Tag Archives: Dessert

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!

 

 

Amaretto Savarin with Nectarines

I was somewhat bemused by this recipe: looks like a cake but the ingredients sound like bread – what the hell – decided to give it a go anyway. Wow! What a wonderful surprise! The sponge, if it that is the correct term, is unbelievably, like spectacularly light and….it’s drenched in the amaretto syrup. Push a bite-sized piece of the sweet, moist savarin onto a spoon and add a wedge of delicious warm, ripe (and somewhat naughty) nectarine – together they are utter bliss. Nothing short of it!

Serves 16+

What you need…

1 x 1 litre savarin baking mould, lightly buttered

250g strong flour, plus extra for dusting

30g sugar

4 eggs

Pinch of salt

15g fresh or dried yeast or 1 sachet of fast action dried yeast (my preference)

85g melted butter

for the amaretto syrup

150g caster sugar

400ml water

Zest of 1 lemon

125ml amaretto liqueur (Disaronno)

for the nectarines

60g butter

8 nectarines, stones removed and cut into wedges

4 tablespoons demerara sugar

4 springs lemon thyme, leaves picked

500ml double cream, whipped

12 amaretti biscuits, broken (optional)

What to do…

The day before you want to serve, place the flour, sugar, eggs, salt and yeast into a mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on a slow speed until the mixture comes together (I did speed 2 for 10 minutes). With the machine still running, pour in the melted butter and mix in to thoroughly incorporate. Remove the bowl, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge overnight.

Also, the day before, make the syrup. Tip all the ingredients into a saucepan over a gentle heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, pop on the lid and leave overnight, allowing the flavours to fully develop.

The next day, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it to form a large ball, then roll it to create a long sausage, just big enough to fit in the savarin mould. Leave to rise for 50 minutes (I put mine in the small oven at the lowest temperature possible).

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

Pop your savarin mould into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the savarin from the oven and allow to cool in the mould.

Meanwhile, strain the syrup and discard the lemon zest.

Turn your savarin out onto a pretty plate or shallow serving dish and liberally poke all over with a bamboo skewer. Then spoon over the syrup, thoroughly drenching the savarin.

Just before you are ready to serve, pop the butter, nectarines, demerara sugar and lemon thyme into a saucepan over a gentle heat and warm until the sugar has dissolved.

Serve large, moist slices of the savarin with a couple of wedges of warm, sweet nectarine, a large dollop of cream and a crumble of amaretti biscuits. Truly, you will think you are in heaven – absolutely gorgeous!

 Tip…

Rather than using one large savarin mould, you could bake individual or smaller versions, freezing those not needed on the day.

 Inspired by…

The Daily Mail’s Weekend

 How easy…

Really easy and I love that you can do most of the prep the day before you want to indulge.

Nectarine, Almond and Polenta Cake with Marsala Mascarpone

Yum: I’m not sure if this recipe comes from Sicily, where Marsala originates, but it certainly tastes like it does! A dense and exceptionally moist, sweet sponge created by in the inclusion of nectarine pulp, Marsala, polenta, almonds and olive oil, this cake is absolutely delicious served with the sweet, rich and Marsala-infused mascarpone and when you complete the dish with a couple of slices of ripe nectarines, it’s just wonderful and so very, very summery. An added bonus is that it keeps really well for a couple of days if you don’t demolish it all on the first!

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin, lightly buttered and lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper

150g caster sugar

3 ripe nectarines plus a further 3-4 to serve (depending on how many of you are having your cake and eating it!)

125ml sweet Marsala wine

190ml extra virgin olive oil

240g caster sugar

100g polenta

250g ground almonds

3 large eggs, beaten

for the Marsala mascarpone

500g mascarpone

100g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

4 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine

What to do…

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

Fill a large saucepan with water and add the caster sugar. Bring to the boil and gently drop in the nectarines. Turn down the heat and gently poach them for 30 minutes, until tender.

Drain the nectarines and cool. Slice the fruit off the stone and pop the flesh into your food processor. Add the 125 ml Marsala and whizz to a purée, Add the remaining cake ingredients and whizz again to create a smooth batter. Pour into your cake tin and bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, use a handheld electric whisk to beat together all the ingredients for the Marsala mascarpone ‘cream’. Also, slice up the remaining nectarines, discarding the stones.

