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 […]
This beauty is what I’m offering up for this years Burns Night pudding. I know cranachan is pretty much just trifle anyway but when I was recently asked for a trifle recipe this is what sprang to mind and it feels like a celebration of suitably Scottish ingredients.
It’s got a bit more substance to it than cranachan so be sure not to fill up on too many neeps and tatties, oh, and its got a bit of a kick to it too!
You can of course use shop bought sponge but if you do want to make your own (I did) then a simple victoria sponge made with just one egg works well. I like to decorate mine with a few mini meringues made from one of the spare egg whites from the custard but you could just use crushed bought meringues instead.
150ml double cream
350ml whole milk (if you’re in the States then just use 500ml half and half instead of the milk and cream)
3 tbsp sugar
3 egg yolks
300g frozen raspberries
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp whisky
Plain sponge cake (enough to create a single layer in your serving bowl)
200ml double/heavy cream
1 tbsp honey
toasted flaked almonds and mini meringues (optional) to decorate
Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and put in a pan with the cream and milk (or half and half). Heat until quite warm but don’t let it boil.
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour for the custard until they are quite pale and fluffy.
Strain the warm half and half through a sieve into a jug and rinse out the pan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla and whisk into the egg and sugar mixture.
Whilst continuously whisking pour the warm milk mixture into the eggs in a slow steady stream. Return the custard to the pan and gently heat, stirring until it thickens. Set aside to cool.
Combine the sugar for the compote with 1/2 the raspberries and the whisky and cook until they become syrupy, stir in the rest of the fruit and pour into the base of your serving dish.
Cut the sponge into chunks and lay these on top of the warm fruit, letting them soak up the juice.
Pour the cooled custard over the sponge and put it in the fridge to firm up a bit.
Whip the cream with the honey and use this to top the trifle, finishing off with a few toasted flaked almonds.
Whilst we were living stateside I developed a tiny obsession with stopping at road-side diners on our numerous road trips for pie. I think I found something satisfyingly clichéd about it. One of the best pies I tried was a coconut cream pie in Bangor, […]
What I actually wanted to do here was make a copycat of a green tea and yuzu tart that I once ate in NYC but it seems like yuzu is far less common in suburban Maryland (I was still there when I made these!) than it is in New York. This probably shouldn’t have been a surprise to me.
So lovely sweet oranges have had to step up and play the role of the yuzu instead. I’m actually pretty pleased about it. They go really well with the green tea flavoured custard that I’ve used to fill the tart shells. Usually I have lemon with my green tea because I like the sharp citrus tang but the fragrant sweetness of the orange is a bit more subtle and less acidic.
I wouldn’t recommend making the filling for these too far in advance because the tea in the custard will discolour after a day or so.
makes about 18 tiny tartlets
75g butter (room temperature)
pinch of salt
juice of 1 orange (you may not need the full amount)
matcha creme patissiere
300ml whole milk
3 egg yolks
2 tsp matcha/green tea leaves
If you have a food processor then the pastry can be made very quickly and easily. Just add the flour, sugar, salt 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 just enough of the orange juice 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 salt and sugar. Again use just enough of the orange juice to bring the dough together.
Wrap the dough in cling-film and pop it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
You can make the creme patissiere whilst the dough is chilling.
Combine the milk and the tea in a medium saucepan and gently heat it. You want the milk to be quite warm but not really hot.
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour in a mixing bowl until they are pale and fluffy.
Strain the milk through a fine sieve into a jug and rinse out the pan to remove any traces of the tea leaves. Whilst whisking the egg mixture, add the warm milk in a steady stream. You need to be careful with this step as the mixture can curdle easily and you’ll end up with lumpy scrambled eggs instead of lovely thick custard.
Return the custard mixture to the pan and then gently heat it so that it becomes nice and thick. Be sure to stir it continuously to avoid any lumpiness. Let it become thick enough to pipe and then leave it to cool. Cover the surface with some cling-film to prevent a skin from forming on it.
Now time to get back to the pastry. Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease your tart tins. Unwrap the pastry and gently roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is a few millimetres thick. 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.
Put the cooled creme patissiere in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe the custard into the pastry shells. Sprinkle on a little grated orange zest and then let the tartlets sit in the fridge for around an hour so that the custard can firm up a little bit.
Mmmm creme brûlée…it’s probably my favourite dessert but it’s easy to get wrong. Sometimes it can be too thin, sometimes too much like a dish of cold custard, sometimes curdled.
The best one that I’ve ever had was when Mr Colonial Cravings and I were working in Banff, Canada for a summer. I saved up (a lot) of pennies and treated him to dinner at the Rimrock hotel for his birthday. The whole meal was incredible (as was the view) but what really stood out for me was the Darjeeling and Camembert creme brûlée for dessert. I know it sounds all sorts of wrong but it was truly wonderful. So good that I e-mailed the chef the next day to beg for the recipe.
The Camembert is only there for texture, rather than flavour, and I’ve found that you can just about get away with substituting it with extra cream. The texture is a tiny bit less velvety the flavour is just as good.
It’s a little unusual as creme brûlée goes because it is set with gelatin rather than by baking in a bain marie, but I think this is what makes it more or less fool-proof. It is also a really easy recipe to modify as you don’t really need to worry about how things will be affected by the heat of the oven
makes 4 generous servings or 6 smaller ones if you want to accompany them with some biscuits or fruit
200ml double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
4 egg yolks (about 50g)
25g white chocolate (chopped)
1.5g gelatine sheets (about 1 standard size sheet)
Whisk together the egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla and corn flour until they are pale, thick and fluffy.
Gently heat the cream in a smallish saucepan, it needs to be hot but don’t let it get anywhere even close to boiling.
Strain this into egg yolk mixture, whilst whisking all the time to prevent it curdling and turning into sweet scrambled eggs.
Give the saucepan a quick rinse and then return the custard mixture to it and heat it very gently and steadily until it thickens. Be sure to stir it continuously so that you don’t get any hot patches that will cause school-dinner-style lumpy custard.
Once it has thickened add the chocolate and stir until it is totally melted and blended in. Prepare the gelatin, following the packets instructions, and stir this into the custard too.
Pour the mixture into little dishes or ramekins and refrigerate to set.
Just before serving sprinkle the tops with castor sugar and caramelise it with a kitchen blow torch.
These are really nice served with my rosemary shortbread.