Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Brioche and Butter pudding with chocolate chunks

This is a very quick pudding to make, and one I whipped up (literally) in 5 minutes in a friend's house.   The brioche is deliciously light and pale yellow, unlike the more conventional white bread, and the chocolate chunks gave it a luxurious touch.    Bread and butter pudding is a classic, but fresh brioche much better!

This, and other mouthwatering recipes, in my new cookbook:  Kate's Puddings Cookbook - out now!

Brioche and Butter Pudding with Chocolate Chunks
Brioche and Butter Pudding with Chocolate Chunks

¾ a brioche loaf
dark chocolate cut into big chunks
3 eggs
2oz/50g sugar
1 pint whole milk

Oven 180 deg C

Cut the brioche into thick slices and butter them.  Arrange in a buttered oven proof dish, slipping chunks of chocolate in between and around the slices. 

In a jug, beat up the eggs, sugar and milk, and pour it over the brioche.  If you have time, allow to soak for about 10 minutes or more.  Otherwise, simply bung it into the oven.   It takes 20 minutes or so to cook, and will puff up nicely. 

Serve with cream or yoghurt.    Serves 6. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Strawberry Tartlets - taste of summer

These little tartlets are an illustration of how leftovers can make good puddings.... Whenever I make pastry, I usually have some left over, so I line a mini tartlet tin and freeze it - top tip:  the ones with the loose bottoms are best!    

Having some strawberries and half a jar of home made redcurrant jelly, this was the ideal quick Sunday pudding.     It would also work with raspberries and any soft fruit, preferably the colour of the jelly. The base is Greek yoghurt, but it would also work with custard or whipped cream.  You could make sweet pastry, but I'd rather use the calories for chocolate....    (Please don't confuse this pudding with a horrible bought sponge flan thing with concentric rings of tinned fruit and inch-thick jelly on the top, that is not food!)

Strawberry Tartlets

Shortcrust pastry:
6oz/150g plain flour
3oz/75g butter
1 egg (for richness, you can leave this out)
1 pinch salt
cold water to mix

Make the pastry either by hand or in a food processor.  Line the tartlet tins (approx six), prick the bases, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to rest the pastry.    They should be baked blind (with greaseproof paper and baking beans/rice inside to stop the pastry rising), but I seldom bother!

Greek yoghurt/cold custard/whipped cream

Put a good layer of yoghurt in the tartlets and then decorate with the fruit (this is not rocket science)

Redcurrant jelly (home made preferably), approx a small jar, depending on how many tartlets
1tsp arrowroot or cornflour

Melt the jelly in a pan, add the cornflour/arrowroot which you have mixed with a little water in an eggcup (this is called “slaking”, great word!).   Bring the jelly up to nearly boiling, stirring so that you eliminate lumps.  Sometimes the cornflour/arrowroot is cloudy at first, and will then clear.  

Strain through a mini sieve and pour over the fruit, covering as much as you can without drowning it.     Chill until set. 

These are best made the day they are to be eaten.  

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Chocolate Roulade - a slice of heaven

Chocolate roulade is so easy to make!   Delicious and light, this recipe from my friend Charlotte has no flour, so suitable for gluten-intolerant chocolate lovers....  The only tricky bit is transferring from the baking parchment to the plate, which I usually achieve by folding the parchment under itself just below the roulade when you put the roulade on the dish, and then peeling it from beneath.  Ideally you need three hands!

Chocolate Roulade

Chocolate Roulade

5 eggs, separated
6oz/170g dark chocolate
6oz/170g caster sugar

To serve: ½ pint double cream                             
sieved cocoa                                                    
swiss roll sized tin lined with parchment

Preheat oven:  180 deg C.  Melt chocolate in microwave.  Cool slightly.   Whisk egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk until thick and creamy (3-5mins).  Whisk whites until thick.   Beat yolks mix into chocolate gently.   Fold in 1/3 egg white using a metal spoon - this will break up the texture and make it easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites afterwards.    Pour into lined Swiss Roll tin and spread it evenly.  Bake 10 minutes until firm (not solid all the way through, just on top).

