Puddings and Cakes

Christmas Pud Revisited

Following on from the Christmassy theme started properly yesterday, it’s not too late to rustle up a rather lovely Christmas Pudding to grace your festive table in just over one month. Rich, boozy and another great recipe inspired by Delia Smith (have yet to take a good picture with the flaming brandy – will try again this year!)

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

Bonfire Parkin (revisited)

Firstly, oh so yummy – salivating as I think about it. Ahem, so, according to James Martin, his family used to eat this on Bonfire night. We’ve made it an indecent number of times, mainly because 1) it’s dead easy 2) it’s gorgeous the minute it comes out of the oven 3) it’s even better the next day and 4) it gathers and gets better and better over 2- 3 days…if there’s any left!!!! Dark, rich, moist and sinful….xx

 

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

Chocolate Brownies with Caramel

So, my brownies (or Jamie’s I should say) have a growing fan base and are knocked up on a ridiculously frequent basis. They are dark, slightly gooey, indulgent little squares of naughtiness and I thought there would never be another brownie recipe to better them. However….drum roll….replacing 100g dark chocolate with dulce de leche (milk caramel spread) has made this version even moister and fabulously gooier but still incredibly chocolatey and practically molten inside – wow! To die for – give ‘em a go – best brownies I’ve ever tasted!!!

Makes 20 or so

What you need…

250g unsalted butter

100g 70% dark chocolate

225g (half a jar) of Dulce de Leche (milk caramel spread)

80g cocoa powder, sifted

65g plain flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

360g caster sugar

4 large free-range eggs

What to do…

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

Lightly butter and line a 24cm square baking tin with parchment paper. Roughly break up your chocolate and pop it into an heatproof bowl together with the butter. Put the bowl over a steamer, sitting in a saucepan of simmering water (bain marie). Melt the butter and chocolate, adding the dulce de leche when the chocolate is nearly all melted and mixing until smooth.

In another large bowl, thoroughly mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar.

Take the melted butter and chocolate mixture off the heat and tip into the dry ingredients, using a hand held electric whisk to mix them together thoroughly.

Whisk the eggs and then tip them into the rest of the mixture, whisking them in until you have a lovely silky, glossy smooth mixture.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tin and place in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the outside is slightly springy. Insert a wooden skewer to see if it’s cooked – it should be fabulously gooey rather than raw!

Allow to cool in the tin, then carefully invert the bake onto a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares. Purely for quality control reasons, now is a good time to try one – just to make sure that they are OK – and ooooooooh, yummy, reach for another…

Inspired by…

Well now, this is odd. Steve, our lovely window cleaner (and ex chef) came back from his holiday full of tales of afternoon teas and the most wonderful chocolate and caramel brownies, throwing down the gauntlet for me to try to recreate them: job done!!!!

How easy…

Dead easy and oh so worth the effort!

 

Cumberland Rum Nicky

Having seen this on last week’s Great British Bake Off, I had to give it a go and….and it’s absolutely delicious! It reminds me of mince pies but has a richer, boozier and sweeter flavour and is thoroughly moreish. And then there’s the rum butter – I didn’t have the full 75ml that Mr. Hollywood recommends and thank God – with just 50ml, it was still incredibly boozy and incredibly good – an excellent accompaniment to this fab pud! Definitely give this one a go!

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 20cm pie dish, about 3cm deep, liberally buttered

for the filling

225g dates, coarsely chopped

100g dried apricots, coarsely chopped

50g stem ginger syrup, drained and finely chopped

50ml dark rum

50g soft dark brown sugar

50g unsalted butter, cut into 1–2cm cubes

for the sweet shortcrust pastry

200g plain flour

2 tablespoons icing sugar

100g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes

1 large, happy egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon lemon juice

for the rum butter

100g unsalted butter, softened

225g soft light brown sugar

50ml dark rum

What to do…

Mix all the filling ingredients, except the butter, together in a bowl. Set aside

while you make the pastry.

Now, turn to making the pastry: tip the flour and icing sugar into your food processor and whizz together. Add in the cubed butter and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Mix the egg with the lemon juice and two tablespoons of cold water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Using a table knife, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Once the dough has rested, cut it into two pieces, roughly one-third and two-thirds. Roll out the larger piece on a lightly floured work surface. Line your pie dish with the pastry, leaving any excess pastry hanging over the edge. Tip the filling into the pastry case, spreading it evenly and dot with the butter.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut it into eight long strips, roughly 1cm wide. On a sheet of baking parchment, use the pastry strips to create a lattice with four strips going each way, passing them under and over each other.

Dampen the edge of the pastry in the tin with water, then invert the lattice from the paper onto the tart. Press the ends of the strips to the pastry base to secure.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160˚c / 325˚f / gas 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the rum butter, use an electric handheld whisk to beat together the butter and sugar, then gradually beat in the rum. Pop into the fridge until needed.

Serve the tart hot, with a spoonful of rum butter. Absolutely, fabulously delicious!

Inspired by…

Paul Hollywood and The Great British Bake Off

How easy…

Really easy and an absolute joy to make.

