You will also need a 600 ml (1 pint) pudding basin and a steamer.
Beat the egg in a small jug and then add the milk. Put to one side.
Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Then gradually fold in the flour alternately with the egg and milk. The mixture should drop gently from a spoon.
Alternatively put all the ingredients in a food mixer but add ½ tsp baking powder. Beat until you have a smooth, creamy mixture that will drop gently from a spoon.
Grease the pudding basin and add mixture. Take a piece of foil that will cover the top of the basin and come halfway down the sides. Make a pleat through the middle to allow for any expansion. Place over the basin and pinch under rim. Take a length of string. It needs to go round the basin under the rim and be secured tightly. Then cut a second length to make a handle which will make it easier to remove the hot basin at the end of cooking.
Fill the saucepan with about two inches of water and bring to the boil. Place the basin in the steamer, cover with the lid, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.
If you don’t have a steamer, use a deep-sided saucepan. Prepare the basin in the same way and place in the saucepan. Carefully pour boiling water into the saucepan so it comes no more than halfway up the basin. Cover and let the water simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Remove the basin, take off the string and foil, and run a palette knife round the inside. Invert onto a plate and serve.
Serve with a fruit or chocolate sauce.
To make a pudding for 2
Use 1½ oz butter, 1½ oz sugar, 3 oz flour, 1 egg and ½ tbsp milk.
You will need a ¾ pint pudding basin.
To make a pudding for 6
Use 3 oz butter, 3 oz sugar, 6 oz flour, 2 medium eggs and ½ tbsp milk.
You will need a 1½ pint pudding basin.
Variations of the basic recipe
Steamed Fruit Sponge Pudding
Fold in 50g/2 oz sultanas to the basic mixture just before pouring into the basin.
1 small tin/can pineapple slices or fresh pineapple
(or any other seasonal fruits)
You will also need a glass serving bowl.
Dissolve the sugar in 300ml (10 fl oz ) (1¼ cups) water over a gentle heat. Then bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Now stir in the lemon juice and pour into the glass bowl.
Next prepare the fruits and put them into the syrup as you go. Quarter, core and thinly slice the apples. Peel the oranges, making sure all the pith is removed. Break into its segments and then cut each one into three. Slice the banana. Halve the grapes. Take four pineapple slices, halve each one and then cut into three. Mix them in the syrup, coating all the fruit.
Let the fruit salad stand for 2–3 hours to allow the flavours to blend.
A tipsy fruit salad
Replace the lemon juice with 15–30ml (1–2 tbsp) of any fruit liqueur or white wine.
A summer fruit salad
Combine summer fruits, for example, strawberries, raspberries, cherries with dessert pears and melon.
Frozen raspberries are used in this light, creamy trifle. Raspberry filled sponges are soaked in sherry and then topped with raspberries and covered in a creamy custard before decorating with dollops of whipped cream and crushed biscuits.
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
115g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup)
2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
300ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 trifle sponges or 1 packet lady fingers
4 tbsp raspberry conserve or jam
50ml (2 fl oz) sherry or framboise (¼ cup)
340g (12 oz) frozen raspberries (1½ cups), thawed
360ml (12 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1½ cups)
3 ratafias or amaretti biscuits
You will also need a large flat bottomed glass dish or 8 individual glass dessert dishes.
First pour the milk into a pan.
Now put the egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour/cornstarch in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of milk taken from the milk in the pan. Whisk until blended and pale in colour, 2–3 minutes. Set aside.
Stir the vanilla into the milk and bring to the boil. Then slowly pour onto the egg mixture, stirring constantly. When smooth, pour the mixture back into a clean pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until it starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.
Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling film to prevent it forming a skin. Leave for 30 minutes to cool.
Meanwhile, slice the trifle sponges or lady fingers in half and spread one half with the raspberry conserve. Now sandwich back together and arrange them in a single layer over the bottom of the glass dish or individual dishes.
Drizzle the sherry or framboise over the sponges.
Now spoon the raspberries on top of the sponges (you may not need all the juice that has come from thawing the raspberries).
Whisk 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) of the cream until thick. Using a balloon whisk, whisk the custard to loosen it a little and then whisk in the cream until combined. Pour over the raspberries.
Whisk the remaining cream until soft peaks form.
Now to decorate the top. Put dollops of cream around the edge of the trifle in the large glass dish or spoon one dollop on top of the trifles in the individual glass dishes. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, crush the biscuits into small pieces and, just before serving, sprinkle over the cream.
If a smaller number or servings are needed, just reduce the quantity of ingredients appropriately and use individual glass dishes.