Cool, still in the tin, covered with a damp cloth.  Turn out onto paper covered with sieved cocoa.   Spread with whipped cream and roll up from the long side using the paper to help achieve the classic roll shape. 

Will produce characteristic cracking on the surface.   Dredge with sieved cocoa or icing sugar.   Transfer to a suitable plate.  

This is best eaten the same day.  Apparently it can be frozen, but I have never tried - it hasn't lasted long enough!     Good with strawberries and fresh fruit.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

White Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins - quick and delicious

Requested by Thea, these are the most delicious little muffins, with fresh raspberries and chunks of white chocolate.   Recipe from BBC Good Food, which is a great source of inspiration.   I made a batch to take to a TA training night, and they all disappeared.... Fortunately, I had already taken the photo below!   With a raspberry coulis and crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt, they would make a delicious pudding.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins

11oz/300g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
4oz/110g caster suger
4oz/110g butter
2 large eggs (the fresher the better)
6 ½ fl oz/200ml milk
8oz/225g fresh raspberries
4oz/110g white chocolate, chopped into big chunks

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.   Put 12 paper cases into a muffin tin.   

In a large bowl, sieve the flour and baking powder and add the sugar.    Melt the butter in the microwave.   Measure the milk into a jug, crack the eggs into it and whisk gently until the egg is dispersed into the milk.   Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, but don’t over-mix – muffins are meant to be home-made looking.   

Stir the chocolate into the mix and then stir in most of the raspberries, keeping enough for the tops of the muffins.   Be gentle – the raspberries break up easily. 

Divide the mixture between the cases and add the remaining raspberries.  Cook for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden.    The best muffins have a craggy appearance, but they will all taste amazing anyway.  

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Lemon Posset

This is a recipe I found in a newspaper - deliciously rich and yet light, it is very simple to make, and looks effective when served in delicate little cups, or shot glasses.   Eating it using coffee spoons means every little mouthful is savoured!  The quantity below makes about 5 small coffee cups.

Lemon Posset
Little Lemon Pots/Lemon Posset

¾ pint/430ml double cream
4oz/125g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

To finish:  cream, lemon pieces

Put all the ingredients into a medium sized pan and stir until boiling.  It should boil for precisely five minutes, but keep stirring and watch it carefully, as it will boil over very easily!   Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to sit for half an hour.  Put through a sieve and pour into the little cups.    If you strain it directly into a jug, you can pour it more neatly.   Put in the fridge for 12 hours before decorating with whipped cream and a little piece of fresh lemon.    Serve with little biscuits.   

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

For those of us who haven't quite done with the pancake thing..... cinnamon apple pancakes are, if you can resist eating the actual pancakes, an easy pudding, and delicious with crème fraiche, home made custard, or ice cream.   You could also add raisins, a bit like an apple strudel.

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes - Batter

4 oz plain flour
1 pinch salt
½ pint of milk

Make the batter, fry the pancakes (see my earlier blog), and pile up flat  - this quantity makes about 7 large ones.   


4oz/100g fresh white breadcrumbs
3oz/75g butter
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1½ lb/700g cooking apples, peeled and chopped
2oz/50g caster sugar
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
icing sugar to dredge

Heat oven to 170 deg C.    Wipe out the frying pan then fry the crumbs in 2oz/50g of the butter until they are golden brown, turning often so they cook evenly and don't burn.   In a separate pan, put the remaining ingredients, cover, and cook gently until the apples are soft.    Add the crumbs (I left a few for the top) and mix it all together.   Lay out the pancakes and divide the mixture between them, rolling each one up gently, or they tear (but it doesn't matter, they are just more difficult to lift!).  Put in a single line in a hot, ovenproof dish, and cover with foil (important, or they will dry out).   Heat in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Just before serving, dredge the pancakes with icing sugar.   

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Rhubarb Fool

Everybody is a fool for love sometimes, but I am always a lover of fools..... rhubarb, gooseberry and plum.    For a quick Valentine's pudding, rhubarb or plum fool absolutely fills the bill.   Some fool recipes use custard, but Greek yoghurt is far nicer, and gives a little sharpness to the creamy mixture.

