Friday, 30 August 2013

Lemon Cream

This recipe is so simple, I don't know why I haven't discovered it earlier!   The basic lemon cream is a smooth yet thick cream which holds its shape, but also spreads well.   It can be served on its own with tuiles, plus a fruit coulis, or spread on a pavlova with raspberries, or even with crushed meringue mixed in.   It is also absolutely divine with a dark berry sorbet as a contrast in both flavour and texture.

Lemon Cream
Lemon Cream

1 pint double cream
10oz/300g good quality lemon curd (home made works best)   

Pour the cream into a large bowl and stir in the curd.  This should thicken immediately.  If not, whip the mixture lightly.  If you want to make quenelles (those professional egg-shaped spoonfuls), chill it first.  This quantity will more than cover a good pavlova, or serves 6-8. 

Lemon Curd

Grated rind and juice of 4 lemons
4 eggs, beaten
4oz/100g butter
1lb/450g sugar  

Put all the ingredients in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water/double boiler, 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.     

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Black Pepper Tuiles

Now and again I find an absolutely fabulous recipe from a magazine, and this is definitely one.  It was a recipe from a talented female chef a few years ago, but I cannot find her name, except to thank Stella Magazine for publishing it!  The quantities are fiddly and exact, but the tuiles very unusual and delicious.  They make a fantastic accompaniment to ice cream and panna cotta, and half of the mixture can be used on another occasion.  The recipe suggests that they are stored in layers in baking parchment, but I didn't have enough left to store!

Black Pepper Tuiles
Black Pepper Tuiles

2 ¼ oz/60g butter
1floz/25g double cream
2 ¾ oz/75g caster sugar
1floz/25g liquid glucose
2 ¾ oz/75g polenta (preferably the instant type)
cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170 deg C.    Makes approx 24 or so

Put all the ingredients except for the polenta and pepper into a pan and stir over a low heat until dissolved.  Then bring to the boil briefly, before removing from the heat and whisking in the polenta.  This needs to be done slowly and steadily, so the polenta doesn’t go into lumps.    The mixture now needs to be allowed to cool and get firm, and the quickest way to do this is to put it into a wide dish.

Take half of the mixture and roll it out between two sheets of baking parchment until it is quite thin.  Carefully peel the top layer of parchment off, then put the mixture, on its parchment, onto a large baking sheet (it does need to be large!).   Grind the black pepper all over the tuile in an even layer.

Bake until golden brown – about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a minute.   Take a large knife, and cut the tuile into quarters, then each quarter into thin triangles, pressing completely through the tuile.  The tuile will crisp up quite quickly, so the last few may well crack.  (Like brandy snaps, if it has got too cool, put it back into the oven for a minute until it softens again.) 

You can either use the remaining mixture and repeat the process immediately, or put the mixture into the fridge in a covered box and use it later.  I’ve found it keeps quite well in the fridge, just needing to be softened enough to roll out before use.  

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sticky Toffee Croissants

I've often wondered what to do with stale croissants, and usually ended up feeding them to the chickens.  This is a variation of a recipe from and, once tasted, I simply had to share it!  It has to be the best way of using up left-over croissants I've ever discovered.  An instant hit with the family, and almost nicer than fresh croissants, it is a wickedly fattening, calorific, yummy pudding.... pass that spoon, I'm just going to tidy the edges up!

Sticky Toffee Croissants
Sticky Toffee Croissants

4 or 5 plain or chocolate croissants
2 tbsps “Camp” coffee essence
4 tbsps muscovado or soft brown sugar
4 tbsps runny honey
8 tbsps maple syrup
¼ pint double cream
8oz/100g butter
1oz pecan nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220deg C and grease an oven proof ceramic dish.  Slice the croissants and arrange in the dish (add the pecans at this stage). 

In a pan, heat together all the other ingredients and bring to just under a boil.   Pour over the croissants and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it is just browning.

Serve dusted with icing sugar, hot or cold, with plain ice cream or Greek yoghurt as it is VERY RICH!  

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

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Quick Raspberry Jam

There's nothing to beat home made jams and jellies, and raspberry is one of my eternal favourites (and a much easier jam to make than strawberry!).  This is a very quick, easy recipe, and gives a lightly set jam.  Perfect for beginners and hasty cooks.

