Thursday, 31 January 2013

Bircher Muesli - strange name, great taste!

Birchermuesli is a Swiss invention, which I have adapted for a great healthy breakfast, plus a delicious pudding!    With a base of oats, grated apple and yoghurt, you can add any fruit or nuts as desired.   The best bit is that it is sweetened with honey, and you don't even need that if you have sweet fruit.   Some recipes state that the oats should be soaked overnight, but I prefer them to keep their texture, not being a fan of porridge.

This, and other recipes, including new ones exclusive to the book, are in my fabulous new cookbook "Kate's Puddings", available from my website www.katespuddings.co.uk

Birchermuesli
Birchermuesli

per person:

half a grated apple (skin on)
1 tablespoon jumbo oats
handful of mixed nuts
handful of chopped fresh fruit (strawberries, cherries, grapes, banana, whatever)
3 tablespoons plain yoghurt (Greek or organic whole yoghurt preferably)
1tsp runny honey
squeeze of lemon juice

Put the oats into a cup and pour boiling water over.  Leave them to soften while you grate the apple.  Strain the oats and put the oats, apple, nuts and fruit into a bowl.  Mix together, adding lemon juice (to keep the apple pale and add a bit of a tang) plus the yoghurt.  Taste and add the honey if desired.   Top with some more chopped nuts and fresh fruit. 

It keeps for a day, and has a more solid texture after 24hrs, but doesn’t look quite so appealing.  

Monday, 28 January 2013

Rhubarb Fudge Crumble


My all-time favourite rhubarb recipe, taken from Claire MacDonald's amazing cookbooks - Seasonal Cooking and More Seasonal Cooking.  Just taste it... and then you find you've finished the lot!    Especially good with lovely pink Yorkshire rhubarb, but great later on with garden rhubarb.   The fudge top has a great crunch, which is particularly good against the soft, tart rhubarb.  You could use gluten-free digestive biscuits too.

Rhubarb Fudge Crumble

Rhubarb Fudge Crumble

1 ½ lb/900g rhubarb, cut in 1” pieces

grated rind and juice of 1 orange

3oz/75g sugar, white or brown (to taste – I usually use less)


for the crumble: 

4oz/110g butter

4oz/110g Demerara sugar

6oz/170g digestive biscuits, crushed to crumbs

1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon


Put cut up rhubarb in an ovenproof dish with the rind, orange juice and sugar.  Cover with foil and bake at 350deg F, 180deg C for about 30 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but not mushy.  Cool slightly, though this is not necessary if you are in a hurry.


Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the Demerara sugar, digestive crumbs and cinnamon.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Then cover the rhubarb with the crumble and bake in a hot oven 200 deg C for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve either warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with whipped cream/Greek yoghurt.  

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Oranges in Caramel - quick and easy

Confession time.... this is the best way I know of using up those lurking oranges that seem to collect in the fruit bowl!   Actually, I get double value from them, as I dry the peel in the oven and use it for firelighters.  Orange/lemon/grapefruit all make fabulous firelighters.    The picture below was taken when I had just poured the caramel over - later on, the caramel melts deliciously.


Oranges in Caramel
Oranges in Caramel

Allow about 1-2 oranges per person
(preferably navel oranges without pips)

Caramel:
2oz/50g caster sugar
small quantity water – 3tbsp approx


Using a serrated knife, cut the peel and off the oranges, removing as much pith as possible (pips too, of course!).  Slice and arrange in a dish.   Make the caramel – boil the sugar with a small quantity of water until it turns brown and caramelises, then pour over the oranges.    Leave to cool.  

This is best eaten about an hour or so after making, when some of the caramel has melted into the oranges, but there are still crackly bits left.  

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cranachan

Cranachan is one of the most delicious puddings ever to have come from Scotland..... a light mixture of cream, whisky, honey, raspberries and oats - wow!

On Burns Night, this is an ideal complement to the traditional haggis, tatties and bashed neeps.    The picture below is from a jumbo-sized one I made for the Stour Festival last year.  It disappeared like snow on the loch!

