Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad

Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad

A delicious summer dessert where fresh raspberries and blueberries are nestled in a raspberry jelly which has a fluffy, creamy cheese topping and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: the time to set the jelly, plus 1 hour
  • Ingredients
  • 1 pkt raspberry jelly/jello
  • 1 lemon
  • 55 g (2 oz) raspberries (½ cup)
  • 55 g (2 oz) blueberries (⅓ cup)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 115 g (4 oz) cream cheese (½ cup)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (⅜ cup)
  • 28 g (1 oz) slivered almonds, finely chopped (¼ cup)

Equipment

  • You will also need a 20 × 20 × 5 cm (8 × 8 × 2 inch) dish


  • Method
  • Zest the lemon until ½ teaspoon has been produced and set aside.
  • Then juice the lemon.
  • Make up the jelly/jello in a bowl according to the packet.
  • Refrigerate until the jelly has completely set.
  • Refrigerate until partially set (the consistency of unbeaten egg whites).
  • Stir the berries into the jelly/jello and then pour the berry mixture into the dish and refrigerate until the jelly has completely set.

  • Meanwhile, remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (about 1 hour).

  • Once the jelly/jello has set, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

  • Now in a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and add to the cream with sifted  icing/powdered sugar. Beat well until combined. The mixture will become fluffy and thicken.
  • Stir in the reserved lemon zest.
  • Carefully spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over the jelly and gently level with a palette knife making sure the mixture reaches the edges.
  • Refrigerate for a further 1 hour.
    Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad
  • Heat a small frying pan/skillet and tip in the nuts.
  • Over a gentle heat stir the nuts to toast them. This will only take a few minutes. They are ready when they have turned a light golden colour and they begin to smell nutty.
  • Remove from the pan and set to one side to cool.
  • To serve, sprinkle the nuts over the cream cheese mixture and cut into 6 portions. The first portion is always tricky to remove from the pan but then it becomes much easier.

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Updated: July 7, 2020

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

Frozen Strawberry Sundae

These squares of strawberry ice cream are on a chocolate base and topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Frozen ahead of time, they make an impressive dessert and take no time at all to add the toppings just before serving.

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Freezing time: 4 hours
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 115 g (4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter, melted (3 tbsp)
  • *This is a North American recipe where the chocolate baking crumbs are bought ready in a box.
  • Use the recipe below to make the base in England:
  • 115 g (4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter then add to the biscuit crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.

  • For the filling
  • 280 g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 170 g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • For the topping
  • 85 g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
  • 55 g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp slivered/flaked almonds

Equipment

  • You will also need a 17 cm (6½ inches) square metal baking tin at least 5 cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.

Note

  • Once the base and filling have been left to freeze it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.
  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; just use a 24 cm (9½ in) square tin.


  • Method
  • First line the container with two pieces of cling film/plastic wrap so they are laid across one another and large enough to overhang the edges of the container on all sides. Press well into the corners of the container.

  • For the base
  • In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs.
  • Now spread evenly in the container, using a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup, pressing well into the corners.
  • Freeze while making the filling.
  • For the filling
  • Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little while preparing the strawberries.

  • Slice the strawberries and put in a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

  • Purée the strawberries until smooth.
  • Scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl. It should be soft but not completely thawed. Then pour over the strawberry purée. Stir until well blended.
  • Spoon evenly over the chocolate base and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
  • For the topping
  • Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.

  • Tip the almonds into a small frying pan/skillet and toast over a medium to low heat until golden, tossing frequently. They will take about 5–10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when ready.) Put to one side.

  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl.
  • Melt the chocolate by sitting the bowl over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.)
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining chocolate pieces.
  • Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.
  • To finish
  • Top each square just before serving.

  • Holding the edges of the baking parchment, remove the frozen sundae to a cutting board. Now using a serrated knife, cut into six even pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to soften a little.

  • Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares.

  • Then drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

  • Note
  • Once the base and filling has frozen, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.

  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; but use a 24 cm (9½ in) square container.
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Updated: July 4, 2020

Coffee Topped Sponge

Coffee Topped Victoria Sponge

This version of the classic sponge is filled and topped with coffee butter icing. In the U.K. this is known as coffee cake but in North America, coffee cake can be any cake meant to accompany a cup of coffee, which is why I called this one a coffee topped sponge.

