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.
I think baked cheesecakes might be my super-power. (Making them and eating them). I never really have any problems with them and they always turn out well, slightly soft and rich and creamy, the way a baked cheesecake should be. This one is no exception – I mean just look at it… You know you just want to grab a fork and get stuck in to all that gooey toasted marshmallow!
There are a few very simple rules to follow when making a baked cheesecake which should more or less guarantee you dessert success. Always make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Wrap the base of the tin really well in tin foil and bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Finally let it cool in the oven before you chill it in the fridge – a good cheesecake cannot be rushed!
200g digestive biscuits
500g full fat cream cheese
200g sour cream
150g dark chocolate
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Start by lightly greasing a spring-form cake tin and securely wrapping the base with foil. Pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Crush the biscuits, either in a food processor or if you’re feeling a little tense then by putting them in a plastic bag and bashing them about with a rolling pin (Baking can be so therapeutic!). Melt the butter and combine this with the biscuit crumbs before pressing the mixture firmly into the tin. Pop this in the fridge to firm up whilst you make the filling.
Melt the chocolate (in a double boiler or microwave) and set this aside to cool a bit. Put the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat them together until they are smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Mix in the sour cream and then add the chocolate, making sure that it is well blended. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Give the tin a little shimmy to level things off before giving it a couple of sharp taps to knock out any excess air bubbles. Put the tin in a bain-marie and bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes. Once it’s done it should still be a little wobbly in the middle but be a little puffed up and brown around the edges. Turn off the oven and take the cheesecake out of its water bath but leave it in the oven to cool. Once it’s room temperature move it to the fridge to chill.
Make the marshmallow topping by combining all of the ingredients in a spotlessly clean heatproof bowl. Place this over a pan of gently simmering water, be careful not to let the water touch the base of the bowl. Use a hand whisk to whip this continuously whilst it heats up. The mixture should become quite foamy and increase in volume. When the marshmallow is ready to come off the heat, it will feel hot to the touch and the sugar should be totally dissolved. Take the bowl off the pan of water and then use an electric whisk to whip the marshmallow until it is thick and glossy. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and place it on a serving plate. Pipe or swirl the marshmallow on top, creating a peak effect. Use a kitchen blowtorch to toast and brown the marshmallow before serving.
I’m totally converted to vegan banana bread, I always get better results from it than from my more traditional recipe and I’m really not sure that I can tell the difference as far as the flavour is concerned.
That’s especially true of this recipe, which really does have it all going on! Rich dark chocolate, sweet fruity bananas and creamy peanut butter – pure heaven in banana bread form!
3 medium, very ripe bananas
50g light soft brown sugar
65ml vegetable oil
50g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy is fine but try to use one that’s palm oil free)
135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of ground cinnamon
75g dairy-free dark chocolate chips (or just chop up some chocolate)
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a loaf tin.
Mash the bananas really well and beat them with the sugar and oil. Mix in the peanut butter. Sift together the flour, raising agents and cinnamon and then briefly fold them into the wet ingredients, so that they are just combined. Fold in the chocolate and then transfer the batter to the prepared tin. Level off the top and bake the banana bread for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when you insert it into the loaf.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave it to cool. To enjoy the banana bread at its best, wrap it tightly in cling film and leave it until the next day. Banana bread is always better the next day!
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 […]