Cranachan
Cranachan

this is for a generous two:

8oz.250g punnet of raspberries
½ pint/280ml double cream
2 tablespoons of Scottish runny honey
2 tablespoons of whisky
3 tablespoons of oatmeal (jumbo oats are best)


In a dry frying pan, gently toast the oats until they are golden brown.    This can take up to 20 minutes.     Meanwhile, whip the cream with the whisky until it is thick but not solid.    Gently fold in the honey (to make it more liquid, microwave for 15 seconds) and most of the raspberries, keeping some of the best ones for the top.  Fold in most of the oats, keeping about a tablespoon.    Don’t over-mix it – you want the raspberries to stay whole. 

Divide into two glasses, decorate with raspberries and oats (or put into a pretty bowl).    This is best not refrigerated unless it is high summer.    

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Cinnamon Spice Buns

When there's snow on the ground, making buns and eating them just fills the bill..... the delicious smell of spices and yeast in the kitchen, warm ovens and happy, snowballing, children.    These buns are great hot or cold for about two days - they contain no preservatives - and good toasted thereafter.    

A baker friend gave me a top tip - to soak the fruit in a sugar syrup for 24hrs.   It works - but if you want to make the buns immediately, I've found that boiling 3tbsps sugar in half a pint of water, and then adding the fruit and simmering for a few minutes, works just as well (remember to drain the fruit before using).   The raisins and peel are then moist and delicious, not like road chippings!


Cinnamon Spice Buns
Cinnamon Spice Buns

1lb/450g strong plain flour (bread flour)
1oz/25g fresh yeast or 15ml 1 level tbsp dried yeast
1 level tsp caster sugar
¼ pt/150ml milk
4 tbsps/60ml water
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp mixed spice
1 level tsp cinnamon
1 level tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated is best!)
2oz/50g castor sugar
2oz/50g butter, melted
1 beaten egg
6oz/150g raisins
3 tbsps cut mixed peel (soak these in sugar syrup if wished)

to glaze:  2tbsp milk and water
               3 tbsp caster sugar                                         Oven 190 deg C

If you are doing the quick-soak method for the dried fruit, do that first.  

In a large mixing bowl, put 4oz (100g) of the flour, adding the yeast and 1 level tsp sugar.  Warm the milk and water to approx 43 deg C – a bit warmer than blood heat, add to the flour and mix well.  Leave in a warm place until it is risen and foamy – 10-15 mins for fresh yeast, 20 mins for dried.

Mix together the remaining flour (12oz/350g), salt, spices and 2oz sugar.   Into the frothy yeast mix stir the butter and egg, then add all the dried ingredients.    This makes a very soft dough.   Turn onto a floured worktop and knead it until smooth (you will probably add a bit of flour in the process).  Put back into the big bowl, cover with a cloth, and leave to rise until doubled in size – about 1 – 1 ½ hrs.      After that, turn the dough out again, and knead it again (about 2-3 minutes minimum each time).      

Cut the dough into 12 pieces, and shape into rolls.  Put them onto a floured baking sheet, cover with oiled clingfilm or a light cloth, then leave for another 30 minutes to prove.    In a small pan, mix the milk/water and sugar.  Heat gently together.  

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.    When you take them out, glaze the buns with the milk and water mix.  For best results, do this twice, then leave them to cool…. if you can resist them for that long.  

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Proper Egg Custard

Proper Custard is just about one of the nicest accompaniments to a traditional hot pudding.  Really good custard is delicious cold as well as hot (and is the main constituent of trifle).  

Custard is very quick to make, and my recipe below includes a little bit of cornflour to prevent it from curdling.    Best not made too far in advance, as it forms a skin - if you want to do it early, put greaseproof paper or cling film directly on the top surface (unless you went to boarding school, then you'll recognise the lumps!).    This is for my son, John, and all his fellow pupils at the school where the custard used to have cracks in it....

This, and other recipes, including new ones exclusive to the book, are in my fabulous new cookbook "Kate's Puddings", available now from my website or eBay.

