Super excited to join this year's #virtualpumpkinparty!! With so many delicious recipes to try, I'm sad it's a *virtual* party and we're not all coming together to actually eat this pumpkin-fest! Here's my Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake -- a beautiful rich cheesecake with layers of both pumpkin and chocolate cheesecakes on a crunchy bourbon biscuit base :)Read More
Clinging to the summer days of warm winds and the beautiful sunshine of our holidays, these mini cherry clafoutis are perfectly delicious. Light, almondy and studded with rich red cherries - the perfect treat!Read More
Beautiful Bellini Jellies bringing a touch of summer to your dinner parties! Fresh peaches and mint leaves encased in a jelly of prosecco and peach juice. Perfect to share with friends :)Read More
Perfect for summer days, this beautiful Nectarine Rose & Custard Tart is the best for entertaining family and friends. A sweet pastry filled with whole egg custard and topped with slivers of sweet, ripe nectarines. Absolutely delicious and look stunning!Read More
This delicious Salted Caramel Magic Custard Cake is perfect for sharing with friends this bank holiday. Layers of Genoise sponge, silky caramel custard and a moist cake base. And the magic? All this from one simple batter!Read More
The most delicious baked chocolate cheesecake! With a base made from Bourbon Biscuits and a velvety topping whipped together with mascarpone, cream cheese, eggs and milk chocolate. Extremely indulgent and perfect for a dinner party 💕Read More
So yesterday it was Pi Day. There was I, making my very first cherry pie, and I didn't even realise it was International Pi(e) Day. The rest of the blogging world had gone crazy with their amazing array of sweet or savoury pies and mine was dutifully sat in the fridge ready for its moment of baking. So here am I, a day late, sharing my Cherry Pie with you all. If you want to know the real inspiration for trying my hand at this ruby red creation, it was all down to the excitement about the new series of Twin Peaks. I mean - yay! Ever since that final scene where Agent Dale Cooper smacked his head against the mirror, uttering, "Where's Annie?" in a maniacal voice, I've been longing to know what comes next. And I've ALWAYS wanted to try the miraculous cherry pie from the Double R Diner with their damn fine coffee.
So just a few *ahem* years since I watched it, I have finally got around to making my very own cherry pie. I think I might just have become a pie addict! The cherry filling was a bit of a mistake - as in, I wanted to buy tinned cherries but when I got to the supermarket, my only option was tinned cherry fruit filling. I expected this to be cherries in liquid but it was more like cherries in a glutinous gel. It actually tastes pretty good.
The pastry is wonderfully straightforward which I love and you roll it out straightaway rather than waiting for it to chill. You can make it by hand, but I made mine in the mixer. It's simply flour, sugar and salt mixed with small cubes of cold butter; then this is mixed with water to make your pastry. To make the lattice stripes, I have a cutter (I got this from Tala but there are lots of different ones available) but you can easily use a knife and ruler and make straight lines if you don't have the cutter. I also decided to give my pie an air of romance so used a heart cutter with the leftover pastry to make my border.
So you divide your pastry in half and the first half lines your dish. The filling it added and the the top lattice is woven on to the top. The pie needs to chill for at least half an hour (mine went in the fridge overnight) and then it's ready to bake.
I really love the bubbling cherry sauce which peaks up through the golden lattice when your pie has finished baking. And it's absolutely delicious served warm fresh from the oven.
Whether or not you're a Twin Peaks fan, whether or not you ever hankered after a slice of the Double R Diner's most famous cherry pie, or whether or not you actually had a clue what was going on in the show for the whole two seasons, this pie is super yummy. It may be spring here, but that doesn't stop the bitter wind blowing and the -2 degree temperatures so there's nothing better than curling up in front of the fire with a slice of it.
To quote Agent Dale Copper, "This must be where pies go when they die" 💕💕
adapted from Williams-Sonoma recipe for Cherry Pie
Makes one 25cm pie
- 400G PLAIN FLOUR
- 2 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 250G UNSALTED BUTTER (straight from the fridge and cut into little cubes)
- 6 TBSP COLD WATER
- 2 TINS OF CHERRY FRUIT FILLING
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (fan)
- To make your pastry, first mix the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a freestanding mixer
- Cut your butter into small cubes, add this to the bowl and make sure that each piece is coated with flour
- Then mix together with the paddle attachment until the texture looks like cornmeal - I usually finish it off with my fingertips to make sure that each piece of butter is no larger than a pea
- Add the water and mix again slowly until the dough comes together and forms a ball
- Divide your dough in half and put half onto a lightly floured surface
- Flatten the disc with your hand and then roll it out until it's around 30cm in diameter adding a little extra flour if needed
- Immediately place this into your pie dish leaving around 2cm of pastry overhang
- Then take the other half of the dough and roll it out into a rectangular shape around 30cm by 20cm
- Cut the dough into strips (using a ribbon cutter if you want scalloped edges)
- Put your cherry filling into your pie and make sure it's spread evenly
- Then build your lattice onto the top of your pie with your strips overhanging the edge of the pie dish
- You can either fold the edges of the pastry back over the edge and crimp the to seal the pie, but I chose to cut the pastry flush with the edge of the dish
- Cut out small heart shapes (any shape would do here -- leaves, fish, flowers, etc) and after placing a tiny amount of water on the back of each heart, place them around the edge of the pie dish
- Chill your pie in the fridge for at least half an hour
- Bake your pie for 15 minutes
- Decrease your oven temperature to 160 degrees celsius (fan) and bake for a further 45 minutes
- Your pie's ready when the crust is golden brown and the cherry filling is bubbling up through the lattice
- Enjoy warm from the oven with a cup of freshly brewed, (damn) fine coffee :)
I think I've made a lifetime's supply of profiteroles in the last two weeks. It has definitely been an opportunity to perfect my choux pastry technique! Chocolate and custard are favourites in this house, so it's not been unwelcome ;-)
I was making a Croquembouche for a birthday last weekend. Everything went perfectly - the choux pastry, the custard, filling the little balls of delight - until I came to build the Croq itself. I was using a recipe that used melted white chocolate to stick the buns together and I thought it was all going swimmingly until I came to release it from its cone. Collapse. Don't admit defeat, I thought. I went through all the possibilities. Time was short. Royal icing, I decided. Whipped up a batch and reglued the buns together using icing. Then I forced myself to leave the house for four hours to let it set (I had no longer and this was already a stressful thing to do when I was due to deliver it that afternoon). I returned, full of hope. Slowly I edged it out of its cone. It stood up but it looked a little crooked. Like a witch's hat with a little kink at the top. I moved around looking at it from different angles. The bottom seemed to be expanding, it leant a little bit more, then a little bit more, before a large splat on the kitchen workbench.
