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 […]
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 the beating and to be able to recognise when the dough reaches the correct consistency, which is soft but not sloppy.
No-bake cheesecake mixture is a brilliant thing to fill these with – it’s a bit more sturdy than just plain whipped cream. Normally I avoid icing like the plague as I find it far too sweet but using sharp raspberry puree in it really takes away the sickly edge and makes these choux puffs wonderfully fruity.
75g plain flour
filling & icing
100g raspberries, sieved & seeds discarded
200g cream cheese, room temperature
100g white chocolate, melted and cooled
100ml double cream
225g icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a large baking tray with parchment or a silicone mat.
Put the butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring it to boil before removing the pan from the heat. Add the flour to the pan, all in one go. Vigorously beat it with a wooden spoon until you end up with a ball of dough that has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Lightly beat the eggs. Add about a third of the egg to the pan and beat it in really well. Once it has been completely absorbed add another third and beat it again. After the third and final addition of egg, the dough should become soft, smooth and glossy. Only add enough of the egg to reach the soft glossy stage, you don’t want it to be sloppy.
Use a couple of teaspoons to drop blobs of the dough onto the prepared baking tray. If you need to smooth off any edges or pointy bits then just dip your finger in a little water first.
Bake the choux pastry for 25 minutes, until they are golden brown, then turn off the oven and open the door a bit, leave them in the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out a little.
Once they are done you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool. It’s a good idea to poke a little steam hole in them, somewhere discreet, to prevent them from becoming soggy. You can use this later when you fill them.
Make the filling by whipping the cream until it holds a soft peak. Beat the cream cheese with the melted white chocolate until they are well combined and then fold in the cream. Add 25g of the icing sugar to the raspberry puree and then stir a couple of tablespoons of the puree into the cream mixture. Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and then carefully pipe the filling into the cooled crisp choux buns.
Mix the remaining icing sugar into the rest of the raspberry puree to create thick, smooth icing. Dip the tops of the choux puffs into the icing and decorate with sprinkles if you like before popping the choux puffs in the fridge so that the icing sets and the filling can firm up 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