Friday, 29 November 2013


Syllabub is a deliciously traditional English pudding.  The name apparently means "silly bubbles" and it was originally made by pouring cream from a height over a mixture of alcohol, lemon and sugar.  So it hasn't changed much, except that I find it easier to put the whole lot into a Kenwood mixer!   I have no idea where this recipe came from, as my mother passed it on about 30 years ago, and it has been my favourite quick stand-by ever since.  Normally made with just lemon juice, I tried adding orange, which was equally good.   Ideally, this should be served with little biscuits or tuiles.  I get no marks for the presentation here - in an ideal world the orange and lemon zest should be prettily distributed over the syllabub....


Orange and Lemon Syllabub 

½ pint/280ml double cream
3oz/75g caster sugar
¼ pint/140ml sherry
rind and juice of half a lemon and half an orange

Pour all the ingredients into a deep bowl and whisk until thick/put into a Kenwood/Kitchen Aid mixer – it will splash everywhere.  Spoon into four pretty little glass dishes and chill until it has firmed up slightly.  Decorate with whatever takes your fancy!  

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Orange Sponge Cake

I was originally given this with the recommendation that it was the world's most amazing orange cake - they weren't far wrong!   The given quantity was absolutely massive, so I opted for half size, and a single layer cake, as it has a delicious orange glacé icing that would be lost in the middle of two pieces.  Also, it is cooked low and slow, and has a beautiful texture.  Move over, lemon, this orange cake is going places!

Amazing Orange Cake


8oz/250g butter
8oz/250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 dessert spoon grated orange zest
8oz/250g self raising flour
3floz/90ml fresh orange juice

25ml orange juice
4oz/110g icing sugar (approx)

Preheat the oven to 170 deg C, and line a 22cm springform cake tin with parchment, and grease  the sides well with butter.     Cream the butter and sugar well until very pale.  This will take a while.  Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each one (you can add 1 tbsp of the flour at the same time to stop the mix from curdling, and the orange zest. Add the remaining flour, and beat well, then slowly add the orange juice.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for approx 45 minutes, or until a warm skewer comes out clean.  Slow is best, so don't be afraid to cook it longer.  If it starts to brown on the top, cover loosely with a sheet of  foil.

Leave the cake in the tin on a wire rack to cool, then gently remove the sides of the tin.

To make the icing, stir the orange juice into the icing sugar until you have the right spreading consistency, and apply with a palette knife, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake if you wish.  Leave the icing to set before cutting the cake. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Kate's Puddings Cookbook with exclusive recipes

Kate's Puddings Cookbook and Kate's Puddings Calendar 2014 are available now!   

In glorious colour, the cookbook is a mouthwatering collection of my favourite puddings and cakes from the Kate's Puddings website, plus a whole lot of lovely new recipes, exclusive to the cookbook.  Pear, walnut and roquefort tart, salted caramel and chocolate tart, apple lattice and French tarts galore!  New ice cream and sorbets too....  

Special Offer - buy the book and the calendar together for £20 plus postage! 

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Friday, 22 November 2013

French Apple Tart

There's such a glut of apples this year, and it seems a shame to waste them.  This apple tart is a fabulous recipe for windfall apples, as they are seldom perfect, so any bumps and bruises can be cut away.   There are many ways of making this tart, and you can add cinnamon or other spices, but I prefer brandy and lemon to give the apples a lovely tangy taste.  It can be dairy-free if you use a dairy-free spread.

Bake the tart blind, or not, as you prefer.  I like to avoid a soggy bottom, but sometimes there simply isn't time to pre-bake.  I've given the quantities for one tart, but it is not much extra work to make several at once, and then freeze the remainder.  I over-filled the one below, so it did bubble up a bit, but tasted good nonetheless!

French Apple Tart
  French Apple Tart

8oz/220g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
4oz/110g butter/baking spread
1 egg
cold water

Apple Filling:
8oz prepared cooking apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
1-2 cooking apples peeled, cored and sliced thinly
up to 3oz brown sugar
good slug of brandy
1tbsp lemon juice
1 jar apricot glaze (you can use sieved jam or marmalade instead)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C, and make up the pastry by hand or in a processor.   Use it to line a 9” loose bottom flan tin, preferably French-style one with a fluted edge.  Chill the pastry before baking it blind.  (If you don’t bake it blind, preheat a baking sheet and put the tart onto it so that you avoid a soggy bottom)

Put the chopped apples into a pan, adding lemon juice and a good slug of brandy.  Then add sugar to taste.  Simmer gently until the apples have broken down, but not become a total purée.  