Rhubarb Fool

1lb/400g rhubarb (or plums/gooseberries)
jam sugar to taste (about 100g/4oz)
½ pint/300ml double cream
½ pint/300ml Greek yoghurt

Gently simmer the fruit with the sugar until it is soft but not mushy (add a little water to stop the fruit sticking on the bottom of the pan).    Cool and then mash up – I prefer mine not totally puréed (plums should have the pips removed, and gooseberries do need to be sieved – you don’t want to be picking bits out of your teeth, it’s not romantic!).    Whip the cream, then fold in the yoghurt.   Put a small quantity of the plain fruit into the bottom of a pretty glass, then fold the rest into the creamy mixture.   Chill.  


There are many more exciting new recipes (at least 30 exclusive to the book) in my new book "Kate's Puddings, the Cookbook of the Blog" - simply click on:

Shortbread Hearts

These little, crisp, shortbread hearts are perfect with ice cream, fruit fool, or any delicious creamy pudding.   Traditionally made with rice flour (not essential) they keep well in a tin, if there are any left over.....

Shortbread Hearts 

5oz/150g plain flour
3 level tbsps rice flour – if no rice flour, substitute plain flour
2oz/50g caster sugar
4oz/100g butter at just above room temperature

Preheat oven to 170deg C/325 deg F.    Grease a large baking sheet.   Mix together the flours and the sugar.    Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients.   It will form a dryish dough, which you knead a little before rolling (this stretches the gluten and makes the biscuit stick together better).  

Roll out the dough between two pieces of greaseproof parchment, about .5cm thick for the hearts.   Cut out the shapes and transfer using a fish slice to the baking sheet.   Bake until golden – the butter in the mixture will brown while your back is turned, so check it frequently after 15 minutes or so.      When they are done, dredge them with caster sugar.  

This quantity of ingredients made a whole tray of hearts in different sizes.   Instead of hearts, you can pack the shortbread into a mould or small square/round sandwich tin.   The tin version will probably take longer to cook.   For Christmas, you could punch out a small hole in each heart, then thread with ribbon and hang on the tree.  

75 mouthwatering recipes, including over 30 exclusive ones, are in my new cookbook:  Kate's Puddings Cookbook - out now!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Soda Bread - a suitable start to Lent

This is a puddings blog, however, as it is Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent and the time to give up nice things, I thought I'd blog that delicious Irish staple, soda bread.   Marked with a cross, this is a very quick bread - virtually no kneading and no waiting!   Best eaten fresh, but can be toasted the following day, if there are any leftovers.  This recipe is from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course.  I make it with buttermilk, but you can use soured cream thinned with water. If you can’t get buttermilk or soured cream, use ½ pint/275ml milk and 2 tsp cream of tartar as well as the bicarbonate of soda

Soda Bread

8oz/225g wholemeal flour
8oz/225g white bread flour (or plain flour)
2 tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
5floz/150ml soured cream
5floz/150ml water plus 2-3 extra tablespoons
(I use one 284ml pot of buttermilk, then refill it ¾ with water)

If you can’t get buttermilk or soured cream, use ½ pint/275ml milk and 2 tsp cream of tartar as well as the bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C and grease a baking sheet

Mix together the dry ingredients and add the wet, keeping back the extra water – the dough shouldn’t be sticky and sloppy, but it also shouldn’t be too dry.  Knead the dough lightly so that it has a smooth surface, then put it onto the baking sheet.  Make a deep cross with a large knife.   This divides the loaf, but also helps it cook in the middle.  

Bake for about 30 minutes, covering with foil if necessary - keep an eye on it.   When it is ready, it makes a hollow sound when you tap the base.    Delia says you have to cool it for 15 minutes before eating – mine’s never lasted that long!