I have the loveliest friends. They were insistent that I deliver the mashed up Croq with some chocolate sauce on top, but I just had to make a new batch. So it was during this time that I perfected my profiterole making and streamlined a quick and easy method for making them. The custard part needs to be made before, but you can always fill them with whipped cream. And the chocolate sauce is super easy, very rich and hugely indulgent.
I suggest making the choux buns the day before you need them. They can get a little soft but I just blasted them in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp them up before filling on the day you plan to serve them. I've heard a number of people worry that choux is difficult to make but this is a pretty fullproof method. You put butter and water in a saucepan until the butter is melted and then bring to the boil. Add the flour in one go and mix vigorously over the heat until it comes together and comes away cleanly from the side of the pan. This takes around 30 seconds. Take it off the heat and place to one side for 5 minutes. After this cooling, add the eggs one by one, stirring vigorously after each one. A lot of recipes suggest that you may not need to add all the eggs but if unsure then add all the eggs. Then pop this in a piping bag. Snip 1cm off the end.
I pipe mine onto silpat lined baking trays but you can use baking parchment. Pipe 24 balls (4 x 6 balls) onto your tray. You'll probably get a little point on the top of each ball and using a little water on your finger, gently pat down the point (this stops it from burning in the oven). I cook mine for 10 minutes, then rotate the trays 180 degrees for another 10 minutes. Then remove them from the oven, cut a little slit in the side (around 1cm) and pop them back in for 5 minutes. Then allow to cool on a baking rack. Repeat with any remaining mixture. These can be stored in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.
I also make my custard the day before I need it and chill it in the fridge overnight. Now custard needs a lot of egg yolks, so it's always worth having something to make with all your leftover egg whites! It's very simple to make too. The egg yolks, sugar and flour are mixed together to make a paste. Then just boiling milk is poured over the egg mixture, whisked vigorously before returning to the saucepan. It's important to whisk this well as you don't want a scrambled egg mixture. You cook this over a low heat, always stirring, until it's thick and bubbling. Then it should be transferred to a bowl and covered with a layer of clingfilm so that the clingfilm is in contact with the surface of the custard. Once cool, it can be refrigerated.
On the day of serving, I generally give my choux buns 5 minutes at 160 degrees just to crisp them up a little. They cool down very quickly so by the time you've filled your piping bag with the custard, they're ready to fill. I use a pastry piping nozzle which has a long, thin nozzle that you can stick into the bun. Squeeze the custard in gently so you can see the filling spreading throughout and the bun will expand a little when it's full. If you're concerned you may be over-filling them, start with a little and you can always go back and top up.
The chocolate sauce is very rich and indulgent and sets quite quickly so you need to pour it on as soon as it's ready. It's warm when you pour it, but you can serve it cool (it will harden a little) or warm - both are delicious. The sauce is made from a sugar syrup (water and sugar) brought to the boil and then reduced to simmering. Whilst simmering, place a bowl with a chocolate on top (as a bain-marie) and allow the melt gently. When it's melted, pour the sugar syrup into the bowl and mix well until combined. Then pour immediately on the profiteroles.
The three elements for making the profiteroles could be really complicated, but are in fact very straightforward when broken into four steps. Making the choux buns and custard the day before, removes the stress completely when you have friends or family waiting to eat them. And making a fresh, warm, chocolate sauce poured over the top in front of your guests is the best (and not only for the smell of the chocolate!)
Profiteroles always seem to be a winner. Kids and adults alike love them. And I think they make such a special dessert, just perfect for sharing :)
Profiteroles with Custard and Chocolate Sauce
adapted from BBC Good Food
Choux Bun Ingredients
- 185G PLAIN FLOUR
- 175G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 450ML WATER
- 6 LARGE EGGS, BEATEN
Choux Bun Method
- Place the butter and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted
- Bring to the boil and add the flour all at once
- Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and comes away cleanly from the side of the pan (around 20-30 seconds)
- Remove from the heat and put to one side for 5 minutes
- Beat in the eggs one by one until the mixture is glossy and just holding its shape without being too runny
- Put this in a piping bag and cut 1 cm of the end of the bag
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Line 2 baking trays with silpat or baking parchment and pipe 24 rounds onto one sheet (6 x 4 balls around 3cm)
- If you have little peaks on the top of your buns, pat each peak gently with a lightly dampened finger
- Place the two trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
- Then rotate the trays 180 degrees and bake for a further 10 minutes
- Remove from the oven and cut a 1cm slit in the side of each bun and place back in the oven for 5 minutes
- Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack
- Once cool, put them in an airtight container overnight
- 9 LARGE EGG YOLKS
- 150g GOLDEN CASTER SUGAR
- 50g PLAIN FLOUR
- 500ml FULL CREAM MILK
- 1 TBSP VANILLA PASTE (to taste)
- Beat the egg yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla paste in a bowl until you have a smooth paste
- Bring the milk just to the boil and then pour it over the egg mixture, whisking all the time
- When combined, pour it back into the saucepan over a low heat, whisking all the time
- Keep whisking until the custard is bubbling and thickened
- Remove from the heat and cover with clingfilm so the clingfilm is in contact with the surface of the custard
- Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use
Preparing Your Profiteroles
- When you're ready to assemble the profiteroles, if the choux buns feel a little soft, put them in oven at 160 degrees for 5 minutes
- Using a pastry nozzle, fill your piping bag with the custard
- Take each ball in turn, insert the piping nozzle into the side of the ball and gently fill each one with custard - you will feel the ball inflate slightly
- Continue until all balls are filled and then assemble on your serving dish
Chocolate Sauce Ingredients
- 100ML WATER
- 80G CASTER SUGAR
- 200G DARK CHOCOLATE (broken into small pieces)
Chocolate Sauce Method
- Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a saucepan and then reduce to a simmer
- Place the chocolate in a bowl and place this over the top of the saucepan
- Stir the chocolate from time to time until it's all melted
- Once melted, pour the sugar syrup from the saucepan into the bowl of melted chocolate
- Stir until smooth
- Pour immediately over your dish of profiteroles
- The profiteroles can be served with either warm sauce or sauce allowed to cool - although there is something especially yummy about warm, melted chocolate sauce over a plate of these little choux buns :)
It's been trying to snow here in London all day. We've done our Sunday fixtures of school football, run around like loons, warmed our hands on hot drinks from the cafe and returned home to work our way through a mini pile of homework and projects. And now something comforting is calling to me. Don't you just love when you know there's something buried in your freezer that's going to give you just the right amount of chocolatey TLC?