Proper Custard, or Creme Anglaise
Egg Custard

This quantity makes half a pint (approx 300ml), so scale up as required

2 egg yolks
1oz/25g caster sugar
10floz/300ml  double cream mixed with milk (the richer, the richer the result)
½ tsp cornflour
vanilla – either a few drops of liquid, or some of the paste inside a pod

Mix the yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla, using a small whisk.   In a milk pan (preferably non-stick), warm the cream/milk to blood heat.  Pour this mixture onto the yolk mix, whisking gently until it is all incorporated.  Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and heat it.  Change over to a wooden spoon, and stir the custard lovingly until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon.   Stop, remove from heat. 

If it splits and goes grainy, pour instantly into a cold bowl, add more cream/milk, and whisk hard.   You may be lucky!

Traditional Apple Crumble

Snow makes me think of comfort food... and it doesn't get more comforting than good old apple crumble!    There are many versions of this recipe, and the texture of the crumble ranges from wading through sand to crunching on cobbles!    I generally cook the apples slightly, as this gives a softer filling.   It can also be gluten and/or dairy free.   Whatever you do, don't make crumble either too sweet, or too sour.  Puddings should not be penitential.

Crumble is best eaten hot, with proper custard..... or home made ice cream.


Apple and Cinnamon Crumble

Fruit:
1 ½ lb/900g apples
brown sugar to taste
cinnamon (or cloves, more traditional still!)

Crumble:
8oz/225g plain flour (or oats and ground almonds so gluten-free)
4oz/225g Demerara sugar 
4oz/150g butter (or spread for a dairy-free treat)

Oven:  preheat to 200deg C,

Peel and core the apples, then cut into chunks.  Put into a saucepan with a little water and simmer gently until the apples start to get fluffy at the edges but don’t lose their shape.     Add the sugar and pour this into a baking/pie dish.     Dust with cinnamon. 

As though making pastry, mix the other ingredients and then pour all over the top of the fruit.    Bake for about 25 minutes until the top is lightly browned and starting to bubble. 

Variations for this recipe include virtually any kind of fruit – pears, plums, rhubarb, gooseberries etc.   A friend adds banana to hers, and you can also ring the changes with oatmeal or ground almonds instead of some of the flour. 

If you like this recipe, why not let me know how you got on with it?  I'm also on Facebook "Kate's Puddings" and Twitter @katespuddings.  My cookbook is on sale via my website www.katespuddings.co.uk.  It has 75 delicious recipes, many of which will not be appearing on the blog!


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Treacle Tart

Treacle Tart - comfort food at its best!   Strange that it is called treacle tart, when it is usually made with golden syrup.    A sticky and delicious confection of breadcrumbs, syrup and lemon juice, this tart keeps beautifully and tickles the tastebuds of most men whose mothers were good cooks!

The photo below and, indeed, the tart, would be greatly enhanced by some proper custard, and by proper custard I mean custard made with eggs, recipe elsewhere on this blog.  Also good served hot with cream or home made ice cream.  However, it could also be dairy free if you used a non-dairy fat in the pastry.

Being a lazy cook, I tend to make double the amount of pastry, and freeze a second pastry case for a very quick pudding or quiche (there's no sugar in the pastry recipe, so it can be used for savoury and sweet).   Small pastry ends get turned into little stars!

Treacle Tart 
Treacle Tart


Pastry:

8oz/225g plain flour

small pinch salt 
4oz butter/margarine

cold water to mix


Tart:

14oz/400g golden syrup (tip, microwave for 20 sec to get it to pour better)

4oz/100g white or granary breadcrumbs, fresh or frozen, but not stale!

rind and juice of one lemon


Make the pastry, line a 8-9” loose base flan tin, prick the base of the pastry with a fork (this stops the pastry bubbling up).    Put the flan tin in the fridge while you assemble the tart ingredients.  Cut little stars or letters from the left-over pastry. 


Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon and syrup.  I tend to put it into the microwave to heat it up slightly, which makes the crumbs take up more of the sticky syrup. 


Pour the mixture into the flan tin, level it, and put on any pastry decorations.  Cook at about 180 deg for about 20-25 minutes until it is golden.  It will rise up, and then sink and turn shinier as it cools down. 

