Puddings and Cakes

A Skeleton of Ice Creams

The 100th  of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a selection of my favourite, and oh-so-easy ice creams. Why a skeleton not selection? Down to adventuring girl, Maddie x

When Maddie was really little and just getting the hang of the old reading lark, she insisted on perusing a restaurant menu to consider her dessert options (rather than the traditional approach of one of us reading the options out to her).

After much deliberation, she announced that she would like a skeleton of ice creams and from that day forward….well a selection is somewhat boring in comparison, isn’t it?!

So, here we have my own personal favourite ‘skeleton of ice creams’, most of which are created from the simple base combination that is condensed milk and double cream. In every case, there’s no churning involved and no popping backwards and forwards from the freezer to stir out the crystals (who has time?!) Instead, these are a joy to make, taking just minutes to knock up and are simply wonderful to indulge in.

The key for the condensed milk/double cream flavours is to mix together 600ml double cream with a full 397g tin of condensed milk; and then divide the total mixture into two smaller bowls to create a goodly but not gigantic amount of  two separate ice cream flavours, e.g. mint and chocolate chip with one half and coffee and kahlua with the other half.  It can get quite addictive and you may end up with a freezer full of different pots of ice cream ….no problem there though!

Black Forest Gateau 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 the 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!

Tip…

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 recipe, ‘Proper Old-Fashioned Shortbread’.

Sensationally Sinful Coffee and Kahlua Ice Cream

Having experimented with three ice cream flavours last week, I went back and quadrupled the recipe for this one – seriously it falls under the heading of ‘stratospherically stupendous and sinfully good!’ I’m not joking – it’s also REALLY addictive (I can practically hear it whispering from the freezer, ‘have some more, you know you want to!’ Moving on to the practicalities, it’s also so easy and quick to make and the result is luscious, decadent, silky smooth and tantalisingly tempting! Make it once and you’ll be hooked!!!

What you need…

300ml double cream

½ a 397g (1 tin) condensed milk

2 espresso coffees/100ml VERY strong coffee (cold)

1 tablespoon camp coffee

2 tablespoons Kahlua/coffee liqueur

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.

Pour in the cold espresso, Camp coffee and Kahlua and stir to incorporate. Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer for at least 6 hours. Indulge, enjoy, immerse yourself in the sheer gorgeousness of it! You’ve probably worked out that it’s a favourite of mine.

For an exotic alternative…

Simply add 12 – 15 cardamom seeds at the same time as the coffee and Kahlua- it adds an extra dimension that is a wonderful aromatic, slightly spicy and exotic Middle-Eastern flavour that somehow intensifies the coffee – fabulous! The only problem we now have is which version we prefer the most – with or without the cardamoms!!!

Lemon Curd and Limoncello Ice Cream

Wow! Lemon Curd and Limoncello Ice Cream – where to start?! This glorious ice cream is rich and creamy whilst also lemon-tangy and refreshing. It’s sweet but not too sweet and then we have the not insubstantial quantity of the fabulous Limoncello Italian liqueur running through it – this element tips the ice cream into the realms of grown up and quite sensational. Enjoy on a hot summers day or to conclude a lovely dinner. Or – in the name of the blog – at just after midday on a Monday!!!! Any excuse! It truly is scrumptious though and dead easy to make!

What you need…

300ml double cream

½ a 397g (1 tin) condensed milk

170g (normally half a jar) lemon curd – homemade or shop-bought

90ml Limoncello Italian lemon liqueur

What to do…

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk, lemon curd and Limoncello and use a balloon whisk to gently fold them in so that they are all evenly incorporated. Taste. Add in a little more Limoncello if required (!)

Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Mango and Passion Fruit Ice Cream with Rum

Wow-oh-wow! What a fabulous naughty ice cream for a sizzling summer’s day: cooling mango and oh-so fresh passion fruit combined with a soft creaminess and then a lovely little kick of rum at the end. It tastes like a cocktail and immediately transports you to the beach. Incredibly easy – stock the freezer up now!

