I’m slowly but surely working my way through the fruit that’s weighing down the branches of my apple tree. This recipe only used a few apples but they made all the difference to a classic treacle tart recipe. It basically becomes a toffee apple tart […]
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 don’t actually think I can get enough of rhubarb. I bloomin’ love the stuff! The ancient plant in my garden is much happier this year than last year which means I have a small but steady supply of it too.
This is a lovely summery dessert and if you scale down the portions a little it would be perfect for afternoon tea (i.e. make 6 instead of 4). The shortcakes are so light and fluffy and the custard is cool, rich and creamy. The flavours are great together too, tart rhubarb and sweet vanilla and pistachios are a delicious combination.
200g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar (plus a bit extra for finishing)
pinch of salt
70g pistachios, coarsely ground
poppyseeds for sprinkling
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
280ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla paste
250g (approx) rhubarb
3 tsp sugar
1 tbsp gin (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a baking tray.
Slice the rhubarb into 1″ pieces and toss them in the 3 teaspoons of sugar and the gin (if using) and place them in an oven-proof dish. Pop the rhubarb in the oven and bake it until it’s tender, which should take about 15 minutes. Leave to cool once cooked.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt before lightly rubbing in the butter with your fingertips. Mix through the ground pistachios.
Beat together the buttermilk and egg and then use this to bring the dry ingredients together to form a soft dough. You may not need all of the liquid so just add it a bit at a time. Be as gentle as you can with the dough, or your shortcakes will be tough once they’re baked.
Pat the dough out onto a lightly floured surface so that it’s about 1″ thick. Use a pastry cutter to stamp out your shortcakes, being careful not to twist it. Re-roll the off cuts of dough as necessary.
Place the shortcakes onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops with any of the remaining egg/buttermilk mixture (or just buttermilk if you used all of the egg mix in the dough) and then sprinkle them with sugar and poppyseeds. Bake them for 12-15 minutes and then leave them to cool on a wire rack. They should be lightly golden once they are baked.
Whilst the shortcakes bake you can make the custard filling. Pour the milk into a smallish pan and gently heat until it just starts to simmer. Meanwhile whisk together all of the other ingredients in a mixing bowl until they are quite thick and fluffy. Whilst still whisking (you may need to steady the bowl) pour the warm milk into the eggs through a sieve in a steady stream. Keep the egg mixture moving or they will curdle, leaving you with sugary scrambled eggs.
Rinse out the saucepan and then return the custard mixture to it. Gently heat the custard over a low light, stirring continuously, until it becomes very thick and creamy and then remove it from the heat. Cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool before slicing the shortcakes in half and filling with the creamy custard and tart rhubarb.
I love the fact that citrus fruit are at their peak during the most miserable part of the year. It’s so wonderful to be able to enjoy something so bright and zingy and fresh amidst all the heavy winter food. Citrus fruit are like a little edible promise that one day there’ll be sunshine again.
Blood oranges, despite their slightly gruesome name, are surely the most beautiful of all of the citrus fruits and their fragrant sweetness lends itself wonderfully to this light, yet warming pudding. These really are ‘magic’ too, good enough to grace the tables of the Great Hall at the end of term feast! The wet, lumpy batter separates in the oven to form a light, almost souffle-like sponge and a delicate orange custard, like a creme anglaise.
If the tops get too brown during cooking then carefully open the oven door (you don’t want them to deflate) and cover them with some foil.
makes 8 individual or 1 larger pudding
50g softened butter
zest and juice of two blood oranges (about 80ml)
3 eggs, separated
50g plain flour
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and butter 6-8 ramekins or a larger baking dish.
Beat together the butter, sugar and finely grated zest from the oranges. Separate the eggs, setting the whites aside in a clean bowl and adding the yolks to the sugar and butter. Beat them in and then follow them with the milk and the juice from the oranges. Sift in the flour and stir it into the batter.
Whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Take a large spoonful of the egg white and whisk it into the batter. Fold in the remaining egg white, a few spoonfuls at a time until you have a wet, fairly lumpy mixture. It’ll look terrible and you’ll probably be cursing me but don’t panic. Pour the batter into the prepared dishes filling them to about 1cm below the rim. Place them in a water bath and bake them for 35 minutes for individual puddings or 50 minutes for a larger one. The top should be quite golden and the puddings should have separated into two layers, one light and fluffy, almost souffle-like and a sweet orange custard layer below.