Desserts


These aren’t the most glamorous looking bakewells ever, since they don’t have the traditional icing/cherry combo.

But I MUCH prefer the flavour of these, given that I love lemon and hate cherry. And marzipan. Bleurgh.

I also think that these are more genteel and dainty than a traditional bakewell. I didn’t have any almonds to decorate the top which, as well as making them look even prettier, would have added another texture.

The best thing about these is the ooze of lemon curd that seeps out when you cut them open, which provides a real lemony hit.

These are incredibly moreish and I’ll definitely be making them again.

Lemon Bakewell Tart

Lemon Bakewell Tart

Recipe from BBC Good Food

For the sweet pastry

  • 85g butter, at room temperature
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the filling

  • zest 2 lemons
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour
  • 6 tbsp lemon curd
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. To make the pastry, place the butter and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and blitz again until light and creamy. Mix in the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water, then add in the flour until it’s just combined.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, bring the pastry together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and flatten lightly to form a disc. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Roll out the pastry and use to line six 10 x 2cm loose-bottomed tart tins,trimming off any excess. Put in the fridge while making the filling. If pastry breaks or cracks, patch up with any trimmings.
  4. To make the filling, beat together the lemon zest, butter and caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, including a spoonful of the ground almonds with each addition. When all the egg has been added, mix in the remaining ground almonds and flour.
  5. Spread the marmalade or curd over the bases of the tart cases. Spoon over the filling and smooth with a palette knife or spatula. The tarts will be full to the top, which is fine. Sit tarts on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins until lightly golden. Remove from the tins and serve warm or cool, dusted with icing sugar.

 

It probably goes without saying, but you really need to like chocolate orange to enjoy this tart.

It’s not my favourite flavour combination.

So why did I make it, you ask? Because the picture in the magazine looked pretty and I had a load of oranges that needed to be used up.

It was nice enough. The filling was smooth and full of orange flavour and chocolate complemented it well. It’s just not something I’m ever going to get giddy about.

I really like the idea of buying pre-made pastry and sprucing it up with a bit of flavour to get a more homemade effect. I’m going to try this in future with lemon zest or some thyme leaves in savoury pastry.

Chocolate Orange Tart

Chocolate Orange Tart

 

Recipe from BBC Good Food

Ingredients

  • 375g pack sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • plain flour, for dusting

For the orange filling

  • 5 medium oranges, zest and juice kept separate
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 85g caster sugar

For the chocolate drizzle

  • 85g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

Method

  1. Tear the pastry into a food processor, add the cocoa, pulse until combined, then knead a few times on a floured surface until evenly brown. Use to line a 23cm fluted tart tin, and prick the base several times with a fork. Chill or freeze until very firm. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  2. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet then line the pastry case with overhanging baking parchment. Fill with baking beans, then bake for 15 mins, or until the sides of the pastry have set firm. Remove the beans and parchment, then bake for 10-15 mins more until the pastry feels dry all over. Leave to cool.
  3. Strain the orange juice, then measure 250ml into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Strain again if necessary. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl, then gradually whisk the hot cream into the mix. Wipe out the pan, return the custard to it and cook gently for about 10 mins over a low heat, whisking frequently until steaming and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain into a jug, whisk in the zest and pour the custard into the pastry case. Cool, then chill for at least 4 hrs, or ideally overnight, until set.
  4. Melt the drizzle ingredients together until smooth, spoon some over the tart, then return the tart to the fridge. Serve the rest of the drizzle warm for spooning alongside the chilled tart.

IMG_3844

 

 

The salted caramel trend is still going strong – and quite right too. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and consequently never really ate caramel much, but I adore salted caramel. I could eat it by the bucket.

I usually double the amount of salt in any recipe to make it more to my tastes, but left the amounts as they were quoted in the recipe for this one.

I think my caramel could be a smidge darker, but overall I was quite pleased – everything was cooked through properly and it stayed together, which I count as a success!