Delicious with butter, lemon curd, honey, and also with soup and cheese. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Traditional Pancakes

Pancakes - so many recipes, but the traditional is still the best!   Why does everybody love pancakes?  Because even when they go wrong, they still taste fantastic...   Good Housekeeping's traditional recipe works every time.   Top tips - let the batter stand for at least half an hour, and keep the frying pan hot, with not too much fat.

Traditional pancakes
Pancakes - Batter

4 oz plain flour
1 pinch salt
½ pint of milk

Butter/oil for frying

To finish – traditional style
sugar, lemons

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor/blender and whizz until thick and gloopy.  Leave to stand for half an hour.

Heat a frying pan and put in a small knob of butter/oil.  Melt it and get it sizzling but not burnt.   Pour in the pancake batter and swirl around the pan until it is evenly spread over the base (not too thick – use the first one as a test!).  Cook until it is beginning to brown underneath.  Turn the pancake over, tossing if you are feeling adventurous, otherwise using a spatula.  Cook on the other side.    Put onto a plate and repeat the process.  

This quantity will make 7 large plate sized pancakes, or a larger number of smaller ones.   To serve, dredge with caster sugar and lemon juice.   Also good with ice cream, maple syrup, jam, cream…..  

Lemon Curd - easy peasy lemon squeezy

The acidulous goo that masquerades under the title "Lemon Curd" is nothing like the real stuff.... Lemon curd is soft and delicious.  It goes well with yoghurt, in ice cream, with meringues, and on toast.    It doesn't last long, and the traditional Good Housekeeping recipe below makes only 3 small jars, which keep for about a month in the fridge.   I have my own chickens, who lay beautiful eggs with very yellow yolks, which gives all my puddings a more golden appearance.

Lemon Curd

Grated rind and juice of 4 lemons
4 eggs, beaten
4oz/100g butter
1lb/450g sugar (yes, that’s a lot!)

The best way to make this is in a double saucepan (one with a separate chamber below for the boiling water), but a heatproof bowl (Pyrex) on a pan of simmering water works just as well, if a little more slowly. 

Put all the ingredients in the bowl/saucepan, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.   Carry on heating it, stirring from time to time, until the mixture has thickened – it coats the back of the spoon, and then becomes more difficult to stir.  Strain through a sieve (important – it gets rid of any lumpy bits of egg) into small (clean) jars.   Cover the jars as per jam – with waxed discs and cellophane tops.  Alternatively, as you will be using this up quickly, cut circles of parchment to fit the jars, and then put the lids back on firmly.     This will keep for about a month, and makes a great present.   

Lemon Meringue Heart

What better celebration of Valentine's than making your own "I love you" heart?    My beloved doesn't like chocolate, and adores lemon and meringue, so this was an experiment....      I made the meringue base a day or so early, adding home made lemon curd and whipped cream.   It is topped with very thin slices of pineapple, but strawberries would be equally good.   I photographed this as soon as I made it, but it tastes better if it is left to sit for about 3 hours or so, when everything become a little softer!

Pineapple, cream and lemon curd meringue heart
Lemon Meringue Valentine

Heart Base
3 egg whites
6oz caster sugar  
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 tsp vanilla (if wanted)
Oven - 150 deg C

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, adding the sugar a tablespoonful at a time.  Lastly, add the essence.    Line a large flat baking tray with silicone parchment.  Using a piping bag and 1/2" 1cm pipe, pipe the heart shape (starting with the outside and filling in) - see picture below.   Bake for about an hour, keeping an eye on it, and then turn off the oven and leave it to dry.     Peel off the paper and put it onto a wire rack.

Heart Centre
Home made lemon curd – see blog for recipe

Heart Top
Half a pint of double cream, whipped with 2 fl oz milk to lighten the texture

Final Top
Fresh fruit – I used pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced very thinly. 

And, Reader, he loved it! 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Rhubarb and Ginger Syllabub

Rhubarb and Ginger... a match made in heaven!   This is a very easy syllabub, and, if you make it with the lovely pink Yorkshire rhubarb, it will look beautiful as well as taste delicious.   The recipe is from Claire Macdonald's Seasonal Cookery, one of my favourite books.  The photo below is at least double quantity, and made with summer rhubarb, so not as pink (hence the roses to pretty it up!).   It would make a good Valentine's pudding, decorated with heart-shaped biscuits.

