Truffle Cheesecake

Light sponge with a rich chocolate and almond topping laced with rum for an extra special dessert.

Serves: 10

Prep time: 25 mins; Cook time: 1 hour

Base Ingredients:
1 egg;
1oz (25g) caster sugar
1oz (25g) plain flour, sifted;
Few drops vanilla essence

Topping Ingredients:
1 ½ lb (675g) cream cheese
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
200g/7oz plain chocolate, melted
2 tblsp milk
5 tblsp dark rum
7oz (200g) carton fromage frais
2oz (50g) ground almonds
cocoa powder for dusting

Step One : Grease and line a 21cm/8 1/2 in spring clip tin.

Step Two : Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 190oC / 375oF.

Step Three : Whisk egg and sugar together until mixture leaves a trail. Fold in the flour and vanilla essence. Pour into tin, spread evenly and bake for 10 minutes until golden and risen.

Step Four : Turn the sponge onto sugared paper. Wash, grease and re-line the base and sides of spring clip tin. Return sponge to tin. Lower oven to Mark 4 / 180oC / 350oF.

Step Five : Put cream cheese into a bowl and beat in caster sugar and eggs. Add the chocolate, milk, rum, fromage frais and almonds. Beat well and pour on top of sponge base. Bake for 45-50 minutes until set.

Step Six : Turn off oven and leave cheesecake to cool in oven for 2-3 hours.

Step Seven : Dust with cocoa before serving.

Tip: This rich cheesecake is delicious served slightly warm or at room temperature. It is best eaten within 24 hours and is not suitable for freezing.

Click on the book cover to find more cheesecake recipes …

Apple and Berry Crumble Tart

Serves: 6

Prep time: 20 mins;  Cook time: 1 hour;

Ingredients Filling:
675g (1lb 8oz) cooking apples
500g bag frozen summer fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries
75g (2 ¾ oz) caster sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
10ml (2 tsp) arrowroot, mixed with 15ml (1 tblsp) cold water.

Ingredients Base and topping:
75g (2 ¾ oz) unsalted butter
75g (2 ¾ oz) caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
75g (2 ¾ oz) ground almonds
225g (8oz) plain flour
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
8-12 whole almonds to decorate

Step One : Peel, core and slice apples. Place in a pan with frozen fruits, sugar, lemon juice and rind and 45ml (3 tblsp) water. Simmer for 10 mins, until fruit just softens. Add arrowroot and stir until thickened. Leave to cool.

Step Two : For base and topping, blend together butter and sugar in a processor. Add the egg, baking powder, ground almonds, flour and cinnamon then process until mixture is just crumbly. Turn into a bowl.

Step Three : Grease and line a 23cm (9in) loose-based tin. Turn out two-thirds of crumble mixture on to a floured surface. Knead together to combine. Use to cover base of prepared tin, pushing together any cracks.

Step Four : Spread cooled fruit mixture over base. Sprinkle over reserved crumble mixture. Decorate with almonds. Bake at 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 50 mins until pale golden.

Step Five : Serve warm or cold with crème fraiche.

Tip: As alternative fillings, use other fruits when they’re in season. Good combinations are apple and apricot or pear and raspberry.

Other crumble recipes …

English Apple and Tipsy Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) dry, crusty French bread, cut into bite-size pieces
3 English apples, cored and diced
25g (1oz) raisins
85ml (3fl oz) whisky
400ml (14fl oz) milk
Butter
4 eggs
100g (4oz) caster sugar

Step One : Preheat oven to Gas 5, 190°C, 375°F. Put bread, apple and raisins in a bowl, pour over whisky and half the milk and leave to soak. Butter 4 ramekin dishes.

Step Two : In a large bowl, whisk eggs with the sugar. Slowly whisk in rest of milk until smooth. Divide bread mixture between the ramekins, pour egg custard over each and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. The custard should be just set and the top of the pudding golden.

Serve Warm.

Find more Apple dessert recipe’s here …

Rhubarb & Orange Charlotte

Deliciously tasty rhubarb with a hint of tangy citrus flavour makes this scrumptious dessert the perfect family treat …

Serves: 8:   Cals per portion: 387;   Prep time: 35 mins;   Cook time: 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (900g) fresh rhubarb
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 6oz (175g) Demerara sugar
  • 1 ½ oz (40g) plain cake crumbs
  • 800g farmhouse loaf of white bread
  • 5oz (150g) butter, melted
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp Demerara sugar

Step One – Using a sharp knife, trim away leaves and root ends from each rhubarb stick. Slice rhubarb into 1 in (2.5cm) long pieces. Wash rhubarb pieces thoroughly and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Place the rhubarb in a large saucepan along with the orange rind and juice. Slowly bring to the boil.

Step Two – Simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb starts to soften. Stir in ground ginger, Demerara sugar and plain cake crumbs, then set saucepan aside. Using a sharp knife, slice the bread into ½ in (1.25cm) thick slices and remove all crusts. Discard ends of loaf.

