Coffee Crème Brûlée

Coffee Crème Brûlée

 

Coffee crème brûlée – a lovely creamy coffee custard topped with caramelized sugar. This recipe gives two methods of creating the caramelized topping, with or without using a chef’s blowtorch.

 

Coffee Crème Brûlée
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30–45 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 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

  • Equipment
  • 6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins


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

  4. Lightly grease the ramekins with the butter and set to one side.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. For the topping using a chef’s blowtorch
  11. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  12. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  13. Leave to cool, then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  14. For the topping without using a chef’s blowtorch
  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

  18. 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.

  19. Leave to cool then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: November 20, 2017

Fairy Cakes

Fairy Cakes

 

These dainty little fairy cakes are very easy to make. The light sponge and delicate flavoured buttercream make them enjoyable to be eaten with your favourite cuppa.

 

Fairy Cakes
Prepares: 9 or 12 cakes
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15–18 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 140g (5 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1 cup)
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

  • For the filling
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 170g (6 oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ cups)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • icing/powdered sugar to dust

  • Equipment
  • 12-cup bun or muffin tin lined with 9 or 12 paper baking cases. (The standard size baking cases are smaller in the U.K. and so the mixture will be enough to make 12. Being larger in North America, they will only make 9.)


  1. Method
  2. For the sponge
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)

  4. Sift the flour into a bowl and put to one side.

  5. Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl using a balloon whisk. Again, put to one side.

  6. Now cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric mixer.

  7. Next, gradually beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the flour.

  8. Fold in the remaining flour adding the milk to make a soft consistency.

  9. Spoon into the baking cases, filling them two-thirds full.

  10. Bake for 15–18 minutes until the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched with the tip of the finger.

  11. Leave for one minute and then remove the cakes to a cooling rack to become cold.

  12. For the buttercream filling
  13. Beat the butter until it is really soft.

  14. Slowly add half the icing/powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then beat in the remaining sugar along with the vanilla extract until soft and creamy.

  15. To finish
  16. Cut a cone from the centre of each cake using a small pointed knife held at angle. Cut each cone in half to create two wings.

  17. Next, spoon a generous portion of buttercream into each hole and carefully place each pair of ‘wings’ on top with the cut edges facing down into the buttercream.

  18. Dust with icing/powdered sugar.

 

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

 

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.

 

Bread and Butter Pudding
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Standing time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 28g (1 oz) softened butter (2 tbsp)
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • 2 tsp chopped mixed peel
  • 3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 1 tbsp caster/white sugar
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) full-fat/whole milk (1¼ cups)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar

  • Equipment
  • 23 × 12cm (9 × 5 inch) shallow ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Butter the bread and cut each slice into quarters.

  3. With the buttered sides uppermost, lay the quarters in the bottom of the ovenproof dish, overlapping them to fit.

  4. Scatter the currants, sultanas and mixed peel on top.

  5. 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.

  6. Strain the custard and gently pour over the bread.

  7. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and demerara sugar, and then leave for 30 minutes.

  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  9. 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.

 

Lemon Surprise Pudding

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.

 

Lemon Surprise Pudding

 

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.

 

Lemon Surprise Pudding
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large lemons
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, softened (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 55g (2 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (⅔ cup)

  • To serve
  • Double/whipping or heavy cream

  • Equipment
  • 1 litre ( 1¾ pint) (4 cups) ovenproof dish
  • roasting tin/pan


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a bowl to whip later and adding the yolks to the mixture.

  6. 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.

  7. Now, slowly add the lemon juice to the sponge mixture. It may start to curdle but that will not be a problem.

  8. Finally, whip the egg whites until they are just stiff and then lightly fold into the mixture.

  9. Generously butter the ovenproof dish and then pour in the mixture.

  10. 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.

  11. Bake for 35 minutes until the top begins to brown and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.

  12. 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.

 

Strawberry Crisp

Strawberry Crisp

 

Sliced strawberries are tossed in sugar and covered with buttery oats and brown sugar … then baked until the top is crisp. Serve it warm with lashings of cream or a scoop or two of ice cream.

 

Strawberry Crisp
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the strawberries
  • 1 quart container, 675g (1½ lb) strawberries, thickly sliced (4 cups)
  • 2 tbsp caster/white sugar

  • For the topping
  • 140g (5 oz) wholemeal/wholewheat flour (1 cup)
  • 85g (3 oz) porridge oats/rolled oats (1 cup)
  • 100g (3½ oz) light brown sugar (½ cup)
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (½ cup, or 1 stick)

  • Equipment
  • 2 pint ovenproof dish measuring 23 x 15 cm (9 x 6 inches)


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
  3. For the strawberries
  4. Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl and toss with the sugar to coat. Leave on one side while preparing the topping.

  5. For the topping
  6. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Rub in the butter until a crumbly mixture is reached.

  7. For baking
  8. Tip the strawberries into the ovenproof dish, spreading out evenly, and spooning over the juice.

  9. Cover with the crumbly mixture.

  10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the top is crisp and the strawberry juices are bubbling.

  11. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

  12. Tip: This recipe also works well with frozen strawberries.

 

Plum Cobbler

Plum Cobbler

 

A traditional fruit cobbler where juicy plums are baked, topped with balls of a soft dough, and sprinkled with sugar.

 

Plum Cobbler
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 620g (1 lb 6 oz) plums (about 15)
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp) + 2 tbsp
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 170g (6 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1½ cups)
  • 70g (2½ oz) chilled butter, diced (¼ cup + 1 tbsp, or ⅝ stick)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) buttermilk or whole natural yogurt (½ cup)

  • Equipment
  • 23 x 12cm (9 x 5 inches) (2 litre) ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  3. Wash and halve plums. Remove the stones and cut the fruit into chunks, placing them in a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cornflour/cornstarch and toss to coat. Tip into the ovenproof dish and set aside.

  4. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles small crumbs. Mix in 70g (2½ oz) sugar. Stir through the buttermilk or yogurt until combined. A food processor does all of this in no time.

  5. Scatter balls of the dough over the plums, leaving some of the fruit exposed. The balls of dough will expand when cooked.

  6. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar and bake for 40 minutes until the juices are bubbling and the top is pale golden in colour.

 

Chelsea Buns

Chelsea Buns

 

A traditional Chelsea bun is a currant bun which was first created in the 18th century in the Bun House in Chelsea, London (demolished in 1839). It had a rich yeast dough which was filled with currants, spices and brown sugar.

This version has a light rich yeast dough which is filled with mixed fruit tossed in brown sugar and spices. The top is glazed with honey and sprinkled with sugar. So good!

 

Chelsea Buns
Prepares: 8 buns
 
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 450g (16 oz) strong plain white/all-purpose flour (4 cups less 3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 28g (1 oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 56g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 7g sachet quick-rise dried yeast (2 tsp)
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) warm milk (½ cup + ⅓ cup)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten

  • For the filling
  • 115g (4 oz) mixed dried fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas) (¾ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) soft light brown sugar (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice (all-spice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger)
  • 28g (1 oz) butter, melted (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)

  • For the topping
  • 2 tbsp runny/clear honey
  • 6 sugar cubes, crushed OR
  • 2 tbsp granulated/white sugar

  • Equipment
  • Non-stick baking tin/pan, 28 x 18 x 4cm (11 x 7 x 1½ ins), lightly buttered


  1. Method
  2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cube the butter, add to the bowl and rub in until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the yeast and mix in.

  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the warmed milk and eggs and mix to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Then turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes (6 minutes if using a stand mixer with a dough hook) until silky smooth.

  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 23cm (9 in) square.

  5. Now for the filling. Mix together the dried fruit and brown sugar. Stir though the mixed spice and melted butter until well mixed in.

  6. Evenly distribute the mixture over the dough to within 5cm (¼ in) of the edge. Now carefully roll the dough up as tightly as possible. Cut the rolled dough into eight equal slices and place in the prepared tin with the cut sides down, spacing evenly apart.

  7. Loosely cover the tin/pan with cling film and leave in a warm place until the buns have risen and almost fill the tin/pan. The dough should retain an indentation when lightly pressed with a finger.

  8. Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  9. Bake the buns for 25 minutes until they are golden brown and feel firm when lightly pressed with a finger.

  10. Remove the buns from the oven. Heat the honey in a small pan until just warm and then brush all over the buns. Now just sprinkle the crushed sugar over the top.

  11. Allow to cool in the tin/pan before removing and then gently separate the buns.

Updated: August 13, 2017

Creamy Iced Lemon Pots

Summer has now arrived and we can look forward to a few months of hot sunny weather. This is certainly my time of year and I have just made one of my favourite desserts – creamy iced lemon pots.

I tend to make them for the summer because they are very refreshing and very creamy.

Very easy to make too. Four ingredients – cream, milk, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, and sugar. Basically, it is all mixed together and frozen. I make up a batch which will fill 8 glass ramekin dishes and, because they are frozen, you can just take as many out of the freezer as you need at a time. They are a great little standby when you want something quick for a dessert.

 

Creamy Iced Lemon Pots

 

Perfect for a hot summer’s day. These little pots are so refreshing and so creamy.

Very easy to make. Basically mixing together cream, milk, the zest and juice of two lemons and sugar then freezing.

This recipe makes 8 pots so you can take as many out of the freezer as you need and leave the rest for another day – a super little standby.