Coffee Topped Sponge

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30–35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For cake
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour/self rising flour, sifted (1 cup + 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 3 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • For the coffee buttercream
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 225 g (8 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence/extract

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased


  • Method
  • For cake
  • Preheat the oven to 170C° (325°F) (gas 3)
  • First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible. Put to one side.
  • Using a free standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.
  • Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)
  • Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
  • Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with the tip of a finger.
  • Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings, and cool on wire racks.
  • Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
  • The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl and then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1–2 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • For coffee buttercream
  • Beat the butter until creamy and then gradually beat in the icing/powdered sugar until smooth. (A free standing mixer does this in no time.)
  • Beat in the coffee essence/extract until it is well mixed in.

  • To assemble
  • Once the sponges are cold, carefully invert one onto a plate and evenly spread with half the buttercream.
  • Then place the other sponge on top and gently press down.
  • Evenly spread the top with the remaining buttercream.
  • To make a pattern, make straight lines through the buttercream using a fork. Just pull steadily through the surface of the buttercream. Then diagonally pull the fork through at intervals.

Note

  • The first method of mixing the cake is the classic method and the all-in-one method is the modern version. It’s purely a matter of personal preference which you use.
  • For more tips on cake baking, click on my ‘Tips’ section.
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Updated: June 20, 2020

English-style Cannelloni

Cannelloni shells are filled with minced/ground beef flavoured with chopped onions and a little Bolognese sauce. They are cooked in a Bolognese sauce and topped with white sauce which is sprinkled with parmesan cheese. I have two recipes for cannelloni – one from North America and this one from England. The English recipe is a lighter recipe without the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and with a plain white sauce.

English-style Cannelloni

4 servings
  • Hands on time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 450 g (1 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 1 large jar Bolognese sauce
  • 12 cannelloni shells
  • 28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 28 g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 55 g (2 oz) Parmesan cheese (½ cup)

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 cm x 33 cm (9 x 12 inch) ovenproof dish lightly oiled
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes until softened but not browned.
  • Then add the beef and brown over a medium heat for about 3–4 minutes. You want it to just start turning colour.
  • Now stir through 5 tablespoons of the sauce and then leave to cool for a few minutes.
  • Spoon a layer of sauce over the bottom of the ovenproof dish.
  • Next, fill the cannelloni shells with the meat and lay them on top of the sauce in a single layer.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.
  • Next, to make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, then tip in the flour and mix to a smooth paste.
  • Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously, until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer, while stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
  • Season and add a little grated nutmeg.
  • Pour the sauce over the cannelloni and then sprinkle over the cheese.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until the top begins to brown and the sauce is bubbling.
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Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart

This strawberry tart recipe makes a super delicious summer tart. The sweet pastry is filled with a creamy crème pâtissière and decorated with small, whole strawberries which are then glazed. Just slice and enjoy.

Strawberry Tart

10 servings
  • Preparation time: 1 hour
  • Chilling time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 28 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 170 g (6 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • For the crème pâtissière
  • 70 g (2½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (5 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 28 g (1 oz) cornflour/cornstarch (¼ cup)
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) semi-skimmed/2% partly skimmed milk (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (¾ cup)
  • For the topping
  • 450 g (16 oz) strawberries (ideally the same size) (about 3 cups)
  • 3 tbsp strawberry jam, sieved

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 cm (9 inch) round springform tin/pan.


  • Method
  • Whiz flour and butter in a food processor until crumbly, or rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips.
  • Add the sugar and whiz to mix.
  • Now separate the egg and reserve the white for later.

  • Add the yolk and 1 tablespoon of very cold water and either pulse or stir with a palette knife to bring the pastry together. (It will be a stickier than shortcrust pastry.)
  • Shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Now make the crème pâtissière.