Step Three – Grease a 2 ½ pt (1.5 litre) charlotte mould or a 6 in (15cm) round cake tin. Trim two bread slices to fit neatly inside the mould base. Brush one side of bread with melted butter. Place bread, buttered side down, in base of mould. Brush the bread with more melted butter.

Step Four – Reserving two bread slices, trim the remaining bread to fit around the side of the mould. Brush both sides of each slice with melted butter and arrange around side of mould, overlapping as you go and pushing the bread against the mould. Brush over the joins with beaten egg.

Step Five – Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 375oF, 190oC. Spoon the cooked rhubarb into the mould, pressing down against the bread.  Trim reserved bread to fit over mould as a lid. Press down to cover rhubarb.  Brush lid with beaten egg and cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until charlotte is golden brown.

Step Six – To turn out, run a palette knife around edge of charlotte and invert on a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and serve with custard.

Fig Crostata with Rosemary Custard

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2018) and taken from a book called Feasting.

Figs are believed to have originated in the Middle East and have a strong presence in the Bible.  Showcase their sweet flavour and luxurious texture in this rustic crostata.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:-

240g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
120g cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
90g semolina
8 fresh figs, sliced in half lengthways
1 egg beaten, for glazing
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Rosemary Custard
750ml milk
2 rosemary sprigs
3 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

Step One: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of cold water, and blitz again until the dough comes together.  Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball, then flatten slightly.  Wrap in cling-film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step Two: Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. Roll out the dough into a large circle with a 30cm diameter. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle one third of the semolina on top. Put the dough on top of the semolina and sprinkle the rest of the semolina on top of the dough.

Step Three: Arrange the figs on top of the pastry in an inner circle with a diameter of about 20cm. You should be left with a 10cm ring of pastry around the fruit. Fold up the edges of the pastry over the fruit. Glaze the pastry flap with the beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

Step Four: While the crostata is baking, make the rosemary custard. Pour the milk into a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the rosemary sprigs and warm through to infuse for 5-10 minutes.

Step Five: In a bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour to form a paste. When the milk is warm, remove the rosemary and pour 250ml of the warm milk into the egg mixture. Gently combine, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens.

Step Six: Remove the crostata from the oven. Dust with icing sugar, if using, and serve with the rosemary custard on the side.

Chocolate Coconut Pots

‘Who could resist this heavenly dessert?’ asks Liz Earle in ‘The Good Menopause Guide’.  ‘It’s a treat for my friends who love the intense, rich flavour – but using relatively healthy ingredients.’ But, Earle warns, take care if chocolate triggers headaches, and eat at lunch to avoid the caffeine interfering with sleep.

Recipe taken from Psychologies March 2018.

Serves:  2    Setting time:  About 2 hours

Ingredients:  35g plain chocolate (85% cocoa), chopped; 6 tbsp coconut cream; 1 tsp coconut oil; 1 tbsp honey or date syrup; 1 medium organic egg, separated; 15g toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

Step One: Put the chocolate into a bowl with 4 tblsp of the coconut cream, the coconut oil and half the honey or date syrup.  Set the bowl over a pan of just-simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water, and heat until the chocolate melts.  You can also do this in the microwave on the lowest setting.

Step Two: Add the egg yolk to the mixture, and stir in slowly.

Step Three: Whisk the egg white in a separate bowl until thick and mousse-like.  Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Step Four: Divide mixture between two small glasses and chill for 2 hours, until set.

Step Five:  Serve topped with the remaining coconut cream and sprinkled with the toasted coconut flakes.

  • You can also serve this with a few cacao nibs sprinkled on top.

Fig and Ginger pudding

Fig and ginger puddingIngredients:

150g (5oz) dried figs, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
185g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
210g (7oz) self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pecan nuts, roughly chopped, to serve
Stem ginger, to serve

For the Sauce:

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
200ml (6 ½ oz) cream

Ice Cream, to serve

Serves:  8     Prep time:  30 mins     Cook time:  40 mins

Step One:  Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Grease a 18cm (7in) round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.  Put the chopped figs in a bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and pour over 300ml ( 9 ½ fl oz) of boiling water.  Set aside.

Step Two: Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then sift in the flour and ginger.  Add the soaked fig and the juice, then the vanilla and mix well.

Step Three:  Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and firm to touch.  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Leave in the tin to cool, then carefully turn out on a baking tray.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, heat the oven to 200oC (gas mark 6).  Make the sauce by placing the butter, sugar and cream in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Five:  Top the pudding with a few pieces of stem ginger and the pecans.  Pour a third of the sauce over the pudding and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.  Serve immediately on individual plates, and serve with the remaining hot sauce and cream or ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Chocolate and salted caramel tart

Caramel TartIngredients – For the Crust:

250g (8oz) digestive biscuits
125g (4oz) butter, melted

Ingredients – For the Caramel:

225g (7oz) caster sugar
10g (3 ½ oz) chilled butter
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream
1 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt

Ingredients – For the Topping:

100g (3 ½ oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 extra egg yolks
250g (8oz) dark chocolate
150g (5oz) butter

Ice Cream, to serve

Step One:  Heat oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Lightly grease a 23cm (9 in) deep loose-bottomed tart tin.  Blend the biscuits in a food processor until finely crushed.