What you need…

4 passion fruit

300g mango, roughly chopped

300g double cream

½ a 397g can of condensed milk

40ml dark rum

What to do…

Start by halving the passion fruit and scooping out the juice and flesh into a sieve over your blender. Use a spoon to push through as much of the juice as you can. Discard the remaining pips. Chuck in the mango and whizz to purée the whole lot together.

In a large bowl, use an electric handheld whisk to beat the cream into soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk, fruit purée and rum and use a balloon whisk to gently fold everything together so the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Pour into a plastic container and whop into your freezer for 6 hours/overnight.

Mint and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

What you need…

300ml double cream

½ of a 397g tin of condensed milk

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

1 ½ 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.

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.

And for something slightly different in the making…

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Quite simply, one of my favourite ice creams, best served with poached pears, carmamelised apples or just on it’s own with a spoon, somewhere private!

What you need…

300ml double cream

4 large, happy eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

What to do…

The day before you want to indulge in your ice cream, use an electric handheld whisk to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Rinse the whisks and then in a second bowl, whip the cream until thickened. Rinse whisks again and then in a third bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened and creamy in colour. Add the cinnamon and whisk again to combine.

Use a balloon whisk to fold the cream into the eggs and sugar and then gently fold in the egg whites. Pour your ice cream into a plastic container with a lid and pop into your freezer overnight. Et voilà – it’s done!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

Affogato al Caffe e Disaronno

Wow! This is just Naughty with a massively capital ‘N’.  Ice cream, Disaronno, espresso and chocolate: it tastes like a combination of Italy’s boozy trifle, Tiramisu and my favourite cocktail, Espresso Martini.  Equally, we started off eating it with a sundae spoon and ended up drinking it! The biggest problem is that it makes you greedy to get the lot down as quickly as possible, so fantastically naughty, it is! Made in seconds, this could become a really wicked little habit! What can I say: you need to try it!

Serves 1 (but that would be sad: double up and share with your favourite person)

What you need…

1 scoop of ice cream (vanilla or coffee and Kahlua) work brilliantly

1 tablespoon Disaronno

1 shot freshly made espresso coffee

1 teaspoon good quality dark chocolate, finely grated

What to do…

Wodge ice cream into the bottom of a pretty glass or small cup.

Pour over the Disaronno, then the espresso and then, sprinkle over the chocolate.

Immediately dive in with your spoon, marvel at the wicked gorgeousness of it, plunge in the spoon a couple more times before discarding it to drink the rest of your affogato! There’s probably a more elegant way of enjoying this but….this level of naughtiness deserves some gusto!

Tips…

You are supposed to use cold espresso, but we like it hot, gradually melting the ice cream, as we indulge. Either way: Yum!

If you are not quite as partial to Disaronno as I am, you could always swap it for Baileys.

There’s nothing to stop you mucking about with the quantities of any of the ingredients in this pudding-cum-cocktail.

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Dangerously so!

Tips for all the ice creams…

Once out of the freezer, these ice creams take about 10-15 minutes to reach the consistency whereby you can easily scoop it out.

How easy…

I have only used ice cream recipes that are quick and easy to knock up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light and Lovely Lemon Mousse

The 98th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is the most gorgeous lemon mousse, that I HAD to re-make today to take a better photograph than my last one…the things I do for this blog…spoon now in mousse…

What can I tell you – light, fresh, yummy, yummy, yummy, zesty, sweet, heavenly springs to mind. This is just a lovely, lovely lemon mousse that takes a bit of effort but is soooooo worth it. Try it and I guarantee you’ll add it to your favourites list!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x 1 pint mould, filled with cold water

1½ dessertspoons gelatine powder

45ml cold water

1½ eggs (I know! See tip!)

1 egg yolk

50g caster sugar

65ml lemon juice

Grated zest of 1½ lemons

125ml double cream, lightly whisked to soft peaks

What to do…

Take a large bowl (bigger than the one that you are going to whisk the eggs and sugar in), tip in a load of ice, top up with water and set aside.

