Puddings and Cakes

Absolutely Fabulous Pavlova

The 68th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a happening event this Easter weekend together with a couple of other naughties – very excited!

One of my favourite summer desserts, Pavlova is just divine: sweet, ripe fruit on top of whipped double cream, all gracing wonderful meringue: crisp on the outside and deliciously light, soft and slightly chewy on the inside. The combination is just heavenly and the joy of this recipe is that it is ridiculously easy to make – I’d never made meringue before finding this recipe but it has always been a success – in every way – and a firm favourite on our summer menus.

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

250g caster sugar, plus 3 – 4 teaspoons for the cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon malt vinegar

300ml double cream

1 x 300g punnet of ripe summer strawberries or a combination of your favourite summer fruit – I often combine strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 140°c / 275°f / gas 1.

Line a baking tray with Bake O Glide/parchment paper and draw a 23cm circle on it (as guidance for later).

Using an handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites and salt together until very stiff. Then, gradually whisk in the 250g caster sugar until it forms stiff peaks – this takes 3 – 4 minutes. Fold in the vanilla extract and vinegar.

Plop the meringue mixture onto your baking tray, gently spreading it to fit the drawn circle. Pop it into the oven and leave for 1 hour until firm. Then – and this is key – switch the oven off but leave your meringue in for a further 30 minutes with the door closed.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Discard the lining paper and put your meringue onto a pretty serving plate.

Whisk the cream and 3 – 4 teaspoons of sugar together (the amount of sugar depends on your personal taste) until stiff and then pile on top of the meringue. Arrange the fruit on top, stand back, admire your handy work and then serve – just divine – this is one of those desserts that is so light and delicious, I just keep coming back for one more spoonful….time and time again. Enjoy!

Tips…

Don’t waste the egg yolks – they can be frozen for another use.

If I’m feeding a crowd, I’ll double up on these ingredients and made a great big Pavlova and then use the remaining 6 egg yolks to make a large tiramisu – a thoroughly naughty conclusion to any meal!

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

Very, very easy and simply delicious!

Terrine of Summer Fruits

The 66th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a summer favourite, never failing to excite and please. It might also be heading in the direction of healthy….?

A lovely, light, really, really summery dessert that is packed with the season’s bounty, all of which can be bought locally. Stunning to look at and fabulously tasty, this dessert also makes you feel slightly virtuous – it is stacked with fruit after all. Just yummy! Going back for another slice now…

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 900g loaf tin

425ml sparkling rosé wine

2 x 11g sachets gelatine granules

50g caster sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

685g mixed summer fruits, e.g. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants

What to do…

Prepare the fruit, washing it, hulling the strawberries and maybe cutting them in half/quarters if they are especially large.

In a small saucepan, warm half the rosé over a moderate heat until it begins to simmer. Using a balloon whisk, mix in the gelatine and sugar. Once both are dissolved, mix in the remaining rosé and lime juice. Pour into a jug and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, arrange the fruit in the loaf tin, making sure that the ‘prettiest’ is on the bottom layer – this will be on the top when the terrine is turned out.

Pour half the rosé mixture over the fruit, cover with cling film and then fit something heavy and flat over the top (another loaf tin would be ideal) onto which rest a couple of 400ml cans of tomatoes or something similar to weigh down the fruit. Pop in the fridge and leave for 1 hour.

Warm up the remaining rosé mixture so that it’s runny again (10 – 20 seconds ins a microwave or back on the hob), remove the cling film and pour the rosé liquid over the terrine, re-cover with cling film and pop back in the fridge over night. Return weighty cans and spare loaf tin to their homes.

When you are ready to serve, dip the loaf tin into hot water for a minute or so to loosen the jelly from the edges. Invert the terrine out onto a pretty serving place. If it doesn’t come out immediately, either run a chef’s blow torch around the outside of tin whilst it is inverted on the plate or cover with a very hot damp towel. Be patient – it will come out. I’ve also taken to gently knocking the sides with a steak hammer for final persuasion. It’s very gratifying when it plops out onto the plate!

Cut into slices and serve with double cream, crème fraiche or Greek yogurt – it’s absolutely gorgeous and just exudes all that is fabulous about a good British summertime!

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Really easy

 

Torta Di Cappuccino

The 62nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this seductive dessert is literally temptation on a plate!

OMG!!!! This is a totally luscious ‘tart-mousse’ – I’m not sure which category it fits in but I can tell you this – a dark chocolate digestive biscuit base is topped with something in between a cake and a mousse that is richly flavoured with coffee and chocolate – the combination is staggeringly gorgeous, I mean staggeringly!! And somehow, as much as it’s rich, it’s also light: temptation on a plate. If you feel like sharing (I’d urge against) you can make it a day in advance of a dinner party or friends coming for supper.

Serves 8 – 10 (or perhaps just 1!)

What you need…

23cm diameter spring, form cake tin, lightly buttered

for the base

375g dark chocolate digestive biscuits

3 tablespoons double cream

75g butter, melted

for the topping

500g mascarpone

140g caster sugar

3 eggs

100g chocolate (ideally 70% cocoa solids), broken up

3 tablespoons Kahlua

125ml espresso or REALLY strong coffee

Icing sugar, to decorate

Chocolate coffee beans, to decorate

What to do…

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

To make the base, whizz your biscuits in a food processor to create crumbs, then mix with the cream and melted butter. Tip the biscuit mix into the cake tin, spread evenly and press down so the mix is good and solid. Pop in the fridge whilst you do the rest.

Put your chocolate into a heatproof bowl and then into a steamer over a pan of simmering water to gently melt.

Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the mascarpone and caster sugar together in a large bowl until soft and light.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Gradually add to the mascarpone mixture, whisking the whole time.

Go back to your melted chocolate and mix in the Kahlua and coffee. Then add to the mascarpone mixture, whisking continually to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly blended.

Pour over the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the centre is set (no jiggling) and the top is evenly brown.

Leave to cool and when cold, transfer from the cake tin to a pretty serving plate. Decorate with sifted icing sugar and chocolate coffee beans, either scattered haphazardly or in a ring around the edge of the dessert. Take one slice of your Torta di Cappuccino, just to make sure that it’s OK. Enjoy the sheer, delectable enjoyment of that moment and then decide if you like the people you’re with enough to share it with!!!!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How Easy…

It’s not difficult at all. I feel that is should have been, given the end result but no, it was very straight forward.

Greek Revani

The 59th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a real ‘go-to’ cake for a truly delicious, moist treat whose modest appearance belies utter lusciousness!

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 parchment paper

5 large, happy ggs, 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…

Waitrose.com

How easy…

Spectacularly and the results far outweigh the effort!

Brûléed Cheesecake

The 56th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is an absolutely gorgeous pud, slotted into our menu-planning at least a couple of times a year!

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

1 x kitchen blowtorch!

for the biscuit base

100g unsalted butter, melted

250g digestive biscuits

4 tablespoons demerara sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 happy 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!

Blackberry and Blueberry ‘No-Bake’ Cheesecake

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

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

Serves 10 -12

What you need…

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

60g butter, melted

250g Oreo biscuits

200g blueberries

350g blackberries

150g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated

100ml water

400g full-fat cream cheese

250g mascarpone

300ml double cream

3 sheets fine-leaf gelatine

to decorate

Blueberries and blackberries, (optional)

What to do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip…

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

Inspired by…

Good Housekeeping

How easy…

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

 

 

My Favourite Recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake

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

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

Serves 16+

 

What you need…

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

340g unsalted butter, room temperature

340g caster sugar

6 happy eggs

1 dessertspoon vanilla extract

140g milk

225g self-raising flour

85g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

for the chocolate butter cream

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

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

100g unsalted butter, room temperature

200g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspired by…

It’s a good mish mash of different recipes!

How easy…

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

 

 Glorious Marsala-Baked Summer Peaches with Mascarpone Cream

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

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

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x shallow baking dish

6 firm ripe peaches

40g caster sugar

275ml Marsala wine

2 x cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways

1 rounded teaspoon arrowroot

for the cream

4 rounded tablespoons mascarpone

4 rounded tablespoons fromage frais

A few drops of vanilla extract

1 dessertspoon caster sugar

What to do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

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

 

 

Lemon, Lime and Passion Fruit Curd Tart

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

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

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

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

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

for the pastry

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

60g caster sugar

130g plain flour

60g semolina

for the fabulous citrus curd filling

230g caster sugar

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

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes

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

200g unsalted butter, chunked and at room temperature

Pulp from 3 passion fruit

1 gelatine sheet (I used Costa fine leaf)

80g full fat cream cheese

50g icing sugar

What to do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip…

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

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

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

 

American-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

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

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

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

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

What you need for the buttermilk pancakes…

150g plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

Pinch of salt

2 large, happy eggs, separated

284ml carton buttermilk

Knob of butter for frying

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

1 large, happy egg yolk

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 dessertspoon caster sugar

Pinch of salt

150ml rapeseed oil

Small bunch dill, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Smoked salmon (100g tops 3 pancakes)

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

What you need for the caramelised banana and chocolate topping…

Per pancake:

Sprinkling of caster sugar

1 banana, sliced thickly,

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

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

What to do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip…

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

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

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