Step Two:  Place the biscuit crumbs in a bowl, add the butter and mix well.  Press the biscuit mixture evenly into the greased tin and up the sides.  Chill the base in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove the tart tin from the fridge, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the base feels dry.  Set aside to cool.

Step Three:  To make the caramel, bring the sugar and 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water to the boil in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Add the butter, return to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a toffee colour.  Pour in the cream and salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.  Allow to cool.

Step Four:  To make the chocolate topping, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolk for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale.  Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy.

Step Five:  Spread the caramel over the cooled base and spoon over the chocolate mixture, spreading it evenly.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until it is almost set but still a bit wobbly.  Allow to cool in the tin.  Serve in thin slices with vanilla ice cream.

Tip: A food processor is the quickest way to crush the biscuits for the crust.  Alternatively, place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Honey and Fig Semifreddo Cake

Honey and Fig SemifreddoRecipe Courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Jan 2016) and taken from a book called Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe.

Serves:  8

Ingredients:  200g hazelnuts, or half hazelnuts and half almonds; 7 dried figs, hard stems snipped off, chopped; 3 good-quality dates, pitted and chopped; 2 tbsp coconut oil; 2 tbsp sesame seeds; honey and fresh figs, to decorate.

For the Semifreddo:  1 whole egg; 6 egg yolks; 150g (blue gum (eucalyptus) honey, or whatever substitute you can muster; 300ml whipping cream; 150g Greek-style yogurt

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 180oC and toast the nuts for 5-10 minutes, or until most of them look golden-brown.  Rub the skins off the hazelnuts by wrapping them in a tea towel and agitating furiously.

Step Two:  Place the cooled nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely crushed, but not completely ground – there should still be plenty of chunks left.  Tip the nuts into a bowl, then add the figs and dates, coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of water and pulse until the mixture is like sticky glue.  Return the nuts to the food processor, along with the sesame seeds, and pulse until it looks like gravel.

Step Three:  Take a loose-bottomed 23cm round tin and cut out a circle of baking paper to fit the base, then place the lined base on a large sheet of plastic wrap.  Lift up the plastic wrap and base then drop it back into your tin, so the base is lined with baking paper and the sides are lined with plastic wrap.  Press in the gluey nut mixture and freeze for at least half an hour.

Step Four:  For the Semifreddo, put the egg, egg yolks and honey in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  As the heat makes its way through, whisk until you have a frothy-textured sabayon – it should take about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Whip the cream to stiff peaks.

Step Five:  When the sabayon is cool, gently fold in the yogurt, then the whipped cream.  Pour over the base and freeze for at least 4 hours.  About half an hour before serving, transfer the cake to the fridge to soften a little.  Drizzle with honey and serve with wedges of fresh fig.

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Cream and Honeycomb

Chocolate mousseRecipe Courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Jan 2016) and taken from a book called Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe.

This chocolate mousse is improved by adding raspberries and cream, with honeycomb shards for pure theatre.

Serves:  4

Ingredients:  120g chocolate, with at least 80g dark chocolate; 4 eggs, separated; 1 tbsp caster sugar.

Honeycomb Shards:  165g granulated sugar; 1 ½ tbsp runny honey; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Raspberry Cream: 100ml double cream; ½ tsp vanilla paste (optional); 50g fresh or frozen raspberries

Step One:  First melt the chocolate, either in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave (on medium for bursts of 30 seconds).

Step Two:  Next, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks with a tiny pinch of salt, then slowly add the sugar and keep whisking until you have stiff peaks.

Step Three:  Lightly beat the egg yolks, then add to the slightly cooled chocolate and use a whisk to combine.  Gently fold in about a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest.  Pour into a serving dish (or small glasses) and leave to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Step Four:  For the honeycomb shards, line a large tray with baking paper.  Combine the sugar, honey and 1 ½ tablespoons of water in a tall, heavy-based pan and heat until it registers 154oC (310oF) on a sugar thermometer.  This is called the ‘cracking stage’.  If you don’t have a thermometer, test by dropping a little of the syrup into a bowl of cold water and then fishing out the result: if it is still stretchy, keep cooking: if it ‘snaps’, it is ready.

Step Five:  Take the pan off the heat and sift in the bicarbonate of soda.  Be careful – the mixture is hot and it will foam and rise up the pan.  Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then pour it onto the baking sheet, getting it as thin as you can and smoothing it out with a spatula.  Leave the honeycomb for at least 15 minutes to set.  Store in a cool, dry place – but not the fridge, or it will go sticky.

Step Six:  Just before serving, make the raspberry cream.  Whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks.  Fold through the raspberries, crushing them a little as you go to give pretty red streaks, then spoon over the mousse.  Break honeycomb into shards and use to decorate.