The big day may be over with for another a year but that doesn’t mean that we’re done with the feasting – as far as I’m concerned that doesn’t finish until the clock strikes January! This rich, creamy cheesecake is the perfect dessert for this […]
Quick, delicious and impressive. Are there three better words to describe a dessert recipe? I don’t think there are. This recipe is so easy, you don’t even really have to weigh anything (doesn’t that sound good?).
Buttery, crispy, flaky pastry wrapped around a filling of sweet pear, rich chocolate and warming ginger – this is just delicious at this time of year. And it really is so quick to make, it’s a perfect last-minute pudding but it look fancy enough to show off to your dinner guests. I really can’t recommend this recipe enough!
You can use dark or milk chocolate for this – I prefer dark though.
375g ready-made, ready rolled puff pastry
500g pears (about 5-6)
75g chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp crystallised ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Peel, core and chop the pears into bitesize chunks. Combine this with the roughly chopped chocolate, ginger, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cornflour in a mixing bowl.
Un-roll the pastry and pile the filling mixture along the centre of it. With the short edge of the pastry facing you, make cuts along each of the long edges, about a third of the way in, at approximately a 45° angle upwards. Cut out and discard the corner sections.
Fold the top and bottom ends over the filling and brush them with the egg wash. Wrap the edge pieces over the filling, alternating them and bushing with egg wash as you go to ensure that they stick, creating a plaited effect.
Give the whole thing a final glaze with the egg wash and sprinkle it with a little Demerara sugar to give a crunchy finish. Bake the plait for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up, covering with a piece of foil if it starts to get a little too brown on the edges. Serve warm with a dollop of clotted cream.
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.