If you like this recipe, why not let me know how you got on with it?  I'm also on Facebook "Kate's Puddings" and Twitter @katespuddings.  My cookbook is on sale via my website www.katespuddings.co.uk.  This recipe is featured in my cookbook, together with 75 others, many of which will not be appearing on the blog!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Lemon Ice Cream in Brandysnap Baskets


Two fabulous flavours in one delicious pudding.   This is the world's easiest and richest lemon ice cream recipe, originally from the River Café Cookbook, which I heard on the radio and promptly looked up.  It's rich and smooth, just like the best kind of husband!

Ice cream is best made in an ice-cream maker, or you have to freeze it in an open container and stir it regularly to stop big ice crystals forming in it.

The brandysnap baskets look elegant, and are actually quite simple to make.  I remember my mother suffering agonies making traditional brandysnaps - we were allowed to eat the ones that didn't work.   Bliss!   The basket below has been made using rice flour, as I wanted to do a gluten-free recipe for some of my gluten-averse friends.  It works, but is a little granular in texture.

This, and other recipes, including new ones exclusive to the book, are in my cookbook, available off the website www.katespuddings.co.uk
Lemon Ice Cream in Brandysnap Baskets
Lemon Ice Cream

3 Lemons, grate the zest from one of them
8oz/225g caster sugar
1pint/450ml double cream
½ tsp salt

  
Put the juice and grated zest into a large bowl and add the sugar.   Then add the cream and the salt, which thickens the mixture.  Freeze in either an ice-cream maker or bowl. 

Brandysnaps

2oz/50g butter or margarine
2oz/50g castor sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
2oz/50g plain flour (or rice flour)
½ level tsp ground ginger
1tsp brandy (optional but highly recommended)
grated zest of half a lemon (use one of the ones above)

For baskets, use little metal tins, or small upturned jars (washed!), lightly greased.  Line 2-3 flat baking trays with parchment or non-stick paper.   Preheat oven to 180deg C

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup over low heat.  Take off heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.    Put spoonfuls (about ¾ dessertspoon) of the mix on the baking sheets – as far apart as you can, as they spread!   Bake a sheet at a time in the oven for up to 10 minutes until golden and bubbling – watch them carefully as they turn dark VERY quickly.    When you take them out, they look almost lacy, and are very floppy, then they will slowly harden.   When you can pick one up and it is still floppy, but doesn’t break, drop it over the upturned tin and hold it with your hand to smooth it at the base and try to get a frilly edge.    Repeat with the next ones. 

If the mixture is too soft, it will break when you pick it up – just push the broken bit back and let it harden slightly.  If it is too hard, pop it back into the oven for a moment and it will soften again.    I do find myself cutting off the darker bits if they’ve over-browned!     Remember, the mistakes taste just as good.   

Monday, 14 January 2013

Mixed Berries and Greek Yoghurt - Simple, healthy, quick

This is a quick, easy, healthy pudding, yet it looks decadently rich!   You can add more or less sugar to suit, or perhaps maple syrup, and the fruit can be frozen or fresh, although frozen works better as the fruit breaks down a little.    Goats' milk yoghurt for the dairy-averse works well with this pudding, too.    The picture below shows the sugar just starting to melt into the yoghurt - I generally serve it when it is all melted and smooth, so it mixes into the yoghurt as you eat it.
.

Summer Fruits and Greek Yoghurt
Mixed Berries and Greek Yoghurt

per glass:
good handful of mixed frozen berries
dessertspoon of Framboise
Greek yoghurt
muscovado sugar

Put the berries in the bottom of each glass, frozen or defrosted (if you like them sweetened, do it now).  Pour over the Framboise, and add the yoghurt (which could be mixed with whipped cream for a richer texture).    Finally, add the black sugar.    Leave it for at least half an hour so that the sugar melts into the yoghurt.  

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Mary Berry's Canterbury Apple Tart

This is a fabulous pudding which I found in the amazing Mary Berry's "New Aga Cookbook".   A large apple tart, with a delicious sharp lemon flavour too... what could be nicer?    It is good hot or cold with proper custard
(http://katespuddings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/proper-egg-custard.html)
or home made vanilla ice cream
http://katespuddings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/best-ever-easy-vanilla-ice-cream.html

The picture below is an extra large one I made for the Stour Music Festival.  The standard recipe is for an 11" flan tin, so will serve 10 people.   It doesn't last long - it's one of those puddings you find people "tidying up" in the kitchen.  A friend says it freezes well, though I've never tried.

