Puddings and Cakes

Heavenly Lemon Torte

 

This heavenly dessert is right up my street: ridiculously easy, tastes amazing and…doesn’t even require any cooking! Picture if you will a spoonful: the light and fluffy cream filling excites your taste buds with the gentle tanginess of lemon and then, the taste of chocolate follows through – absolutely delightful! The only other thing it needs is another spoonful and then another….Give it a go!

Serves 10 – 12 depending on how generously you cut your slices!

What you need…

for the base

1 x 20cm round spring form baking tin, lightly buttered and lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper

300g dark chocolate digestive biscuits

50g butter, melted

2 tablespoons double cream

for the filling

300ml double cream

265g condensed milk (2/3 of a standard 397g tin)

Lemon juice from 2 large or 3 small lemons

Zest of 1 large lemon

What to do…

Roughly break up your chocolate digestives, shove them in the food processor and whizz until they are crumbs. Remove the processor blade and then, using a spatula, mix in the melted butter and cream.

Press evenly into the bottom of your baking tin. Pop into the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.

Using a handheld electric whisk, whip the cream until it’s quite stiff and then, using a large balloon whisk, gently fold in the condensed milk, lemon juice and zest. Tip the lot onto the chocolate digestive base and return to the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour before serving. That’s it!!!

To serve, remove from the tin (I normally leave my puds on the base part of the spring form tin for fear of imminent collapse if it was removed) and gently peel away the Bake O Glide from the sides. Decorate with a little peeled lemon rind if you like and then just cut yourself your first – but most certainly not your last – slice of heavenly lemon torte – just yummy!

Inspired by…

The filling came from a Tim Siadatan recipe, but the base is attributed to Rachel Allen.

How easy…

It’s just a bit of mucking about really! And no cooking!

 

 

 

 

Black Velvet Baby Cakes

Never one to miss an opportunity to make cake, today I am presented with St. Patrick’s Day and in celebration made these lovely cakes that are spectacularly easy and fast to whip up as well as being indulgently delicious! They also bring together that wonderful combination of Guinness and Champagne! The dark, rich and quite dense sponge contrasts perfectly with the light, frothy, sweet cream, emulating the famous cocktail perfectly. The serving suggestion is to accompany these cakes with a glass of Champagne, but it’s a tad early for that – they work equally well with a cup of good, strong coffee – indulge and enjoy!

Makes 6

What you need…

6 x dariole moulds, well buttered and bases lined with parchment paper

100g butter, room temperature, cut into chunks

175g light brown soft sugar

1 egg

100g self-raising flour

50g ground almonds

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

5 tablespoons cocoa, plus a little extra for decorating

150ml Guinness

for the cream topping

200ml double cream

25g icing sugar

Splash Champagne

What to do…

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

Chuck the butter, sugar, egg, flour, almonds, bicarbonate, cocoa and Guinness into your food processor and whizz until lump-free. Divide the mixture evenly between the dariole moulds, pop them on a baking tray and stick them in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and a skewer poked in comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes and then remove them from their tins (see tip) and cool completely, keeping them the same way up – no need to invert.

Using a handheld electric whisk, whip the cream together with the icing sugar and Champagne until nice and thick and simply dollop on top of your cakes. Serve your fabulous black velvet baby cakes with a glass or two of Champagne – what could be nicer?! Thank you St. Patrick!

Tip…

No matter how thoroughly I butter dariole moulds, I have historically had a bit of a stress getting things out of them until John introduced me to this method. Rather that slipping a smooth knife down the sides of the cake to loosen it from the tin, simply tap the tin sharply and all the way around with the handle of a metal knife – they come out beautifully then – have used this method with panna cottas, ice cream and mousses as well as cake – thank you darling!

The story behind Black Velvet…

Amazing what you can find on Google: “This famous drink was invented in 1861 at Brook’s Club in London. Prince Albert had died, everyone was in mourning. The story goes that the steward at the club, overcome with the emotion of the occasion, ordered that even the champagne should be put into mourning and proceeded to mix it with Guinness. The taste was so delicious the Black Velvet quickly became extremely popular.”

Inspired by…

Good Food Magazine (2011)

How easy…

Whiz, bake, whip, enjoy – that’s it!!!!

Revani

Ooooh, this is lovely, especially with a double espresso mid morning! (My exact words were, “Yum, that was naughty and delicious!” Torn out of a magazine, this recipe for Greek Revani is gorgeous! Using semolina creates a denser sponge than normal and the syrup that is absorbed into it makes this delightful treat really moist and moreish. Gentle flavours and fragrances of orange and lemon permeate and, despite its delightfully squidgy density, it’s so light that it’s very easy to simply reach for a second slice. Highly recommended – absolutely delicious! Also, dead easy and really quick to make!

