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? […]
Christmas is a time of year when those of us who love to cook (and eat) have the chance to show off a bit and create wonderfully indulgent and delicious dishes. It is also, unfortunately, a time of year when no-one really has an hour or so to spare in the kitchen. This dessert is the ideal compromise, it’s quick to prepare, tastes divine and looks pretty fancy and festive. Using ready-made meringues is a great time saver and they’re the perfect sweet complement to the rich dark chocolate ganache and velvety chestnut cream filling.
6 meringue nests (you can make your own if you have time)
100g dark chocolate, chopped
300ml double cream
150g chestnut puree
1 tbsp brandy, whisky or rum (optional)
sugar to taste (optional – I never need it)
edible glitter or chocolate shavings to decorate
Heat 100ml of the cream, so that it is quite warm but not boiling. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream over it. Let it sit for a minute or two so that the chocolate can melt and then stir it well to create a smooth ganache. Leave to cool a little before spooning a tablespoon of the ganache into the centre of each meringue nest. Place in the fridge whilst you make the filling.
Whip the remaining cream until it starts to thicken, you want it to remain quite soft. Fold in the remaining ganache and the chestnut puree (plus the alcohol and sugar if you’re using it) and whip the mixture again until it holds a fairly firm peak.
Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped tip and pipe the cream mixture generously onto the meringue nests, piling it up to create a Christmas tree effect. Finish them off with a dusting of edible glitter or chocolate shavings.
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I love basil ice cream and it’s something that I’ve made a few times before. I like it most when it’s paired with something fruity and a little bit sharp and acidic, I really think it brings out the fragrant flavours of the basil. Using kiwi for this was a bit of an experiment but it works really, really well, especially using golden kiwi fruit as they’re just the right side of acidic to complement the basil.
It’s a really refreshing ice cream too, not at all sickly or sweet, almost like a combination between a sorbet and ice cream. It’s really lovely.
300ml double cream
175g condensed milk
3 golden kiwi fruit
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
small bunch of fresh basil leaves
Pour the cream and condensed milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip them together until they hold fairly firm peaks.
Peel the fruit and blend them with the basil, lemon juice and zest in a liquidiser so that they are completely smooth. Carefully fold the two mixtures together, making sure that they are well combined but without losing too much volume from the cream. Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze until firm.
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 classier with this recipe and the addition of sweet white miso totally turns it into a sophisticated dessert.
This is the kind of dessert that can be made well ahead of time and the sauce can be kept in a jar in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
150g light soft brown sugar
1 tbsp shiro miso paste
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml whole milk
1 tbsp cornflour
300ml double cream
dark chocolate shavings and fudge pieces to garnish
Make the caramel sauce by melting the butter in large heavy based pan. Stir in the sugar and the miso paste and let it bubble for a minute or two. Add a tablespoon or two of milk to the cornflour and set aside. Stir the remaining milk into the caramel and then bring the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat a little but keep the caramel bubbling until it becomes a rich golden colour and thickens a little. Add the vanilla and cornflour and very carefully stir it in to leave the sauce thick and creamy. Remove the caramel from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, add the caramel and fold it in until it’s completely blended with the cream. Spoon or pipe into serving dishes or glasses and garnish with dark chocolate shavings and fudge pieces.
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 […]