I reckon that choux pastry gets a bad rap. People think that it’s super-hard to make when the truth is it’s really not and it’s no more temperamental than any other sort of pastry. You simply need a decent a pair of biceps for all […]
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 do with a few more hours in the day to get everything done. You can make this dessert well ahead of time, even a couple of days if you need to, and then just forget about it until your guests are ready for pudding. It’s also really quite quick and easy to prepare. Do I need to give you any more reasons to make it?
250ml whipping cream
250ml whole milk
zest of 2 clementines
1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp sugar
3 leaves of gelatine
juice of two clementines
Soak the gelatine in a little cold water and set it aside.
Combine the cream, milk, sugar, clementine zest and vanilla in a pan and gently heat it but don’t let it get too hot. Remove the pan from the heat and fish out the vanilla pod, if you like you can scrape out the seeds and stir them into the cream mixture.
Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and then stir this into the cream, ensuring that it dissolves. Set this aside to cool to almost room temperature.
Once cooled you can give it a stir and pour it into pretty glasses or jars and then transfer it to the fridge to set.
Combine the cranberries with the sugar and clementine juice in a small pan and gently simmer until the fruit has cooked down and become pulpy. Set this aside to cool and use it to top the panna cottas once they are set.
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 […]
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 is fluffy and full of flavour, the filling is sweet, salty and creamy and the topping is just downright decadent. I bet you can’t eat just one slice!
I’ve adapted the recipe from my malted mocha cupcakes for the sponge.
200g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
250g soft light brown sugar
100ml vegetable oil
100ml hot coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g soft light brown sugar
70ml double cream
1 tbsp shiro miso (you can just add a big pinch of seasalt if you prefer)
150ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
75g dark chocolate
75ml double cream
little bit of fudge/chocolate shavings/sprinkles to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line two sandwich cake tins.
Sift the flour, raising agents, spices and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl and then use a whisk to mix in the sugar and salt. Make sure that everything is well blended.
Lightly beat the eggs and then combine them with the oil, milk, coffee and vanilla extract. Mix this into the dry ingredients and then briefly beat it together to leave you with a smooth, fairly wet batter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins (you can weigh them if you want to be super precise) and level off the tops. Bake the sponges for 30-35 minutes, they should be well risen and feel springy to the touch when they’re done. Leave the sponges on a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst the sponges bake you can make the miso caramel . Simply combine the cream, sugar and butter in a pan and bring to boil. Turn the heat down and let it gently bubble for several minutes, it should deepen in colour a little and become a little thicker. Remove it from the heat and stir in the miso, ensuring that it blends in smoothly. Set it aside to cool.
Whip the cream with the vanilla and the sugar until it is thick and fluffy and set it aside until you are ready to assemble the cake.
For the ganache topping chop the chocolate and place it in a bowl. Heat the cream until it is quite warm but don’t let it boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute or two before giving it a good stir. Leave to cool and thicken.
Trim the sponges to level them if you need to and place one of them on a serving plate. Spread a fairly generous amount of the caramel over the base and then pile on the cream, spreading it just shy of the edges. Drizzle a little more of the caramel over the cream and then gently place the second sponge on top. Spread the ganache over this sponge, swirling it a little for decoration and then scatter some crumbled fudge, sprinkles or chocolate shavings over the top to finish it off.
How about these for a sweet treat? Crisp little pastry shells filled to the brim with homemade chocolate and caramelised hazelnut ganache. You know you wouldn’t be able to say ‘no’ to one of these (or two, or three).
The trick with these is to roll the pastry as thin as possible so that you can maximise the amount of filling you can fit into them – it’s all about ratios!
Provided that you have a fairly robust food processor making your own ‘praline’ isn’t really that hard, although you do obviously need to be extremely careful with the hot caramel.
125g plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
splash of very cold water
50g skinned hazelnuts
100g milk chocolate
100ml double cream
pinch of sea salt
Kick things off by making the pastry. If you have a food processor then this can be made very quickly and easily. Just add the flour, sugar and butter to the food processor and whizz it up until it looks like ground almonds. With the food processor running at a slow speed add the egg yolk and just enough cold water to bring it all together to form a soft dough.
If you don’t have a food processor then gently rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips and then mix through the sugar. Again use the egg yolk and a touch of water to bring the dough together.
Wrap the dough in cling-film and pop it in the fridge to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. Grease your mini tart tins and pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Once the dough has rested unwrap it and gently roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is a few millimetres thick, try to get it as thin as possible. Use a cookie cutter to cut out discs the right size for your tart tins and gently press the pastry into the tins. Prick the bases of the tarts with a fork, cover each one with a small piece of greaseproof paper and then pile on some baking beans. Bake the pastry cases for 20 minutes and then uncover them and bake them for a further 10 minutes. Once the tart shells are nicely golden leave them to cool on a wire rack.
Either oil a baking sheet or cover one with a silicone mat and set it aside. Combine the sugar and water for the praline in a heavy frying pan and then put it over a gentle heat. Resist the urge to stir it and let it bubble away until the sugar becomes a lovely deep golden caramel. Carefully stir the hazelnuts through this and then immediately pour onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave to cool and harden.
Once it’s cold and set firm break it into chunks and put it in a food processor. Grind it as finely as you can, ideally so it’s no more coarse than something like ground almonds. Roughly chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl. Heat the cream (in a pan or in the microwave) so that it’s quite hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for a minute or two before stirring well, so that it’s combined into a smooth ganache. Fold the ground hazelnuts into this.
Use this hazelnut ganache to fill each of the tart cases, right up to the brim. Pop the tarts in the fridge so that the filling can set and become firm. Decorate with a little plain chocolate if you like.