 

Creamy Iced Lemon Pots
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Freezing time: 6 hours plus overnight
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the Creamy Iced Lemon Pots
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 2 lemons
  • 340g (12 oz) caster/white sugar (1¾ cups)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (2½ cups)

  • For decoration
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • l lemon

  • Equipment
  • 1.5 litre/2½ pint plastic container with lid
  • 8 glass ramekin dishes


  1. Method
  2. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks.

  3. Zest the lemons and add to the cream. Squeeze out the juice (they should yield 6 tablespoons of juice) and add to the cream along with the sugar and milk. Whisk on the lowest setting until thoroughly mixed, then pour into the plastic container, cover with the lid, and freeze for at least six hours until firm.

  4. Break into chunks and put in a blender, then liquidise. Mix until smooth and creamy.

  5. Pour into the ramekin dishes, cover and freeze overnight.

  6. To serve, remove the ramekin dishes to thaw for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whip the cream and put a small spoonful on the top of each lemon pot. Cut four thin slices from the lemon and cut these into two. Twist each piece and place on top of the cream for decoration.

  7. Note
  8. These will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Just remove from the freezer for the 10 minutes and decorate.

Updated: June 21, 2017

Coffee Meringues

Coffee Meringues

 

Very simple coffee flavoured meringues that just melt in the mouth. Sandwiched with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder. They are very light.

 

Coffee Meringues
Prepares: 10 meringues
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the meringues
  • 3 egg whites, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 170g/6 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 2 tsp coffee essence

  • For the filling
  • 300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 1 level tsp cocoa powder

  • Equipment
  • A piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C/275°F/gas mark 1.

  4. Whisk the egg whites until they are just stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the coffee essence until well incorporated. The meringue should now be stiff and glossy.

  5. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Dabbing a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheets first will keep the linings in place.

  6. Spoon the meringue into the piping bag and pipe 20 swirls of meringue on the paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues are dry. Allow to cool, then remove from the paper.

  7. For the filling
  8. Whip the cream until it forms a soft peak and use it to sandwich the meringues together in pairs.

  9. To serve
  10. Sift lightly with cocoa powder using a small sieve.

 

Baked Bananas in an Orange Sauce

Baked Bananas in an Orange Sauce

 

For a really quick dessert that is prepared and baked in just 15 minutes. Bananas are sliced and coated with butter, sugar and orange juice and baked with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

 

Baked Bananas in an Orange Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: Less than 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 8 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 6 bananas, thickly sliced
  • 50g/2 oz butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp soft, light brown sugar
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • ground cinnamon

  • Equipment
  • A medium size gratin dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  3. Arrange the banana slices in the gratin dish. Pour over the butter, sprinkle over the sugar, then pour over the orange juice and add a little ground cinnamon.

  4. Bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes until tender and syrupy.

 

 

 

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
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30–45 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: Overnight, plus 2 hours
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Plus cooling time

  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 
4 egg yolks, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 45g/1½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 
½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml/10 fl oz single cream/table cream
  • 300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream

  • For the topping

  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar/fine white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100g/3½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • Equipment
  • 6 x 150ml/5 fl oz heatproof ramekins


  1. Method
  2. For the custard
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

  4. Lightly grease the ramekins with the butter and set to one side.

  5. 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.

  6. Pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly, about 2 minutes.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 while in the pan). Carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekin dishes.

  9. 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 overnight.

  10. For the topping using a chef’s blowtorch
  11. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  12. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  13. Leave to cool, then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  14. For the topping without using a chef’s blowtorch
  15. First, have a piece of baking 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Preheat the grill to high.

  18. Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the grill as possible. Cook for less than 1 minute, not letting the sugar burn. It just needs to melt the sugar.

  19. Leave to cool then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

 

Crêpes with Lemon and Sugar

Crêpes with Lemon and Sugar

 

A batch of crepes folded into quarters then drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar make a very light version of the traditional English pancake.

 

Crêpes with Lemon and Sugar
Prepares: 8–10 large crêpes
 
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Standing time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 110g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • 200ml/7½ fl oz semi-skimmed milk mixed with 75 ml/2½ fl oz water
  • 50g/2 oz butter

  • To serve
  • Caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 1 lemon, halved

  • Equipment
  • A 25.5cm/10 inch heavy gauge aluminium frying pan


  1. Method
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from around the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Set aside for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and place five plates in the oven to warm.

  5. Melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the butter into the batter and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and reserve it to smear the pan between cooking each crêpe using a wodge of kitchen paper.

  6. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.

  7. Use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to tip the batter into the pan in one go. Using the ladle or cup, pour the batter quickly into the centre of the pan at the same time tipping it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated. If there are any holes, just fill them in with the batter using a teaspoon. It should take less than a minute to for the underside to turn golden. Check by lifting the edge with a palette knife.

  8. Flip the pancake over with the palette knife and cook the other side until golden. This side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.

  9. Continue until all the batter is used. Overlap the pancakes on the warmed plate as you go, keeping them warm in the oven covered loosely with foil.

  10. Serve with some juice of the lemon squeezed over the pancake and a generous sprinkling of sugar. They can then be rolled or folded into quarters.