Serves 10

What you need…

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

5 eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

50g plain flour

100g semolina

¼ teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 orange

50g unsalted butter, melted

50g no-peel marmalade

for the syrup

250g caster sugar

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

300ml water

What to do…

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

Chuck your egg yolks and sugar into the food processor and whizz until light and creamy. Whilst still running, tip the flour and semolina into the processor and then the salt, orange zest, melted butter and marmalade. Keep whizzing until smooth.

In a separate bowl, use an electric hand held whisk to whip up the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then gently fold into the cake batter in 3 batches.

Pour the whole lot into your cake tin and pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put all the ingredients, including the vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Allow to cool a little and then sieve the syrup into a jug. Squish some of the vanilla seeds through the sieve into the strained syrup (this isn’t necessary – it’s more for appearance than taste).

When the cake has cooled for 20 – 30 minutes, transfer it from the tin to a serving plate and then use your skewer to pierce holes all over the cake, poking it right the way through. Gently pour over the syrup, watching as it soaks into the sponge, making it lovely and moist. I didn’t tip all the syrup in all at once but gradually, coming back to the cake every few minutes and pouring a bit more over once the previous amount had been absorbed, until it was all gone.

That’s it – all done, ready to indulge in – absolutely delicious!

Serving suggestion…

On its own is fabulous but if you want to dress it up a little, spoon a dollop of Greek yogurt on the top, sprinkling with slightly crushed pistachios – delightful!

Tip…

As much as Revani is gorgeous and impossible to resist when first cooked, keep it in the fridge and it will ‘gather’ over a couple of days, tasting – dare I say it – even better!

 Inspired by…

Yotam Ottolenghi for Waitrose magazine

 How easy…

Spectacularly and the results far outweigh the effort!

Revani Close up w

Passion Fruit Pots of Summer Sunshine

Another one from Mary Berry’s foolproof series, these little Passion Fruit Pots are simply delicious – they are light and fresh and the best description that I can give each of them is ‘a little pot of summer’! You can practically taste the sunshine! Simple to make, simply gorgeous to taste and quite simply, a ‘must-have’!

 Serves 6

 What you need…

 6 pretty glasses or pots to serve

600ml double cream

100g caster sugar

6 passion fruit

Juice of 1 lime

What to do…

Halve 5 of the passion fruit and scoop out the seeds and juice into the blender part of your food processor. Whizz until smooth – this will enhance the flavour and the fabulous smell will remind you of an English summer morning! Sieve into a jug. Set aside the sieved juice and throw away the seeds.

Pour the cream into a medium-sized saucepan, add the sugar and stir slowly over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then, increase the heat and boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Add the cream to the juice and stir to combine. Add the lime juice and stir – you will see that the mixture is thickening up nicely. Pour into your 6 glasses and then pop in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

To serve, cut the remaining passion fruit in half, scoop out the seeds and juice and divide between the 6 glasses – you don’t need much but it is a nice finishing touch!

Enjoy your little pots of summer sunshine – quite simply delightful!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Extremely easy and quick to whip up!

Welsh Cakes

Warm, buttery, ever so light and delicately sweet, these little Welsh Cakes are a lovely teatime treat and take next to no time to whip up. A real feeling of ‘granny’s home-baking’ comes with them, delightfully crisp on the outside and softer and slightly crumbly in the middle; and they can be enjoyed either with just a sprinkling of caster sugar or with butter and jam or cream and summer fruits – I loved them straight from the pan – not all of them made it to the tin for later enjoyment with the family!

Makes 16

What you need…

1 x 6cm cookie cutter

225g plain flour

85g caster sugar

½ teaspoon mixed spice

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

50g butter, cut into chunks

50g lard, cut into chunks, plus a little extra for frying

50g currants

1 egg, beaten

Caster sugar to serve (optional)

What to do…

Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice, baking powder and salt into your food processor and whiz just to mix them all together. Drop in the butter and lard and whizz again until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add your currants and whizz to mix in. Finally, slowly add your beaten egg, whizzing until you can see the dough forming.

Tip the lot out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough comes together – it should be a similar consistency to short crust pastry.

Roll out to 1 cm thick and cut out rounds with your cookie cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. Drop a small knob of lard into a heavy-based frying pan and melt over a moderate heat. Cook your Welsh Cakes in batches – 2-3 minutes each side, until they are lovely and golden brown and crisp on the outside.

Serve warm if possible but if not, allow to cool on a cooling rack, sprinkle with sugar (if that’s your serving preference) and keep them in an airtight tin (for up to a week apparently – not that we’ll ever get to test that notion!)

Inspired by…

Good Food Magazine (March 2008)

How easy…

Ever so! And really quick too!