Rhubarb and ginger syllabub
Rhubarb and Ginger Syllabub

1 ½ lb/700g rhubarb, cut in chunks
3oz/75g sugar
1 pint/600ml double cream (you could do half/half with Greek yoghurt)
1 shot glass of ginger wine
8 pieces of ginger preserved in syrup

Cook the rhubarb gently in a pan, covered only with the sugar – too fast and it will burn on the bottom!   The rhubarb should be cooked through after about 20-30 minutes.   Let it cool, and then purée it, or mash it up with a fork if you prefer to see pieces of rhubarb. 

Whip together the cream and ginger wine.  Cut the ginger into small pieces, and stir it into the cream.  Fold in the purée (not too perfectly, it’s nice to see streaks of pink).   Either divide into glasses, or serve in a bowl.

Great with ginger shortbread or other little crisp biscuits.  

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sherry Trifle, the classic recipe

Trifle is a sly pudding... under the creamy top, hidden horrors lurk!  This is, I believe, the best recipe, taken from the old Tante Marie Cookery School (now Gordon Ramsay Culinary Academy) Cookbook.   I normally make my own macaroons, sponge cake (using home made jam) and custard, but you can substitute.   Be warned:  this trifle is not set solid, nor does it contain jelly.   It may look like the wrath of God, but tastes unbelievable!  The photo shows one of my Stour Festival trifles - made with a pint of custard and probably the same amount of cream.

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

Classic Sherry Trifle
Sherry Trifle

Base Layer:
4 pieces of sponge cake (as stale as you like!)  
raspberry jam to spread over the sponge cake
4 home made traditional almond macaroons
zest of one lemon
1oz blanched almonds
good slug of sherry and brandy
(I usually also add fresh strawberries/raspberries in season)

Middle Layer:
¾ pint of custard - see earlier blog - made with:
3 eggs
3oz/75g caster sugar
¾ pint double cream and milk mixed (the more cream, the thicker)

¾ pint Double cream with a bit of milk to whisk up with a lighter texture

Trifle is an assembly job….    In the bottom of a pretty bowl put the cake, spread with raspberry jam, plus broken up macaroons.   Grate over the lemon zest and add the almonds and any fruit.  Add the sherry and brandy.   Leave it for a bit, if you have time.

Add cold custard to cover the cake layer, then whip the cream with the added milk until it is thick but still just pourable, and then pour it over the pudding.    This is best after it has sat for a few hours.   

Decorate (but please not with cherries and angelica!)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Orange and Almond Cake - light and tangy

This is a wonderful recipe for a light textured, tangy and delicious cake, containing no wheat, so suitable for the gluten-intolerant.   Best served warm, it is good with a compote of sliced oranges, cream, crème fraiche or yoghurt.   I found this recipe in the Daily Telegraph Magazine a couple of years ago, and have been using it ever since.  If you substitute dairy-free spread for the butter, it is also dairy free.

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

Orange and Almond gluten free cake
Orange and Almond Cake

6oz/150g blanched almonds
3 large eggs, separated
6oz/150g caster and light soft brown sugar (approx half and half)
3oz/60g rice flour
1 ½ oranges, zest of one, juice of all
1oz/25g butter
icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 160 deg C.    Either chop the almonds very finely, or put into a food processor.  They should have a fine crumb texture, but not as fine as ground almonds.     Whisk the yolks and sugar until pale and creamy (at least 3 minutes).   Add the chopped almonds and rice flour.  Add the zest of one orange, and the orange juice.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.  Fold this into the mixture. 

Take a 20cm cake tin and rub the inside with all the butter, as this makes the crust.   Bake for about 50 minutes until the cake has shrunk away from the edge of the tin, and is springy (you can also check by putting a warm knife into it, it if comes out clean it is done).    Tip the cake onto a rack and allow it to cool. 

Dust with icing sugar, and accompany with sliced oranges and crème fraiche, cream or yoghurt.