200ml (7 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅞ cup)
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only (reserving 3 egg whites for the meringue)
55g (2 oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup)
For the meringues
3 egg whites (reserved from the crème anglaise)
85g (3 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
cocoa powder for dusting or grated plain/dark chocolate
You will also need a large sauté pan or large deep sided frying pan/skillet with lid
For the meringues
In a large grease-free bowl, using an electric hand whisk on high speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (or use the whisk attachment on a food mixer). Then gradually whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is thick and glossy. Put to one side while preparing the poaching liquid.
For the poaching liquid
This will become the crème anglaise. Pour the milk and cream into the pan and stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer over a low heat.
For the islands
Fill a tumbler or jug with water. Now, using two tablespoons, shape eggs from the meringue. Dip the spoons in the water between making each egg as this will help in shaping them and keeping them smooth. Place the meringue eggs in the poaching liquid as you go. There should be enough meringue to make 8 eggs. Cover the pan and, over a very low heat, poach the meringue eggs for 4–5 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Make sure the poaching liquid doesn’t boil or the meringues will puff up and then collapse. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, carefully transfer them to a wire rack covered with paper towel to drain.
For the crème anglaise
Strain the poaching liquid through a sieve into a jug.
Next, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Pour over the poaching liquid, whisking continuously. Then pour the mixture into a clean pan and cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. When it has become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat.
Divide the crème anglaise between four shallow individual serving bowls and then float two meringue eggs on top of each one. The eggs can then be decorated with a dusting of cocoa powder. or a little grated chocolate.
Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours
Cooking time: 25 minutes
For the custard
butter, for greasing
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
45g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup)
½ tsp vanilla extract
300ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
3 tsp instant coffee granules or coffee essence
For the topping
2–3 tbsp golden caster/white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch
6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins
For the custard
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
Lightly grease the ramekins with the butter and set to one side.
Put the egg yolks into a large bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk with a balloon whisk to combine. Set to one side.
Pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and add the coffee granules, stirring until dissolved, or stir in the coffee essence. Leave to cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
Gradually pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking with the balloon whisk until blended. Strain the custard and divide between the six ramekins.
Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (this prevents them slipping). Carefully pour enough boiling water into the dish or pan/tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekin dishes.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes. The custard needs to still wobble slightly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the water. Take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
For the topping using a chef’s blowtorch
Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.
Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.
Leave to cool, 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 the counter top. 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.
The caramel will harden on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster sugar). Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.
Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the heat as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.
Leave to cool then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
½ tsp white wine vinegar
For the cream topping
150ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
For the banoffee topping
90ml (3 fl oz) Dulce de Leche (a creamy caramel sauce) (⅓ cup)
For the chocolate swirls
55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
small disposable piping bag
Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Sprinkle over the cornflour/cornstarch and vinegar and whisk in.
Place a piece of baking parchment on a large baking sheet and secure by dabbing a little of the meringue mixture in the corners. Use the meringue from the edge of the whisk to do this (a Mary Berry tip).
Spoon four separate large spoonfuls onto the paper and flatten to make circles about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick.
Bake for 1¼ hours, until the meringues can be lifted off the paper easily. Leave to cool.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place half in a bowl over a pan of just simmering water. When melted remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the consistency is smooth. Set aside to cool a little.
Whip the cream until it is thick, then gently spread over the meringues.
Measure the Dulce de Leche into a small bowl. Now slice the bananas and add to the bowl. Stir to coat the bananas with the caramel. Spoon over the cream layer.
Spoon the chocolate into the piping bag and snip off the end to give a small opening. Pipe a zig-zag pattern over the bananas.
They can be chilled for up to one hour. Any longer and the bananas will start to discolour.
I recently made some chocolate choux buns and, whilst making the choux pastry, I decided to try whisking the eggs into the melted butter mixture using an electric hand whisk. I had picked up on the fact that this is supposed to incorporate air into the mixture as you are whisking in the eggs, resulting in a lighter pastry.
Having had success with these choux buns, I will now use this method when making the pastry for the religieuses and so I have amended the method for making the choux pastry in that recipe to show this (see here).
I like trying new ways of doing things. They don’t always work but this one certainly did.
Choux buns filled with a sweet, vanilla cream and topped with a thick coating of chocolate – what could be more heavenly?
55g (2 oz) butter, cut into cubes (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
70g (2½ oz) plain/all purpose flour
2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), lightly beaten
For the filling
480ml (16 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp caster/white sugar
100g (3½ oz) plain/dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
40g (1½ oz) butter, cut into cubes (3 tbsp)
For the choux buns
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) (gas 7)
First sift the flour onto a piece of kitchen paper.