Luscious Lemon Pavlova

Wow! I’m not a great fan of lemon curd (but made my own which is waaaaay nicer than shop-bought) but was drawn to this recipe anyway. The fabulous crisp, sweet crust of the meringue with its soft, light centre contrasts superbly with the sweet but tart lemon curd and the cloud-like whipped cream that tops it. A sprinkling of lemon zest and toasted almond slivers completes this luscious pudding that Nigella quite rightly describes as a ‘triumph’ – easy and glorious – give it a go!

Serves: 8-12

What you need…

1 x baking tray, lined with baking parchment

6 happy egg whites

375g caster suga

2½ teaspoons cornflour

Grated zest of 2 lemons, separated

Juice of 1 lemon

50g flaked almonds

300ml double cream

325g jar lemon curd (I used homemade but shop bought is fine)

What to do…

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

Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, then beat in the sugar one large spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.

Sprinkle over the cornflour, then the zest of one lemon and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

Using a balloon whisk, gently fold in until everything is thoroughly mixed together. Mound onto your lined baking tray in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Pop into your oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150˚C / 300˚f / gas 2 and cook for 1 hour.

Switch off your oven put leave your rather gorgeous pavlova in there for a further 30 minutes but with the door completely open – this will stop it cracking too quickly as it cools down.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Just before you’re ready to indulge, slide your pavlova onto a pretty serving plate.

Toast the flaked almonds, by frying them in a dry pan over a moderate heat until they have started to colour, shaking the pan regularly. Don’t take your eyes off them – this takes just a minute or so and they burn really easily. When they’re done, remove to a cold plate so that they don’t carry on cooking.

Whip the cream until soft peaks are formed (or as Nigella says, ‘has a soft voluptuousness about it!!!!!) and set aside.

If your lemon curd is shop-bought, put it into a bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon to loosen it a little and then taste it, adding a squeeze of juice if it’s too sweet.

With a light hand, a glad heart and a spatula (these are her exact words and whilst I normally re-write the recipes from scratch, this somewhat gloriously ridiculous line HAD to be left in) spread the lemon curd on top of the meringue base. Top with the whipped cream, peaking it as if it were a meringue topping and then sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest followed by the flaked almonds.

I should say serve, but honestly, once you’ve tasted the first mouthful, you’ll want to attack and devour the rest – an absolute triumph of a pudding!!!!!

Inspired by…

Nigella Lawson

How easy…

Really easy and it is rather a show-stopper of a pud for very little effort!

 

Chocolate and Coffee Mousse with Rum

Silky, smooth and deeply, decadently chocolatey with a hint of rum, these very grown up chocolate mousses takes just a few minutes to knock up and even less time to demolish! Very yummy and deliciously naughty!

Makes 6

What you need…

125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chunked

25ml espresso coffee

1 tablespoon rum

3 large, happy eggs, separated

1 tablespoon maple syrup

What to do…

Use a handheld electric whisk to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Tip the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add the espresso and rum and then sit the bowl in a steamer over a pan of boiling water (bain marie).

As soon as the chocolate has melted, take the bowl out of the bain marie and allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 2 minutes. Stir in the egg yolks and maple syrup.

Use a metal balloon whisk to fold 1 spoonful of egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Tip in the remainder of the egg white and then very gently fold into the mixture, again using the balloon whisk.

Divide the mixture between 6 pretty glasses, cups or bowls and pop into the fridge for 2 hours.

If you fancy, you can decorate your mousses with a little grated white chocolate, but otherwise just serve them as the come – deliciously naughty!

Inspired by…

Kirstie Allsopp

How Easy…

Really, really easy and quick.

 

 

End-of-Summer Pudding

Delicious, fresh and totally yummy: this stupendously easy pud is jam-packed with fruit and the flavours of summer-turning-to-autumn. A delightful Chambord-infused juice completes the joy and a dollop of crème fraîche is the perfect accompaniment. Seconds please!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 700ml pudding basin

6-8 slices stale sourdough bread, crusts removed

600g mixed soft fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)

100g caster sugar

2 tablespoons Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)

What to do…

Remove the stalks and/or stones from the fruit and tip into a wide heavy-based pan. Add the sugar, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, cooking for a further 2 minutes or until the fruit is starting to soften and release juice.

Meanwhile, line the base and sides of your basin with bread to cover completely. Trim the bread if necessary so that the slices fit closely together. You should be left with 2 remaining slices, which will be used for the lid.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the fruit from its juices and pop the fruit into the basin. Measure out 4 tablespoons of the juice and tip it into a screw top jar. Set aside. Drizzle the remaining pan juice evenly over the fruit. Cover with the remaining bread (trim to fit). Wrap the whole basin in cling film and then put something heavy on the top (e.g. a small plate with a tin on the top).

Pop into the fridge chill and set overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add the Chambord to the screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad to mix together the liqueur with the sweetened fruit juice. Slide a palette knife around the inside edge of the basin, pop a serving plate on the top and then invert the lot – your gorgeous pudding will plop out delightfully onto the plate. Pour the Chambord-infused juice evenly over the pudding and serve this luscious pudding with a dollop of crème fraîche – just yummy!

End of Summer Pud p w

Inspired by…

Richard Bertinet, Delicious magazine

How easy…

Stupendously!

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