I made this last night. We ate quite a lot of it today. It is very rich and most delicious. If you don’t have ratafia biscuits, you could use amaretti, or any other small almond biscuit.
- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 250g plain chocolate
- 125g ratafia or amaretti biscuits
- 150ml milk
- cream the butter and the sugar together
- beat the milk and egg-yolk together
- melt the chocolate with a spoonful of water
- Stir the melted chocolate into the mil mixture, and then beat this into the creamed butter and sugar.
- In ramekins, put a layer of the chocolate mixture, then a biscuit and a teaspoon of brandy, and then another layer of chocolate.
- Allow to set; store in the fridge.
The number of dishes is dependent on the size and number of ramekins – this is so rich that the smallest ramekins work the best.
This is a delicious tart, and a grand way of using the January supply of marmalade oranges. The juice is used to make a delicious orange curd that is baked in a pastry case. The recipe is from the Moro cookbook.
For the pastry shell:
- 140g plain flour
- 30g icing sugar
- 75g chilled butter, chopped small
- 1 egg yolk
For the curd filling:
- 140g caster sugar
- 170ml seville orange juice
- 170g unsalted butter, chopped small
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- grated zest from one orange
- To make the pastry case, sift the flour and icing sugar together, and then rub the butter into the mixture to fine bread-crumb texture
- Add the egg yolk and mix until the mixture comes together – it will be quite stiff and dry. You may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk or water. Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- When you are ready, grate the pastry on a coarse grater, and press it evenly around the edges and base of a tart tin, to a thickness of around 3mm. Prick the base and rest the pastry case in the fridge for 30 minutes. Put the oven to 220C.
- Bake the pastry shell in the top of the oven for 15 minutes – should be light brown. Remove and cool on a rack. Turn the oven up to 240C
- Next, make the curd. Put all the curd ingredients into the top pan of a double boiler, and cook slowly, stirring until thick. The mixture will thicken quite suddenly, after about 15 minutes or more.
- Spread the curd into the tart shell, and bake at 240C for 10 minutes until the surface starts to brown.
- As soon as the tart is baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving.
This is delicious served slightly warm, with something cool and creamy. Try beating 50/50 creme fraiche and mascarpone together.
I made this one Christmas, but had to leave before it was served. I got rave reviews. Never made it since, but I think I will soon. Because of the alcohol, it is easy to serve and doesn’t go icy.
- 175g sugar
- 175ml water
- 275ml red wine (such as a rioja)
- 3 cloves
- 1/3 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 orange
- 1 1/2 lemons
- 2 tbsp ruby port
- 1 egg white
- Make a syrup. Add the sugar to the water, bring to boiling and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and then chill in the fridge
- Use a shredding tool or small knife to remove strips of zest from the orange and the lemon. Halve the fruit and squeeze out the juice.
- Put the wine, spices, orange juice, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan, simmer for 5 minutes and then cool.
- Once the wine is cold, add the port and put this in the fridge to chill
- When the syrup and the wine are well chilled, add 225ml of the syrup into the wine mixture, and put this into an ice-cream machine and churn for 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with a whisk, until foamy, and add that to the ice-cream maker, and keep churning for another eight minutes.
- Put the sorbet into a rectangular plastic box, and store in the freezer for up to a month.
If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, put the port and wine mixture in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then beat in the egg-whites, and return to the freezer. Take it out every hour or so for the next six hours, and give it a stir.
A friend told me about this recipe. She makes it gluten-free. You’ll need a 23 cm square baking dish. This should serve nine people. Serve with additional cream, or ice-cream, or clotted cream…
For the sponge:
- 200g dried dates, chopped
- 200ml freshly boiled water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 50g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g plain flour (gluten free if you wish)
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the sauce:
- 150g unsalted butter at room temp, soft
- 300g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 200ml double cream
- Heat the oven to 180C
- Grease the dish
- Make the sponge first. Put the chopped dates, boiling water and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, stir and leave to stand for 10 minutes
- Cream the butter and treacle together, then beat in the sugar. You could use a food mixer for this.
- Beat in the eggs slowly a bit at a time, then gently mix in the flour and baking powder to make a smooth cake mixture.
- Gently stir the dates, and then pour the whole lot, water and all, into the batter and gently mix in.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes.
- MEANWHILE make the sauce. Melt the butter sugar and treacle over a very low heat in a heavy pan.
- Once the butter is melted, stir gently until everything is melted, then stir in the cream and turn up the heat until it is bubbling hot.
- As soon as the sponge is out of the oven, stab it with a knitting needle and pour about a quarter of the warm sauce over the pudding until the whole thing is covered with a sticky glaze
- Leave the pudding to stand. Then take it to the table, warm but no longer dangerously hot. Serve with the sauce in a jug, and with cream or ice-cream.
I made this one Christmas, after a trial run at home. The trial run went better, my oven heats evenly and I know the sizes of my pans. On the day, in a rented house, it came out unevenly, but it was still delicious. This is a simple recipe that is worth rehearsing to get it right.
- 4 large ripe plums, stoned, quartered, and chilled overnight
- 60g butter
- 60g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 300g puff pastry
- Put the plums into a dish lined with kitchen paper, cut side down, and chill overnight.
- Turn the oven to 200C
- Take a non-stick oven-proof pan, and cover the base with the butter, sliced, and the sugar. Next, put the plums in, cut side down, in a well-packed layer, and then sprinkle with cinnamon. Heat until the butter/sugar caramelises, gently agitating the pan and keeping a close eye. (An 8 inch dish would be fine) This doesn’t take long, five to ten minutes, and the caramel should be a lovely brown colour.
- Next, roll out the pastry, cut to fit over the plums in the dish. Tuck the edges down over the plums to create an upside-down pastry case.
- Bake for 15 minutes. If the pastry is not completely golden-brown and crisp, lower the heat to 180C and continue for up to another 10 minutes.
Turn the tarte out onto a serving dish, and serve with thick cream, mascarpone or ice-cream.
We had poached pears with ice-cream and chocolate sauce tonight, inspiration from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries.
- 4 pears
- 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar
- a vanilla pod
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 200g dark chocolate
- Pour a litre of water into a large saucepan, add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores with a teaspoon.
- Add the pears to the boiling syrup, and poach for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool in the syrup
- To serve, take 200ml of the syrup, and boil this with the chocolate.
- Serve the pears over the ice-cream with chocolate sauce poured over the top.
For the person who left us some apples.
We came home to find a line of cooking apples marching across the kitchen table. Tonight we had apple and pecan pudding.
- 1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
- 2 oz organic pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped
- 4 oz organic dates, stoned and chopped
- 4 oz self-raising flour, organic/wholemeal for preference
- 4 oz fairtrade soft brown sugar
- 1 oz melted butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Mix the flour with the chopped fruit and nuts, then add all the other ingredients and stir well
- The mixture should be scraped into a greased 8 inch square baking dish, and baked for half an hour
We had this served with cream. The pudding had a wonderful mixture of flavours and textures.
This is the strangest recipe for rice pudding I ever saw. But it works. These proportions serve six. I’ve adapted this from an American recipe, so it is by volume rather than weight.
- 125ml short-grain rice (we used arborio)
- 500ml water
- a pinch of salt
- 750ml full fat milk
- 125ml of whipping cream
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 50ml cup rose water
- 50g sugar
- Put the rice, water and salt in a large pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender
- Add the milk and cream, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 55 minutes
- Add the sugar, rose-water and cardamom, and simmer for a further 10 minutes
Either serve whilst warm, or chill in individual serving bowls to be served with stewed pears or quince.