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 …

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 …

Chicken Casserole

Take succulent chicken quarters and ad a selection of your favourite vegetables, spice up with a little salami and herbs, add a splash of port … and you’ve got a meal in one.

Serves: 4;   Approx. Cals per portion: 739
Prep time: 25 mins; Cooking time: approx. 55 mins

Ingredients:
1 1/2lb (675g) new potatoes, scrubbed
225g (8oz) shallots
225g (8oz) baby sweetcorn
225g (8oz) sugar-snap peas
Small bunch of fresh coriander, washed and tied together with string
175g (6oz) mushrooms
4 chicken quarters, each weighing approx. 300g (10oz)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
100g (4oz) sliced salami, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/4pt/750ml fresh chicken stock
2 tbsp cornflour
1/4pt/150ml white port or dry sherry

Step One : Depending on the size, halve or quarter potatoes. Peel and halve the shallots and place in a bowl with the potatoes. Reserve. Wash the baby corn and sugar-snap peas, then trim corn and top and tail peas. Place the bunch of coriander in a large casserole dish, then place the prepared peas and corn on top. Wipe and slice the mushrooms.

Step Two : Wash the chicken quarters and pat dry with kitchen paper. Trim away excess fat from the chicken and cut each portion in half to make eight pieces. Season with black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the chicken for 6-7 mins until golden brown on both sides. Drain and add to the casserole.

Step Three : In the same frying pan, sauté the new potatoes, shallots, mushrooms, chopped salami and garlic for 4-5 mins until lightly golden. Drain and place in the casserole. Mix the casserole ingredients well. Preheat the oven to Gas 5 / 375oF / 190oC.

Step Four : Spoon 1 tbsp of the frying pan juices into a saucepan and season.
Pour chicken stock into the saucepan. Blend cornflour with a little of the port or sherry and add to pan with remainder. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook until thickened. Pour into casserole, then cover and bake in oven for 45 mins, or until cooked through. Discard bunch of coriander before serving casserole with crusty bread.

Find other Casserole recipes here …

Almond and Cherry Florentines

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

Makes about 30

Ingredients:
450g (14oz) cherries, stoned
1 tsp caster sugar; 220g (7oz) almonds
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
175g (6oz) golden syrup
1 tsp Amaretto (optional)
100g (3 ½ oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
300g (10oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 6). Place the cherries on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins, until the cherries are shrivelled and caramelised. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile scatter the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 7-10 mins. Coarsely chop half the almonds, saving the remainder.

Step Two: Melt the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and Amaretto (if using) in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ground ginger. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Pour half the mixture into the middle of one of the trays and, using a spatula, very gently spread the mixture out to form a rough rectangle about 2-3 mm thick, leaving a 5cm (2 in) border all around. Repeat with the second baking tray, then transfer both to the oven and cook for 5 mins.

Step Three: Remove and scatter over the cherries and all the almonds, then return to the oven and cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Set aside to cool for 4-5 mins. Starting from the outside and working inwards use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the Florentines on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.

Step Four: Cover your work surface with foil (this makes cleaning up easier) and place two or three wire racks on top. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the Florentines from the fridge and dip each one halfway into the melted chocolate, then place on a rack and leave for 15 mins. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has set.

For other biscuit recipes:-

Winter Trifle

winter trifleIngredients: 

4 tbsp Grand Marnier
100g (3 ½ oz) dried cherries
100g (3 ½ oz) dried sultanas
250g (8oz) Jamaican ginger cake
600ml (20 fl oz) chilled custard
Toasted flaked almonds, to serve

For the Syllabub:

Grated zest of ½ lemon
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) sweet white wine
300ml (9 ½ fl oz) cream

Serves:  8    Prep time:  25 mins, plus refrigeration and standing time

Step One:  Soak the dried fruit in the alcohol for 6 hours or overnight.  Strain, reserving both the fruit and alcohol.  Cut the cut into slices 1 cm (½ in) thick and arrange a single layer over the base of a large glass trifle bowl.  Pour over the fruit and alcohol.  Pour the custard over the cake covering with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours.

Step Two:  To make the syllabub cream, mix together the lemon zest, sugar and wine and leave for 30 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl, then add the cream and whip until the mixture just holds it shape.  Be careful not to over whip it.

Step Three: Spoon the cream over the trifle and return it to the fridge until you are ready to serve.  Just before serving, decorate with toasted almonds and silver dragees, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Apple Bourbon Pecan Cake

Apple bourbon pecan cakeThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine.

Serves: 8-12   –   Prep time: 20 mins   –   Cook time: 70 mins

Ingredients: 225g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened; 220g (7oz) plus 1 tblsp caster sugar; 220g (7oz) plus 1 tblsp dark brown soft sugar; 3 eggs; 280g (9oz) plain flour; 1 tsp baking powder; ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda; 1 tsp ground allspice; 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon; 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg; ¼ tsp ground cloves; ¼ tsp ground ginger; ¼ tsp ground cardamom; ½ tsp salt; 3 tblsp bourbon; 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks; 120g (4oz) shelled whole pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

  1. Heat the oven to 160oC (gas mark 2-3).  Grease a 20cm (8 in) round cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.  Using an electric mixer with paddle or beater attachment (or an electric whisk), beat the butter and both sugars until the mixture is almost light in colour and fluffy in texture.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix again for 1 minute.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, all the spices and salt and sift twice. Add one third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until well incorporated.  Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Pour the bourbon over the apples in a bowl and mix.  Fold the apples and pecans into the cake mixture.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
  3. Bake in the hot oven for 55-70 minutes.  A wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake, when pressed, should spring back slightly instead of sinking.  Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin for 10 minutes.  Slide a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then remove from the tin. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Cake tin:

Recipe taken from this book:

Espresso Bourbon Cake

Espresso bourbon cakeThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Serves: 8-12   –   Prep time: 30 mins plus time for cake to cool   –
Cook time:  40 mins

Ingredients:  225g (7oz) unsalted butter; 4 shots (approx. 120ml / 3 ½ fl oz) of good espresso; 110g (3 ½ oz) cocoa powder; 200g (6 ½ oz) caster sugar; 220g (7oz) dark brown soft sugar; 2 eggs; 75ml (2 ½ fl oz) bourbon; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 280g (9oz) plain flour; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; ½ tsp salt

  1. Heat the oven to 170oC (gas mark 3).  Grease a 20cm (8 in) round cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.  Place the butter in a large saucepan and melt, then stir in the espresso and cocoa powder.  Add both sugars and the eggs and whisk thoroughly.  Add 3 tblsp of the bourbon and the vanilla extra and set aside.
  2. Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large mixing bowl and sift twice. Slowly pour the espresso mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until well combined.  The mixture should be very liquid.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.  Bake for 28-35 minutes.  A wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out with almost no crumbs attached and the middle of the cake, when pressed, should spring back slightly instead of sink. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin for 10 minutes.  Slide a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then remove from the tin. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.  Brush the remaining bourbon over the top before cutting in half horizontally and filling with frosting of your choice.

Cake Layer Guide:

Recipe taken from this book: