What’s not to love about this cosy autumn pudding? Richly spiced custard, crunchy, crisp buttery bread and soft sweet apple, this makes such a lovely change to the usual crumbles and pies that take centre stage once the cold weather sets in. This is also […]
This is such a wonderful bake, part cake, part tart – I love the crumbly, buttery pecan pastry on this, wrapped around the fluffy filling and sticky fruit. This is a lovely autumnal bake and you can easily adapt it to use different fruits and nuts but I really love this combination of toasty, buttery pecans and sweet, tart plums. It’s absolutely glorious served with a big dollop of cream!
To make the pecan meal simply toast the nuts in a hot oven (about 180°c) for 10-15 minutes and then leave them cool. Pulse them in a food processor until they resemble ground almonds.
50g pecan meal
135g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp marsala
1 tsp vanilla extract
85g pecan meal
65g icing sugar
1 tsp baking powder
a little demerara sugar to finish
The quickest and easiest way to make the crust is to simply blitz all of the ingredients for it together in a food processor but if you don’t have one then simply rub the butter into the other ingredients until you have a soft, shortbread style dough. Chill this in the freezer whilst you pre-heat your oven to 200°c and cook the fruit for the filling.
Stone and slice the fruit and melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan. Stir in the sugar and add the fruit. Pour in the marsala and vanilla and cook the fruit until it becomes tender. Roll the crust dough out, making it large enough to overhang the sides of a well greased 7/8″ springform cake tin.
To make the filling blend together the nuts, butter, icing sugar and baking powder, ideally in a food processor. Add the eggs and flour and mix again. Finally fold through fruit and juices by hand and pour the whole lot into the pastry lined tin. Sprinkle with a little demerara sugar for a crunchy top. Bake the crostata for 20 mins before reducing the temperature to 180°c and baking for further 20 mins, cover the top with foil if it starts to get a little too brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack before removing from the tin and enjoying.
I’ve been coveting my neighbours fig tree. It’s steadily ripening fruit keeps peeking over the fence and flirting with me! I’m always amazed when I see fig trees in the UK adorned with fruit. I always associate them with much warmer climates, like my friends […]
Lately the weather has not been kind, certainly not what you hope August days to be. This has left me craving something comforting rather than the usual refreshing summer desserts. That said though, I still like to make use of what’s seasonal and I still have cherries stashed in my freezer from last year when the little tree in my garden was so prolific. For a so-called food blogger though my fridge is often very poorly stocked (although recently I’ve come to put that down to the tiny sleep thief who has entered our lives, causing all sorts of disruptions!) So, when I wanted to make a berry cobbler I found myself a little short of the usual ingredients I had to improvise a little, substituting some cream cheese in the topping in place of butter. Happily it worked beautifully, creating a deliciously light, fluffy layer on top of my lovely jammy homegrown cherries and resulting in a pudding that was wonderful served with a large dollop of cream!
400g pitted cherries/berries
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100g cream cheese
splash of milk
sprinkle of demerara sugar
Preheat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a baking dish. Combine the fruit with the soft brown sugar and the cornflour in the dish and pop it in the oven whilst you prepare the topping. It should start to become thick and jammy.
To make the topping sift together the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl before whisking in the salt and sugar. Beat in the cream cheese to leave you with a thick dough before adding a splash of milk to loosen the mixture a little to a dropping consistency.
Dollop this onto the cooked fruit and then sprinkle with a little demerara sugar to give the finished cobbler a crisp, crunchy topping. Bake for 20 minutes, by which time the topping should have risen and become fluffy underneath and golden and crisp on top. Serve warm with a dollop of cream of a scoop of ice cream.
Aquafaba (chickpea water) is magic stuff. It means that you can make rich, velvety chocolate mousse from the stuff you’d normally chuck away when you’re making a batch of hummus or some falafel. It also means that you don’t have to mess around with raw […]
My friends allotment is awash with strawberries. Delicious plump, sweet, ruby-red berries – she could open a pick-your-own! She generously gave me so many (and some plants) that I had enough for this cake, the strawberry and mascarpone tart from a week or so ago and several jars of jam.
In the height of summer ripe strawberries are one of the loveliest things that you can eat, and of course you should have them with cream. This (slightly retro) gateaux shows them off perfectly with its layers of fluffy Genoese sponge and white chocolate cream.
100g plain flour
20g butter, melted
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp cornflour
125g white chocolate
toasted flaked almonds & extra berries to decorate
Preheat your oven to 180°c and grease and line an 8 inch springform cake tin.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are pale yellow, thick and fluffy and the whisk leaves a trail in the mixture (ribbon stage). This should take a few minutes in a stand mixer. Sift in half of the flour and carefully fold it in, be gentle – you don’t want to lose any volume. Repeat with the other half of the flour. Drizzle the melted butter and almond extract around the edge of the mixing bowl and fold again. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake the sponge for 25 minutes. It should be well risen and golden when it’s done. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Roughly chop the fruit and combine it with the sugar and cornflour in a small pan. Cook over a gentle heat for several minutes until you have a thick compote. Set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate and leave to cool a little whilst you whip the cream to a soft peak. Gently whisk the cooled chocolate into this.
Carefully slice the sponge into three layers and place the bottom one on a serving plate. Spread a quarter of the chocolate cream over the sponge and then spoon on half of the compote. Repeat this layering with the second layer of sponge. Place the final layer of sponge on top and spread on half of the remaining cream, put the rest into a piping bag fitted with a round or star-shaped nozzle. Pipe this around the edge of the cake and pile some extra berries into the centre and sprinkle on some flaked almonds to decorate. Chill for an hour or two before serving.