I’m a child of the eighties and as such I will always have a soft spot for Angel Delight, specifically butterscotch Angel Delight. I know it’s horribly artificial but it’s also delicious and sweet and fluffy (and easy to make). I’ve made it a little […]
This is such a classic Christmas combination. Tart cranberries and sweet fragrant orange combined with all the luxury and indulgence we deserve at this time of year. Panna cotta is also a fantastic dessert for the festive season, when we’re all so busy and could […]
If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended.
I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as pudding a little odd. We also refer to things that quite clearly are not pudding as pudding (e.g. Yorkshire pudding, steak & kidney pudding, black pudding) but that’s a whole other post! In America ‘pudding’ is pretty much only used to refer to a thick custardy dessert with the exception of bread and butter pudding, although over there it’s just called bread pudding. They seem to love it though, maybe it works so well because their bread is so sweet.
Anyway, I was thinking of how to make bread and butter pudding into something really special. The answer is obviously to add chocolate and use the richest, fattiest ‘bread’ you can find – cue the croissants!
butter for greasing
6 croissants (ideally a little stale)
125g cherry jam
75g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
3 tsp brandy (optional but really good!)
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Slice the croissants in half horizontally and spread the cut sides with the jam. Arrange them in the baking dish, scattering the chopped chocolate amongst them.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a jug, ensuring that they are really well blended. Pour this custard mixture over the croissants and then set the whole lot to one side for 15 minutes so that the croissants can soak up the custard. Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Bake for 35 minutes, until the custard is softly set. Cover the top with some foil if it starts to get too brown. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving.
When I was little a battle would be waged every summer in our garden between my mum and the resident blackbirds over who was going to get to the blackcurrants first once they reached peak ripeness. On the occasions when my mum won the war […]
You know you’ve come up with a winning recipe when your brother sends you this message and tells you that he’s just polished off his third slice! But really I can’t blame him for having thirds of this rich, delicious, sticky, gooey cake. The sponge […]
If a party without cake is just a meeting then serving up this really would make it a celebration!
I’ve made this cake a couple of times now and it’s always very well received, it looks impressive before you’ve even cut into it. It’s got three layers of deliciously light almond or vanilla flavoured sponge (your choice, both are yummy) sandwiched together with fruity raspberry jam and silky Swiss Meringue buttercream, covered in more raspberry buttercream, smothered in rich chocolate ganache and finished off with some chocolate dipped strawberries – you know, just for good measure. Because if you’re going to do cake you should really DO cake.
320g plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (your choice)
swiss meringue buttercream
4 egg whites
4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam (plus extra for filling)
100g double cream
100g dark chocolate
Start the sponge by pre-heating your oven to 190°c and greasing and lining three standard size cake tins (I think mine are about 8-9″).
Sift together the flour and baking powder then whisk this with the salt and sugar ensuring that they are well mixed. Beat the dry ingredients with the softened butter until you have something that looks a bit like damp sand.
In a separate jug, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or almond extract and milk and then add half of this to the dry mixture and beat it together well, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add the remaining liquid and beat again to combine it all and leave you with a fairly runny batter. Divide this evenly between the three prepared cake tins, level off the surfaces by giving the tins a little shake and pop them in the oven, all on the same shelf if your oven is big enough.
Bake the sponges for around 20 minutes, so that they are risen and golden brown, and if you poke them with a skewer or cake tester it comes out clean. Carefully turn the sponges out onto a wire rack and leave them to cool.
To make the Swiss meringue buttercream put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, be careful not to let the water touch the base of the bowl. Add the sugar and use a hand whisk to whip them continuously whilst they heat up. They should become quite foamy and increase in volume. When they are ready to come off the heat, they will feel hot to the touch and the sugar should be totally dissolved.
Take the bowl off the pan of water and use an electric whisk to whip the meringue until it is thick and glossy. If by this stage the base of the bowl has cooled down to room temperature(ish) then you can start to whisk in the butter, a couple of pieces at a time. If the bowl is still warm then the butter will melt so it’s worth waiting until it’s cooled down. Continue to whip the buttercream until you have incorporated all of the butter and it is thick, smooth and creamy. Add the four tablespoons of jam and whisk again until it is well blended with the buttercream.