 

 

 

Honeycomb Ice Cream

It’s another OMG moment!!!!! Mary Berry made this on Monday night and I did think, “Ooh, I gotta give that one a go!” Made yesterday and sampled today – what can I tell you – its unbelievably easy to make (and a whole lot of fun, given the honeycomb process) and tastes absolutely out of this world – I’m not kidding – give this a go – it won’t be the last time you make it! How can anything this amazing be this simple?! Thank you Mary!!!

Serves 8

What you need…

1 large sheet of Bake O Glide/non-stick baking paper

1 x 900g loaf tin

4 tablespoons golden syrup

150g caster sugar

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) full-fat condensed milk

2 teaspoons popping candy (optional)

OK, so we can agree: this isn’t diet ice cream but what a horrid concept that is anyway!!!

What to do…

In a large, deep saucepan, chuck in the syrup and sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the temperature to moderate and simmer for 5-6 minutes until you have a beautiful honey-coloured caramel.

Remove from the heat and tip in the bicarbonate of soda, mixing like crazy until it is evenly incorporated and foaming (reminds me of one of Connagh’s slightly dodgy childhood experiments!)

Tip the foaming honeycomb out onto your Bake O Glide or baking paper – it will naturally spread into a large circle and then just stop spreading as it starts to set. Leave for about 20 minutes, until the honeycomb has hardened and cooled down and then break into bite-sized pieces – dead easy – it looks much tougher than it actually is! Pop a third of the honeycomb into an air-tight container and save for decoration later.

Whilst the honeycomb is cooling, do a couple of jobs; firstly, fill the loaf tin with cold water and then empty it again. Line the tin with cling film (the water residue helps the cling film to stick to the tin).

Next, fill the saucepan that you used to create the honeycomb with water and then put it on a high heat. As the water comes to the boil, it will melt the residue honeycomb that is stuck to the inside of the pan – then you can just chuck it down the sink – no horrid scrubbing!

Then, make the ice cream: whip the double cream into soft peaks and then stir in the condensed milk. Tip in the remaining two-thirds of the honeycomb and popping candy, if using, and stir to disperse evenly.

Pour into the prepared loaf tin, level off the top and cover with cling film. Freeze overnight.

To serve, tip out and remove the cling film. Sprinkle with the saved honeycomb. Leave for 10 minutes to soften enough to cut, then cut into slices – don’t be mean with them – people are only going to ask for seconds!

Sooooo, soooo naughty but……sooooo, sooooo good!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

As the lady says, “Foolproof!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarte Tatin

The famous accidental fruit pudding that was created by the French sisters, ‘Tatin’! However, it’s acclaim didn’t really start gathering apace until it was introduced to Paris’ Maxim’s in the 1920’s. It has apparently never left the menu since. Anyway, this version is certainly not as glamorously presented as those of more practiced cooks, however it is quite delicious! The sticky, rich and golden brown caramelised apples together with crunchy, sweet pastry are just a heavenly combination. Mine never looks overly attractive – think homemade rustic rather than French elegance, but hey, its taste more than makes up for its humble appearance – just gorgeous!

What you need…

for the pastry

1 x heavy, ovenproof 23cm frying pan

210g plain flour, sifted

100g unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons caster sugar

3 tablespoons water

for the filling

90g unsalted butter

180g caster sugar

1.4kg Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and quartered

What to do…

Chuck all the pastry ingredients into your food processor and whizz until a breadcrumb consistency is reached. Tip out onto your work surface and knead for about 1 minute, until the dough is formed. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: melt the butter over a low heat in the frying pan and then evenly sprinkle over the sugar. Arrange the apples snugly in circles on top of the sugar. Turn the heat up and cook for 15-20 minutes, gently bubbling the butter mixture until a deep golden caramel forms.

Let the apples cool a little.

Heat the oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7.

Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface, creating a circle slightly larger than your frying pan. Place the pastry over the top of the apples and tuck in the edges (work quickly so that the heat of the apples doesn’t soften the pastry).

Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Ooooh, the lovely smell of apples wallowing in loads of sugar and butter!

Stand your frying pan on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes, allowing the tart to firm up.

To serve (with your heart in your mouth) invert the Tarte Tatin onto a serving plate, praying it comes on in one! Just so you know, mine doesn’t always come out quite in one and there might be a little apple reshuffling required! Anyway, serve hot with crème fraiche , double cream or Greek yogurt. Utterly delightful!

Inspired by…

A torn out recipe from a magazine that I’ve had in my ‘to do’ file for longer than I’ve had children!

How easy…

The making is very straightforward. However, the ‘getting out of the pan’ is a bit hit and miss for me. I shall clearly just have to persevere until I get that bit right. It doesn’t matter though! A lovely little tart it is!!!