Pop the cooled cake onto a pretty serving plate and dust with icing sugar, arrange some nectarine slices on the top and offer the remaining slices to your fellow cake eaters together with the lovely Marsala mascarpone – delightfully delicious.

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine online

How easy…

Ridiculously! And it can be made ahead.

Marsala-Baked Summer Peaches with Mascarpone Cream

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 delicious and easy: the light and fresh ‘cream’ contrasts perfectly with the rich Marsala sauce in which the peaches sit so prettily; and the whole things 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!

 

 

Never Fail Raspberry Soufflé

Ooooooooh, you’re going to love these! So, so light with cloud-like fluffiness and just bursting with raspberry flavour, these soufflés are simply heavenly! When I saw the ‘never fail’ element of the recipe name, I was a little skeptical but they really are so very easy to make and quite spectacular on the enjoyment front!

Serves 4

What you need…

for the purée

200g fresh raspberries

30g sugar

3g cornflour

25ml water

for the soufflé

4 ramekins

A little butter

4 egg whites

100g caster sugar, plus extra for preparing the ramekins and dusting

What to do…

Blend the raspberries to a purée and then pass through a sieve to remove the pips.

Place the purée in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.

In the meantime, in another saucepan, tip in the sugar and half the water. Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar starts to caramelise, turning a light golden brown. Quickly remove from the heat and tip into purée, whisking it in. If the caramelised sugar starts to set (mine did) just pop the saucepan back onto a moderate heat and whisk the purée until the caramel melts again and is evenly incorporated.

Using a fork, mix the cornflour into the remaining water and then add to the purée, whisking it in.

Leave the purée to cool. You can make the purée the day before you need it, covering it with cling film and keeping it in the fridge if you like.

Just before you’re ready to indulge in these little pots of gorgeousness, preheat your oven to 180° / 350°f / gas 4. Liberally butter four ovenproof ramekins and then sprinkle some caster sugar all over the butter, tipping out the excess. Pop the ramekins into the freezer.

Whisk together the eggs whites and caster sugar until they are stiff and shiny.

Tip one third of the egg whites into your cold raspberry purée and whisk in, creating a smooth paste. Using a spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites so they are evenly incorporated.

Spoon the mixture into the ramekins up to the top. Bang them down on your work surface to release air bubbles. Using a palette knife, scrape the excess off the top of each ramekin and wipe a little butter around the rim of each pot (to prevent the soufflé from sticking). Dust with a little caster sugar.

Pop the ramekins onto a baking tray and slip them into the oven, baking for 8 minutes. Watch them rise: other than the eating them, this is the best bit!

Serve immediately – dip in your spoon and indulge in a lovely pink cloud of sheer heaven – the fresh raspberry flavours excite the taste buds whilst the soufflé gently evaporates over your tongue, all the while you’re dipping your spoon in for the next mouthful!

Inspired by…

Adam Handling

How easy…

The caramelising of the sugar can be a little tricky but if you keep your eye on it, shouldn’t be a problem. Other than that, it’s really easy and fast, once the purée has been made. I love the fact that you can do that bit the day before: the rest is dead easy.

 

Terrine of Summer Fruits

 

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!

Terrine of Summer Fruits close up wInspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Really easy

 

Spice-Roasted Fruits with Honey and Orange Sauce

 

A lovely, lovely pud that is unbelievably easy, can be mostly prepared ahead and is very unusual. Given the combination of orange, cinnamon and star anise, there is more than a little nod towards Christmas in the aromas emanating from the oven as these lovely summer fruits bask in their sauce but there’s nothing wrong with that! Once cooked, the soft, warm fruit has a lovely sweet depth of flavour and the gentle spices give this dish a very welcome extra dimension. Something different for summer – give it a go!

Serves 6

What you need…

4 fresh bay leaves, torn

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod

1 star anise

½ teaspoon black pepper

Zest and juice of 3 oranges

4 tablespoons clear honey

3 tablespoons light soft dark brown sugar

3 peaches, 3 nectarines, 6 plums all ripe, cut in half and stones removed

25g unsalted butter

Crème Fraîche, to serve

What to do…

The day before, take a large screw-top jar and tip in the bay leaves, cinnamon, vanilla pod seeds, star anise, pepper, orange zest and juice, honey and sugar. Screw on the lid, shake like mad and pop in the fridge.

Half an hour before serving, preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the fruit into a roomy baking dish. Shake your sauce like mad again and then pour over the fruit. Dot over the butter and pop into the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Baste the fruits with a large spoon and bake again for a further 10 minutes. One more basting and then a further 5 minutes cooking. That’s it! Serve these rich and wonderful warm summer fruits with a gorgeous dollop of crème fraîche – very yummy indeed!

Spice-Roasted Fruits close w

Inspired by…

My friend, Heather told me she’d had it to conclude a lunch with a friend of hers called Lady Jas (!) It sounded so good that I googled it and printed it off the BBC Good Food website.

How easy…

You just need a jam jar, some fruit and a bit of time in the oven! My kinda pud!

Frozen Raspberry and Orange Parfait in a Dark Chocolate Case

This is the most fantastic dessert for a boiling hot summer day – I know we don’t get many but you can make this and then whack it in the freezer until the glorious British weather delivers a freakily hot day! It’s refreshing, light but sweet; the ripeness of the raspberries married to fresh, sweet orange and then all encased in dark chocolate is just a wonderful combination.

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 20cm deep spring-form cake tin, lightly oiled

175g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

1 tablespoon water

15g unsalted butter

500g fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons clear, runny honey

150ml orange juice, freshly squeezed (makes all the difference)

175g caster sugar

2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

300ml whipping cream

Mint leaves and 3 or four extra raspberries, to garnish

What to do…

To make the chocolate case, tip your chocolate chunks and water into a heatproof bowl and put into a steamer over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the butter. Spoon the chocolate into the base of the tin and spread it evenly up the sides of the tin – you can go all the way to the top and have thin coating of chocolate or just half way, as I did, to have a thicker chocolate case. Pop the case in the fridge.

To make the frozen parfait, use your food processor break down the raspberries into a pulp and then press them through a sieve into a jug to create a pip-free purée. Stir in the honey and set aside.

In a large bowl, use a handheld electric whisk to beat the egg whites and salt together to form soft peaks. Set aside. Rinse off your whisk and then in a smaller, separate bowl whisk the cream until it also forms soft peaks – no more. Set aside. Rinse off your whisk again.

Clean out the sieve and use it to strain the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the sugar and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil fiercely, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Quickly tip the hot orange syrup into the egg whites, whisking the whole time and keep going until the mixture is thick and resembles an uncooked meringue.

Using a balloon whisk, lightly fold in the raspberry purée and when fully incorporated, gently do the same with cream.

Tip the lot into your chocolate case and whop into the freezer for at least 5 hours but preferably overnight.

To remove from the tin, either rub the sides with a hot cloth or – much more fun – go around the outside of the tin with a kitchen blow torch. I then take a steak mallet and gently bang the sides just to make sure that the case has loosened away from the tin. Open your tin mechanism and gently ease the sides away from the parfait. If you’re feeling brave, carefully insert a fish slice all around the bottom of the parfait to separate the chocolate base from the tin-base and then ease it onto a pretty serving plate. If you’re not feeling so brave, just lift the parfait, cake tin-base and all, onto the serving plate. Decorate with raspberries and mint, cut into slices and serve immediately – absolutely delightful: an English summer right there on a plate and a perfect antidote to a hot, sticky summer’s day (or evening) – yummy!

Tips…

The original recipe used white chocolate rather than dark but I elected to use the latter, believing that it would be a better foil for the raspberries. I’m also not that keen on white chocolate. However, if it is your thing, swap out the dark for the white!

If there isn’t a crowd of you when you first serve this, you can quickly cut the parfait into slices and then re-freeze those not required for another day.

Frozen Rasp Parfait slice w

Serving suggestion…

Whizz and then sieve raspberries to create a purée, then stir in some Chambord black raspberry liqueur to suit your taste. Just a little on the side of your frozen parfait is quite delicious!

Inspired by…

Josceline Dimbleby

How easy…

It’s not hard, but takes quite a bit of time and creates a fair old mess. That said, the dishwasher was quickly loaded and doing its business and l like the fact that this can be made waaaay in advance.

 

 

Absolutely Fabulous Pavlova

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 (or more if you want to pile it high!)

At least 1 x 300g punnet of ripe summer strawberries or a combination of your favourite summer fruit – I often combine strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The amount of fruit is all about personal preference

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!

Pavlova close up w

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!

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 vanilla or honeycomb ice cream (previously blogged and works brilliantly in this).

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…

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!