  • Mix together the sugar, yolks, and cornflour/cornstarch in a medium bowl until it forms a smooth paste.
  • Heat the milk and vanilla extract until just boiling. Then gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.
  • Return the mixture to the pan and stir continuously, letting it gently bubble until the mixture has thickened.
  • Now spoon into a large bowl, cover, and leave to cool and then chill.
  • Once the pastry has rested, roll out quite thinly. This is made easier by rolling the pastry between two large pieces of clingfilm/plastic wrap, lightly dusting the bottom piece and the pastry with flour before rolling out.
  • Once rolled out, peel off the top piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap and carefully flip over and line the tin/pan, allowing the pastry to come about 3 cm (1¼ inches) up the sides. Trim to neaten. This pastry is quite forgiving and if it tears while lining the tin, it can be easily patched without spoiling the result.
  • Prick the base all over with the tines of a fork then chill for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
  • Line the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, covering the top with parchment paper if it is browning too quickly.
  • Remove from the oven and use enough reserved egg white to brush the inside of the pastry. Return to the oven for 2–3 more minutes to seal the pastry.
  • Leave to cool in the tin/pan and then remove and transfer to a serving plate.

  • No more than 2 hours before serving, whip the cream until stiff.

  • Next whip the custard to loosen it a little and then whisk in 1 tablespoon of the whipped cream.
  • Now fold in the remaining cream.
  • Spoon into the pastry case. Level the surface and chill for 30 minutes until set.

  • Meanwhile, wash, pat dry, and hull the strawberries.
  • Arrange on top of the crème pâtissière. (If not serving straight away, chill until needed.)
  • Just before serving, brush the strawberries with the jam to glaze. (If the jam is really thick, loosen it with a little hot water.)
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Updated: June 8, 2020

Cappuccino Tray Bake

A perfect little square to accompany that coffee, mid-morning. A coffee sponge with crushed walnuts is topped with a smooth white chocolate and mascarpone icing. And then dusted with cocoa powder.

Cappuccino Tray Bake

18 servings
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster/superfine sugar (1⅛ cups)
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), beaten
  • 3 tbsp Espresso coffee, or coffee extract
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted (1¾ cups)
  • tsp baking powder
  • 85 g (3 oz) chopped walnuts (⅔ cup)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • For the topping
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 55 g (2 oz) icing/powdered sugar (½ cup)
  • 140 g (5 oz) white chocolate
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Equipment

  • You will also need 30 cm x 25 cm (12 x 10 inch) brownie tin/pan, greased and lined.
  • Method
  • For the sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
  • Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand whisk or alternatively a food mixer with whisk attachment.
  • Add the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
  • Now add a quarter of the beaten eggs and beat at full speed.
  • Then add the remaining egg gradually, beating well between each addition. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 2 tablespoons of the flour.
  • Next add the coffee and whisk in.
  • Spoon over the flour, baking powder, and chopped walnuts. Lightly fold in by hand until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Now loosen the mixture with the milk.
  • Pour into the prepared tin/pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave in the tin/pan to cool completely.
  • For the topping
  • First melt the chocolate. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl sitting over a pan of just simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continually stir the chocolate until it has just melted and then remove immediately from the heat and leave to cool while preparing the topping.
  • Beat the mascarpone in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Sift in the sugar and beat again until combined.
  • Add the melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth.
  • Now spread evenly over the cake.
  • Sift over cocoa powder.
    Cappuccino Tray Bake
  • Then cut into squares.
    Cappuccino Tray Bake
  • Note
  • The squares need to be stored in the refrigerator.
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Caramel Apple Tartlets

A very simple tartlet that is easy to prepare. Delicious caramel is spread over a pastry base and covered with thinly sliced sweet apples. Sugar is then sprinkled over the top just before serving.

Caramel Apple Tartlets

6 tartlets
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Resting time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 225 g (8 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (1¾ cups)
  • pinch of salt
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55 g (2 oz) shortening (¼ cup)
  • 3–4 tbsp very cold water
  • For the filling
  • 6 tbsp rounded, Dulche de la Leche (a caramel spread)
  • 3 small eating apples
  • icing/powdered sugar to dust

