Tag Archives: Dessert

Strawberry and Limoncello-Infused Mascarpone Tartlets

Oooooh so naughty and so easy and quick to rustle up. Crispy, crunchy, buttery filo pastry encasing Limoncello-infused mascarpone cream and topped with the season’s ripest, juiciest and sweetest English strawberries – just gorgeous!!! A word of warning though: it is impossible to eat them elegantly…but that’s part of the fun!

Makes 8

What you need…

1 x muffin tin

50g butter, melted

4 x rectangular sheets of filo pastry, each cut into 8 squares

30g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for decoration

A large pinch ground cinnamon

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon caster sugar

150g mascarpone

Grated zest of ½ lemon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Limoncello liqueur

300g strawberries, hulled and sliced

What to do…

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

Brush 8 holes of the muffin tin with a little of the melted butter (not too much as the bottom of your tarts would be soggy and we can’t have that!)

Take 1 filo pastry square, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with icing sugar and then a little cinnamon. Do the same to another 3 squares, laying them on top of one another at a slightly different angle to create a rough star shape. Gently press the pastry into a muffin hole to create a cup. Repeat the whole process another 7 times to end up with 8 filo ‘cups’.

Pop them in the oven and cook for 8 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove and cool for 10 minutes in their mould and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool down completely. If the bottoms are a bit too buttery, sit them on a double piece of kitchen paper on top of the cooling rack to absorb some of the butter (speaking from experience here!)

Whilst your little filo cups are in the oven, you can whip up the mascarpone cream. In a bowl, use an electric handheld whisk to beat together the egg yolk and caster sugar until pale. Add the mascarpone, lemon zest, vanilla extract and Limoncello and whisk until quite stiff. Have a little taste and adjust the sugar and Limoncello to taste!

Choose a pretty plate on which to serve this naughty little filo cups and divide the mascarpone cream evenly between them. Top with sliced strawberries and sprinkle with icing sugar. Devour immediately! Have serviettes on hand – you will need them! Enjoy this fabulous take on our traditional strawberries and cream. Hello summer!

Tip…

If you have one, use an icing sugar shaker for sweetening the filo pastry squares and decorating at the end.

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Rather too easy – I can see these being rustled up on a regular basis!

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb Pavlovas with Rhubarb, Orange & Ginger Cream

Whoa! What can I tell you? Just fabulous – meringue that’s crispy on the outside and deliciously soft and chewy in the middle topped with a light, fluffy cream that exudes gentle flavours of summer and the crowning glory on the top that is lusciously sweetened rhubarb – the sun shines with this dessert regardless of the weather and I promise that you will enjoy the taste and sensations rockin’ your taste buds!

Makes 6

What you need…

2 x baking sheets, lined with non-stick baking paper/Bake O Glide

3 egg whites

A pinch of salt

250g caster sugar, plus a further 45g

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon malt vinegar

400g rhubarb

2 tablespoons of rhubarb, orange and ginger cordial

for the cream

3 tablespoons of rhubarb, orange and ginger cordial

400ml double cream

What to do…

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

Whisk the egg whites with the salt in a large, clean bowl using a handheld electric whisk, until very stiff. Then, gradually add in the 250g caster sugar, whisking the whole time until it forms stiff peaks (about 3 – 4 minutes). Fold in the vanilla extract and malt vinegar.

Dollop the meringue onto your baking sheets, creating 6 mounds. Swirl each with the back of a spoon to create rough circles and create a shallow dip in the middle of each. Pop in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Switch the oven off but leave the meringues in there for a further 30 minutes with the door shut (the key to success!)

In another oven or once you have removed your pavlovas from the oven, preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Tip the rhubarb into a baking dish and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the cordial together with the remaining 45g of caster sugar. Toss together, cover with foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

To make the cream, simply use your handheld electric whisk again to beat the cream until soft peaks form (I over whisked mine the first time as seen in the photograph). Pour in the cordial and whisk gently to combine. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

All of this can be done in advance, leaving only the assembly job to be done before you eat! Take one meringue, dollop on some cream and then top with the delicious rhubarb. I would seriously recommend trying this one before you do the others: insert fork and enjoy the crack of the crisply meringue breaking; pull together a generous forkful of meringue (crispy and chewy) cream and rhubarb, pop into mouth and shut eyes as you party in the sensations rockin’ your taste buds! Demolish the rest!

Make up the other meringues as above but without eating all of them, if poss!