Put a large saucepan over the heat with a steamer and bring to a simmer.

Tip the gelatine into the water to soften. Set aside.

Put the eggs and yolk with the sugar into a large heatproof bowl and pop into the steamer. Use a handheld electric whisk and beat for between 5 and 10 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy and the whisk leaves a distinct trail.

Remove from the heat, setting onto a tea towel on your worktop to prevent slipping. Add the lemon juice and zest and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool.

Stick the gelatine into a microwave for a few seconds to melt and then tip into the mixture. Whisk to incorporate.

Put your mixture bowl into the iced water bowl and pop in a balloon whisk. For 15 – 20 minutes (whilst you clear up) keep coming back to the mixture and give it a gentle little whisk, also scraping down the side of the bowl until the mixture is just starting to set.  Fold in the cream so that it is evenly incorporated.

Empty the water from your mould and then tip your mixture in. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. To ‘unmould’, fill your sink with hot water to a height just below that of your mould. Pop the mould into the water and remove when you see the sides of the mousse just coming away from the mould. Invert onto a pretty plate (remember to breathe – it will plop out – I promise!!!) and serve to a very appreciative audience! Enjoy – it is simply heavenly!

Tip…

This is half the original recipe – works perfectly for us when we’re on our own but obviously, you can’t really have half an egg. For the half, chuck an egg in a measuring jug, beat it with a fork just to mix it all together, see how much liquid there is and the chuck half down the sink. Sorry, but there it is: either this or double up and invite friends around or eat a lot of lemon mousse (not necessarily a problem!!!)

Inspired by…

No idea! Another once clipped from a magazine years ago that I have made and enjoyed successfully over at least 2 decades!

How easy…

It is easy, but it does take time and there’s quite a lot of clearing up. That said, it can be prepared 24 hours in advance so hey, job done if you have friends coming around!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfik Parkin!

The 96th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these unassuming little ‘poppable’ ginger treats are at once both light and deliciously sticky as well as…..very, very moreish.

Originating from Northern England, particularly in Yorkshire and Lancashire, Parkin is traditionally eaten on Guy Fawkes Night but is also enjoyed throughout the Winter months, apparently. There are loads of different recipes and many of them – unlike this one – contain black treacle. Using 5thNovember as an excuse to bake a cake I’d never tried before, I decided to give it a go and lordy, lordy, it’s bloody lovely!

I took it out of the oven and thought, ‘That’s a damned fine looking cake and also it’s huge!” It had risen in the oven whilst filling the kitchen with a glorious sweet smell of golden syrup and ginger. And then the taste: the sponge is really very light and delicately infused with its lovely flavours and yet it has a sticky moistness: quite unlike anything I’ve ever tried and extremely good. I ate rather a lot to ensure that I could properly describe it to you but then enjoyed the added bonus that Parkin increases its moist stickiness whilst in the tin over a couple of days – just delectable! Have had to promise Connagh that this recipe will be on regular repeat!!!!

Makes around 50 bite-sized cheeky little poppables!

What you need…

1 x 20cm cake tin, lightly buttered and lined with parchment paper

225g self-raising flour

115g caster sugar

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

115g golden syrup

55g butter

1 happy egg

200ml milk

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 150°c / 300°f / gas 4.

Tip the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into your food processor and whizz to mix together.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the syrup and butter, until melted.

Beat the egg into the milk.

With your processor still whizzing on slow, gradually pour in the syrup/butter mixture until thoroughly combined. Then do the same with the egg/milk mixture and combine until smooth.

Pour into the cake tin and pop into oven to bake for 1 hour.

Cool in the tin. Once cool, turn out and cut up into cheeky little cubes  that pop easily into the mouth: poppables!!!

Inspired by…

One of Yorkshire’s finest, the butter-mad James Martin

How easy…

Ridiculously!