Canterbury Apple Tart
Canterbury Apple Tart

Pastry:
4oz/100g butter
8oz/225g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
(you can add 1oz icing sugar, but I prefer not to)

Tart:
4 eggs
8oz/225g caster sugar 
2 lemons, grated rind and juice of
4oz/100g butter, melted
2 large cooking apples (Bramley, or similar), quartered, cored and peeled
2 eating apples, cored and finely sliced (red ones look great unpeeled!)
1oz/25g Demerara sugar

Oven:  preheat a baking tray in the oven heated to 200deg C 

Make the pastry, either by hand or processor, and then chill it for about 20 minutes before putting it into a 11inch flan tin.   (If you go slightly over the edge with the pastry, you can then cut it off after cooking, so any over-brown bits disappear.)  Put the tin back into the fridge while you are doing the next bit. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, castor sugar, lemon rind and juice.  Then stir in the melted butter.   Get the dessert apples on standby, and grate the cooking apples straight into the bowl using a coarse grater.   Stir in the cooking apples.       

Pour the apple mixture into the flan tin, and then put the eating apples around the edge as per the picture.   Lastly, use the Demerara sugar all over the eating apples.  

Bake on the preheated tray for about 40 minutes.  The tart needs to be set in the centre, and slightly brown.   

If you like this recipe, why not let me know how you got on with it?  I'm also on Facebook "Kate's Puddings" and Twitter @katespuddings.  My cookbook is on sale via my website www.katespuddings.co.uk.  This recipe is featured in my cookbook "Kate's Puddings, the Cookbook of the Blog", together with 75 others, many of which will not be appearing on the blog!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Delia's Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

Life isn't complete without chocolate - I'm convinced it's one of our "five a day", after all, it's from a bean.     When I first tried chocolate bread and butter pudding, courtesy of Delia Smith's recipe, I thought I'd arrived in heaven.   I've slightly adapted it, and reduced the quantities to serve four.

This is especially for Laura, who likes easy puddings - and it doesn't get easier than this.    You do have to leave it for a day or so while the chocolate mixture gently oozes its way into the bread - failure to do so result in little white stripes.   Delayed gratification is part of the pleasure!   Equally good made with gluten-free bread (though not rye bread).

Chocolate bread and butter pudding

Chocolate bread and butter pudding

8 thick slices of white bread (or 50/50 white/brown), crusts removed
4oz/110g dark chocolate
10 fl oz/300ml double or whipping cream
3 tablespoons rum or Bailey’s
3oz/75g soft brown sugar
2oz/50g butter
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs


Butter a dish approx 10” x 6” (or wait until you see how much mixture you make).    Cut the bread into halves or triangles.      In a large bowl, put the chocolate, cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon and stick it into the microwave.  Heat until the chocolate is melted and the sugar has dissolved.   Stir thoroughly.  If you’re using the microwave, don’t over heat the mixture – the chocolate melts more slowly, and will mostly dissolve when you are stirring it prior to adding the eggs.    Whisk the eggs in another bowl, add the chocolate mixture and whisk again until it is smooth (ish).

Pour a layer of chocolate mixture into the dish, and then put the bread over the top, overlapping the pieces slightly – I aim for two layers.   After the first layer, pour on half of the remaining liquid, then put the last bread pieces on top.   Pour on the last of the mix and cover all the bread, gently squidging it into the gooey chocolate….  cover with cling film and leave it to rest for a day (if you can!).     Preheat oven to 180deg C.  Remove the clingfilm and bake for about half an hour until crisp on top yet still soft inside.      This reheats well in the microwave.  


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Crunchy Granola

Granola is a fabulous mix of grains, nuts and seeds.  Some recipes include chocolate, but the healthier ones don't!  The best granola is your own, as you know exactly what has gone into it, and can add or subtract ingredients to suit.     It is sweetened with honey and coconut, so nothing artificial.   This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in a magazine.   Obviously, this is not suitable for nut allergy sufferers, but you could make a nut-free version, adding dried fruit and seeds instead.