To serve

  • Vanilla ice cream or pouring cream

Equipment

  • You will also need 6 x 20 cm (4 inch) individual tartlet tins.
  • Method
  • For the pastry
  • Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • Now add the butter and shortening, cutting them into small pieces using two knives.
  • Pick up the mixture in small handfuls and gently rub the fat through the flour with the tips of the fingers. Continue until the fat is evenly blended throughout the flour and the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. (This can also be achieved in a food processor.)
  • Then sprinkle 3 tablespoons water over the mixture and, using a fork or round-ended table knife, draw the mixture together until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean and forms a rough ball, adding extra water if the mixture seems dry.
  • Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to form a smooth ball.
  • Wrap in a plastic food bag and rest it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Now roll out the pastry quite thinly.
  • Using a tartlet tin as a guide, cut out six circles slightly larger than the tin and use to line the six tartlet tins.
  • Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and return to the fridge for a further 15 minutes for the pastry to firm up.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6) and place a baking sheet in the oven while it is warming up.
  • For the filling
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of the Dulche de la Leche over the base of the pastry and up the sides.
  • Quarter, core and thinly slice the apples (do not peel).
  • Neatly pile the apple slices upright over the caramel.
  • Then carefully place the tins on the hot baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Lightly dust with icing/powdered sugar just before serving.
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Which sugar for meringues?

Hi all North American friends

I was really pleased to find superfine sugar in my grocery store some time ago and have been using it in many recipes where, in the UK, one would use caster sugar.

Having used it on numerous occasions now, I have come to the conclusion that it really works well when baking but I have not been as pleased with the results when making meringue.

Granulated sugar is finer than granulated sugar in the UK and superfine is finer than caster sugar. Not a lot but enough that, when whisking the sugar into the egg white, granulated sugar gives a stiffer result. So I have gone back to using granulated sugar for meringues here in Canada.

Hope you are all enjoying this lovely summer weather at last.

Italian Cottage Pie

This recipe is a quick and tasty twist to a regular cottage pie. The beef is cooked with chopped onions and red peppers in a tomato base, seasoned with Italian herbs. This is then topped with a creamy, cheesy, mashed potato and then browned under the grill/broiler.

Italian Cottage Pie

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 675 g (1½ lb) potatoes (4–5 medium)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 450 g (1 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tin/can condensed tomato soup, Campbell’s
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) milk (¾ cup)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 140 g (5 oz) cheese, grated (1¼ cup) shredded

To serve

  • A Chinese cabbage really goes well with this dish or any other green vegetable.

Equipment

  • You will also need a 1.2 litre (2 pint) (5 cup) flame-proof dish.
  • Method
  • Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces. Place in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Add a little salt and then simmer for 20 minutes until tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet. Add the beef and brown over a medium heat, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and put to one side.
  • Now reduce the heat and add the onion and pepper to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften.
  • Next return the beef to the pan and stir in the soup, milk, and Italian seasoning. Then gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the beef mixture is simmering, warm the flame-proof dish and preheat the grill/broiler.
  • Once the potatoes are tender, drain and add the butter and cheese. Mash until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.
  • Now spoon the beef into the flame-proof dish and top with the mashed potato.
  • Grill/broil until the potatoes are golden on top.
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Lemon Meringue Ice Gateau

Lemon Meringue Ice Gateau

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Freezing time: overnight
  • Standing time: 10 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the lemon curd
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 2 lemons
  • 115 g (4 oz) granulated sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter, cubed (3 tbsp)
  • For the gateau
  • 450 ml (15 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¾ cups)
  • 400 g Greek yogurt
  • 170 g (6 oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ cups)
  • 2 lemons, zest only (reserved from making the lemon curd)
  • 4 meringue nests, crushed**
  • 6 tbsp lemon curd