You will also need a freezer-proof container that will take the ice cream and 4 glass dishes.
First remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften up a little.
Now to prepare the sauce, purée the raspberries, caster sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and crème de cassis. Then sieve the purée to remove the raspberry seeds. Put half the sauce to one side for later.
Then spoon 6 generous scoops of ice cream over the base of a freezer container and drizzle over half the remaining sauce. Now spoon 6 further scoops and make a second layer. Drizzle over the rest of the sauce.
Make a few strokes through the ice cream with a knife. This will allow the sauce to run through and make a marbled effect. Cover and freeze for 2 hours.
Warm the reserved sauce.
Scoop the ice cream into the glass dishes and pour over the warm sauce. Serve immediately.
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.
250ml 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
115g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
7g (¼ oz) flaked almonds (1½ tbsp)
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)
Now scatter the almonds over the meringue, then bake for 3–5 minutes until the meringue is just starting to brown. Serve immediately.
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.
Another summer favourite. These little parcels are delightful. Raspberries are folded in a creamy blend of mascarpone and cream cheese and then chilled. They are topped with a mixed berry compote and decorated with raspberries.
You will also need 4 x 8cm (3 inch) ramekin dishes.
For the parcels
Line the four ramekin dishes with cling film/food wrap, overlapping the edges, and put to one side.
Beat together the cream cheese and mascarpone in a large bowl until smooth. (A food mixer or hand-held whisk does this easily.)
Now in a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in the vanilla extract. Add to the cheeses and beat well to combine.
Reserve 12 raspberries for decoration and gently fold the rest into the cheese mixture.
Divide the mixture amongst the ramekins, tapping them a few times on the work surface to remove any air pockets. Fold excess film/wrap over the top and place in the freezer to become firm, about 45 minutes.
For the fruit compote
Meanwhile prepare the fruit compote. Place the fruit in a small pan and sprinkle over the sugar. Now cook the fruit over a medium heat until it starts bubbling. Then reduce the heat to a medium–low setting and, using a wooden spoon, break up any larger fruit pieces, mashing the fruit slightly. Gently cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Unfold the cling film/food wrap from the top of the ramekins and invert each one onto a plate. Then peel off the rest of the film/wrap.
Spoon the fruit compote over the parcels and place 3 raspberries on each to decorate.
Place the raspberries in a small pan. They don’t have to be thawed but break up any raspberries frozen in a clump. Sprinkle over the sugar and add the zest of the lemon. Then squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan.
Bring the juice to the boil over a medium heat and then reduce and gently simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and become syrupy.
Now press the raspberries and juice through a sieve to remove the seeds. This will leave a lovely thick syrup. Then leave to become cold.
While the raspberry purée is cooling, transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator so it can soften up, about 30 minutes.
If the ice cream comes in a rectangular container, the raspberry ripple can be created in this container. However if it comes in a tub, scoop the ice cream into a 2 litre rectangular container which has a lid. Now break up the ice cream with a spoon.
Pour half the purée over the ice cream and quickly cut in with a palette knife using a few strokes. (Avoid over working or it will turn into a raspberry mess!!) Now pour over the remaining raspberry purée which will just run through any gaps.
Pop on the lid and return to the freezer. It will take about 3 hours to refreeze.
Preparing the apples as a purée and then mixing with meringue make these filled crêpes very light. They are finished off in the oven where they will puff up and look quite impressive. Then a dusting of cinnamon – this a very different type of crêpe.
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) and 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
For the filling
565g (1¼ lb) dessert apples (4 medium)
120ml (4 fl oz) water (½ cup)
3½ tbsp caster/superfine sugar
20g (¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15cm (6 inch) crêpes.
First make up the batter for the crêpes. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the apples and place in a large pan. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a pulp.
Now to cook the crêpes. Get the pan really hot and then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or another flavourless oil (not olive oil) and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of the pan for each crêpe. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions to spread the batter. You are aiming to make a 15cm (6 inch) crêpe.
Turn when the batter starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems a bit sticky, give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time, until you have 8 crêpes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Now once the apples have been reduced to a pulp, turn up the heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick. Stir continuously to prevent the apple catching on the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to melt the sugar.
Now to make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff.
Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is glossy.
Stir a quarter of the meringue into the apple to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest.
Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of the meringue mixture over half of each crêpe. Then fold the other half of the crêpe over the meringue mixture.
Grease the ovenproof dishes with butter and place two crêpes in each dish, a little apart so they are not touching. Bake for 10–12 minutes until puffed up and hot.
Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately before the soufflé has a chance to sink.
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.
225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour, plus extra for dusting (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
85g (3 oz) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
3 tbsp milk
14g (½ oz) melted butter (1 tbsp)
For the filling
340g (12 oz) strawberries (1 pint container)
150ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
icing/powdered sugar for dusting
You will also need a 20cm (8 in) sandwich tin that is 5cm (2 in) deep and brushed with a little melted butter.
For the filling
Wash the strawberries and pat dry. Hull, then slice them lengthways and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss to coat. Put to one side for at least 1 hour to draw out the juices.
For the shortcake
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in with fingertips.
In a smaller bowl, add the egg, and whisk with a fork to break up. Next whisk in the sugar and milk to mix. Now pour the mixture liberally over the dry ingredients and, using a table knife, cut through the mixture to begin bringing it together. Then with floured fingers continue bringing the mixture together to make a rough, soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly a few of times to smooth the surface.
Divide the dough in two equal pieces and gently pat each half out to a circle that will fit the buttered tin. With floured fingers, lift one circle of dough and lay it in the tin. Brush the surface of the dough liberally with the melted butter. Now place the second circle of dough on top.
Bake the shortcake for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Using the tip of a palette knife, gently separate the two pieces of shortcake. The melted butter separating the two layers will have allowed them to remain separate.
Place the shortcake base on a serving plate. Cut the top into 8 equal slices, which will make cutting the dessert easier to serve.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Now spoon the strawberries and their juice over the base and then cover with the whipped cream. Place the 8 slices on top in exactly the order they were cut so they will fit back together perfectly.
Dust with icing sugar/powdered sugar using a small sieve and serve immediately.
Summer for me has always been about enjoying strawberries. I can remember when the season was very short because you could only buy locally grown ones. Memories of watching Wimbledon Tennis with a bowl of strawberries and cream – a wonderful combination where neither lasted long enough! Well perhaps the strawberry season lasted a little longer. Now newer varieties are grown in many areas which extend the season and have a longer shelf life too. Meaning they are available in the stores for many months over the summer.
In U.K. stores they are mainly U.K. grown and here in Canada most are imported from the States, but wherever we have lived the best for me are those grown locally. Because they are not picked to travel far they tend to be left to ripen just that little bit longer which means they are sweet and full of flavour with an aroma which is always more intense. The best are those you can find being sold by the roadside outside the main towns.
A strawberry cheesecake recipe is always a must and here is my classic version. I hope you will enjoy it too.
This is a classic strawberry cheesecake. It has a sweet crumb base and a creamy cheese filling then topped with heaps of sliced strawberries and a gorgeous strawberry sauce.
Prepares: 8 servings (images show 4 servings size)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Cooling time: about 15 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
For the base
170g (6 oz) Graham cracker crumbs (1¼ cups) OR
170g (6 oz) plain digestive biscuits (12)*
55g (2 oz) sugar (¼ cup)
55g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup)
*In North America you can buy packaged baking crumbs ready for using in desserts like cheesecakes. In the U.K. these aren’t readily available, so use plain digestive biscuits and just put them in a large plastic food bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they are broken into very small crumbs.
For the filling
2 pkgs (250g each) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
140g (5 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup less 2 tsp)
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
675g (1 lb 8 oz) strawberries (a quart container)
115g (4 oz) redcurrant jelly (2 tbsp)
You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) springform pan or loose-bottomed pan.
For the base
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas 3)
Mix the crumbs and sugar together in a bowl and pour over the melted butter. Stir to coat the crumb mixture.
Press into the pan, pushing some of the crumbs up the sides to form a rim about 2cm (¾ inch) high and 1.25cm (½ in) wide.
Bake for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool, about 20 minutes.
For the filling
Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.
Beat the two packets of cheese together until soft and creamy, using a food mixer or electric hand mixer. Now add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth. Pour into the cooled crumb crust.
Bake for 35 minutes until the cheesecake is just firm around the edge and just set in the middle. There still needs to be a slight wobble as this will prevent it cracking when cooling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. If you have time, leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. This will allow it to cool down very slowly which again helps prevent cracking. Then refrigerate for 2 hours.
For the topping
Wash, pat dry and hull the strawberries.
Set aside 170g (6 oz) (about ½ pint container) and purée. Then strain through a sieve so you are left with a smooth sauce.
Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan over a low heat, stirring in the purée until blended together.
Remove from the heat and pour into a small serving jug. Set to one side to cool.
Slice the remaining strawberries.
No more than one hour before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.
Serve, cut into wedges and pour the strawberry sauce over the top.