This makes a great Christmas present in a beautiful new preserving jar, if you can bear to give it away!   If you double the quantity, it will take longer to cook.    Delicious on puddings - this is thick Greek yoghurt on my Winter Fruit Salad with a granola topping.

Crunchy Granola
Crunchy Granola

8oz/ 200g rolled jumbo oats

3oz/ 75g almonds in their skins
3oz/75g hazelnuts in their skins
2oz/50g unsweetened desiccated coconut

2oz/50g 50g sunflower seeds

2oz/50g pumpkin seeds
good handful chopped dates 

8oz/200g honey (if using set honey, microwave it until liquid)


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180deg C.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl until evenly distributed.  Stir in the honey.  Place the mixture in a large stainless-steel roasting tray and toast in the oven for 15 minutes or so, turning the mixture every few minutes or so to ensure even toasting.   Leave to cool and dry out before filling a Kilner jar (approx 1 litre/2pt).

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Classic Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is a pudding guaranteed to beat the winter blues!   Classic sticky toffee is one of the nicest puddings on earth.    It is also very good tempered - freezes well and microwaves from cold if you have left overs (which, let's be honest, doesn't happen very often!).    I usually make two loaf tin puddings, and double the amount of sauce (which you will need, as it is the best bit), freezing one for later.  This shows the pudding when it has been under the grill and the sauce has gone crunchy.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding
                                                                                                                            
Puddings:
3oz/85g butter  
5oz/140g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
6oz/170g  sieved self raising flour
6oz/170g   chopped dates (stoned!) 
6fl oz (175ml) boiling water
2 tsp coffee essence
½ tsp vanilla essence
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Sauce:      
6oz/170g soft brown sugar
4oz/110g butter
6floz (175ml) double cream
1oz/25g chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.  Put dates, essences and bicarbonate of soda in bowl, pour boiling water over.   Leave it to bubble.   Cream butter and sugar well, then add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well.  Gently fold in the flour and then the date mix.

Put into 2 lined 2lb loaf tins, or several small greased tins/muffin tray etc, cook in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes.  It rises very well, so leave lots of space.   When cooked, leave them to cool, then turn out of tins/moulds.  

Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients and heating, while stirring, until the sugar has melted and the mixture smooth. To serve:  put puds on shallow heat-resistant plate.  Pre-heat grill  and pour sauce over puddings (push the nuts off the top or they will burn).  Put tin under grill and let puddings heat through for a few minutes.  The tops will become brown and crunchy and sauce will be bubbly.  Serve with cold pouring cream and extra sauce.

After freezing, defrost, pour sauce over and reheat.  

If you like this recipe, why not let me know how you got on with it?  I'm also on Facebook "Kate's Puddings" and Twitter @katespuddings.  My cookbook is on sale via my website www.katespuddings.co.uk.  This recipe is featured in my cookbook, together with 75 others, many of which will not be appearing on the blog!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Winter fruit salad

The best recipe for this is by the Stour Puddings wise woman, Jo. This is a modification of her recipe for a fruit salad delicious in winter, but equally good chilled in summer.  Jo's recipe is darker and richer, containing figs and a whole lemon.    It is a firm favourite at Stour. It contains walnuts but they are not essential.  Gluten and dairy free, also suitable for diabetics if they don't have too much of the juice!

Winter Fruit Salad
Winter Fruit Salad

1 bag dried fruit mix - a mixture of dried apple rings, prunes, apricots, peaches and pears, approx 500g (I hate figs, so don't include them!)

1 jar runny honey (or set honey, microwaved until liquid)
Good handful walnuts
1-2 Star anise
2 Cinnamon sticks
Lemon peel 1-2 strips

Separate the prunes out from the darker fruit (this keeps the colours better) and simmer all the fruit just covered in water in two pans (or microwave) until soft. Add 3/4 to 1 jar honey to the fruit, depending on how sweet and sticky you like it, and pour the prunes back into the salad. Add the other ingredients and check liquid levels - it will absorb more after it has cooled. Cover with a plate and allow to cool.