Note

  • **This is a great way to use up left over meringue nests but they can be made especially for the recipe. See recipe below.
  • For decoration
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1 cup)
  • 3 tbsp lemon curd
  • ½ lemon and lime, optional
  • You will also need an 18 cm (7 inch) spring-clip cake tin/spring-form pan lined with baking parchment.
  • Method
  • If making the meringues, prepare these ahead of time (see below).
  • Next make the lemon curd before assembling the gateau.
  • For the lemon curd
  • Zest the lemons and reserve for making the gateau.
  • Then juice them and put in a bowl with the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together.
  • Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  • Add the cubes of butter, stirring continuously until the butter has melted.
  • Now continue stirring until the curd thickens enough to hold a trail.
  • Remove from the heat and leave to become cold while making the gateau. The curd will thicken and set as it becomes cold.
  • For the gateau
  • Pour the cream into a large bowl.
  • Add the yogurt, sugar and reserved lemon zest.
  • Whisk together until the mixture forms soft peaks.
  • Now roughly crush the meringues and gently fold in.
  • Spoon 6 tablespoons of the lemon curd over the top and, using a round-ended knife, cut in to form swirls throughout the mixture.
  • Carefully spoon into the prepared tin/pan and level the surface.
  • Cover and freeze overnight.
  • To serve
  • Remove the gateau from the freezer and allow it to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile whip the cream until just stiff.
  • Now release the gateau from the tin/pan and transfer to a serving plate.
  • Decorate the top with the whipped cream and 3 tablespoons of lemon curd.
  • If using the half lemon and lime, cut each into half and slice. They can be added, shaped into a fan, for extra decoration.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Any unused portion can be returned to the freezer in a covered, rigid container.
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Meringue Shells

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour, plus cooling in the oven
  • Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/granulated sugar (1 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • Method
  • Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1).
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Gradually whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until stiff and glossy.
  • Now line a baking tray/sheet with baking parchment. Dabbing a little meringue on each corner of the baking tray/sheet first will keep the lining in place.
  • Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking paper.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour, until the meringues shells lift easily from the paper.
  • Turn off the oven but leave the meringue shells inside to completely dry out while the oven is cooling down.
  • Note that you will only need four of the shells for the above recipe.
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Classic Crème Brûlée

Classic Crème Brûlée

These crème brûlées are so creamy they make just the perfect dessert. Egg yolks, sugar and cream flavoured with vanilla make the creamy custard, and it’s topped with brittle caramel.

I have shared two methods for creating the caramelized topping, one using a chef’s blowtorch and the other using the grill/broiler.

Classic Crème Brûlée

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 25–40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on day of serving
  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter, for greasing
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • For the topping

  • 6 tbsp golden caster/granulated sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster sugar/granulated sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch
  • You will also need 6 x 150 ml, 5 fl oz (⅔ cup)heatproof ramekins


  • Method
  • For the custard
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) gas 3.

  • Lightly grease ramekins with butter and put to one side.

  • Have some boiling water ready.
  • Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or small roasting pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (the paper prevents the ramekins from slipping).
  • Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

  • While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  • Then gradually pour in the cream, while whisking at the same time, until the cream and egg mixture is blended together.
  • Strain the custard into a jug and then divide amongst the six ramekins.
  • Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the ovenproof dish or roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.
  • Now take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  • For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the custard completely.
  • Now caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  • Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  • For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  • First, have a piece of parchment paper ready on a chopping board.
  • Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar.
  • Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour it will be ready.
  • Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.
  • Now turn on the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to become really hot.

  • The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster/superfine sugar).
  • Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.
  • Put the ramekins on a baking tray/sheet and place under the heat source, as close as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.
  • Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
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Updated: May 17, 2020

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

Individual servings of the Baked Alaska. Mini sponge flans are topped with raspberry jam and creamy ice cream, covered in a soft meringue, then quickly baked to set the meringue but leaving the ice cream frozen inside.

Baked Alaska

4 individual servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Freezing time: overnight
  • Cooking time: 3–5 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 mini sponge flans
  • 4 tbsp raspberry conserve
  • 250 ml good quality ice-cream, raspberry, or strawberry (4 large scoops)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/granulated sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 7 g (¼ oz) flaked almonds (1½ tbsp)


  • Method
  • Remove the ice cream from the fridge to soften a little, about 10 minutes.

  • Fill each sponge flan with 1 tablespoon of conserve and level the top.
  • Then, using an ice cream scoop, top with one large scoop of ice cream.
  • Return to the freezer for at least one hour.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Sprinkle over the cream of tartar and whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and shiny.
  • Now, using a palette knife to spread the meringue, completely cover the sponges and ice cream. Then drawing upwards with the tip of a knife, make little swirls with the meringue. Freeze overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F) (gas 8)

  • Scatter the almonds over the meringue, then bake for 3–5 minutes until the meringue is just starting to brown.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Tip
  • The prepared Alaskas can be left frozen for up to one month. Bake in the oven as directed above but leave for 15 minutes before serving.
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Updated: May 9, 2020