These Melting Chocolate Puds have to one of my favourite desserts. I used to make them and then lost the recipe for a while. It's buried deep in one of my Donna Hay magazines - problem is, I have over a decade's supply of her mags and it was hidden much too well. But then I found it again. And decided to pair it with a homemade Brown Bread Ice Cream. When I have the time, I love making ice cream from scratch and dusting off my ice cream machine to make rich, creamy loveliness.
The best part about the Chocolate Melting Puds is that they can be made days before you need them and baked straight from the freezer when your guests are sat at the dinner table. And if you're savvy enough to make (a lot) more than you need, when the chocolate craving comes a-calling, you can have a homemade chocolate pud from freezer to plate in 18 mins. And homemade ice cream is always a wonderful treat.
To make the ice cream, you first need to make a custard base. Egg yolks, sugar and cornflour are mixed together in a bowl and then milk brought just to the boil is poured onto the egg mixture whisking all the time. The mixture is returned to the pan and cooked gently over the heat, whisking all the time, until the custard has thickened. It is important to mix it all the time to ensure that the custard doesn't catch and burn on the bottom of the pan.
Then I generally chill it overnight in the fridge but it just needs to cool down completely. To cook the brown breadcrumbs, blitz brown bread to make breadcrumbs, melt butter in a large frying pan and then add the breadcrumbs. Mix them around, coating them evenly with the butter and then sprinkle the sugar over the breadcrumbs. You don't want to overcook the breadcrumbs but cook them for around 5 minutes until they're lightly browned. Put them to one side and cool.
When you're ready to make the ice cream, mix the vanilla into the custard and pop it in the ice cream maker. The brown bread crumbs may have clumped together as they cooled so you can blitz them but not to much as you want a breadcrumb texture rather than a fine powder. When the custard has thickened into the ice cream, add the breadcrumbs and mix for another 5 minutes. I generally freeze my ice cream until I need it, but you can serve it straight from the ice cream maker.
Whilst you're making your ice cream, you can also start to prepare your chocolate puds. Start by melting the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted and then put aside. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a mixer and whisk for around 8 to 10 minutes until the mixture has doubled in volume. Pour in the cooled chocolate in a drizzle down the side of the bowl and then mix gently until fully incorporated. Sift the flour over the top and then fold gently. It's important to mix just until it's all incorporated as you can over-mix it and toughen the mixture.
The timing of baking really determines what kind of pudding you get in the end. It's obvious I guess but a couple of minutes turns it from a gooey, liquidy centre into more of a cake with a set middle. Personally I think the gooey centre rules and that's about 16-18 minutes in my oven - but you should test it in yours to get it perfect.
I hope you enjoy this as much as me and have a go at making your own ice cream. If you don't have your own ice cream maker and fancy a no churn option that you can whip together and pop straight into the freezer, try this Mascarpone Ice Cream With Salted Caramel.The salted caramel compliments the puds perfectly.
And make more than you need. Many more. You never know when you might need one!
Brown Bread Ice Cream
Makes enough ice cream for 6-8 people as an accompaniment to pudding
- 4 EGG YOLKS
- 75G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 TSP CORNFLOUR
- 300ML SEMI-SKIMMED MILK
- 40G BUTTER
- 75G BROWN BREADCRUMBS
- 50G LIGHT MUSCOVADO SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 300ML DOUBLE CREAM
- Hand whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until the mixture is pale and creamy
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until it starts to bubble, but does not quite boil
- Pour the heated milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the time until mixed through
- Then tip the mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over a gentle heat, whisking all the time, until the custard thickens
- Place the custard into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until cool
- To make the breadcrumbs, blitz the brown bread until you make breadcrumbs
- Melt the butter and add the breadcrumbs, making sure that you coat them thoroughly with the butter
- Sprinkle the sugar across the top of them and cook them for around 5 minutes until crisp - keep an eye on them as they can easily burn and if they blacken, you will need to start again
- Set aside the brown breadcrumbs
- When the custard is chilled, stir through the vanilla extract
- Place the custard in an ice cream maker and churn it until thickened
- Add the breadcrumbs and mix for a further 5 minutes
- You can either keep churning until you reach the desired consistency to serve straight from the ice cream maker or pop it in the freezer until you need it - I always serve mine from the freezer
- From the freezer, when you come to serve it, leave it out for around 5 minutes to soften slightly before scooping
Melting Chocolate Puddings
Makes 8 ramekins, from Donna Hay
- 1 TBSP MELTED BUTTER (to brush the insides of the ramekins)
- 200g DARK CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED
- 110G CASTER SUGAR
- 4 EGGS
- 4 EGG YOLKS
- 2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 75G PLAIN FLOUR, SIFTED
- Brush the ramekins with melted butter and pop in the fridge
- Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted and smooth
- Set aside and allow to cook
- Put the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a freestanding mixer and mix for around 8-10 minutes until doubled in volume
- Drizzle the cooled chocolate down the side of the bowl into the mixture and then mix gently but thoroughly with a spatula until all the chocolate has been incorporated - it will all sink to the bottom of the bowl, so it's essential that you scrape the bottom and mix it all in
- Then sift the flour over the top and gently fold the flour into the mixture - don't over-mix it as it will toughen the mixture
- Divide it amongst the ramekins and then cover each one with some clingfilm
- Place them in the freezer for up to 1 month
- When you're ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Bake for around 16-18 minutes until the puddings have risen and are set on the surface - a lesser time will create a molten centre and more time for a more set consistency
- Serve straight from the oven with a lovely helping of ice cream on the side :)
So a little late for Thanksgiving, but definitely not too late to indulge in this year, comes the Spiced Pumpkin Pie. There are two reasons why I love this. The first, is that it contains my beloved autumnal favourite - the pumpkin. Definitely one reason to welcome in the autumn after the warm, hazy days of summer. And the other is that the first time I tasted Pumpkin Pie, it came from Williams Sonoma, one of my very favorite shops (sadly contained Stateside) - and I loved it so much, I was hooked. So it seemed only fitting that the first time I tried my hand at this, it should be a Williams Sonoma recipe.
