Posts Tagged: dessert

Dec 10

Crimbo crumble


A classic crumble is a necessity at this time of year and can normally be whipped up with a few storecupboard essentials. You’d be hard pushed not to find at least the majority of these ingredients in your kitchen over the Christmas period – spices, cranberries and dried fruits.

The other great thing about these crowd-pleasing puds is that they are a doddle to make – ideal for a Christmas dinner party. A crumble is always greeted with murmurs of approval – a nostalgic, warming, comforting pudding that cries out for teeth-chattering ice cream.

This recipe comes from Roast in Borough Market, one of my regular haunts; it’s a rare occasion I have room left for pud but last time I just managed to squeeze in a few spoonfuls of this delicious, Christmassy crumble.

Click here for the recipe for mulled spices, bramley apple, sultana and cranberry crumble

Nov 10

The proof is in the pudding



I’m a big fan of rice pudding – it’s a humble, quiet pudding that probably haunts most from school days but that can be elevated to dinner party level with a few simple steps.

That’s not to say it isn’t still a worthy contender for post-Sunday lunch pud, but that with a few little touches here and there can suddenly become quite the designer dish.

Small confession and a break from the tradition of baking the pudding – I make mine stove top. It’s smooth, silky and somehow prettier without (for me) the dreaded skin, which I know is a favourite of some!

Caramelising the sugar adds a depth and richness to the finished pudding that mean really only a few spoonfuls is enough to fill you up, but you could omit this stage and add the seeds from a vanilla pod if you wanted or indeed a cracked cardamom pod for a bit of mellow spice.

A rice pud recipe for you then. I am a big caramel nut and try and find ways to stick it in all my puddings, give or take. There are few it doesn’t perk up. The prunes are optional but delicious.

Click here for my recipe for caramel rice pudding

Sep 10

A passion for puddings


Creme brulee or burnt Cambridge cream – call it what you will, this pudding is one of the most exquisite and luxurious around. Added to which it’s earth-shatteringly simple to make with astoundingly delicious results – my kinda pud.

It does involve making a custard or crème anglaise, but without the hard part when one cooks out the custard to the right consistency – the point at which most people end up with sweet scrambled eggs and a slightly annoyed, exasperated look on their face.

The trick with crème brulee is that it is cooked in a bain marie (a water bath) in a very low oven until it reaches setting point. It’s ideal for dinner parties as all this can be done way in advance, the pud chilled down and set in the fridge and all you need do is blowtorch or grill a layer of sugar on top until it caramelises and bob’s your uncle – the smoothest, most decadent pud around. It might even be a panna cotta beater.

This is an adaptation of a Marco Pierre White recipe – although don’t tell him, he’ll probably throw something sharp at me! The addition of passion fruit, one of my favourites, gives an added dimension and crunch to the finished puddings.

Click here for my recipe for passion fruit crème brulee

May 10

Cheesed off with cheesecake


Are there any foods that no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to master? The elusive dish, seemingly simple for others, that proves impossible to get right?

I don’t mean the likes of the roast potato or Yorkshire pudding – we all know that every time we cook them they strangely seem to end up different.
For me, this troublesome dish is the cheesecake. I’ve tried different recipes, different cooking times, different ingredients and somehow just keep managing to get something wrong.

Rather embarrassingly, last time I made one, everything went to plan and then as I popped it into the fridge I knocked a plastic tub straight into the top of it, creating a rather unattractive trough across its smooth, ivory surface.

Still – at least it tasted delicious – flecked with vanilla seeds and studded with purple popping blueberries – so all was not lost.

Click here for the recipe for a delicious Dulche de Leche cheesecake from Argentinian experts, Gaucho

Apr 10

The ice is right


My love affair with ice cream is quite blatant for those of you who have been keeping tabs on my cooking via A Byte to Savour. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve eaten entire tubs of a certain well-known brand of ice cream in a single sitting.

And somehow there’s always room for more. I justify it with the fact that ice cream melts and fits around everything else in an already full tum. Somehow there is some ice cream logic there. At least, in my mind, there is.

Peanut butter ice cream is fantastically simple to make, requiring very little effort and tasting fantastic. Couple this ice cream with some shop bought chocolate cookies for a primo dessert – I’d be tempted to make sandwiches with the biscuits, squishing the ice cream in the middle with maybe just a smidge of something saucy – a butterscotch or chocolate sauce perhaps.

Click here for my recipe for peanut butter ice cream

Apr 10

A messy Sunday afternoon



I don’t tend to go in for house-warming parties; I’ve never quite seen the logic in getting the house all clean and spangly and then inviting a load of people round to make a mess of it!Sunday lunch is a much more sedate and enjoyable way to get settled into a new place – and saves the breakages and spills so often associated with late nights and loud music.

