I know it’s bit old fashioned and kitsch but I really do love a trifle. I tend to think of them as either a summer or Christmas dessert though, probably because my Grandma (and now my mum) always made one for Christmas. I just love […]
Lately the weather has not been kind, certainly not what you hope August days to be. This has left me craving something comforting rather than the usual refreshing summer desserts. That said though, I still like to make use of what’s seasonal and I still have cherries stashed in my freezer from last year when the little tree in my garden was so prolific. For a so-called food blogger though my fridge is often very poorly stocked (although recently I’ve come to put that down to the tiny sleep thief who has entered our lives, causing all sorts of disruptions!) So, when I wanted to make a berry cobbler I found myself a little short of the usual ingredients I had to improvise a little, substituting some cream cheese in the topping in place of butter. Happily it worked beautifully, creating a deliciously light, fluffy layer on top of my lovely jammy homegrown cherries and resulting in a pudding that was wonderful served with a large dollop of cream!
400g pitted cherries/berries
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100g cream cheese
splash of milk
sprinkle of demerara sugar
Preheat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a baking dish. Combine the fruit with the soft brown sugar and the cornflour in the dish and pop it in the oven whilst you prepare the topping. It should start to become thick and jammy.
To make the topping sift together the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl before whisking in the salt and sugar. Beat in the cream cheese to leave you with a thick dough before adding a splash of milk to loosen the mixture a little to a dropping consistency.
Dollop this onto the cooked fruit and then sprinkle with a little demerara sugar to give the finished cobbler a crisp, crunchy topping. Bake for 20 minutes, by which time the topping should have risen and become fluffy underneath and golden and crisp on top. Serve warm with a dollop of cream of a scoop of ice cream.
My friends allotment is awash with strawberries. Delicious plump, sweet, ruby-red berries – she could open a pick-your-own! She generously gave me so many (and some plants) that I had enough for this cake, the strawberry and mascarpone tart from a week or so ago and several jars of jam.
In the height of summer ripe strawberries are one of the loveliest things that you can eat, and of course you should have them with cream. This (slightly retro) gateaux shows them off perfectly with its layers of fluffy Genoese sponge and white chocolate cream.
100g plain flour
20g butter, melted
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp cornflour
125g white chocolate
toasted flaked almonds & extra berries to decorate
Preheat your oven to 180°c and grease and line an 8 inch springform cake tin.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are pale yellow, thick and fluffy and the whisk leaves a trail in the mixture (ribbon stage). This should take a few minutes in a stand mixer. Sift in half of the flour and carefully fold it in, be gentle – you don’t want to lose any volume. Repeat with the other half of the flour. Drizzle the melted butter and almond extract around the edge of the mixing bowl and fold again. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake the sponge for 25 minutes. It should be well risen and golden when it’s done. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Roughly chop the fruit and combine it with the sugar and cornflour in a small pan. Cook over a gentle heat for several minutes until you have a thick compote. Set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate and leave to cool a little whilst you whip the cream to a soft peak. Gently whisk the cooled chocolate into this.
Carefully slice the sponge into three layers and place the bottom one on a serving plate. Spread a quarter of the chocolate cream over the sponge and then spoon on half of the compote. Repeat this layering with the second layer of sponge. Place the final layer of sponge on top and spread on half of the remaining cream, put the rest into a piping bag fitted with a round or star-shaped nozzle. Pipe this around the edge of the cake and pile some extra berries into the centre and sprinkle on some flaked almonds to decorate. Chill for an hour or two before serving.
This is a recipe I made recently for Mr C’s grandad’s birthday. By all accounts it’s the best cheesecake he’s ever eaten and at 81 years old I reckon he’s tried a few!
You won’t tell him how easy it is to make, will you? It really is a doddle and he’s not wrong – it’s really tasty! A crumbly buttery base, layered with sweet creamy no-bake cheesecake and finished off with a fragrant sweet berry compote. What’s not to enjoy?!
200g digestive biscuits
400g cream cheese
200g white chocolate
zest of one lemon
200ml double cream
300g berries (frozen work fine)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
Mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and then press them firmly into the base of an 8″ spring-form tin. Pop this into the fridge to firm up and set whist you make the topping.
Carefully melt the chocolate and then set this aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with the lemon zest until it is smooth and soft and then mix in the cooled chocolate.
Whip the cream in a second bowl until it holds a soft peak. Fold the cream into the cheese and chocolate mixture, making sure that everything is well blended. Spread this on the prepared base and smooth off the surface. Pop the cheesecake in the fridge for several hours or preferably overnight.
Make the berry topping by roughly chopping the fruit and combining it with the sugar and cornflour in a small pan. Gently heat it until the juices from the fruit have thickened to leave you with a glossy compote. Leave this to cool completely.
Run a pallet knife around the edge of the cheesecake before releasing it from the tin and transferring it to a serving plate. Spread the berry mixture on top of the cheesecake before serving.