Posts Tagged: pudding

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

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

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

Aug 09

Blondie vs brownie


The blondie is the delicious opposite of the brownie – as opposed to the dark chocolate treat which is seemingly a more adult affair, this is for those with a sweet tooth and an affection for rich, decadent puddings.

For me, both have their upsides. Well, I can’t think of downsides for either but I guess they both suit certain moods. A brownie for when I’m feeling grown up, a blondie for the kid in me.

This recipe comes from my good friend Lara who runs an underground restaurant – all the rage these days – in South West London, Sheen Suppers (for bookings email

There are a few of these places around town and indeed the globe now – the premise being that an amateur chef invites a group of friends, acquaintances and strangers over to pay for a sit down meal in their house. And if this pudding is anything to go by, it’d be worth trying to find one in your area!

The recipe makes about 16-18 small blondies or 12 large ones. A tin 18cm x 32cm is ideal, or a square of similar dimensions.
For the blondies

  • 300g good quality white chocolate, chopped into very small bits
  • 150g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 level tbsp of grated fresh ginger – microplane grated is best (no fibres)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175g plain flour

Ginger Cream

  • 1pt double cream
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 lvl tbsp ground ginger


Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla pod scrapings.

Melt together 200g of the choc and butter on a low heat in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cool for 5 minutes so you don’t scramble the eggs and add to the egg/sugar mixture.

When well mixed, add the flour – don’t beat the life out of it but do carefully make sure it’s properly mixed.

Mix in the ginger and taste. It should be there but should not overpower the fudgy flavour of the chocolate.

Stir in remaining chocolate bits and pour into the tray (they need to be small so they melt quickly and don’t sink). Tap the tin a couple of times to get rid of big bubbles.

Cook for 35 minutes, testing at 30. They are ready when an inserted skewer comes out cleanish – some stickiness is fine and in fact, desired.
For the ginger cream, combine ingredients and whip to desired thickness.

Serve the brownies either warm or cool – you may find it easier to cut them once cooled though – with a dollop of cream on top.

Jul 09

Frozen, icy puddings

Thumbnail image for nect_560.jpg

A pudding from the freezer is utterly irresistible to me and I’m sure thousands of others. A cool sorbet or a decadent, smooth ice cream are both stellar ways to end a meal in my book. I don’t need fancy schmantzy, just a bowl with a scoop or two in it. Maybe some sauce if I’m lucky, maybe a few sprinkles too just to add a little texture – but sometimes even this is gilding the lily.

Frozen puddings have incredible mass appeal: how many people do you know who actually don’t like ice cream? There is a nostalgic joy in ice cream, memories of childhood treats, catching the drips as they roll down the cone.

Their other spectacular talent is giving the impression they aren’t filling; however much one has eaten at dinner there seems to be a shared piece of (il)logic going round that the ice cream just melts in the stomach filling in the gaps, and doesn’t actually take up any more space. Always room for ice cream.

This recipe is for a granita – a slushy, icy concoction perfect for the end to a summer lunch. It’s aromatic and delicious, tasting fragrantly of summer. Make sure you use very ripe nectarines to get the maximum flavour. Feel free to chop and change the fruit for anything very ripe, remembering to adjust the sweetness of the syrup to match. Using white sugar here will give you a much more vivid colour.

Nectarine granita (serves 4-6)

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 3 large, very ripe nectarines
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime or 1 passionfruit (optional)


Cut the nectarines into eight or so pieces and remove the stones. Place in a saucepan.
Over a low-ish heat dissolve the sugar and water in another pan. When dissolved completely, turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Once boiling pour over the chopped fruit and leave to cool.

Blend the fruit and syrup mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add lemon juice to taste – you need a little bit of sharpness. I used the entire lemon.

Sieve the mixture into a shallow container. Put the container in the freezer, uncovered. After half an hour use a fork to break up the ice crystals. Repeat every half an hour to an hour for 3-4 hours.

To serve, scrape the granita with a fork into a large bowl for sharing. Either scatter some passionfruit seeds over the granita or squeeze on a little lime juice and serve with lots of spoons.

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