The Sunday lunch we had did eventually turn into a very late impromptu party, so it was rather lucky I’d made a big enough pud for the extra people who turned up over the course of the afternoon and evening.

This pear and hazelnut mess gives a nod towards the classic French dessert poires belle helene.

Click here for my recipe for Pear and hazelnut mess with chocolate shavings

Mar 10

Work some marmalade magic with a rib-sticking steamed pud


Serving a steamed pudding is a brilliant way to end a meal. Not only are they utterly delicious, particularly with lashings of double cream, ice cream or creme fraiche but they are a doddle to prepare and also completely forgiving in terms of cooking time.

They will happily sit on a very, very low heat for quite literally hours – as long as we watch over them occasionally to make sure they don’t boil dry – which I must confess to doing once and redecorated the kitchen in a rather odd shade of sponge!

Marmalade makes a wonderful addition to a dark, moist sponge. In my case I’d always go for a dark, bitter one like a Seville – but then I’m rather spoilt as my mum makes an incredible one!

You could use anything you like here though – raspberry or blackcurrant jam, golden or maple syrup, even a little black treacle – I’d even go as far as Nutella and peanut butter – but that might be a little OTT. Although with a great big dollop of vanilla ice cream I can see the appeal.

The original pud recipe contains elements of Delia – I tend to up the butter content when I’m making something like this as it should be rich, moist and luxurious. After all, what are puds for?

Click here for my recipe for marmalade steamed pudding

Jan 10

Last of the leftovers


Happy new year to you all! By now I imagine you have just about managed to clear out the fridges, polish off the last of the port and pry the remaining relatives off the sofa, away from the television and out of the door.

I always find there are a few little bits that hang around though – chocolates, nuts and quite often a few too many mince pies (if that’s even possible, I’ve been known to make a batch in the middle of summer!).

This recipe is a delicious and enjoyable way to use up the last of the pies and a good excuse to make some more if you’ve run out. A chef’s suggestion – get one of the kids to do the stirring, as there’s quite a lot of it.

Click here to read the recipe for Mince pie and Armagnac ice cream

Nov 09

Childhood favourites – cinder toffee


I made a new purchase this week – one I’ve been meaning to buy for ages and never got round to for some reason or other, usually getting distracted by slightly shinier, jazzier things – a sugar thermometer. It’s an indispensable addition to the sweet toothed cook’s armoury.

I’ve been experimenting and have become completely addicted to cinder toffee, or honeycomb as it’s more widely known. You’ll probably have eaten it hundreds of times as a Crunchie bar but a home-made version is well worth a go with a slightly more grown-up, darker, caramel edge.

It’s delicious dipped in chocolate, as part of Rocky road (with home-made marshmallows!),  scrunched over ice cream, or even better used as a topping sprinkled over icing on a cupcake.

It’s quite a fun thing to make in the kitchen too, a bit of chemistry in the reaction between hot sugar and bicarbonate of soda.

Give this one a go and you’ll be a convert – both to the fun and the flavour!

Click here for the cinder toffee recipe

Sep 09

A Spanish sweet



Spain is not a country renowned for its desserts – the buck usually stops at crème catalane, the Spanish version of the French classic crème caramel. Spanish food is so astoundingly good this seems markedly odd, but I guess we’ll just have to accept it and satisfy ourselves more often with croquetas and jamon.Interestingly though, Spanish chefs in this country have turned to desserts to satisfy our English love of all things sweet. This recipe for turrón mousse comes from my great friend Jose Pizarro, head chef at Brindisa in London’s famous Borough Market. His book, Seasonal Spanish Food is due out soon and definitely one to look out for.

Turrón is widely available online or in Spanish shops. There are two basic types of turrón (almond candy): turrón de Jijona, or turrón blando, which is so soft it is almost like a paste and it sticks rather deliciously to the roof of one’s mouth; and turrón de Alicante or turrón duro, which is hard but brittle. For this recipe, make sure that you buy the best quality – suprema – soft version, which contains a minimum of 60 per cent almonds.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 24 golden raisins
  • 4 tablespoons PX sweet sherry
  • 2 whole free-range eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 150g soft turrón blando


The day before you want to serve the mousse, put the raisins in a bowl with the PX sherry to marinate overnight. The next day, drain the fruit, reserving the sherry.

Use a food processor to cream together the egg yolks, double cream, sherry and turrón. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold into the turrón mixture.

Put 4 raisins each into the bottom of four wine glasses. Divide the mixture between the glasses and chill for a minimum of 6 hours.

Decorate each glass with two raisins and serve with caramelised almonds if you wish.

Seasonal Spanish Food by Jose Pizarro, published by Kyle Cathie, £19.99

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