Tip…

Elderflower cordial also works wonderfully well if you can’t get hold of the rhubarb, orange and ginger variety (which I purchased from a National Trust shop).

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner for the meringue recipe and myWaitrose for the overall idea!

How easy…

Easy, quick, delicious….am making another batch tomorrow!!!!

 

 

Yoghurt, Cardamom and Orange Panna Cotta

Not an authentic panna cotta but not quite a mousse either but it doesn’t really matter: it’s a set dessert that is a light, fresh moussy-panna-cotta thing that has a lovely fragrant and oriental twist to it with cardamoms providing a gentle nod to the Middle-East. Super easy to make and rather too easy to enjoy: I think it would make a perfect follow up to a highly spiced dinner, such as a curry.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 leaf of gelatine

200ml milk

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground

175ml natural yoghurt

2 teaspoons orange zest, finely grated

Raspberries or strawberries to garnish

What to do…

Place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

Place the milk, honey and ground cardamom seeds in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Take the gelatine out of the water and squeeze out the excess water before dropping it milk mixture. Stir to dissolve and then set aside for 10 minutes to reach room temperature.

Tip the yogurt and orange zest into a bowl and add the milk mixture, whisking to incorporate it evenly. Pour the whole lot into pretty glasses or teacups and pop into the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Serve straight from the fridge decorated with raspberries or strawberries. Enjoy this lovely light, fresh and delightfully exotic little pudding!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Stupendously!!!

 

 

 

Spiced Rhubarb and Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

Just yummy! I mean REALLY yummy!!! The brioche is gloriously sweet and fluffy and the gently spiced rhubarb has retained just a little of its inherent tartness but is also sweet and simply delicious. We had seconds….and then thirds and still my fork lingered for yet more….!!!!

Serves 8 (or 3 greedy people with some leftovers)

What you need…

1.5 litre ovenproof baking dish, liberally buttered

400g ready-sliced brioche loaf

80g butter, softened

500ml jersey or full fat milk

4 large, happy eggs

50g golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons demerara sugar

for the spiced rhubarb

400g rhubarb, cut into 2cm chunks

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

30g butter, cubed

50g light brown soft sugar

Juice and grated zest of 1 orange

What to do…

First, to the rhubarb, which you can do up to a day ahead. Heat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Chuck the rhubarb into your baking dish together with the spices, butter, sugar, zest and juice. Give them a quick stir together and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes until deliciously sticky and caramelised. Set aside to cool.

To make the custard (which you can also do in advance and just keep in the fridge until you’re ready) use a balloon whisk to mix together the milk, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste in a large jug.

Spread the brioche with the butter and cut into triangles before arranging them in your baking dish. Evenly tip over two-thirds of the rhubarb and then two-thirds of the custard. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge to let the custard soak into the bread for a few hours.

When you’re ready to bake, pour over the rest of the custard, scatter the remaining rhubarb over the top and then sprinkle with demerara sugar. Pop into the oven for 30 – 40 minutes until your gorgeous pudding is golden brown and the custard has set around the edges.

Serve with no delay, lovely and hot, gloriously sweet and fluffy with a little double cream or ice cream – heaven.

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

Spectacularly and you can do most of it ahead of time so very relaxing if you’re sharing with friends.

Scots Whisky Orange Cream

So quick, so light, so delicious and essentially it is just orange and whisky-infused cream…but it tastes like so much more, is intense and should only be served in small portions! Enjoy!

Serves 8

What you need…

100ml whisky

100g caster sugar

3 tablespoons fine-cut marmalade

Juice of ½ orange

Pared rind of 1 orange, cut into 2 halves

450ml double cream

16 – 24 fresh raspberries, to decorate

What to do…

Tip the whisky, sugar, marmalade, orange juice and half the pared orange rind into a saucepan. Stir over a moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the marmalade melts. Bring to the boil, allow to bubble for 1 minute and then remove the syrup that you’ve created from the heat and set aside for at least 1 hour (I did this bit in the morning and then finished the desserts later in the afternoon).

Remove the orange rind from the syrup and discard. Pour the syrup into a mixing bowl. Then add the cream and whisk using an electric hand whisk until soft peaks form.

Spoon into 8 pretty glasses or cups (choose wide-necked ones if you don’t want to make this bit tricky). Cut the remaining orange rind into thin strips and then decorate each of your whisky creams with a scattering of orange rind and 2 – 3 raspberries – simply wonderful!!!

Tip…

Will keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Seriously? It couldn’t be easer!

Lemon Posset with James’ Gran’s Shortbreads

Fresh, intense, zesty, sweet and light as air – that’s the posset and then you bite into the light but crisp, sweet, buttery shortbread – what a combo! And with the added joy that this little duo is made in minutes and is stupendously easy. The only downfall is that you make waaaaay too many shortbreads and…I don’t believe they keep very long…can’t actually verify that!!!!

Makes 6 possets and about 30 shortbreads!

What you need…

600ml double cream

150g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons

for the shortbread

2 x baking sheets, liberally buttered or lined with Bake O Glide

175g plain flour

90g icing sugar

60g ground almonds

25g cornflour

250g unsalted butter, chunked

What to do…

To the possets first: bring the cream and sugar to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, tip in the lemon zest and juice and whisk thoroughly. Pour into serving bowls or teacups. Pop into the fridge for a couple of hours to set.

Meanwhile, make the shortbread: preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4. Into your food processor, tip the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, cornflour and butter chunks. Whizz to create firstly a breadcrumb-like mixture and then a soft dough.

Spoon walnut-sized or plum-sized blobs (depending on how big you want the shortbread) onto your baking sheets, leaving space in between for spreading and pop into the oven to cook for 10 – 12 minutes or until they are lightly golden.

Remove the shortbread from the oven and allow to firm up on the baking trays for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool down completely. Make a cup of tea and undergo stringent quality control testing of the shortbread whilst it is cooling!

When you’re ready to serve, simply present your possets with a couple of shortbreads each to their lucky recipients. Enjoy the crunch and buttery gorgeousness of the shortbread with the luscious, sharp freshness of the possets – nothing short of delightful.

Tip…

If you want thicker shortbreads, use a buttered fairy cake tin or bun tin to dollop the uncooked mixture in – it can’t spread so much so you end up with fat, little shortbreads! I made both types and loved them both equally!

Inspired by…

James Martin (and his Gran for the shortbreads)

How easy…

Super easy, super fast, super impressive!

Lemon, Lime and Passion Fruit Curd Tart

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.

 

White Chocolate Mousse with Black Pepper and Fresh Mint

I’m not normally a fan of white chocolate but this recipe intrigued me – a dessert with black pepper? What a fabulous surprise it was! It’s spectacularly simple and fast to make: within 20 minutes, you have a truly fantastic dessert: the rich creaminess of the white chocolate is perfectly contrasted by the black pepper and the fresh mint – honestly I just had to keep digging in to marvel at the simplicity and deliciousness of this great and rather elegant dessert! Don’t hesitate – give it a go!

Serves 6

What you need…

280g good quality white chocolate, chunked

300ml double cream

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

12 fresh mint leaves (6 finely sliced and 6 reserved for decoration)

What to do…

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in a steamer over a pan of simmering water to melt (for some reason it takes waaaay longer than milk or dark chocolate but it WILL melt). Once melted, stand the bowl on a cold surface to cool down slightly (I stuck mine in the metal sink).

Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks.

Put 2 tablespoons of the cream into the melted chocolate and use the whisk to gently beat them together. Use a spatula to scrape every last bit of the melted chocolate/cream mixture into the remaining double cream together with the pepper and mint and then, using a balloon whisk, very gently fold in the ingredients so they are thoroughly mixed together.

Spoon the mixture into 6 pretty glasses (tall Champagne flutes are particularly elegant but you need long handled spoons to go with them!).

Pop in the fridge for just 20 minutes or overnight if you’re preparing ahead. Just before serving, decorate with the remaining mint leaves. Serve to a dubious group whose faces will light up with joy! Gorgeous!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Couldn’t be any easier and you can prepare ahead!

Sticky Toffee Roulade

Ooooooooh, you DEFINITELY need to give this one a go! It’s utterly luscious, totally naughty, rich in flavour, deep in colour and I’m sure that it whispers, “Have some more, you know you want to!” And of course, there’s the necessary pre-cleaning of pan used to cook the sauce – I have a lovely little spatula that goes direct from saucepan to mouth……This would make a lovely dessert for Sunday lunch but equally, we had it on a rainy Thursday afternoon! You seriously don’t need an excuse!

What you need…

1 x 35 x 25cm Swiss roll tin, buttered and lined with parchment paper

150g dates, roughly chopped

225ml water

4 eggs, separated

75g soft dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g plain flour

Caster sugar for sprinkling

for the naughty sauce

200ml double cream

200g unsalted butter

200g soft dark brown sugar

50ml brandy

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 230°c / 450°f / gas 8.