This is actually very simple to make and consists first of making and chilling your very own pie dough and then creating a rich creamy pumpkin filling spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. I mean, what's not to love?
In the UK, the pumpkin pie recipes tend to lean towards a sweet shortcrust pastry but an American friend reliably informed me that genuine article pumpkin crust tends to be more crumbly and flakey. So I used the (American) Williams Sonoma recipe for Pie Dough which you can make in a standalone mixer - even better! Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment, then mix together flour, sugar and salt. Next add cubed butter in one go, ensuring that you toss the butter through the flour to coat it before turning the mixer on. Mix it on low to medium speed until it forms coarse breadcrumbs where the butter is no larger than peas. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix again until the dough comes together, around 30 seconds.
With this pie dough, you're going to roll it out and line the tin before you refrigerate it which is a little different from the usual method of chilling the pastry before you roll it out. So put the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and press down with your hand to form a large disc. Roll it out to around 30 cm and then carefully transfer it to your tin. I found it pretty robust at this stage so it didn't tear or rip. Then gently press the bottom edges around the inside base of the tin and the sides, ensuring that you are pressing it into the sides. When you've finished with this, my method of cutting off the unwanted pastry is to roll my rolling pin across the top to cut off the edges (although this pastry is prone to a little shrinkage so you could cut off the excess pastry after baking if you prefer.
This is when the pastry needs to be chilled. About a hour or so should do it and if you need it be ready faster, you could pop it in the freezer. After it's chilled, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your pastry shell with tin foil, ensuring that the foil covers the top edges and hangs over the side and then it fill it with pastry weights or rice. Bake this for 20 minutes in the oven and then peek under the foil. As it's going to be baked again and will turn golden brown then, you're just looking for it to lose its wetness and the pastry to turn a light golden brown. This should take 20-30 minutes.
In the meantime, whilst your pastry is partially baking, it's time to make the pumpkin filling. Again, it couldn't be easier. First whisk the eggs and dark brown sugar until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and beat together until smooth.
When the pastry is ready, remove the foil and weights and then fill with the pumpkin filling. You may find it easier to place your pie tin on a baking tray to make it easier to get in and out of the oven. Bake in the lower third of the oven for around 30 - 40 minutes checking regularly as you approach the 30 minutes. You want to ensure that it doesn't crack but the filling needs to be slightly risen and firm in the middle.
Then leave to cool on a cooling rack or eat slightly warm.
It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It has a consistency a little like an egg custard but lovely spiced flavours and a creamy richness from the pumpkin and cream.
I love it. Like I said, don't fret if you've missed thanksgiving but break tradition and make this as a yummy pud after Sunday lunch. Or supper with friends.
You won't regret it :)
Spiced Pumpkin Pie (from Williams-Sonoma's Pie & Tart)
- 200G PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 1/4 TSP SALT
- 125G COLD BUTTER, CUBED
- 3 TBSP VERY COLD WATER
Spiced Pumpkin Filling
- 105G DARK BROWN SUGAR
- 2 LARGE EGGS
- 1 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 1 TSP GROUND GINGER
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 1/4 TSP GROUND CLOVES
- 1/4 TSP GROUND NUTMEG
- 250G CANNED OR FRESH PUMPKIN PUREE
- 375ML DOUBLE CREAM
- Firstly make the Pie Dough by putting the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and stirring to mix the ingredients together
- Then add the butter in one go, tossing the butter in the flour until every piece has a light covering
- Put the mixer on low to medium speed until the mixture ressembles coarse breadcrumbs, where the butter pieces are no larger than peas
- Then add the water and mix briefly until the dough comes together, around 30 seconds
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and press down with your hand to form a large disc
- Roll it out to around 30 cm and then carefully transfer it to your tin
- Gently press the bottom edges around the inside base of the tin and the sides, ensuring that you are pressing it into the sides
- Roll your rolling pin across the top to cut off the edges
- Chill your pastry for around an hour
- Then preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Line your pastry shell with tin foil, ensuring that the foil covers the top edges and hangs over the side and then it fill it with pastry weights or rice
- Bake it for 20 minutes in the oven and then peek under the foil until it loses its wetness and turns a light golden brown (takes around 20-30 minutes)
- Meanwhile, make the Spiced Pumpkin Filling
- Whisk together the eggs and dark sugar until smooth
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again until smooth
- When the pastry shell is ready, fill with the pumpkin mixture
- Bake in the lower third of the oven for around 30 - 40 minutes until the pumpkin filling is slightly risen and set in the middle
- Remove from the oven and cool it on a cooling rack
- Enjoy cold, slightly warm or with whipped cream :)
It feels like a week where a bit of colour is needed to brighten up the day. Nothing shouts colour more than this stunning Rainbow Meringue Cake with its rainbow layers, gorgeous vanilla mascarpone cream and topped with strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds.