Even though nobody in the family admits to eating jam, I find it disappears into Swiss Rolls, sponge cakes, trifles, puddings, gets heated and made into sauces and is otherwise endlessly useful.   The best jam is made with the later-fruiting raspberries, those large autumn ones.  You can make it with frozen raspberries if desperate, but I've found them to be very small and pippy when defrosted.   This is a lovely old Good Housekeeping recipe - they are the best for jams and jellies, with lots of sensible practical advice.

Quick Raspberry Jam
Quick Raspberry Jam

2 ½ lb/1.1kg raspberries
3lb/1.4kg sugar

Simmer the raspberries in a large pan until the juice flows from the fruit.  Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Warm the sugar in the oven and add to the fruit.  Stir until it has dissolved, then bring it quickly back to the boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Pour the jam into clean, warmed pots, and cover with waxed paper circles to prevent mould growth.   Top with solid lids, or cellophane pot covers. 

This makes about 5lb/2.3kg of jam.  

Friday, 16 August 2013

Blackcurrant Sorbet

So many summer fruits, so many delicious puddings!  Blackcurrants are one of my favourite fruits, and a blackcurrant sorbet is a fantastic way of getting lots of Vitamin C while enjoying a low fat and refreshing pudding.  The blackcurrant season is quite short, but frozen ones are just as good (top tip for the lazy - throw them into the pan as they come, as all the skins, pips, leaves and strings will be sieved out later).

Blackcurrant Sorbet

1lb/450g blackcurrants, (keep a few whole ones for decoration)
8oz/225g sugar
½ pint of water
juice of 1 lemon
1 egg white (optional but recommended)
optional - 3 tbsp cassis

Put all the ingredients except for the egg white and cassis into a pan and simmer until the blackcurrants are soft (about 10-15 minutes - keep checking!).   Allow the syrup to cool a little before sieving.  

Sieve the mixture to get a smooth  purée, and add the cassis at this stage.  Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks and fold it in – this lightens the texture. 

Churn the syrup in an ice cream maker.   Alternatively, freeze in a shallow container in the freezer, breaking it up with a fork every hour or so to stop large crystals from forming.

Remove from the freezer before serving, as sorbet is best slightly softened.  This will make enough for about 6 people. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Lemon Drizzle Madeira Cake

Madeira Cake is a more condensed version of a sponge cake, which makes it last longer, but it can be quite dry and solid!  I've added a lemon drizzle to the top, which has made it more moist, as well as adding a touch of sharpness.  Rather like a loaf cake, the Madeira generally bursts through its top as the middle cooks more slowly than the outsides.  This has only a light lemon drizzle, done when the cake is hot - you could add another one later to give more of an iced effect.  The cake keeps well, although does tend to get "tidied up" in its tin!

Lemon Drizzle Madeira Cake
Lemon Drizzle Madeira Cake

6oz/175g softened butter  
6oz175g caster sugar (I sometimes use soft brown)
1 tsp vanilla essence
4oz/110g plain flour sifted with
4oz/110g self-raising flour
3 large eggs, beaten
1-2 tbsps milk  

Drizzle Icing:
approx 2oz/50g sieved icing sugar
juice of a lemon, warmed

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, grease and line the base and sides of an 8” cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. 

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until pale and fluffy.  Add the beaten eggs, about 1/3 a time and beat in.  Fold in the flour.  If the mixture is too stiff, add some milk so that the mixture drops from the spoon (do this gradually!).  

Bake for about an hour, testing after about 40 minutes.   If the cake looks as though it is getting too brown, protect the top with a piece of foil.

Near the end of the cooking time, make the icing – it should be very liquid and runny, so start with the lemon juice and add the icing sugar, and then adjust the proportion accordingly.  Take the cake out of the oven and pierce some holes with a skewer.   Slowly pour over the icing – the slower the better as it will sink into the holes as well as falling down the sides into the tin!

When you’ve poured over all the icing, remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a rack.  

Friday, 9 August 2013

Gooseberry Fool

Puddings in summer are a delight, as there are so many delicious fruits in season, and a plethora of fabulous recipes!  I adore gooseberries, but, unless you grow your own, they are sometimes hard to find.  Frozen gooseberries work equally well - you don't have to top and tail them for this recipe.  I use jam sugar to make it set slightly.  Gooseberry fool is divine as it is slightly tart, but sweet and refreshing.  Known as "Scuse Me Fool" to my nephew Patrick, it is a real family favourite.  Serve it with almond tuiles or other little biscuits.