Salted Caramel Tarte Tatin

Salted Caramel Tarte Tatin

Recipe from Delicious Magazine

Ingredients

  • 8 braeburn apples
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 375g block all-butter puff pastry
  • Plain flour for dusting

Method

1. Peel, core and halve the apples. Don’t worry if they turn brown – you won’t notice in the finished tart. Put the sugar in a 20cm ovenproof frying pan (measured across the base) with 50ml water, then melt the sugar slowly over a low heat. Once the sugar has melted, turn up the heat and bubble for 5 minutes or so to give a golden caramel (don’t let it get too dark – see above right).
2. Take the caramel off the heat immediately and stir in the butter – it will foam quite vigorously. Sprinkle the caramel with the sea salt (it will melt into it), then arrange the apple halves on top, cut-side up, so they fill the pan – slice any leftover apple into wedges to fill in the gaps (the apples will shrink as they cook). Put the pan back over a gentle heat, then cook for 5 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the apples cool completely.
3. Heat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin, then lay over the cooled apples in the pan. Trim the pastry using the edge of the pan as a guide, then carefully tuck it inside the edge around the apples, making sure they don’t move. Bake for 30 minutes until dark golden and puffed. Remove from the oven, stand for 5 minutes, then carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate.

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

Kieran loves millionaire’s shortbread. I love salted caramel. So this was always going to be popular.

Millionaire’s shortbread is of course shortbread, layered with caramel and chocolate. I usually find it a bit too sweet for my taste,  but this ‘billionaire’ version includes peanut butter and salted caramel, the salt in which offsets the overall sweetness. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still really rich and decadent.

It’s a lot easier to make than it looks too. All of the layers are relatively quick to prepare – you just have to have patience while you wait for them to set.

Billionaire's shortbread

Billionaire’s shortbread

Recipe from BBC Good Food.

Cuts into 15 big slices or 20 smaller ones

For the base

  • 225g butter, chopped into cubes, plus a little for greasing
  • 140g unsalted peanuts, toasted and cooled
  • 225g plain flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 85g golden caster sugar

For the peanut butter layer

  • 140g butter
  • 225g smooth peanut butter
  • 140g icing sugar

For the salted caramel layer

  • 2 X 397g cans Carnation caramel
  • 1½ tsp flaky sea salt or ½ tsp fine sea salt

For the chocolate-toffee topping

  • 3 x 100g bars dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 140g soft dairy toffees
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp flaky sea salt
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm rectangular cake tin with baking parchment – the best way to do this is with 2 long strips of parchment. Put the ingredients for the base in a food processor and blitz until it starts to clump together – don’t worry if the peanuts are still a little chunky, they will add a lovely texture. Tip onto your work surface and knead briefly to bring together as a dough. Press the dough into the base of your tin in an even layer. Bake for 25 mins until golden, then set aside to cool.
  2. To make the peanut butter layer, melt the butter and peanut butter in a small pan and mix until smooth. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, then pour in the hot butter mixture and stir to combine. While the mixture is still warm, pour over the base and smooth out with a spatula. Chill for 2 hrs until set.
  3. To make the caramel layer, put the caramel and salt in a pan, bring up to the boil and simmer vigorously for 2-3 mins, whisking continuously, until the colour darkens a shade or two and the caramel thickens slightly. Leave the caramel to cool for 20 mins (see tips, below). Once cooled, pour it over the peanut butter layer and return to the fridge for a further 2 hrs.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Meanwhile, put the toffees and the milk in a small saucepan and gently heat. They will clump together and struggle to melt at first, but keep heating and eventually they will turn into a runny toffee sauce.
  5. Remove the tin from the fridge and pour the chocolate over the salted caramel layer, tipping the tin to spread the chocolate over the surface. Use a spoon to quickly drizzle the caramel over the chocolate in a thin loopy pattern (or see tip, below). If the toffee starts to get too thick, add a splash more milk or cream and pop it back on the heat until runny. Sprinkle over the sea salt flakes and put the tin back in the fridge to chill for 2 hrs before slicing.

I mean, I surely don’t need to explain to you why I made this.

Unless of course, you don’t know what a jaffa cake is, in which case you have my deepest sympathies.

In short, it’s a orange flavoured cake/biscuit thing, with a layer of orange jelly, coated in chocolate.  It’s usually bitesized – and if you’re of a certain age, the only way to eat them is like this:

It would be quite difficult to do that with this giant version, which is possibly one of the best cakes in the known universe. It’s the first time I’d made jelly from scratch and it turned out really well. The cake is moist and the chocolate is, well chocolatey. It’s also a whopping 822 calories per slice, so make it for a crowd!

Giant Jaffa Cake

Giant Jaffa Cake

Clearly, I couldn’t wait for the chocolate to set before cutting off a slice.