The idea for the rainbow meringue layers was taken from the Meringue Girls Cookbook. I am a HUGE fan of meringue, particularly macarons, and their little meringue kisses which I recently turned into little ghosts for a kids' birthday party, are the loveliest treats.
The meringue is straightforward using the Meringue Girls process. You need a couple of batches of their meringue mixture which is also the base of their kisses. It's simply oven-heated sugar added a spoonful at a time to egg white whipped to stiff peaks and then whisked for around 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
The more fiddly bit is preparing the piping bags for the mixture and these need to be coated with thick food paste in the different rainbow colours. Did you ever use an acronym to remember the rainbow order? I can still be found muttering Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain!! To achieve the different hues, I used Sugarflair Spectral Paste in these colours: Velvet Red, Yellow/Cream, Yellow Extra, Holly Green, Ice Blue and Purple. To apply them, the way that's easiest for me is to turn the piping bag inside out (I don't worry about the very tip of the icing bag as it will be snipped off and also gives us a little tag to hold onto when pulling the bag back through the right way). Once your bag is turned inside out, pop it over a wine bottle and then take your chosen food colour paste, painting the inside from tip to half-way down the bag with a thick coating of colour. If you leave the bag for too long after painting, you'll notice that the colour may start to separate so it's worth giving the bag a quick brush with a pastry brush to distribute the colour just before adding the meringue.
Then pull the bag back the right way so the food colour is on the inside. I then pop my bag into a measuring jug and fill it with a couple of scoops (I used an ice cream scoop) of meringue. Squidge the food colour into the meringue with your fingers and then snip off the end. Pipe the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper starting at the outside and working in. I found that I didn't have generous amount of meringue mixture for each one so had to use a spatula to smooth it and cover the whole circle. Be careful not to smooth the very outside of the circle with the deepest colour as this will show on the outside of your cake so you want a really vibrant colour.
After baking and cooling, you're ready to assemble your cake. The cream does make the inside of the meringue soften and disintegrate a little, so it's best to assemble this as close to serving as you can. I decided to fill my cake with a vanilla mascarpone cream and then top it with beautiful strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate seed and a light dusting of icing sugar.
This cake is sweet and delicious and the cream is lovely and light.
It does take a little preparation but looks so bright and colourful, it would be a welcome addition to any party, dinner affair or just for fun.
Ours is just for fun. Can't wait to show the kids what they're having for pudding tonight :)
Rainbow Meringue Cake
Rainbow Meringue (from Meringue Girls Cookbook)
- 300G EGG WHITES (I use Two Chicks egg whites but you could also use around 10 medium eggs)
- 600G CASTER SUGAR
Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
- 500G MASCARPONE
- 460ML WHIPPING CREAM
- 4 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT (to taste)
- 140G CASTER SUGAR (to taste)
- PUNNET OF STRAWBERRIES
- PUNNET OF RASPBERRIES
- 1 POMEGRANATE
- ICING SUGAR (to dust)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees
- The meringue is made in 2 batches so the first batch will make 3 meringue discs
- Line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper and draw a 10 inch circle as a guide
- Line a roasting tray with greaseproof paper and then pour in 300g sugar, smoothing it to get it spread as evenly as possible
- Put the sugar in the oven for 5 mins
- Measure 150g egg white in a standing mixer and start by whisking is slowly
- Then increase the speed to medium for a couple of minutes and then increase it again to high speed until it's formed stiff peaks
- The sugar should be ready to come out of the oven and with the mixer turned up to high speed, it should be added a spoonful at a time to the egg white (around 30 seconds between each addition)
- When the sugar is all added, keep mixing for another 5 mins - it's ready when you can rub a bit of meringue between 2 fingers and can't feel the grains of sugar
- Prepare 3 icing bags by turning them inside out and popping each one over a wine bottle (or similar shape)
- Paint the icing bags thickly with food colour paste, ensuring a heavy coating from the tip down to half-way
- Turn the bags the right way around and then add 2 scoopfuls of meringue into each bag, squidging the colour into the meringue with your fingers
- Snip off the end and then pipe a 10cm circle on the prepared baking tray
- Bake for around 1 hour until the meringue lifts off the baking tray
- Leave to cool on the tray
- Repeat this process with the other half of the meringue ingredients and the remaining 3 colours
- When you're ready to assemble the cake, prepare the mascarpone cream
- Put all the cream ingredients into a bowl and mix for a couple of minutes until the cream is smooth and has soft peaks
- Spread the cream over each of the layers and then assemble in rainbow order
- Top with your favourite fruit and dust with a sprinkling of icing sugar :)
So I wasn't going to post this. I was playing around with a cake recipe the other day and ended up making this. My boys were SO excited by it, they wouldn't share it with me and I managed to get only two photos before it got demolished. Obliterated. And they asked for more. Then I mentioned it to a friend and she said she needed the recipe for it!!! And it's so good, I thought you might need it too :)
I was originally playing around with Broma Bakery's 30 Minute Chocolate Cake For Two. This is a microwave mug production. I'm not overly fond of microwave mug puddings having first made them a few years ago and finding them a bit tough and spongy and to be honest losing a lot of love along the way. Then I found Broma Bakery's cake which is made in the microwave (the reason it needs 30 minutes is to cool it down so it can be frosted and shared with the love of your life) and I liked the ingredients which are faithful to a chocolate cake recipe, but slightly more involved than the usual microwave mug cakes.
