again.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, turn to the filling. Tip the cherries into a pan over a moderate heat and add the lemon juice, caster sugar, star anise and water. Bubble gently for 15 minutes, until starting to turn gorgeously jammy. Stir in the Kirsch and set aside to cool.

Once everything is cool, scoop out a teaspoon or so of the middle of each sponge, popping the retrieved and superfluous sponge into your mouth just to check for quality! Fill the remaining holes up with the cherry compote.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until peaks form and then pipe or slather the cream over the top of each cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve – deliciously wicked!!!!

Tip…

The frozen cherries usually come in 350g bags so there are loads left over. My vote is either to stir them into a natural yogurt with maybe a little honey or….the favourite: tip them into a sterilised jar and pour Kirsch over them – let them gather flavours in there for a couple of weeks (in the fridge) before serving with ice-cream – delicious!

Inspired by…

Waitrose and Partners Food

How easy…

Childs play – does take a little time though, just whilst the sponges and filling cool down.

Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake

If you’re planning on making your own Christmas cake this year, then don’t leave it much longer: the cake – which is so easy to make and simply gorgeous – needs feeding (with brandy) every 10 days or so between now-ish and the main event in December. Moist, laden with fruit and festive flavour, this recipe – another one inspired by Delia Smith – is fabulous and again, the smell as it’s cooking is heaven-scent! Enjoy!

What to do…

For the full recipe, type ‘Christmas Cake’ into the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page

Blackberry and Blueberry ‘No-Bake’ Cheesecake

Serves 10 -12

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!

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.

 

 

Blueberry and Custard Tart

A delightful little number that is fresh and light and bursting with summer flavours, this sweet tart is a very happy marriage of sweet vanilla custard with ripe and juicy blueberries, encircled in a crisp, light, sweet pastry.

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1 x baking sheet

for the pastry

250g plain flour, plus a little for dusting

50g icing sugar

A pinch of salt

135g butter, cold and chunked

1 medium, happy egg, beaten

2 – 3 tablespoons ice-cold water

for the custard

200 ml milk

1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out

25g cornflour

50g caster sugar

3 medium, happy egg yolks

200ml double cream, whisked to soft peaks

to decorate

375g fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

1 tablespoon water

What to do…

First to the pastry: sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into your food processor. Add the butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together.

Tip the pastry out onto a floured surface and briefly knead into a ball. Wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes.

When you are ready to roll out the pastry, remove the pastry from the fridge, placing it between two sheets of cling film (each wider than your tart tin). Roll out the pastry until it’s about 3mm thick and wide enough to line the base and sides of the prepared tin.

Remove the top layer of cling film, slide your hand, palm upwards, under the bottom layer of cling film, then flip the pastry over (so that the cling film is now on top) and carefully lower it into the tart tin. (Neat trick this – first time I’ve done it). Press into the edges (with the cling film still attached) and, using your thumb, ‘cut’ the pastry on the edge of the tin to give a neat finish. Remove the cling film, prick over the base with a fork and chill the pastry in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180˚c /gas 4 and pop your baking sheet in. Remove the pastry from the fridge, trim off the excess pastry and line tart with foil, leaving plenty to come over the sides of the tin. Fill with baking beans and bake ‘blind’ on the baking sheet for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pastry feels dry to the touch in the base.

Remove the foil and beans, brush with a little egg white and return to the oven for a further 5 – 8 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Turning to the custard: heat a saucepan over a low heat and pour in the milk. Add the vanilla pod and seeds, cornflour and half the sugar and gently heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

In a bowl, use an electric hand whisk to beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until creamy and pale. Slowly pour in the hot milk mixture, whisking as you add it, then pour back into a clean saucepan.

Whisk well and place over a low – medium heat, then cook for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla pod and cool the custard; then fold in the cream, using a balloon whisk.

To assemble the tart: spoon the cooled custard cream into the pastry case and top with the blueberries. In a small saucepan, dissolve the redcurrant jelly in the water

and, using a pastry brush, gently coat the blueberries with this glaze, taking care not to move the blueberries or disturb the custard. This will give the tart a lovely finishing gloss.

To serve, remove the tart from the tin (with the base of the tin still attached, if that’s easier), carefully transfer it to a serving plate and cut nice, chunky slices to indulge in – yummy!

How easy…

It takes time and there’s quite a bit of washing up but if you’re relaxed, got some good tunes going on in the kitchen, it’s a pleasure to make and a delightful summer pud!