Place the butter in a heavy-based pan along with 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) of water. Heat the mixture over a gentle heat until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Now bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then immediately remove from the heat and quickly tip in the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
Now cook the mixture over a low heat, stirring constantly, until it comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a soft ball, about 2 minutes. The mixture will also dry out a little at this stage. Then transfer to a mixing bowl and leave until it feels cool to the touch, about 15 minutes.
Next, using an electric whisk, gradually add the eggs, whisking well between each addition. Not all the egg may be needed. Just add enough until the mixture is smooth and shiny and forms a soft peak. (Using an electric whisk will allow air to be incorporated into the mixture as the eggs are added.)
Sprinkle or spray a little water over the baking sheet. (When in the oven the water will create steam which will help puff up the mixture.) Put eight large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5). Cook for a further 20 minutes or until the buns are well risen and golden brown. (Don’t open the door of the oven during the first 20 minutes of cooking.) Remove the choux buns and turn off the oven.
Pierce a small hole into each bun with a skewer or make a small cut with the tip of a knife, which will allow steam to escape, then return to the oven for 5 minutes to dry out.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Then cut in half and remove any uncooked pastry. They are then ready to be filled.
Put the butter and half the chocolate in a heavy-based pan and melt over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the remaining chocolate, and stir until it has melted and the mixture is of a smooth consistency. Set to one side to cool.
For the filling
Whisk the cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until stiff.
Cut the buns in half and fill with the cream mixture.
Once the chocolate is cool, thickly coat the top of each bun.
These are best eaten within a few hours after they have been filled. Once filled with the cream mixture, the pastry will tend to soften.
4 x 175ml (6 fl oz) (1 cup) pudding basins or similar small rounded dishes
A deep sided tin/pan large enough to hold the four basins
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Grease the four pudding basins and put 1 tablespoon of jam in the bottom of each. Set aside.
Grate the zest from half the orange and set aside. Then squeeze the juice from the orange and pour into a small jug.
Beat the zest into the butter using an electric hand mixer. Add the sugar and beat until light and creamy. Then gradually whisk in the egg. Fold in the flour, adding sufficient orange juice to give a soft dropping consistency. This is best done one tablespoon at a time.
Alternatively, use a free-standing mixer. Mix all the ingredients together, except for the orange juice. Then add the orange juice, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dropping consistency is reached.
Divide the mixture between the four basins and smooth the tops.
Butter four pieces of foil, each large enough to cover the basins, and fold over the sides. Then put the covered basins in the tin/pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basins. Bake for 45 minutes until the tops of the sponges spring back when lightly pressed.
Carefully lift the basins out of the pan. Run a small palette knife round the edge of the sponges, then turn them out onto four plates or dessert bowls.
A sweet trifle with frozen mixed berries to create a light dessert that goes down so easily. The sponge is soaked in a fruity, sherry syrup, topped with the summer berries, a rich creamy custard and finished with flavoured whipped cream.
Slice the trifle sponges or lady fingers in half and sandwich back together with the raspberry jam. Cut the sponges into large chunks and put in the bottom of the trifle bowl, or divide between the individual dishes.
Drain the fruit, reserving the juice, and layer over the sponge.
Make up the reserved juice to 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) with boiling water and add the golden syrup and sherry. Stir well to combine and then spoon evenly over the fruit and sponge to moisten.
For the custard
Pour the milk, cream and the vanilla extract into a pan and heat until bubbling around the edges. Put to one side. Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour until smooth. Then gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Return the custard to the pan, bring to the boil, then gently simmer for 2–3 minutes, whisking constantly, until the custard has thickened. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Slowly pour the custard in an even layer over the fruit, then chill for 20 minutes, until the custard is cool and just beginning to set.
For the topping
Whip the cream with the golden syrup and sherry until it starts to hold its shape. Then spoon over the custard.
Return to the fridge to chill for 1 hour 30 minutes before serving.
284ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
8 good scoops vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
*1 lemon should yield 3 tbsp
4 sundae glasses
To make the raspberry sauce, put the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with 225ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thick and syrupy.
Put the raspberries in a blender or food processor and pour the hot syrup over the top. Purée until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Drizzle two tablespoons of the raspberry sauce round the inside of each sundae glass. (It will run down the insides of the glass and leave a layer on the bottom.)
Add two scoops of ice cream or frozen yogurt to each glass.
Now add a large dollop of whipped cream and then slowly drizzle two tablespoons of raspberry sauce over the top, allowing the sauce to run down through the layers.
A traditional English dessert where bread is buttered, then topped with a sprinkling of dried fruits, and then covered with a vanilla custard before topping with cinnamon and demerara sugar. It is then baked until the top is lovely and crispy.
Butter the bread and cut each slice into quarters.
