Toffee Apple Pudding

Who can resist this indulgent sticky treat? The rich toffee sauce completely coats the apples and melts right through the delicious steamed sponge.

toffee appleServes : 4
Prep time : 20 mins
Cook time : 2 hours

Ingredients for the topping:
2 cox’s apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
50 g (2oz) butter
150g (5oz) caster sugar

For the sponge:
175g (6oz) butter, at room temperature
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g (9oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder

Step One : Toss the apple chunks in half of the lemon juice and put into a greased 1.1 litre/2 pint pudding basin. Warm the butter, sugar and remaining lemon juice in a heavy based pan. Stir the foamy mixture occasionally until it becomes a golden brown toffee colour and then pour the mixture over the apple chunks in the basin.

Step Two : Make the sponge mixture by creaming together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs – don’t worry if the mixture begins to curdle. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. Spoon the mixture over the toffee apples and smooth the top of the pudding with a palette knife.

Step Three : Cut out two circles larger than the basin, one from foil and the other from greaseproof paper. Pleat each one down the centre – this allows the pudding to rise. Use them to cover the basin, scrunching up the sides to form a seal or secure with string if you prefer. Place a folded strip of foil underneath basin to help lift it.

Step Four : Half fill a large pan (preferably with a steamer) with boiling water, lower in the pudding, cover and simmer for 1hr 45 mins – 2 hrs. Top the pan up with water as needed. Carefully remove the lid and pudding, put a plate on top and slowly turn the pudding over. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard.

Tip: If you don’t have a steamer, use a large saucepan instead. Place the pudding on an inverted saucer and half fill the pan with boiling water. Put on a tight fitting lid and simmer for one and a half hours. When topping up the water during cooking, take care not to splash the pudding – or yourself.

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Apricot Cheesecake

Dried apricotsServes : 8
Cals per person : 350
Prep time : 25 mins (plus cooling)
Cook time : 45-50 mins

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) dried apricots
175ml (6 fl oz) orange juice
75g (3oz) butter
2 tblsp clear honey
225g (8 oz) muesli
600g (1 lb 5oz) natural 8% fat fromage frais
1 medium size egg, beaten

To decorate:
6 black and 6 green grapes, halved and deseeded
4 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 kiwi fruit, peeled, halved and sliced
15g ( ½ oz) dried apricots, chopped
sprigs of fresh mint

Step One : Preheat the oven to Gas mark 5; 190oC; 375oF. Place the apricots in a saucepan with the orange juice, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins or until tender.

Step Two : Meanwhile, place the butter and 1 tbsp honey in a saucepan. Heat gently for 1-2 mins or until the butter has melted.

Step Three : Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and stir in the muesli. Stir until well mixed, then press into the base of a lightly greased and lined 20cm (8 in) round, loose-bottomed cake tin.

Step Four : Transfer the cooked apricots and any juice to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Spread one third of the apricot puree over the muesli base.

Step Five : Stir the remaining apricot puree into 450g (1 lb) fromage-frais with the beaten egg and remaining honey. Spoon on top of the apricot layer in the cake tin and smooth over.

Step Six : Cook in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake comes away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool for 5 mins in the tin before removing, then leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step Seven : Top the cheesecake with a layer of the remaining fromage-frais, decorate with the fruit and sprigs of mint, and serve chilled.

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Lavender Mousse, Blackberry & Cinder Toffee Verrine

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2018) and taken from Afternoon Tea at Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas the winner of MasterChef in 2009.

This is a mini version of the pudding Mat cooked in the MasterChef final. The flavours work together beautifully; the sharp blackberries in the base, the summery aroma of the mousse and the caramel crunch of the toffee, which fizzes when you eat it with the berries.

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Makes 4

For the blackberry compote:
150g blackberries
3 1/4 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar

For the lavender mousse:
450ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Lavender extract

For the cinder toffee:
5 dessertspoons caster sugar
2 dessertspoons golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

You will need:
4 verrine glasses, approximately 200ml each, to serve

Step One : For the blackberry compote, heat the blackberries, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan until the blackberries just start to soften and break up. Mash them a little with a fork, then spoon into four verrine glasses. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Step Two : For the lavender mousse, in a mixing bowl, whisk the cream, icing sugar and a few drops of lavender extract. Taste it, you should be able to just taste the lavender, but not overpoweringly so. Add a few drop more, as needed. Finish whisking until the cream forms soft peaks. Pipe or spoon into the verrine glasses on top of the compote. Tap the glasses on a flat surface to level the top of the cream, then chill in the fridge.

Step Three : For the cinder toffee, cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and put it somewhere flat and stable to minimise the risk of spillage, as the toffee will be very hot when poured onto the sheet. In a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, just cover the base with a little water, before adding the sugar and golden syrup. Have the bicarbonate of soda to hand and a whisk or silicone spatula. Melt on a medium heat until the mixture if turning a lovely caramel colour and smells of toffee. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk carefully, but quickly, to combine – the mixture will foam up to about five times its previous volume. Pour onto the greaseproof paper and leave to harden and cool.

