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 rounded 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
  • Standing time: 10 minutes
  • Freezing time: at least 1 hour plus 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/superfine 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 just starts 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

Eton Mess

Eton Mess

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • If also making the meringue shells:
  • Extra time needed for preparation: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: for the meringue shells: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus cooling in the oven
  • Ingredients
  • 450 g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
  • 284 ml (9 fl oz) carton double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1⅛ cups)
  • 1 tbsp caster/superfine sugar
  • 4 small meringues shells*
  • a few mint leaves, finely shredded for decoration

Note

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any left over meringue shells. However, if making them especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare them first.
  • For the meringues
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (1 cup + 1 tbsp)

To serve

  • You will also need 4 sundae glasses.

For a Tipsy Eton Mess

  • as above, plus:
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • Method
  • For the meringues
  • 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 15 minutes, 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.
  • Now while you are waiting for the meringues to cool in the oven, the strawberries can be prepared.
  • Note that you will only need four of the shells for this recipe.
  • For the Eton Mess
  • Wash, pat dry and hull the strawberries.
  • Halve or quarter them so they are all of a similar size.
  • Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar. 
  • If making a Tipsy Eton Mess, add the Grand Marnier now.
  • Then mix gently and leave for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Break the meringue shells into bite-sized pieces.
  • Next whip the cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks. It should still fall from a spoon.
  • Put 20 strawberry halves and about a quarter of the broken meringue pieces to one side for decoration.
  • Then gently fold the rest of the meringue into the cream and, just using a few strokes, fold in the strawberries and their juice.
  • Divide between the glass dishes and top each dish with an equal quantity of the reserved strawberry halves and meringue.
  • Finally sprinkle over the shredded mint leaves, if using.
  • Serve immediately.
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Banana and Toffee Pie

A ginger and pecan pie shell is filled with a deliciously smooth toffee custard and topped with sliced bananas. Whipped cream is then dolloped on top and garnished with chopped pecans.


Banana and Toffee Pie

  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Chilling time: 50 minutes
  • Cooling time: 5 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the crust
  • 255 g (9 oz) ginger snap biscuits/cookies
  • 55 g (2 oz) pecans, toasted (½ cup)
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter (½ cup, or 1 stick), melted
  • For the filling
  • 70 g (2½ oz) butter (⅓ cup)
  • 225 g (8 oz) dark muscovado/soft dark brown sugar, lightly packed (1 cup)
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) milk (1 cup)
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the topping
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (¾ cup)
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 14 g (½ oz) pecans, roughly chopped (2 tbsp)

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 cm (9 inch) loose bottomed tin or springform pan.
  • Method
  • For the crust
  • Break the biscuit/cookies into a food processor and add the pecans.
  • Pulse until the crumbs are really small (the texture of coarse sand).
  • Add the melted butter until the crumbs are nicely coated.
  • Tip into the tin or pan. Using the base of a glass, pack them down to evenly coat the base and also create a rim, 2.5 cm (1 inch), up the sides to form a pie shell.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • For the filling
  • Meanwhile melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat.
  • Add the sugar and dissolve over a low heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Put the cornflour/cornstarch into a small bowl and mix with ¼ of the milk, until the cornflour/cornstarch has dissolved.
  • Gradually stir the milk and cornstarch mixture into the butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Return to a medium–high heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. The mixture should now have thickened.
  • Cook for a further minute, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and immediately beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Give it a quick stir and then spoon into the pie shell and level the surface.
  • Chill for 20 minutes.
  • For the topping
  • Slice the bananas and decoratively cover the toffee custard.
  • Whip the cream until soft peaks form and cover the bananas, leaving the outer ring of bananas exposed.
  • Decorate the cream with the chopped nuts.
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Orange and Raisin Loaf

A very light cake where the orange flavour really comes through.

Orange and Raisin Loaf

  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the loaf
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted (1⅓ cups)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 1 orange
  • 115 g (4 oz) raisins (¾ cup)
  • For the icing
  • 170 g (6 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (1½ cups)
  • 3 tbsp hot water

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf tin/pan, greased and lined.
  • Method
  • For the loaf
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
  • Beat together the butter, sugar, and the zest of the orange until soft and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the sifted flour and the juice of the orange. Beat well.
  • Now fold in the remaining flour and salt.
  • Carefully stir through the raisins until evenly distributed.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin/pan and level the surface.
  • Bake above the centre of the oven for 50–55 minutes until the surface springs back when lightly touched with the forefinger.
  • Leave to cool in the tin/pan for 10 minutes.
  • Then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the icing
  • Sift the icing/powdered sugar into a large bowl and then gradually add enough water until a coating consistency is reached.
  • Spread over the top of the loaf using a palette knife.
  • Leave to set.
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Classic Cauliflower Cheese

A heartwarming British dish that is quick and easy to prepare.

Classic Cauliflower Cheese

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: about 15 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55 g (2 oz) flour (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) milk (1 cup)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • 28 g (1 oz) Parmesan, finely grated/shredded (⅓ cup)
  • 140 g (5 oz) Cheddar cheese, finely grated/shredded (1¼ cups)
  • 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • Method
  • First break the cauliflower into large florets.
  • Then cook in boiling salted water for 6 minutes. Drain well, reserving the liquid, and transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  • Preheat the grill/broiler.
  • Next melt the butter in a small pan.
  • Stir in the flour and mustard and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk with 90 ml (3 fl oz) (⅓ cup) of the reserved cooking liquid.
  • Return to the heat and stir until the sauce has thickened.
  • Now add the bay leaves and gently cook for a further 4–5 minutes.
  • Take off the heat and remove the bay leaves.
  • Then beat in the Parmesan and 115 g (4 oz) (1 cup) of the Cheddar.
  • Add the pepper.
  • Now pour over the cauliflower florets.
  • Mix together the remaining Cheddar, breadcrumbs, and chives. Sprinkle over the top.
  • Place under the grill for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and beginning to turn brown.
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