This is better eaten after 24 hours, and even better after a few days. The honey acts as a preservative so it shouldn't need refrigeration. It is good with Greek yoghurt and a granola topping, also on this blog. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Crème Brulée - easy and delicious!


There are many recipes for this, some of which include grilling the sugar, or attacking it with a blowtorch. Having neither a grill nor torch, I make the caramel separately, and pour it over the top of the puddings. You do get a thicker crust, but it is a more reliable method, as you can control the colour of the caramel.  

This and other mouthwatering recipes, including some exclusive ones are in my cookbook, available to order from the website.  Perfect for Mother's Day! 

Crème Brulee  
Crème Brulée

4 egg yolks
2oz (50g) caster sugar 
600ml (20 fl oz) double cream
half a vanilla pod
Caramel:   2oz castor sugar
6 little ramekin dishes


Start by boiling a kettle of water (I always forget this bit).... and heating the oven to about 140 deg C.   Heat the double cream in a saucepan over a low heat, scraping in the seeds from the vanilla pod, plus the pod itself.      Meanwhile, mix the yolks and sugar together.  When the cream is at blood temperature, pour it (minus pod) over the yolks/sugar and whisk gently until well mixed.   

Pour the crème into six ramekin dishes, and place the dishes in a roasting tin containing enough boiling water to come at least half way up the sides of the dishes.   Bake for about an hour until the mixture is set but not coloured (better that than runny though!).    Remove from the water, and allow to cool.   

Over high heat, melt the caster sugar with a little water, stirring until it boils, and then watch it until it turns brown and caramelises.  Carefully (it is HOT), pour evenly over the ramekins.   Refrigerate until cold, they are best eaten after 24 hours, if you can wait that long, as the caramel will have started to melt slightly.   Surprisingly, this will also freeze! 

If you like this recipe, why not let me know how you got on with it?  I'm also on Facebook "Kate's Puddings" and Twitter @katespuddings.  My cookbook is on sale via my website www.katespuddings.co.uk.  This recipe is featured in my cookbook, together with 75 others, many of which will not be appearing on the blog. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Quick Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding isn't just for summer, it's an all year round favourite.   Delicious as well as good for you - how many other puddings do both?

This is the easiest pudding I know - takes minutes to make, but has to be done a few days in advance for best results.  It freezes beautifully too.   This is one of the Stour Festival puddings from 2012, and the one which is usually eaten first!

This and other mouthwatering recipes, including some exclusive ones, are in my new cookbook:  Kate's Puddings Cookbook - out now! http://www.parkersprint.com/kates%20puddings.html

Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding
(quickest method known to woman)

1 loaf crustless white bread (now that's cheating!),
3 x 1lb/500g bags mixed berries, or two bags mixed berries, 1 bag frozen cherries (or any combination of the above),
jam sugar to taste (6oz/150g or so),
good slug of Framboise or some other red liqueur (if you wish),
at least 2 pint pudding basin

Tip the berries into a large saucepan, with the sugar and the Framboise. Bring up to a gentle simmer, just so the juices flow and the black currants are not like bullets. Taste it - too sweet is almost worse than too tart! Meanwhile, arrange the bread all around the base of the pudding basin, and make sure you have enough to make a top as well.

Pour the mixture into the bread mould - it takes far more than you would believe possible, and the bread sucks up all the juice, so over-fill if you can. Fit on the bread top, then put a plate on top of that, weigh it down with something and put in the fridge for at least 3 - 4 days. The juice should seep into the bread so it is all crimson (which isn't always the case as you can see above, so I occasionally help it with some melted redcurrant jelly or sieved jam).

To serve, use a palette knife to loosen it, turn out onto a dish with an edge (which I didn't do in this picture, so it leaked everywhere!). Serve just off chilled, with lots of double cream. If it doesn't come out in one go, just drape the errant piece of bread back over the top, and nobody will notice.


If you like this recipe, why not let me know how you got on with it?  I'm also on Facebook "Kate's Puddings" and Twitter @katespuddings.  My cookbook is on sale via my website www.katespuddings.co.uk.  This recipe is featured in my cookbook, together with 75 others, many of which will not be appearing on the blog!


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