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)
  • 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.

 

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.

 

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
  • 280ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 2 lemons
  • 340g/12 oz caster sugar, fine white sugar
  • 560ml/20 fl oz/1 pint full fat milk/whole milk

  • For decoration
  • 140ml/5 fl oz whipping cream
  • l lemon

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


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

  3. Zest the lemons and add to the cream. Squeeze the juice from the lemons (the lemons 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. The mixture should be 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 then put a small spoonful on the top of each ramekin. 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.

 

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.

 

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: Overnight
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 2 hours

  • 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
  • 
3 tsp instant coffee granules or coffee essence

  • 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 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 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.

 

Traditional English Pancakes

Traditional English Pancakes

 

These traditional English pancakes are served with lemon and sugar – easy to prepare and easy to eat!

 

Traditional English Pancakes
Prepares: 6–8 large pancakes
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 110g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • 275ml/10 fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 25g/1 oz butter, melted
  • 25g/1 oz butter for greasing

  • To serve
  • granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, halved

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


  1. Method
  2. First, melt 1 oz of butter and set aside to cool.

  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.

  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the milk and cooled, melted butter. Gradually pour the mixture into the well of the flour while whisking with an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from around the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. Let stand for 20 minutes.

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

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

  7. Melt the remaining butter in the pan then pour into a small bowl. After cooking each pancake, smear the pan with the butter to keep it lightly greased, using a wodge of kitchen paper. The pan should be lightly greased not running with butter.

  8. Use about 4 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. It is easier to measure this into a ladle first to give a guide for the amount for each pancake. Quickly tip the batter from the ladle into the centre of the pan and at the same time tip the pan from side to side to get the base evenly coated. Cook the pancake for about 1 minute until the surface dries and the underside is golden.

  9. Flip the pancake over with a palette knife. Again, cook until the underside is golden which will need less time. Then slide out of the pan onto a warmed plate.

  10. Continue until the batter is finished. Overlap the pancakes on the warmed plate as you go. Keep them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil.

  11. To serve, squeeze lemon juice over each pancake and generously sprinkle with sugar. It can then can be rolled up.

 

Floating Islands with Spun Sugar

Floating Islands with Spun Sugar

 

I saw Mary Berry create this recipe for floating islands on the Great British Bake Off Masterclass this year. I have always sprinkled cocoa powder over the meringue eggs (see here) but would certainly recommend this for a change.

 

Floating Islands with Spun Sugar
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crème anglaise
  • 200ml/7 fl oz full fat milk/whole milk
  • 200ml/7 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla essence
  • 
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only (reserving 3 egg whites for the meringue)
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • For the meringues
  • 3 eggs, whites only
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • For the spun sugar
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • Equipment
  • A deep sided sauté or frying pan with lid


  1. Method
  2. For the spun sugar
  3. Melt the sugar, without stirring, in a small stainless steel pan over a medium heat. Cover a rolling pin with parchment. Take care as the sugar will be very hot. When it turns a dark golden-brown remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly, about 30 seconds, then, using the back of a fork or a whisk, quickly flick the caramel backwards and forward over the rolling pin. Gather the strands into rough ball shape while gently pulling upwards and place on a sheet of parchment paper.

  4. For the poaching liquid
  5. This will become the crème anglaise. Heat the milk and cream in the pan. Stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Now make the meringue.


  6. For the meringues
  7. In a large grease-free bowl using an electric hand whisk on fast speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (or use the whisk attachment on a food mixer). Now gradually whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy. 


  8. Have a glass or jug of water to hand. Using two large tablespoons or serving spoons, shape large eggs from the meringue mixture, dipping the spoons in the water to help shape them and keep them smooth. The meringue should make 4 very large eggs. Place the meringue eggs in the poaching liquid as you go. Cover the pan and over a very low heat poach the meringue eggs for about 8–9 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Make sure the poaching liquid doesn’t boil or the meringues will puff up and then collapse. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a wire rack covered with paper towel to drain. 


  9. For the crème anglaise
  10. Strain the poaching milk through a sieve into a large jug. 


  11. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Pour over the warm poaching milk, whisking continuously. Then pour the mixture into a clean heavy-based pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

  12. To serve
  13. Divide the crème anglaise between each serving bowl and then float a meringue egg on top. Decorate with a ball of spun sugar.