CUSTARD PUDDING (CLAFOUTIS) WITH FRUIT
This is a northern European version of the French ‘clafoutis’. You can use any fruit you like or even a mixture. It can be eaten hot or cold and so is good to slice for picnics.
A savoury version uses chopped bacon, which results in a baked version of ‘bacon & eggs’ – more robust than quiche and when eaten cold, is great for picnics.
Preparation time: 20 mins
- 500 gms of fruit (blueberries, chopped rhubarb, chopped apple, stoned cherries or chopped pear)
- 30 gm melted butter
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract3 tblsp maple syrup
- 75 gm plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 beaten eggs
- 375 ml whole milk
- zest and juice of one orange or lemon
Mix the fruit with vanilla extract, orange juice and half the caster sugar and leave for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease a baking dish.
Place the steeped fruit on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle on half the maple syrup.
Sieve the flour in to a mixing bowl, add the salt and remaining caster sugar, add the eggs, milk and butter and mix in to a smooth paste.
Add the orange/lemon zest and pour the mixture over the fruit.
Bake for 20-30 mins until set but with a slight wobble.
CHOCOLATE ÉCLAIR CAKE
This is very much a ‘cheats’ pudding because the ingredients may be bought ready-made, with the ‘cake’ constructed simply and deliciously. It is a children’s (or grown-up’s) party treat and it looks very pretty.
Preparation Time: 5 min
Chilling Time: 8 hr
- 400 gms of plain digestive biscuits
- 250 ml of set custard (pre-bought if you wish)
- 600 ml milk
- 350 gm vanilla ice cream (of your choice) or crème anglaise
- 300 gm warmed Nutella
Line the bottom of an ungreased 9- x 13-inch baking dish with one-third of the crushed digestive biscuits.
In a large bowl, whisk together the set custard and milk; add the melted vanilla ice cream, stirring until mixture thickens.
Spread half of pudding mixture over the crushed digestive biscuits in a baking dish.
Repeat layers with one-third of the digestive biscuits and remaining pudding mixture.
Top with remaining digestive biscuits.
Spread the top with the (warmed) Nutella.
Cover to chill or place in the freezer for 10 minutes before serving.
COFFEE & WALNUT CAKE
This basic recipe can be varied with a variety of flavours.
For example, a banana and maple syrup cake replaces the walnuts with powdered dried banana chips and the coffee with maple syrup.
2 tbsp instant coffee
100 gm walnut halves
225 gm butter, at room temperature
225 gm soft, light-brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten together
225 gm plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
For the icing:
2 tbsp instant coffee
165 gm butter, at room temperature
425 gm icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp double cream
Mix the coffee with 1 tbsp boiling water, and then leave to cool.
Toast the walnut halves in a dry pan; set a quarter of them aside and roughly chop the remainder.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and grease and line the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
With the mixer still running, pour in the egg mix very gradually, scraping down the sides of the mixer as necessary.
Once incorporated, sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and gently fold in with a large metal spoon, adding the coffee and chopped walnuts.
The batter should fall, reluctantly, from a spoon; if not, add a little milk to loosen it. Divide between the 2 tins, and bake for about 25 minutes until well risen. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then put on a wire rack to cool completely.
Mix the 2 tbsp coffee for the icing with 1 tbsp boiling water and allow to cool.
Once the cakes have cooled, make the icing.
Beat the butter until soft, then sift in the sugar and salt and add the cooled coffee and cream. Stir together until evenly combined.
Top one cake with a little less than half the icing, spreading it more thickly in a ring around the edge, and then place the other cake on top. Spoon the remaining icing on the top, and arrange the walnuts in a pattern.
BANANA NUT BREAD
(makes one 1.5 litre loaf or 6 large muffins or 12 biscuits)
What to do with those over-ripe bananas, which look black and nasty!?
Make banana bread. So healthy, particularly with chopped nuts. You can replace all or part of the flour with ground almonds.
Make it in to a loaf or a tray bake or muffins or biscuits.
A wonderful addition to children’s lunch boxes and healthier than shop-bought snacks.
Uncooked or baked, they freeze well.
Can be used as a dessert when hot with some cream or ice cream.
- 2 over-ripe bananas – mashed with a fork
- 450 gm plain flour (you can replace half the flour with ground almonds if you wish)
- 200 gms sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 60 gms ground up (mixed or your choice of) nuts
- 180 gms melted butter
Grease a 1.5 litre loaf tin – pre-heat oven to 175 degrees C.
Mix everything to form a batter.
Put in the tin – scatter some nuts on top
Bake at 175 degrees C for 45 mins (test with a knife in the middle)
Variations of this are traditionally baked throughout Europe and North America.
Surprisingly good with cheese too for a more grown up dessert.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hrs 15 mins
- 250 ml of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 200 gms of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 375 gms of flour
(you can substitute with ground almonds if gluten-sensitive)
- ½ tsp of salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 120 ml of Limoncello
or the juice of two lemons
- 4 sharp eating apples, peeled cored and cut into bite size pieces
- 180 ml of milk
Optional decoration for the top: 1 apple, peeled and cut in to thin slices and brushed with butter and sugar or maple syrup.