 

 

 

Chocolate Amaretti Cake

The 94th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, to make this in one’s PJs is a great start to any day…

A scrumptious moist cake that combines the sweetness of chocolate with the texture and bite of Amaretti biscuits and almonds and then delivers a hint of orange, delighting the taste buds! It keeps for days (in the unlikely event that every last divine morsel isn’t devoured in minutes) and is a cinch to make – created this morning in just a few minutes whilst still in PJs! Give it a whirl!

Serves 8 – 12

What you need…

1 x 20cm round spring-form cake tin, lightly buttered and the base lined with parchment paper

150g 70% dark chocolate

50g Amaretti biscuits

100g ground almonds

175g caster sugar

Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

100g room temperature butter, cut into cubes

4 eggs, beaten

Icing sugar, for dusting

What to do…

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

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set in a steamer over simmering water.

Pop the Amaretti biscuits in a zip-lock food bag, seal and then crush the biscuits evenly using a rolling pin.

In a food processor, tip in the biscuits, ground almonds, caster sugar and orange zest and whizz until evenly blended.  Add the butter and whizz to blend. Add the eggs gradually, processing the whole time.  Then, add the melted chocolate and briefly whizz again until blended.

Tip the mixture into your cake tin and pop your chocolate Amaretti cake mixture into the oven, baking for 35 minutes or until the cake is puffed up and slightly cracked around the edges.

Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 15 minutes before carefully transferring to plate/cake stand. Dust the crisp top with icing sugar and serve, with an espresso, a glass of Disaronno liqueur or just on its own. Divine, but I might have already mentioned that!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Ever so!

Fantasy Cake

The 91st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is just a wonderful cake, exuding all the loveliness that is an English summer.

You know how the first sunshine of summer works – you sit outside in April or May after months and months of cold, grey, wet winter (and spring) days and you feel those first wonderfully warm rays sink into your bones – all is well with the world. Well, making and eating this cake is a similar experience: it’s best enjoyed warm – the sponge is moist and the deliciously gooey, sweet strawberries deliver summer direct to all of your senses – one of my favourite recipes from Lisa Faulkner’s book, ‘Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter’. Just lovely.

What you need…

1 x 23cm spring form cake tin, lightly buttered and lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper on the bottom

175g unsalted butter, softened

150g caster sugar

150g self-raising flour

2 large, happy eggs

3 tablespoons milk

100g ground almonds

1 teaspoon almond essence

400g strawberries, hulled and halved

Icing sugar for dusting

What to do…

Preheat oven to 160°c / 325°f, gas 3.

Using a food processor, whizz together all the ingredients except the strawberries and icing sugar.

Stir in the fruit, reserving a handful for decorating.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and put the remaining handful of fruit on top of the cake.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 1-1¼ hours. To test if it is cooked, pierce the cake with a skewer – if it is clean when you pull it out, the cake is cooked. If not, pop it back in for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Turn the cake out of the tin onto a wire rack to cool and then dust with icing sugar. It’s most gorgeous served just as its turning from warm to room temperature, ideally outside enjoying early summer sunshine.

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

Really easy and it comes with a sense of well-being!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cocoa Rum Dessert

The 88th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one is ideal for a bank holiday weekend, especially when family and friends are dropping in.

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.

My Absolute Favourite Recipe for Carrot Cake

The 86th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this was one was always a ‘dead cert’ with a rather large version presented annually to husband with birthday candles in it!

John’s favourite cake is carrot cake and I think it might be mine too – so moist and heavenly; a gentle, warming spice flavouring the sponge, contrasting beautifully with the sweet frosting – sheer delight!

One of our friends made the Hummingbird Bakery version of this delicious treat for John’s 60th birthday a wee while ago (!) so last year, I finally replicated it for him and it was simply gorgeous – very difficult not to dive into and demolish the whole lot in one sitting! Just two weeks later, I was asked by a lovely friend to make it again to celebrate her son’s 40th and I made a double-sized one! Fab! The recipe below is for the original cake (rather than the 40th birthday version); however, it’s been Cindy-tweaked. The original splits the mixture between three 20-cm cake tins but I only have two. I however, made more frosting to accommodate the 4 tiers made from the two sponges and that’s what you’ve got here. Try it once and you’ll be a devotee!