To assemble the cake decide which of your three sponges has the neatest, flattest bottom so that one can be the top. Put one of the other sponges onto a cake board or serving plate and spread a tablespoon or two of jam on it. Follow this with a layer of the buttercream, not too thick but spreading it right up to the edges of the cake. Pop a second sponge on top and repeat the layers of jam and buttercream again. Add the final sponge and then cover the whole cake with a very thin coat of the buttercream, just to seal in all the crumbs. Put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes so that everything can firm up a bit. Use the rest of the buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake with a thicker coating, making it as smooth as possible. Put the cake back in the fridge, this time for at least an hour so that it will be nice and cool when you add the chocolate ganache (this gives the best ‘drip’ effect).
Whilst the cake chills you can decorate the strawberries by simply dipping them in melted white chocolate and then into some sprinkles. Leave them on a sheet of baking parchment to set.
Make the ganache by chopping the chocolate into chunks and placing it in a bowl. Heat the cream so that it is quite warm but not boiling. Pour this over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute before stirring until it’s all well blended. Set aside to cool and thicken to a dripping consistency.
Get the chilled cake out of the oven and spoon the ganache in a ring around the top of it, encouraging a few drips to fall down the sides here and there. Carefully add a bit more ganache to the top to fill in the centre and smooth it off with a palate knife if you need too. Add the strawberries and a scattering of extra sprinkles. Return the cake to the fridge until you’re ready to serve it
If you follow any of my social media accounts then you probably know that I went on a little trip to Lille in France a few weeks ago. Lille has some fantastic restaurants (my main motivation for going) and it’s also home to these little pillows of loveliness.
Merveilleux are meringues with a very thin crisp, almost caramelised shell and soft, cloud like interior. They’re covered in whipped cream and given a crunchy coating. I didn’t think that I was going to like them at first because I don’t actually have a particularly sweet tooth but the cream balances the sweetness of the meringue perfectly. They really are quite delicious.
We bought ours from Merveilleux de Fred, where people queue out the door to get them and they come in lots of different flavours with names like ‘Incroyable’ and ‘Impensable’. Mr Colonial Cravings has christened my version ‘formidable’!
They are a little tricky to coat because the meringue is so fragile but once the cream is on they should be fine, no one expects you to be as skilled as these ladies on your first attempt (I really wasn’t!).
1 egg white
the weight of the egg white in sugar
the weight of the egg white in icing sugar
250ml double cream
1 tsp espresso powder
2-3 tsp of sugar (or to taste)
pinch of cinnamon
about 15 speculoos biscuits (crushed)
Pre-heat your oven to 170°c and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Whip the egg white until it holds stiff peaks. Add half of the sugar and whisk again. Repeat this with the rest of the sugar and the icing sugar and continue to whip the mixture until it smooth, stiff and glossy.
Transfer the meringue to a piping bag with a large round tip (or just snip the end off a disposable one) and pipe six flat discs of meringue on the prepared baking sheet. Now pipe six little mounds of meringue, slightly narrower in diameter than the discs.
Bake the meringues for about 35 minutes, they should become quite golden and almost caramelised on the outside. Once they’re cooked take them out of the oven and leave them on the tray to cool.
Combine the cream with the sugar, coffee and cinnamon in a large bowl and whip until fluffy. Be careful not to over whip it though. Spread the crushed biscuits onto a large plate or a baking tray. Now you’re all set to assemble the merveillieux.
Be careful when handling the meringues, they’ll be much more fragile than traditional ones.
Add a dollop of cream to each of your meringue disc and then sit one of the mounds on top. Gently coat each of these stacks in the cream and then roll them in the biscuit crumbs, patting them in a little to make sure that they are well covered. Chill in the fridge so that they can firm up a little bit before serving.
Doesn’t this just look like the perfect refreshing treat for a sunny day? Rich creamy cheesecake flavoured ice cream muddled with a tangy swirl of zesty lemon curd and studded with crunchy nuggets of biscuit. Who could resist diving straight into the tub? You can […]