Gooseberry Fool

Gooseberry Fool

1lb/400g ripe gooseberries  
jam sugar to taste (about 100g/4oz)
small quantity of elderflower cordial (not essential)
½ pint/300ml double cream
½ pint/300ml Greek yoghurt (ordinary yoghurt is too sloppy)
Flowers for decoration

Gently simmer the fruit with the sugar and elderflower (or a small quantity of water) until it is very soft.   Cool and then purée it in a blender before pushing it through a sieve to remove the pips and any stray tops/tails.   Taste for sweetness.  You can add more sugar if necessary, or some elderflower cordial in lieu of sugar.   Whip the cream, then fold in the yoghurt and gooseberry purée, not mixing it completely so you get a marbled effect when you put it into the serving bowl.   Pour into a clear glass bowl, swirling it to get ribbons of gooseberry purée and cream, then chill it.  Just before you serve the fool, decorate it with flowers.   Serves 6-8.

This recipe is also featured in my cookbook - on the website  

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Easy Almond Tuiles

If you are looking for little biscuits to go with ice creams, mousses and other delicious puddings, these little almond tuiles are a hit, especially as they contain only egg white, which is perfect for those left-over whites lurking in the fridge.  They are so quick to make - made and cooked and in under 20 minutes - and don't last long!    I haven't tried to make them with gluten-free flour, but they will probably work well.

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

Almond Tuiles
Almond Tuiles

1 large egg white
2oz/55g caster sugar
1oz/25g plain flour, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla
1oz/25g melted butter
flaked almonds (about 1oz/25g)

Oven:  preheat to 190deg C, and put baking parchment on three baking sheets – it is best to bake these in single tray batches

In a medium sized bowl, put the egg white and caster sugar and beat until it is light and frothy, using either a hand whisk or a fork.

Add the flour and vanilla, then the melted butter.  Stir the mixture until it is smooth.    Put teaspoons of the mix onto baking sheets, well spaced (about 6 per tray), and, using the back of the spoon, push the mixture into a thin circle about 3” in diameter.     Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.

Bake for approximately 5-8 minutes until pale golden.   Remove from the oven, and then, when they have cooled slightly, lift off the sheet and curve them over a rolling pin (or jam jars when there’s no more space on the rolling pin!).   If they are too firm to do this, pop them back into the oven for a few seconds to soften up again.  They should dry crisp.  When they have hardened, you can cool them on a wire rack. 

Makes about 15-18.   Store in an airtight tin. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

White Peach Melba

Peach Melba is one of the most delicious summer puddings, although I personally make it with nectarines as their shiny skins keep the fruit plumper than peaches.   White peaches and nectarines are the very best of this delectable fruit, and far nicer than the standard yellow ones.   This is a very good last-minute pudding too - perfect for those summer evenings when you admit that, after all, a pudding is what you really wanted!

 White Peach Melba

Per person:
1 white peach or nectarine
1 generous scoop ice cream
1 good handful of raspberries (keep some for decoration)
1 tbsp raspberry jam or redcurrant jelly

Halve the peaches/nectarines and ladle gently into a wide pan of simmering water.  Poach for a short time, and then lift them out of the water and put onto a plate to drain and cool.  They should now peel easily, and any sunblush on the skin of the nectarine will have transferred itself to the fruit.   

To make the ice cream, see my “Basic Vanilla Ice Cream” recipe below.  Bought ice cream is fine, if you are desperate!

For the sauce, take the raspberries (which don’t have to be perfect, and can be frozen) and simmer them gently with the jam or jelly until the juice has just started to flow and the jam or jelly has melted.  Sieve the sauce to remove any pips. 

To assemble, place the nectarine/peach in the base of an ice cream coupe or goblet, add the ice cream, then pour the warm sauce over.  Eat immediately.  

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream – this makes a 1 litre tub

2 egg yolks
250cc (9fl oz) full cream milk
150cc (6floz) cream (I usually change these quantities over and use double cream)
80g caster sugar
1/2tsp vanilla

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a food processor, add the milk and cream and blast in the processor until they are all mixed together.      Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until thick.