Recipe from BBC Good Food

  • 250g pack butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g full-fat natural yogurt
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest 4 large orange (use the oranges below)

For the orange jelly

  • juice 5 large oranges (about 500ml), save the zest of 1 orange to finish
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 6 gelatine leaves

For the chocolate ganache

  • 300ml pot double cream
  • 200g milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  1. First make the jelly. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with cling film (you can use the 23cm tin that you will bake the cake in, but you’ll have to make this the day before so that you can remove it before making the cake). Remove the zest from 4 of the oranges and set aside for the cake. Tip the orange juice and sugar into a saucepan and gently heat to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few mins until soft. Remove the gelatine from the water, squeeze out any excess and add to the warm orange juice, stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Pour the liquid into the lined cake tin and chill for at least 4 hrs or preferably overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line a 23cm round cake tin with baking parchment. Tip all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Spoon into the tin and smooth over the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then invert onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  3. Now make the ganache. Heat the cream in a small pan until hot. Put the chocolate in a small bowl and pour over the cream, leave for 10 mins, then mix well – you should be left with a smooth chocolate sauce. Leave at room temperature until the ganache cools and thickens a little (you can put it in the fridge to speed this up, but keep an eye on it, as it will set quickly).
  4. To assemble the cake, place it on a cake stand and trim the top to give you a flat surface. Warm the apricot jam in the microwave until a little runny. Paint it over the top of the cake, then flip the orange jelly out of its tin, and position on top. Using a palette knife, swirl the chocolate ganache over the orange jelly, letting it dribble down the sides of the cake a little. Serve straight away or within 24 hours.

I’m a huge fan of James Martin generally. While I appreciate  and enjoy the work of chefs that are pushing the boundaries with foams, soils and microherbs, I also appreciate chefs like James Martin who excel at good, traditional,  no nonsense food. It has a chef-fy twist, but the roots will be in classic flavour combinations and techniques. He’s opened a restaurant in a casino in Manchester that I hope to visit soon ( on my first attempt to visit, I wasn’t allowed in as I couldn’t prove I was over 18. As a 29 year old, I was naturally delighted. )

For now, I’ll have to stick to making his recipes at home.

This one is a winner! It’s the same principle as a chocolate fondant – where you cut into the pudding and a soft centre oozes out at you – but instead of chocolate, this one is flavoured with toffee.

I didn’t have enough soft brown sugar for the recipe, so topped it up with a few tbsps of  treacle, so I ended up with a delicious treacle toffee. Which is also obviously why my toffee is darker than the photo on the recipe.

Toffee Pudding

Toffee Pudding

Recipe from James Martin via BBC Good Food

For the toffee centre

  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 75ml double cream, plus extra to serve

For the sponge

  • 75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g plain flour
  1. To make the toffee for the centre, put the sugar and cream in a pan over a medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and let the toffee bubble for 3 mins until thick. Pour into a bowl and chill for 2 hrs until set.
  2. Remove the toffee from the fridge. Use a dessertspoon to scoop out 2 walnut-sized pieces, roll into balls and pop back in the fridge until needed. Any remaining toffee can be reheated to make a sauce to serve alongside the puddings.
  3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Generously grease 2 small pudding moulds. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the flour and a pinch of salt. Divide the mixture between the moulds, reserving 2 tbsp. Push a toffee ball into each pudding, and cap off with the remaining mixture. The puddings can be frozen at this point or chilled for 2 hrs.
  4. Put the puddings on a baking tray and cook in the centre of the oven for 20 mins. Turn the puddings out straight away, serve with ice cream and a little extra reheated toffee sauce, if you like. To cook from frozen, heat oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4 and cook for 35 mins.

Kieran loves a bit of rice pudding so thought I’d make some so we could have a big bowl while watching a film. I was looking for a traditional and low maintenance recipe and came across this one from Simon Hopkinson. I’d seen him make it on his cooking show and it looked pretty easy – and it turned out really well.

Creamy, smooth, rich and exactly what I was looking for. Make sure you dredge with plenty of grated nutmeg!

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

Recipe from Simon Hopkinson on BBC Food Website

Ingredients

  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • 100g/3½fl oz pudding rice (or Spanish paella rice)
  • 75g/2½oz caster sugar
  • 1 litre/1¾pints full-fat milk
  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • pinch salt
  • plenty freshly grated nutmeg

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/285F/Gas 1.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Continue stirring until the rice swells and becomes sticky with sugar.
  3. Pour in the milk and keep stirring until no lumps remain. Add the cream and vanilla and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once this is reached, give the mixture a final stir and grate at least a third of a nutmeg over the surface. Bake for 1-1½ hours and cover with foil if the surfaces browns too quickly.
  4. Once there is a thin, tarpaulin-like skin on the surface, and the pudding only just wobbles in the centre, it is ready.
  5. Serve at room temperature.
Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

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