The cake idea is made in heaven itself - but I got waylaid and was debating whether I really wanted to make it into a cake and use buttercream. And instead of baking it in 3 portions, I decided to make it in 2 and heat each one for a minute each.You may need to play around with the time as each microwave is different and mine tends to err on the side of a higher temperature. I turned it out into a dish and it had a gorgeous, oozy chocolate sauce. I couldn't help but throw an extra handful of chocolate chips on top for good measure. And some ice cream. And voilà! A stunning melting chocolate pudding that can be rustled up in 5 minutes from start to finish and tastes sublime.
The ONLY downside I would say is that the portion size is perhaps a little too big (but I'm being picky).
I am more than happy to keep practicing with this one until it's perfected - and no doubt add a few inches to my waistline in the process!
If you're craving something sweet, I really would try this it :)
Five Minute Melting Chocolate Puddings Makes 2 (adapted from Broma Bakery's 30 Minute Chocolate Cake For Two)
- 1/2 CUP (110G) CASTER SUGAR
- 7 TBSP (70G) PLAIN FLOUR
- 3 TBSP (30G) COCOA POWDER
- ¼ TSP BAKING POWDER
- ¼ TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- ¼ TSP SALT
- 1 EGG
- ¼ CUP MILK
- 2 TBSP VEGETABLE OIL
- ½ TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 2 TBSP WATER
- HANDFUL OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS (optional)
- Grease two large mugs
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined
- Divide the mixture between the two mugs
- Bake the first one for 1 minute in the microwave - the sponge will rise up above the top of the mug but sink slightly on removal from the microwave
- Loosen the sponge slightly with a knife and turn out onto a plate
- Throw a few chocolate chips on the top so they melt slightly
- Repeat with the other pudding
- Serve with a lovely dollop of ice cream - and enjoy :)
My boys have always been huge fans of rice pudding. I have to confess it remains a guilty pleasure of mine, but these days I only get to clean out the tin after I've served up their desserts! Whilst we're away on half term and being blown around by the lovely south coast winds, it felt like a yummy warm homemade pud was just what we all needed and my youngest wanted to have a go at making this favourite.
Whilst rice pudding is not difficult to make (you just need some patience for the baking) and a great recipe for children to have a go at, we decided to add some flavours different to our usual tinned variety. I adapted one of Donna Hay's recipes and we made Almond and Vanilla Rice Pudding, baked in the oven and served with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup.
I've used cup measurements here as I think when baking with children (especially young ones) it's easier to measure the ingredients with cups when learning to bake, before they move on to scales and weights.
We used arborio rice and whilst this would usually be enjoyed as a risotto, it gave a nice puddingy consistency to the final dessert. Instead of using cow's milk, we decided to use a carton of unsweetened almond milk instead and this added a really lovely nutty flavour - together with the seeds of a vanilla pod and the vanilla pod itself which was baked with the pud before being removed at the end. We also added sugar as I was following a lead from the original recipe but I think next time, I'd be inclined to leave this out and just sweeten with the maple syrup at the final serving.
The baking of the pudding took a lot longer than I thought (probably around 45 minutes) so I suggest leaving plenty of time for the rice to absorb the almond milk - I kept an eye on it for the last 45 minutes and although it was more fluid than the tinned variety, we actually preferred it this way.
The boys LOVED it and I'd definitely make it again for them - it's the kind of wonderful, warming bake that you can throw together in minutes and leave in the oven to slowly develop its loveliness.
The perfect winter warmer for half term :)
Baked Vanilla and Almond Rice Pudding
- ½ CUP ARBORIO RICE
- 1 LITRE OF UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK
- ½ CUP CASTER SUGAR (to taste)
- 1 VANILLA POD (seeds scraped from this but also the pod itself)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Scatter the arborio rice over the base of a 2 litre capacity dish
- Stir together the milk, caster sugar (if you choose to use this) and vanilla seeds and pour over the rice
- Add the vanilla pod
- Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for an hour
- After an hour, remove the foil and bake for a further 30 to 60 minutes, checking after 30 minutes to see how much of the milk has been absorbed
- When you're happy with the consistency, remove from the oven and remove the vanilla pod
- Serve warm with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup - and if you like, an unhealthy dollop of cream: )
I am in SERIOUS ice cream heaven! I have just made the most deliciously yummy Mascarpone Ice Cream marbled with homemade salted caramel and filled with sugared almonds. I can't take all the credit though, as this recipe came from a wonderful blog I stumbled upon the other day from Sarah at Broma Bakery. There are so many lovely recipes on her blog all beautifully photographed and I have a list of her other recipes that I can't wait to try!
But back to this no churn, silky smooth Mascarpone Ice Cream. Yes, that's right - no churn. Which means you don't need any fancy equipment to make this apart from a vessel (ideally a loaf tin) in which to freeze your ice cream.
Sarah uses her favourite brand of Lush Gourmet Almonds, but since I didn't have access to these, I made my own sugared almonds that I chopped roughly and added in place of her suggestion. The only challenge I had with making these was trying not to eat them all before they went into the ice cream! They're lovely and sweet with a great crunch.
The ice cream is simple to make but you need to cast a blind eye to the calories of this one with whipping cream, mascarpone and condensed milk - and that's before we come on to the homemade caramel sauce! It is made simply by whipping the whipping cream and then folding in the other ice cream ingredients before adding almonds. There are very specific instructions for adding the caramel - I would have been inclined to swirl it through the base but followed the recipe and it worked out well so can only suggest you do the same when making this. Then the finished ice cream needs to freeze overnight.