With the buttered sides uppermost, lay the quarters in the bottom of the ovenproof dish, overlapping them to fit.
Scatter the currants, sultanas and mixed peel on top.
In a separate bowl, whisk together two of the eggs and the yolk only of the third. Whisk in the sugar and then stir in the milk and vanilla extract until combined.
Strain the custard and gently pour over the bread.
Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and demerara sugar, and then leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Put the dish into a roasting tin/pan and then fill the roasting tin/pan with boiling water until it comes half-way up the sides of the dish. Bake for 45 minutes until the custard is set and the top is brown and crispy.
This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.
The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!
So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.
This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.
55g (2 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
150ml (5 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (⅔ cup)
Double/whipping or heavy cream
1 litre ( 1¾ pint) (4 cups) ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
First, zest one of the lemons and then squeeze out the juice from both of them. The juice should yield 150 ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup).
Cream the butter and lemon zest together in a large bowl. Then, a spoonful at a time, add the sugar, beating well between each addition, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a bowl to whip later and adding the yolks to the mixture.
Next sieve the flour into a separate bowl, then add a tablespoon of flour, followed by a tablespoon of milk to the mixture. Beat well between each addition until all the flour and milk have been incorporated.
Now, slowly add the lemon juice to the sponge mixture. It may start to curdle but that will not be a problem.
Finally, whip the egg whites until they are just stiff and then lightly fold into the mixture.
Generously butter the ovenproof dish and then pour in the mixture.
Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Place the ovenproof dish in the roasting tin/pan and then add the boiling water to the tin/pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ovenproof dish.
Bake for 35 minutes until the top begins to brown and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.
Serve immediately along with a jug of cream. Surprise! Beneath the very light and airy sponge, you’ll find a lovely, thick lemon sauce at the bottom of the dish.
First transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator so it can soften while preparing the raspberry sauce.
Place the raspberries in a small pan (they don’t have to be thawed). Break them up a little if they have frozen in a clump. Sprinkle over the sugar and add the zest of the lemon. Then squeeze out the juice into the pan.
Bring the juice to the boil over a medium heat and then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and become syrupy.
Pass the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds, which will then leave a lovely thick syrup. Leave to become cold which will only take a few minutes.
Tip the ice cream into a large bowl and break up with a spoon. It should be quite soft by now. Pour half of the syrup over the ice cream and quickly cut in with a spoon just using a few strokes. (Avoid over-working or it will turn into a raspberry mess!!) Now just sprinkle over the remaining raspberry syrup and this should just run through any gaps.
Using a large spoon, scoop the ice cream into a 2 litre container and then return to the freezer. It will take about 3 hours to refreeze.
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes, plus cooling time for meringues
Chilling time: 2 hours
For the meringue layers
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
170g (6 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
½ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
For the filling
8 large red plums
2 tbsp caster/white sugar
284ml carton double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
For the plums
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Wash the plums and cut in half following the natural line. Twist the halves in opposite directions to separate. Remove the stones.
Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish, cut sides up. Sprinkle with the sugar and add 2 tablespoons of cold water.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.
For the meringue layers
While the plums are cooking, the nuts can be roasted. An easy way to do this is by tipping the nuts into a small non-stick frying pan/skillet placed over a medium-low heat. Cook until they just start to smell ‘nutty’, stirring occasionally. This only takes a few minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Once the plums have cooked, lower the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2)
Prepare the meringue while the oven is cooling down to the right temperature.
Draw a 20cm (8 inch) circle with a pencil on two sheets of baking parchment. (Using a 20cm (8 inch) up-turned plate makes this easy.). Turn the sheets over and lay on two baking sheets/trays.
Whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition. Finally, whisk in the lemon juice.
Add a dab of meringue on the four corners of the baking sheets/trays, pressing the baking parchment down to keep in place. Then divide the the meringue evenly between the paper lined sheets/trays, spooning it into the centre of each circle. Using the back of the spoon, level the top of the meringue on one of the sheets/trays. Keep the top of the meringue rough on the other sheet/tray and then sprinkle the nuts over the meringue on this one.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Turn out the oven but leave the meringues inside until the oven has become cold.
Lift the meringue layers from the paper and slide the base one onto a serving plate.
For the filling
Whisk the cream until stiff and then spread over the base meringue layer.
Pour off any juice from the plums and reserve. Top the cream with the plum halves with the cut sides facing downwards. Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of reserved plum juice being careful not to allow it to get too close to the edge or it will run down the outside of the bottom meringue layer.
Cover with the top meringue layer and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
When slicing the meringue into portions use a long bladed knife that has been dipped in a jug of hot water. Shake off any droplets of water before cutting and wipe the blade clean between each cut.