What you need…

2 x deep, 20cm cake tins, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

300g soft light brown sugar

3 large, happy eggs

300ml rapeseed oil

300g plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

300g carrots, grated

100g shelled walnuts, chopped

A handful of walnut halves, to decorate

for the cream cheese frosting

750g icing sugar, sifted

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature

310g cream cheese, cold

What to do…

First, to the cake mixture! Preheat the oven to 170˚c / 325˚f / gas 3.

If you have a stand mixer, use it to combine the sugar, eggs and oil together (an electric handheld mix would also do the job).

Gradually add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract.

Take the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chopped walnuts and grated carrots by hand until they are evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture into your cake tins and pop into the oven, for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

Next to the frosting! Use an electric handheld whisk to beat the icing sugar and butter together. Plop in all of the cream cheese and beat until completely smooth (a couple of minutes) taking care not to over beat as it can become runny quite quickly.

And finally to the cake assembly. When the cakes are cold, carefully halve each cake sponge horizontally. Then, place one tier on a cake stand and spread a thin layer of frosting over it. Place the second tier on top and repeat and then again with the third tier. Top with the last tier. Spread the remaining frosting generously over the top and sides. Finish decorating with walnuts.

Tip…

I like to make the cake sponges in advance, wrap them in foil and freeze them. Then, on the day of the cake-fest, it’s just a case of frosting and decorating.

Inspired by….

Jo Wilkes, who made this for John’s 60th birthday and who in turn, retrieved this recipe for me from the Hummingbird Bakery.

Baklava

The 80th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this recipe expands the waistline just looking at it but for me, every succulent morsel transports me back to the Ionian: infinity seas merging with cloudless blue skies….

When on holiday in Corfu a few years ago, we happened upon a very traditional restaurant that was mainly frequented by locals and would have been pretty much impossible to find except via boat. We visited this fabulously authentic restaurant twice, enjoying the food as much as the sea view over a rickety wooden pontoon. At the end of each meal, we were presented with the most delicious baklava – a dessert widely recognised as the national dessert of those countries that made up the Ottoman Empire. I’ve always liked baklava but this homemade version knocked any shop-bought pretender into touch. It was the family’s grandmother whose job it was to create the dessert for the restaurant’s guests each day. I vowed there and then to do my best to replicate the gorgeousness that was that dessert and this comes pretty close. It’s easy to make but sooooooooo spectacularly bad for you!!!!

Serves 8

What you need…

1 x 20 cm round baking tin, lightly buttered

6 filo pastry sheets, cut in half to create 12 squares (approx 25cm)

150g chopped nuts – walnuts, pistachios and almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cloves

125g (!!!!!) butter, melted

for the syrup

300g sugar

200g water

40g honey

Zest of one lemon

1 cinnamon stick

What to do…

Pre-heat oven to 150°c / 300°f / gas 2

Melt the butter over a low heat, being careful not to burn it.

In the baking tin, lay one layer of filo pastry, then sprinkle melted butter over it. Repeat this process until you have used six sheets of pastry. You will have corners of pastry hanging over the baking dish – roughly fold them in and sprinkle them with butter.

In a bowl, mix together the chopped nuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Sprinkle half the mixture over the filo sheets and then add five more layers of filo pastry and sprinkled butter until you have just one sheet of pastry remaining. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture on top of the pastry layers and then top with the final pastry sheet – don’t forget to sprinkle over the butter. Again, fold in the overhanging corners and sprinkle with more butter.

Place the baklava in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it easier to cut into portions. Remove from the fridge and, using a sharp knife cut the pastry all the way down into eight portions.

Place the baklava on a low shelf in the oven and bake for 1½ hours, until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Into a small saucepan, mix together all the ingredients and bring to the boil. Boil for about 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t stir the syrup – it can go lumpy if you do. As soon as the baklava is baked, ladle over the some of the hot syrup. Once it has been absorbed, ladle over some more and repeat this process until no more can be absorbed – there’s usually a bit left in the pan but rather too much than too little!