This ice cream is rich and creamy and would taste good without the salted caramel and almonds but I like the caramel ribbons and the nuts give an additional crunchy texture which pairs well with the caramel. I think it's quite a grown-up ice cream (which is no bad thing in our house otherwise it would disppear in a matter of seconds!) and I can't wait to see how this will work with other flavour combinations :)
Mascarpone Ice Cream With Salted Caramel & Sugared Almonds (from Broma Bakery)
Sugared Almonds Ingredients
- 100G ALMONDS
- 70G ICING SUGAR
- 2 TBSP WATER
Ice Cream Ingredients
- 570ML WHIPPING CREAM
- 225G MASCARPONE
- 395G SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
- 1 TBSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- ½ TSP SALT
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- 100G (½ CUP) SUGAR
- 40G BUTTER
- 60ML (¼ CUP) WHIPPING CREAM
- 1½ TSP SALT
Sugared Almonds Method
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat
- Stir constantly until all the almonds are covered with the icing sugar
- Remove them when they are a sticky white and spread them out on a layer of greaseproof paper to cool
- Roughly chop the almonds
Homemade Caramel Sauce Method
- Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat on a medium heat for around 5 minutes
- Stir the sugar occasionally to ensure that it all melts, but just enough to remove the lumps, and until it turns a dark amber colour
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, taking care as it will start to bubble, until they are mixed together completely (around 1 - 2 minutes)
- Pour in the whipping cream and salt and mix until it's all thoroughly combined
- Place back on the heat for 30 seconds, stirring all the time
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes
Ice Cream Method
- Prepare your loaf tin with greaseproof paper
- Put the whipping cream into a bowl and whip until soft peaks form
- Fold in the mascarpone, condensed milk, vanilla extract and salt and beat until stiff peaks form
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of almonds and fold the rest into the ice cream mixture
- Spoon half of the caramel over the top of the ice cream without stirring it through and then pour half of the ice cream into the prepared loaf tin
- Pour the rest of the caramel over the remaining ice cream and then pour this final half into the loaf tin
- Swirl the caramel very gently with a skewer
- Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the ice cream
- Freeze overnight and allow to soften slightly before serving
I have fond memories of fruit picking with my family when I was a child. Sunny days collecting strawberries and other fruit, quality control taste testing as much as went into the basket and returning for weighing with stained fingers and lips. Happy days! I've been wanting to take the boys fruit picking for so long and took the opportunity now that we're in Dorset for a few days.
I googled local fruit farms and found Sopley Farm near Christchurch - after a quick phone call just to make sure they still had plenty of fruit in season, we packed up and headed off there. It didn't disappoint. The staff were really friendly and we collected punnets of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Far too much really, but it's kind of addictive.
So with all our fruit wares and being in someone else's kitchen without my usual baking tins and equipment, I decided to make a free-form Summer Fruit Crumble Galette in the style of Donna Hays. I did cheat and buy some pre-made sweet shortcrust pastry but you can make your own if you prefer. The main fruits were strawberries and raspberries but I wanted to add in some blackberries too for some extra colour and we agreed that they added an additional dimension to the taste.
I love the sweet shortcrust pastry pairing with fruit, but what I really loved about this was the crumble topping which added extra texture and flavour and was seriously delicious. I am a big fan of crumble so you'll always finding my doubling any recipe quantities for my desserts.
This was delicious warm straight from the oven. The fruit was so juicy against the crispy shortcrust pastry and using such fresh ripe fruit meant that we didn't have to add any sugar to bring out the sweetness.
There are so many creations with such an abundance of fruit, but this is a really simple and delicious dish. I like the freeform style but what it lacks in straight sides, it definitely makes up in its wonderful flavours. A definite winner and gorgeous summer pud.
Summer Fruit Crumble Galette
- 320G SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY (I bought pre-made chilled pastry)
- 3 TBSP APRICOT JAM
- SELECTION OF FRUIT (add at your discretion but I used several handfuls of strawberries and raspberries with a scattering of blackberries)
- 60G BUTTER
- 3 TBSP GROUND ALMONDS
- 50G FLOUR
- 3 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 3/4 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Prepare your fruit of choice and set aside
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and unroll your pastry on to here (I didn't have to roll out my pastry any further but you're looking for it to be around 5mm thick)
- Spread the apricot jam over the base leaving a 5cm border around the pastry
- Pile your fruit over the jam
- Fold the edges of the pastry up over the fruit (you only have the 5cm border to do this with so it just forms a tray of sorts that the fruit sit in)
- Mix together the butter, ground almonds, flour, caster sugar and cinnamon with your fingertips to create a crumble
- Scatter the crumble across the top of the galette
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit bubbling
- Serve with custard, cream or ice cream :)
Hello! We're back and after a few days of jet lag and the worst cold and crazy party planning for my littlest's 5th birthday party at the weekend, today I made the yummiest chocolate brownie creation - in my waffle iron!
It made me giggle last week when I read an article somewhere about epic pinterest fails - and one of them being the chocolate cakes (or was it cookies?) in the waffle iron. But why should that stop me having a go?Read More
I'm on the countdown to the summer holidays now. It's been a super busy week for me with commissions. Not only did I have my very first corporate commission on Monday (Mr Grey Will See You Now) but I've had two other celebration cakes this weekend and am about to head back into the kitchen to make the dough for 400 cookies due in a couple of days. All super exciting, but I'm definitely going to be in need of some R&R when we head for sunnier climes in a couple of weeks!
We love having family dinners on Sunday night. It's the only night when our timings all come together and we can sit down and have an early dinner with the boys. Hubby's had the job of entertaining the boys whilst I've been busy caking it, so I decided to make them all a little treat tonight with Sticky Toffee Pudding. This is Jamie Oliver's version of the pud which I first saw him make on one of his TV shows and knew that I just had to make it for us too!Read More
I haven't had a lemon meringue tart in ages. So long, in fact, that I can't actually remember the last time I had one. Which is kind of strange since it's one of my favourite desserts. A while back I posted about Swedish Cinnamon Buns and said that I'd never had much success making dough. I hold pastry up on the same level. I think sometime - long, long ago - I made pastry and maybe it didn't turn out so well and it put me off making it again. But this week I wanted a lemon meringue tart so decided that I would make a Pâte Sabléebase for my tartlets.Read More
The sun is shining today and summer feels like it just might finally be on its way. As I write this, I know I'm tempting fate and that a downpour will arrive at any moment! This has been a busy week of cake prepping and admin so we definitely need a mid-week treat to tempt the taste buds, but something that embraces the summer sunshine today.