Put the dates and water into a saucepan over a moderate heat and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, tip the egg yolks and sugar into your food processor and whizz until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric handheld whisk to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Tip the dates and water into your blender and whizz to create a fine purée.

Back to the main food processor, add the vanilla extract to the egg and sugar mixture whilst the motor is running; then the bicarbonate of soda and puréed dates, whizzing until evenly mixed together. Mix in the flour and then tip in one third of the egg whites and whizz until just mixed in (maybe 10 seconds). Then tip the whole lot into the remaining egg whites and use a balloon whisk to gently fold the eggs and mixture in together.

Tip the lot into your prepared tin. Bang the tin on the worktop to make sure the mixture is evenly spread and then pop in the oven for 12 minutes until the sponge is risen and golden.

Whilst the cake bakes, take the saucepan used to boil the dates and water and give it a quick wipe out with some kitchen roll before adding in all the sauce ingredients. Set over a moderate heat and gently bring to the boil, using your balloon whisk again to beat until smooth. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken.

Lay a damp tea towel on your worktop and on top, add a large piece of parchment paper (bigger than the Swiss roll tin). When the cake comes out of the oven, invert it onto the parchment paper – this is quite tricky but the tea towel will at least keep the parchment paper in place whilst you do this. Gently peel off the tin-lining paper. Then spread one third of the sauce over the sponge, making sure that you take it right to the edges. Then gently roll up the sponge from a short side to create a lovely, luscious fat roll.

Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with caster sugar. Pour your naughty sauce into a serving jug.

To serve, fend off enthusiastic tasters and cut the roulade into nice chunky slices, pouring over the wicked sauce……and indulge, enjoy, savour…cut another slice – simply divine!

Serving suggestion…

I don’t actually think it needs anything else at all but you could serve it with brandy ice cream (already blogged). I tried it both ways and they were both delicious.

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Really easy, very quick but you do create quite a bit of a mess using both the main processor and blender, electric whisk, balloon whisk, large bowl and saucepan in the prep. That said, it is absolutely worth it!

 

Mayan Chocolate Pots & Tequila-Glazed Orange Madeleines

Ooooh, these little chocolate pots are really va va voom! The rich dark chocolate has a little more than a hint of warmth provided by allspice, cinnamon and cayenne: hidden depths that add to the pleasure of delving into these lovely little pots of naughtiness. And then, the Madeleines: their elegant appearance and light, delicate flavour are enhanced by a gentle orange flavour and then the party arrives with the distinctive kick of tequila (in the icing – a new one on me!) A really lovely and different pud that’s dead easy to knock up and can be prepared in advance!

Serves 6

What you need…

200g 70%+ dark chocolate, chunked

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of sea salt

6 happy eggs, separated, plus a further 2 egg whites

Pinch of cream of tartar

40g golden caster sugar

A handful of slighty crushed pistachios or cocoa nibs

for the Madeleines

1 x Madeleine tin, lightly buttered and dusted with flour

100g plain flour

100g caster sugar

100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

Dash of vanilla extract

Zest of 2 oranges, finely grated

1 tablespoon orange juice

Pinch of sea salt

25g icing sugar

10ml aged Tequila

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 170°c / 325°f / gas 3.

Starting with the chocolate pots, place the chocolate, spices and salt into a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water over a low heat. Gently melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, use a handheld electric whisk to beat the egg yolks until thick and creamy. Then, tip into the melted chocolate and beat to thoroughly incorporate. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking, gradually adding the sugar, one spoonful at a time, until soft peaks form.

Using a metal spoon, add one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and beat like mad to loosen. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just combined, with no white streaks. Divide evenly between 6 serving bowls, glasses or in my case, coffee cups. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

For the Madeleines, tip the flour and sugar into your food processor and whizz to mix together. Pour in the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and juice plus the salt.

Put a heaped tablespoon of batter into each of the moulds in the Madeleine tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, mix together the icing sugar with the tequila and then, when the Madeleines are cool, dip them into the boozy sugar and leave to cool and set on a wire rack, scallop-side up.

Top the chocolate pots with pistachios or cocoa nibs, if using and maybe a little sea salt. Serve to the delight of your fellow diners with a couple of Madeleines each – gorgeously naughty – enjoy!

Inspired by…

Good Things magazine

How easy…

Really easy and the joy of it is that this dessert can be prepared in advance – the Madeleines store nicely in an airtight tin and the chocolate pots will keep in the fridge for a couple of days – result!

 

 

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