Let the baklava cool down and serve – to die for (literally, with all that butter and sugar!) Simply divine!

Inspired by…

A grandmother in Corfu and a lot of Internet research!

How easy…

Very easy. The outcome far outweighs any effort anyway!

 

 

 

Tiramisu

The 76th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is our absolute favourite ‘trifle’ – thoroughly stupendous!

Delicious, decadent, rich and boozy, this Italian coffee and chocolate-based ‘trifle’ is Connagh’s absolute favourite dessert. It is totally indulgent and you know without any doubt that you are being spectacularly naughty when that first spoonful goes down. It is not unusual in this house for those indulging to enjoy second and third portions. Utterly divine – life would be incomplete without this dessert taking centre stage on our table on a regular basis – loosen your waistband and give it a go!

Serves Connagh on his own or 12 generous portions

What you need…

1 x pretty trifle bowl

6 egg yolks

150g caster sugar

1000g mascarpone cheese

170ml Kahlua or coffee liqueur

400 ml cold, strong coffee

28 (up to) boudoir biscuits  (sponge fingers)

50g plain chocolate, finely grated

What to do…

Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the caster sugar and beat together until pale and thickened, using an electric handheld whisk. Add the mascarpone and whisk slowly until it is evenly incorporated. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the coffee liqueur and whisk gently to combine.

Mix the coffee with the remaining coffee liqueur in a shallow dish. Dip each of the sponge fingers into the coffee and liqueur liquid and arrange in your serving bowl to cover the bottom. Gently plop over one third of the mascarpone mixture to cover the sponge fingers and then sprinkle on a layer of grated chocolate. Repeat these layers two further times, ending up with the sprinkled chocolate on the top. I use less chocolate on the top, preferring a lighter coverage for a prettier finish.

Cover your tiramisu with cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 2 hours but 24 hours if possible to let the flavours develop into their optimum lusciousness.

To serve, take your tiramisu out of the fridge about an hour before you want to indulge – fabulous!

Tips…

The number of boudoir biscuits isn’t set in stone and depends on the size and shape of your trifle bowl.

If you have a wide, shallow bowl, it may only be possible to create 2 layers rather than the 3 I’ve done here – it doesn’t make any difference – it will still be fab.

Inspired by…

Nigella Lawson

How easy…

Simple and also, relaxing to assemble.

Fabulous Fridge Cake

The 73rd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one is perfect to while away time with little people on a dreary weekend and…a fabulous result for your (minimal) efforts – spec-tac-u-lar!

Definitely one to do with little people, this is absolute child’s play to make and frankly, is waaaaaaay more fabulous than I could possibly have imagined! Seriously naughty and very moreish – one to put on the ‘regular’ list – just do it!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

1 x loaf tin/plastic container

50g dark chocolate

50g milk chocolate

100g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

150g digestive biscuits

25g mini marshmallows

15g Rice Krispies

What to do…

Melt the chocolate, butter and syrup together in a heatproof bowl over a steamer in a saucepan of simmering water.

Pop the digestive biscuits in a self-seal plastic bag and bash them into rough rubble with a rolling pin (small children love this bit!)

Line a loaf tin with cling film, leaving plenty hanging over the sides.

Tip the digestive biscuit rubble into the melted chocolate mixture and then add in the mini marshmallows and Rice Krispies. Mix together until they are evenly coated with chocolate .

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and use a spatula to press it down.  Pop into the fridge for a few hours.

Cut into lovely hard slices of heaven – honestly, it is ridiculously awesome.

Tips…

If you don’t fancy marshmallows (although they are lovely) replace them with raisins or soured cherries.

I am reliably informed (by Ben) that a splash of Baileys Irish Cream liqueur adds a very well received grown up dimension to this already wonderful ‘cake’.

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

Child’s Play – literally!

 

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