I've seen a number of crêpe cakes on the internet, but most of them are filled with nutella and syrup and since those two toppings are at the top of our favourite list for our weekly pancakes (I say weekly but our youngest would campaign for them every day of the week given the choice), they've never tempted me. Then I saw a lovely, fresh alternative on Call Me Cupcake which seemed perfect for a summery day and a need for something sweet - Dulce De Leche & Mascarpone Crêpe Cake.
The crêpe batter is sprinkled with orange zest (lemon, if you prefer) and adds a touch of freshness to the cake (and a subtle but beautiful aroma of orange when you're cooking them). You need to get into a rhythm producing the crêpes. Now I don't claim to be an expert pancake maker (I leave that to my hubby) but after the production line needed for this cake, I definitely got better! I made 20 crêpes from the batter using a six inch pan (although one of these sadly met an untimely demise with maple syrup and my mouth during cooking). It's important to separate the crêpes after cooking (either spread out or using greaseproof paper between the layers) otherwise they'll stick together whilst they're cooling.
It doesn't take long for them to cool down - just the length of time it took to make the mascarpone filling (I chose this over the ricotta in the original recipe). To make sure I had enough filling for the alternate layers, I divided the pancakes in two and spread half of them with ricotta and half of them with dulce de leche. It works better to spread the fillings on them when they're separated as when they're stacked and you press down on them, the filling squeezes out. When they all had their toppings, I stacked them, topped them with fruit and then a light sprinkling of icing sugar. After it was made, the kitchen was quite warm and the dulce de leche started to ooze out, so I kept it refrigerated and that also made it easier to cut.
The resulting crêpe cake is delicious and light, although the ricotta is very creamy so it feels more indulgent, especially paired with the dulce de leche.
This cake is best eaten the day it's made so it's probably an afternoon tea or dinner treat. I know this sounds quite fiddly, but it's very straightforward to make and is a lovely alternative to a usual baked cake so it's definitely one to try.
It does only make a six inch cake though, so make sure you don't invite too many friends around to enjoy it with you :)
Dulce De Leche & Mascarpone Crêpe Cake (recipe from Call Me Cupcake)
- 4 LARGE EGGS
- 1½ CUPS MILK (350 ML)
- 2 CUPS PLAIN FLOUR (260G)
- 1/4 TSP SALT
- 1½ TBP SUGAR
- ZEST OF 1 ORANGE (FINELY GRATED)
- 1 CUP WATER (235 ML)
- 75G BUTTER
- ½ TIN DULCE DE LECHE
- 170G MASCARPONE
- 1 TBSP ICING SUGAR
- ZEST OF ½ ORANGE (FINELY GRATED)
- EXTRA ICING SUGAR (FOR SPRINKLING ON TOP)
- MIXED FRUIT FOR TOP
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, flour, salt, sugar and orange zest until the batter is lump free
- Stir in the water and leave it to thicken at room temperature for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, melt the butter and stir into the batter
- Using a 6 inch frying pan, melt a little butter in the pan and cook the pancakes one by one trying to make them as thin as possible (I used around ½ ladle batter for each crêpe)
- Lay each crêpe to cool on greaseproof paper making sure that you separate them with more greaseproof paper if you plan to stack them for cooling
- Leave to cook completely
- Combine the ricotta, tablespoon of icing sugar and orange zest
- Spread half of the crêpes with the ricotta mix and the other half with dulce de leche
- Then stack the pancakes on top of each other
- Top with your choice of mixed fruit and dust with icing sugar just before you plan to eat them
- And enjoy the fruits of your crêpe production line!
I've been reading a lot about Hemsley & Hemsley at the moment. It seems like they're everywhere! A friend was telling me about their cookbook a week or so ago and I've been debating whether to buy it. I have so many books already and don't want this to be another healthy eating fad where I make a couple of recipes and then the book gathers dust at the back of our cupboard. I mean, bone soup isn't really my kind of thing!
So I decided to make one or two things from their blog and see if their recipes are my kind of food and taste. I was having coffee with another friend last week and we were revelling in our love of pumpkin. I'm not a pumpkin-as-a-vegetable fan as I don't like very sweet vegetables, but pop it in a pie, pud or doughnut and I'm in pumpkin heaven! So when I saw Hemsley & Hemsley's recipe for Pumpkin Pie Pudding, I knew this was the first thing I wanted to try.
I didn't pick this because it was simple to make, but its very simplicity was a welcome relief in a crazy busy week. This is a one-bowl pudding where everything is mixed together in 5 mins and then popped in the oven and forgotten about for 35 mins. Super easy! The original recipe is available through the link which offers some substition options - for example, coconut oil in place of butter, coconut flour in place of almonds and a breakdown of their spice mix (I use a spice mix from Canada but Allspice as a shortcut would work too). And they roast their pumpkin and then puree it, but I like to use Libby's Pumpkin Puree in a tin.
I'm not sure why I was surprised that I loved this, given how much I like pumpkin desserts, but the texture was light and airy and almost souffle-like. The hint of spice gives it a delicious flavour that makes it very much like an all-American pumpkin pie filling. I also chose the ingredients that would make this gluten and dairy free so it's a perfect pud if you have someone that has these food allergies. Even better, the girls tell us that pumpkin flesh is loaded with vitamin A for an immune system boost too so you can feel extra virtuous eating it!
This is definitely a winner for me. And I think that means I might just be buying a new cookery book :)
Pumpkin Pie Pudding Makes 2 (from Hemsley & Hemsley)
- 120G PUMPKIN PUREE (I use a can of Libby's)
- 1 TBSP COCONUT OIL
- 1 TBSP COCONUT FLOUR
- 1 TBSP MAPLE SYRUP
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 1 EGG
- 1 SMALL PINCH OF SALT
- ½ TSP BAKING POWDER
- 1 TSP SPICE MIX
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Melt the coconut oil and allow it to cool (you don't want it cooking the egg when added to the rest of the ingredients)
- Then place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined
- Divide between 2 ramekins
- Place on a tray in the oven and book for 35 - 40 mins
- Enjoy straight from the oven!