 

Sunshine Shorties

So, today the sun came out and it actually felt like spring! I rustled these up in no time – they’re childishly simple (ideal to make with little people), ever so quick and really, really tasty – crunchy oats with a softer middle and just a hint of golden syrup – the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. And bonus: I got to enjoy my cup of tea and shorties, having photographed them, in the garden’s sunshine (rather than the studio where food has been confined to for months!) The perfect choice for a day that feels like spring really is on its way!

Makes 30

What you need…

2 x baking trays, lightly buttered or lined with Bake O Glide

125g butter

125g caster sugar

1 teaspoon golden syrup

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon boiling water

125g porridge oats (gluten-free works equally well)

125g self-raising flour

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 160°c / 325°f / gas 3.

Put the butter, sugar, syrup, bicarbonate of soda and water into a large saucepan and melt. Remove from the heat and tip in the oats and flour. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Place teaspoon-sized balls on the prepared baking trays, leaving space for them to spread out. Pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. When they’ve set slightly, cool them completely on a wire rack. That’s it! Make tea; scoff delicious shorties!

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

Childishly simple and sooooooo quick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Panna Cotta with Rhubarb

A lovely light dessert with beautifully contrasting flavours: the panna cotta is light, fresh and ever so slightly tart whilst the rhubarb is lovely and sweet: the two come together in perfect harmony and this dessert takes just a few minutes to make – simply delicious!

Serves 6

What you need…

2 leaves gelatine

350ml double cream

225ml Stones Green Ginger Wine

30g caster sugar

50ml water

3 pieces sliced stem ginger, from a jar

2 sticks rhubarb, trimmed and cut into little chunks (3 sticks if they’re skinny)

What to do…

Pop the gelatine into some cold water to soften.

Meanwhile, bring the cream and ginger wine to the boil in a medium-sized pan, stirring gently. As soon as it starts to bubble, remove from the heat. Squeeze the water from the gelatine sheets and pop them into the cream and ginger wine mixture. Stir until the gelatine is dissolved and the mixture is thickened.

Sieve into a jug and then pour into 6 pretty glasses or ramekins.

Pop in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.

To prepare the rhubarb, heat the sugar, water and stem ginger in a small saucepan, bringing it to the boil. Add the rhubarb and cook on the high heat for 1 minute, then remove from the heat, cover the pan with cling film and set aside, leaving the rhubarb to finish cooking in the residual heat.

When ready to serve, spoon the rhubarb and juices over the panna cottas and just dive in!

Inspired by…

Tom Kerridge

How easy…

Dead easy and it takes no time!

Brûléed Cheesecake

This is lovely, light, fluffy and quite luscious in the middle; with an extra bit of pizzazz provided by the crunchy, sweet brûléed topping – sinfully delicious and therefore very easy just to keep digging into for just that little bit more! And then of course, there’s the quite necessary opportunity to play with a blowtorch – great fun and very easy to get carried away! Give it a go!

Serves 10-12

What you need…

1 x 20cm round spring-form cake tin, lightly buttered and bottom lined with parchment paper/Bake O Glide

1 x kitchen blowtorch!

for the biscuit base

100g unsalted butter, melted

250g digestive biscuits

4 tablespoons demerara sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg yolk, beaten

for the filling

Zest of 1 lemon

500g full fat soft cheese

125g golden caster sugar

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

3 eggs, beaten

200ml full fat crème fraiche

for the brûlée topping

2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Roughly break up the biscuits and chuck them in your food processor (with the blade attachment). Whizz until they look like chunky breadcrumbs.

Thoroughly mix together the digestive crumbs, sugar, butter and ginger. Tip into the cake tin and, using a straight-sided glass, firmly press the mixture evenly across the base and 3cm up the sides. Pop in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Brush over the egg yolk and pop back in the oven for a further 3 minutes to seal.

In a large bowl, use a spatula to mix together the lemon zest, cheese, sugar, cornflour and vanilla. Using a handheld electric whisk, work in the eggs until smooth and then, returning back to the spatula, fold in the crème fraiche.

Pour the filling over the base, pop in the oven and bake for 10 minutes; then reduce the temperature to 140°c / 275°f / gas 1 and bake for a further 45 minutes or until set to a gentle wobble. Turn the oven off but leave your brûléed cheesecake in for 1 hour, with the oven door left ajar. Cool completely and then pop in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Release your cheesecake from the confines of its tin (I didn’t dare to remove the tin bottom for fear of total collapse). Scatter over the golden caster sugar and arm yourself with the blowtorch! Brûlée the top until the sugar turns a deep coppery brown – for a bit of theatre, do this at the table! Serve and enjoy the unique combination that is the crunchy sweet brûlée topping with the lovely light and fluffy cheesecake filling! Utterly delightful!

Inspired by…

My Waitrose magazine

How easy…

Very easy. The digestives need bullying into place but even if there’s a bit of crumbling going on, it just adds to the homemade appeal!

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