Step Four : To serve, break up the cinder toffee – I place it in a resealable sandwich bag and whack it on a flat surface then sprinkle the shards over the tops of the verrines. Serve cool, but not cold.
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Macaccino torte with toasted pecan and chocolate crumb

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

Maca is the Lucozade of the granola-crunching, wheatgrass-swilling community. This golden fairy dust is supposed to strengthen stamina and virility too. If you’re curious, this mystical maca comes in powdered form resembling a sort of butterscotch flour. It’s fun to use, and if it does indeed boost libido, then it’s even more fun than expected. Good luck!IMG_1822

Makes 20 servings

For the base:
1 cup (110g) pecans
5 Medjool dates or pre-soaked regular dates, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
sprinkle of seat salt flakes

For the cream filling:
1 1/2 cups (170g) cashew nut butter
6 tblsp maple syrup or coconut blossom nectar
5 tblsp hot, strong coffee
3 tblsp maca powder
2 tblsp lucuma powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons tamari soya sauce
4 tblsp melted cacao butter
4-5 squares of dark chocolate, melted, to decorate
Coffee beans, to decorate (optional)

Step One : To make the base, put all the base ingredients in a food processor and whizz together until they begin to clump into a ball. You might need a tiny trickle of cold water or coffee to bring it all together, depending on how soft the dates are. You can post pecans first, but it’s not necessary.

Step Two : Press the mixture firmly into a non-stock 18cm springform tin, or whatever torte flan you have. Set in the freezer while you get going on the cream filling.

Step Three : To make the filling, give the cashew butter, maple syrup, hot coffee, maca, lucuma and tamari a good pelt in a high-speed blender or food processor. You don’t need to buy lucuma especially for this recipe – a dash of vanilla works just as well, but the lucuma will give buttery, caramel tones to the flavour.

Step Four : Slowly add the melted cacao butter to the mix while the motor is still running. You should have a glossy maca-fuelled ganache by now. Spread the filling over your base and refrigerate until set. You can happily keep this macaccino torte in the freezer too, for unexpected dates. To decorate, go mad with melted dark chocolate and a spoon, and parachute some coffee beans on top.

Strawberry and Basil Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

By loading more fresh veg and nuts into us ladies, we’ll arm our bodies against The Ageing Process. This cake should help. Avocados and almonds are drenched with helpful fats and nourishing minerals needed to keep our toes tapping and skin flowing. Remember, the skin is your largest excretory organ. If you’re eating garbage, you’ll end up wearing it on your face.

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Serves : 8

Ingredients for the base:
1 1/2 cups (180g) walnuts
6 Medjool or other sticky dates, stones removed
touch of sea salt flakes

For the creamy centre:
3 ripe avocados, stones and skin removed (240g)
25g packet of fresh basil, leaves only
juice of 3-4 limes
4-6 tblsp raw honey
3 tblsp unscented coconut oil, melted

For the topping:
1 punnet of fresh strawberries

Step One : To make the base, blend the walnuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor (not a blender) with a splash of water. When it starts clumping together into a cookie dough ball, you’re good to go. Press into a 20 x 25 cm loaf tin. Bring the dough up the sides like a posh flan, making sure you support the elbow of the base – the part where the base meets the sides. Freeze.

Step Two : Meanwhile, get going on your ‘cheesecake’ filling. Puree the avocado flesh, basil, lime juice, honey, melted coconut oil and some Frank Sinatra at full speed until savagely smooth. A blender can be used for this bit.

Step Three : Taste. If it needs more zing or kick, add another squeeze of lime juice to the mix. If you prefer more sweetness to rock your taste buds, then add an extra bit of honey. Spoon the filling over the frozen base and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. It will last for three days in the fridge like this.

Step Four : Just before serving, slice a handful of fresh strawberries and scatter them over the top along with any stray basil leaves you find loitering in your kitchen.

Turkish Delight Chocolate Mousse

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (September 2015) and taken from In the Mood for Healthy Food by Jo Pratt.

This rose-scented mousse is rich and creamy, yet far healthier than standard chocolate mousse. Instead of cream, Avocados are used, which give a thick, creamy texture and also make this dessert dairy-free, much lower in saturated fat and loaded with antioxidants and omegas. As for the chocolate, providing you use a high cocoa solid chocolate (such as 70 per cent), you’ll consume less sugar, and more antioxidants, iron and magnesium than other types of chocolate. I think that makes this delicious dessert guilt-free!

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
75g dark, bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 egg whites
3 tblsp agave syrup
1 ripe small-medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 tsp rosewater, plus extra to taste
1 tblsp pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
A pinch of dried rose petals, optional

 

Step One : Gently melt the chocolate either in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or on a low heat in the microwave. Once melted, leave to cool to room temperature.

Step Two : In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the agave syrup and continue whisking until they form firm peaks.

Step Three : Blend the avocado and rosewater with a hand-blender until completely smooth, then mix into the chocolate. If the avocado isn’t smooth enough, you can pass it through a sieve or fine mesh strainer using a spatula to remove any lumps. Mix in one spoonful of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the rest.

Step Four : Spoon the mousse into glasses or dishes. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, then scatter with chopped pistachios and rose petals, and serve.

Tip : If you want to try something other than rosewater to flavour the mousse, you could add: grated zest of 1 orange, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a few drops of coconut extract or a pinch of ground cardamom seeds.

Lemon Verbena Possets

Recipe taken from Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons by Clodagh McKenna published in Psychologies Magazine (February 2019).

lemon verbena possets

Serves : 4

Ingredients :
2 lemons
125g caster sugar
6 lemon verbena leaves
425ml double cream

Step One : Grate the zest of the lemons into a saucepan, then squeeze out and add the juice, followed by the sugar and lemon verbena leaves. Place the pan over a low heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the cream and cook for three minutes.

Step Two : Divide the mixture between four small glasses or ramekins. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for two hours until set. Remove the possets from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

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 …