Inspired by…

The main recipe is Rachel Allen’s but I used my own favourite sweet pastry recipe, courtesy of Camilla Stephens, founder of Higgidy.

 

Mint and Chocolate Chip ‘No Churn’ Ice Cream

Gorgeous – delectably fresh and minty with a generous handful of chocolate chips. Delightfully moreish and it has the most important seal of approval from the grand kids – it must be good!!!!

What you need…

300ml double cream

½ of a 397g tin of condensed milk (see tip)

Green food colouring (I use icing colouring which comes as a thick gel)

1½ teaspoons peppermint extract

60g dark chocolate chips

What to do…

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk and use a balloon whisk to gently fold it in so that it is evenly incorporated.

Tip in the peppermint extract. Insert a cocktail stick into the icing colouring and then dip it into the ice cream mixture – a little goes a really long way. Use a balloon whisk to gently but thoroughly mix together and add more colouring until you achieve the colour you like. (If you are using liquid food colouring, add ¼ teaspoon at a time until you achieve the colour you like).

Chuck in the chocolate chips and stir in thoroughly. Pour your ice cream into a bowl or tub, cover with cling film and pop into the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Tip…

Working out what ½ can of condensed milk is would clearly be a pain in the neck. When I make ice cream I mix together 600ml double cream with a whole can of condensed milk and then spoon half into a separate bowl to create a different flavour. This works brilliantly and the freezer always has lots of different flavours in (coffee and kahlua, salted caramel with Tia Maria, mango, passion fruit and rum, chocolate and black forest gateau, for instance – all made with the same double cream and condensed milk starting point).

How easy…

These ‘no-churn’ ice creams literally take minutes to knock up!

Inspired by…

The base mixture of double cream and condensed milk is courtesy of the wonderful Mary Berry. From there, I experiment with flavours by chucking in all sorts of combinations!

Black Forest Gateau ‘No-Churn’ Ice Cream

Spectacular! I dreamed up this combination in that lovely time of the morning that is the dawning of the mind as well as the sun in the sky….and this is the type of stuff I come up with!!!! What can I tell you – it’s absolutely bloody gorgeous – the Kirsch-steeped cherries work so well with the sweetness of the base ice cream and the dark chocolate rippling through it. Mount this lovely deliciousness atop shortbread, sprinkle some grated dark chocolate over the top and it becomes quite the elegant dessert!

What you need…

300ml double cream

½ of a 397g tin of condensed milk (see tip)

150ml black cherries, pitted and roughly torn up

3 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry liqueur)

40g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

What to do…

The day before you want to make your ice cream, tip the torn cherries into a bowl, pour over the Kirsch, cover with cling film and pop into the fridge overnight to let the flavours develop.

When you’re ready to make your ice cream, roughly break up the chocolate and pop it into a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over a steamer, sitting in a saucepan of simmering water and melt. Remove from the steamer and set aside to cool slightly (to touch).

Meanwhile, use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk and use a balloon whisk to gently fold it in so that it is evenly incorporated.

Use a spatula to scrape the ‘marinated’ cherries and liquid into a bowl and gently but thoroughly mix together. Pour over the chocolate and use a skewer to swirl the chocolate throughout the ice cream, creating a chocolate ‘ripple’ effect.

Cover with cling film and pop into the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Be very excited when it’s ready because it really is spectactular! Salivating as I type!

Tips…

Working out what ½ can of condensed milk is would clearly be a pain in the neck. When I make ice cream I mix together 600ml double cream with a whole can of condensed milk and then spoon half into a separate bowl to create a different flavour. This works brilliantly and the freezer always has lots of different flavours in (coffee and kahlua, salted caramel with Tia Maria, mango, passion fruit and rum, chocolate and made at the same time as this one, mint and chocolate chip, for instance – all made with the same double cream and condensed milk base).

If you want to present the ice cream as per the picture, wrap foil around the bottom of some chef’s rings or cookie cutters and plop the ice cream inside the moulds before freezing, pressing it in to make sure there are no gaps. Use a ring/cutter of the same size to cut out the shortbread bases from the already blogged recipe, ‘Proper Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree Shortbread’.

Inspired by…

The base mixture of double cream and condensed milk is courtesy of the wonderful, Mary Berry. From there, I experiment with flavours by chucking in all sorts of combinations!

How easy…

These ‘no-churn’ ice creams literally take minutes to knock up!

 

 

 

 

 

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