Grease a small loaf tin or a small round cake tin well and set aside;
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, add the lemon zest, eggs and salt and mix to combine;
Add the milk and lemon juice or limoncello and whisk it all together to make a smooth mixture;
Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix it together just long enough to combine the dry ingredients;
Sprinkle the apples with a about 3 tbsp of flour and toss them to coat;
Add the apples to the batter and fold them in.
Pour the batter in the prepared tin (put the sliced apple brushed with melted butter and maple syrup on top) and bake it for about one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes or until fully cooked through.
Allow it to cool completely, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar.
The alternative name is Clare College Mess.'
Fun to prepare.
So easy and one of the most delicious combinations.
Preparation time: 10 mins
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 to 2 tbsp of icing sugar
- 500 gms cups of chopped strawberries
- 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp of fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp of fresh orange zest
- 300 gms of pre-made/bought meringue
In the bowl, mix the chopped strawberries, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar and orange juice; then set aside.
In a separate large bowl, with a hand held electric whisk, beat the cream and orange zest until it develops soft peaks, add the confectioner sugar and continue to whisk until the cream thickens.
Crumble 6 meringues in the cream mixture, add half of the strawberries and fold everything together.
Divide the mixture between 4 glasses, top with the remaining strawberries and crumble up some meringues right on top.
Children love to make these because the action of the yeast and bicarb work together to create the ‘holes’ that define the crumpet.
Makes 8 single crumpets or 2 large crumpets
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 26 mins
- 250g strong white flour
- ½ tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 175ml tepid milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
(you can ‘flavour’ crumpets with a pinch of pepper or chilli if savoury or with ½ tsp of vanilla extract if sweet or even with a little lemon or orange zest).
Mix together the flour and yeast.
Stir in the milk and 175ml (6fl oz) tepid water, and leave for 2 hours, or until the bubbles have risen and then started to fall again.
Mix the salt and bicarbonate of soda into 2 tbsp lukewarm water and whisk in. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Oil 4 crumpet rings (if you have them). Lightly oil a large, heavy frying pan and place the rings in the pan. Alternatively, make one (out of two) large crumpets.
Pour the batter into a jug. Heat the pan over a medium heat and pour batter into each ring/pan to a depth of 1–2cm (1/2–3/4in).
Cook the crumpet/s for 8–10 minutes, or until the batter has set all the way through and the top is covered in holes.
If no bubbles appear, the mixture is too dry so stir a little water into the remaining batter.
Lift the rings off the crumpets, turn them over, and cook for another 2–3 minutes, or until just golden.
Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve the freshly cooked crumpets warm and buttered, or toast to reheat if serving them later.
STRAWBERRY & ALMOND CRUMBLE
Tastier, more nutritious and less sweet than usual crumbles.
This can be made in individual dishes for dinner parties.
Served hot or cold.
- 500 grams strawberries (hulled)
- 50 grams caster sugar (or 25 gms with 2 tblsp maple syrup)
- 25 grams ground almonds
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the crumble topping:
- 100 grams ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 75 grams cold butter (diced)
- 100 grams flaked almonds
- 75 grams demerara sugar
- double cream (to serve)
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6/400ºF.
Put the hulled strawberries into a pie dish, (approx. 1.25 litre capacity).
Sprinkle the sugar, almonds and vanilla extract on to the strawberries.
Give the dish a good shake.
For the crumble topping:
Put the ground almonds and baking powder in a mixing bowl and rub in the cold, diced butter between thumb
and fingers (or in a freestanding mixer).
Stir in the flaked almonds and sugar with a fork.
Sprinkle this over the strawberry mixture.
Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, by which time the crumble topping will have darkened to a pale gold.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving (can be eaten cold and taken on a picnic).
Serve with chilled double cream or ice cream.
EGG CUSTARD TARTS
This is a classic traditional British ‘delicacy’ and a childhood treat.
It is quite an art to make them properly. Consistency of the custard is all-important.
For the sweet pastry:
- 165gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 25gm ground almonds
- 120 gm chillded, cubed unsalted butter
- 55gm caster sugar
- 1 free-range egg
- 700ml whole milk
- 7 free-range egg yolks
- 90gm caster sugar
- freshly ground nutmeg
To make the pastry, stir the flour and ground almonds together in a large bowl, then add the butter and rub in
with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar.
Break in the egg and work it into the mixture with your fingers, bringing it together to form a soft dough.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball.
Flatten with your fingers to a disc and wrap in cling film.
Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Roll out the sweet pastry on a lightly floured work surface.
After 30 mins, roll out the pastry
Using an 11cm diam. fluted cutter, cut out twelve discs and line the muffin tray moulds with the pastry circle.
The pastry should overlap the top of the moulds by a few millimetres, so that you can crimp the edges if you wish.
For the custard filling, warm the milk in a saucepan, and beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a
separate bowl until pale and creamy.
Pour the milk onto the egg yolk mixture and stir well, creating little bubbles.
Transfer the custard mixture into a pouring jug with a lip, then fill each of the tart cases.
Sprinkle a small pinch of ground nutmeg into the middle of each tart.
Bake the tarts in the oven for about 25 minutes - you may need to turn the temperature down to 180C/350F/Gas 4 for the final 10 minutes.
You are looking for a very slight dome on the custard, indicating that it is baked.
If the custard domes too much this indicates that you have over-cooked the custard, it will have boiled, and will sink back down leaving a big dip.
If this does happen you can help rescue it by removing the tarts from the oven immediately and placing the tin in cold water on a cold surface.
Cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then carefully remove from the moulds.
The base of the tarts should be perfectly baked through, without having over-cooked the custard filling.
Allow to cool.
These are perfect for picnics and can be served with fresh fruit in summer.
‘OPEN’ FRUIT PIE PARCELS
These can be made with any fruit, with different or mixed coloured fruits and berries. Serve hot or cold.
Good for children's parties and garden parties.
The pastry can be gluten-free and made with gluten-free flour.
For the Pastry:
- 160 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Zest of half a lemon
- 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup ricotta, yogurt or sour cream
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
For the Filling:
- 400 gms berries or chopped fruit.
- 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Juice of half a lemon
- Pinch of salt
For a party, you can make different coloured pies:
red (cherries and strawberries),
blue (blueberries and blackberries),
yellow (pineapple and banana) and
green (gooseberries or kiwi fruit).
For the Glaze:
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 1 heaped teaspoon coarse sugar for sprinkling
For the Dough:
Whisk the flour, salt, sugar and zest together in the bottom of a large bowl.
Work the butter into the flour.
Stir ricotta and 3 tablespoons water together in a small dish and pour into butter-flour mixture.
Stir together with a flexible spatula then knead the mixture into a rough ball.
Wrap in plastic and flatten into a disc.
Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 48 hours, or quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F (180 C).
On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a large round-ish shape, about 14 to 15 inches across.
You can produce a star shape, then roll out the dough in to a pentagon.
Transfer round or pentagon-shaped dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Stir together all of the filling ingredients and spread them in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
If you’re making a round galette, fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. If you're making a star shape, fold each of the 5 corners into the center, along the green dotted lines of the template.
Pinch the outer corners closed, to seal in the filling and the shape.
Whisk egg yolk and water together and brush over exposed crust. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake: For 30 minutes, or golden all over.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the onto a serving plate.
Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature, preferably with vanilla ice cream.
‘OLD FASHIONED’ CHERRY PIE
This is a lovely dish for dinner parties, summer lunches and goes well with cream or ice cream.
Never use cherries with the stones in. Take the stones out!
The pastry flour can be gluten-free if preferred.
For the flaky pastry:
- 800 ml ice cold water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 200 gm cold butter
- 300 gm plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1 whisked egg
- sugar for dusting
For the filling:
- 110 gm sugar
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- 850 gm cherries (de-stoned)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp water
- ½ tsp almond essence or vanilla extract
Use a 22cm-round pie dish
The pie filling:
Mix the sugar and cornflour in a bowl then carefully drop in the cherries.
Mix to coat them in the sugar, then set aside for 5 minutes.
Transfer the coated cherries to a saucepan set over a low heat and add the lemon juice, water and almond essence.
Mix to combine and cook with the lid on for 7 minutes. Your aim is to break down the cherries a little to make the start of a thick juice.
After 7 minutes take the pan off the heat and leave to cool completely.
The flaky pastry:
Add lemon juice to the ice-cold water.
Cube the cold butter and loosely rub together with the flour using your fingertips, leaving pea-sized lumps.
Add the ice-cold water mixed with lemon juice, and lightly bind together until you have a soft dough.
Flatten the dough and wrap it in cling film.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out and using it to line the pie dish. Refrigerate the dough (in the dish) for 15 minutes before adding the filling.
Once you've returned the pastry to the fridge for the second time.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and place a baking tray inside to heat up.
When your pastry and filling are completely cool, remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out to roughly the thickness of a pound coin (about 2mm), using a one-directional rolling technique.
Remember to flour your rolling pin and worktop and not your pastry, so your pastry doesn't dry out.
Push the pastry down to avoid air pockets (you can patch up a few holes with leftover pastry).
Leave an overhang of pastry to tidy up later once the pie is sealed.
Tip your cold filling into the pastry-lined dish.
Optional. Decorate it using the 'lattice' method:
Use a long ruler and a knife to slice the pastry into roughly 2cm-thick strips.
Egg-wash the rim of the pie, then weave the lattice strips across the top, pinching and crimping the edges to keep them tidy. Brush the white of an egg around the sides and bottom of the pastry shell and sprinkle lightly with flour before you add the filling to help the juices stay put and give the pie a golden bottom.
Place the pie on the hot tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and bake for a further 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top and the filling is bubbling up.
If the pie is browning too quickly, place some foil around the crust edge, leaving the middle to bake and bubble through.
Leave to cool completely.