Pour the apple mix into the tart case, spreading evenly.  Thinly slice the remaining cooking apple, and arrange the slices over the tart in overlapping patterns.   Sprinkle with some caster sugar before baking until the tart is slightly browned.   Melt some of the apricot glaze in a small pan until any lumps have gone. 

Remove the tart from the oven and brush with the apricot glaze.   Serve hot or cold.  

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Peanut Cookies

Peanut Cookies are a very quick and easy way of turning half a bag of peanuts into something delicious, instead of just a boring cocktail snack.   This is an adaptation of an old Good Housekeeping recipe, and I was aiming more for a biscuit texture than a soft cookie.  The orange rind gives a delicious twist to the cookies, plus the use of salted peanuts.  Cookies are always better fresh, and you can keep the uncooked mix in the fridge for a day or so.   I haven't tried freezing it, there wasn't any left!

Peanut Cookies

Peanut Cookies

4oz/110g peanuts, salted or plain, plus extra for the top
(or 2oz/crunchy peanut butter and 2oz peanuts plus extra)
2oz/50g caster sugar
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
2oz/50g butter (or spread, for dairy-free)
the rind of half an orange
1 egg, beaten
4oz/110g self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, and line one or two baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.   This makes about 24

In a small food processor/mini chopper, blitz 2oz/50g of the peanuts until they form peanut butter (or use peanut butter).   Add the butter, sugar and orange rind, and continue until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and sift the flour over the mixture, before folding it in using a metal spoon.   Mix in 2oz peanuts, chopped roughly (you can add them earlier but don’t blitz them to smithereens).

Put the mixture in heaped teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet, allowing space for them to spread, pressing loose peanut halves into the tops.  Brush with milk (omit for dairy-free).     Bake for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown.    Cool on a wire rack. 

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

Friday, 15 November 2013

Black Forest Trifle

This is just one of the recipes in my cookbook "Kate's Puddings, the Cookbook of the Blog", which you can order through the link on this site.    I adore trifle in all its forms (except where it contains jelly!), and experimented with a Black Forest Trifle, as I had some left-over chocolate sponge cake (actually, a failed sponge cake with a large dip in the middle!), and some cherries.   The result is a classic - chocolate, cream, Kirsch and cherries mingling in a delicious retro-style pudding.   I put some redcurrant coulis on the top, plus a few raspberries to give colour, also because the cherries were all lurking in their alcohol at the bottom of the bowl.   Next time I’ll use more cherries!   I’ve since done it with a frozen “Black Forest Fruits” mix, which was also a great success. 

Black Forest Trifle

Black Forest Trifle

or bought cake/brownies
1lb/450g cherries, stones removed
Enough kirsch/framboise liqueur to cover the cherries
Chocolate custard – recipe below
¾ pint/450ml double cream
fruit and grated chocolate to decorate, plus red fruit coulis

Chocolate Custard:
3 egg yolks
1 ½ oz/50g caster sugar
¾ pint/450ml double cream mixed with milk (the richer, the richer the result)
½ tsp cornflour
4oz/100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

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.  Add the broken-up chocolate and stir it in.   Leave until cold.

Gently poach the cherries in the Kirsch or Framboise until the juice begins to flow but they haven’t lost their shape.  Cool.  

Assemble the trifle by putting crumbled cake into the base of a large glass bowl, then pouring the cherries and Kirsch over the top (adding more Kirsch if you wish).  Pour over the custard.   Whip the cream to soft peaks and put large blobs of cream onto the trifle.  Decorate with grated chocolate, extra fruit and a red fruit coulis if you have it. 

At least 30 other recipes exclusive to my book will not be on this blog.  To try more mouthwatering puddings, follow the link: 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Ginger Cake with Lemon Drizzle Icing

Autumn days make me hunger for more stodgy and filling food, and I suspect I'm not alone in this!   Light cakes lose their appeal in the winter, but a good ginger cake helps to keep out the chill, and the ginger pieces are perfect to combat the autumn colds and flu!   Think of it as medicinal, and you can't go far wrong...  This cake keeps brilliantly well, and has a lovely dense texture, with chunks of whole ginger to delight the tastebuds.

Ginger Cake with Lemon Drizzle Icing

Ginger Cake with Lemon Drizzle Icing 

8oz self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
4oz soft brown sugar
4oz butter
4oz black treacle
4oz golden syrup
2 eggs
¼ pint milk
5 pieces of stem ginger cut into small pieces

Icing - 1/2 lemon, icing sugar (approx 3oz)

Grease and line an 8" spring clip or lose based sandwich tin.  Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.     Put sugar, butter, syrup and treacle in a pan and heat gently until melted.  Beat the eggs into the milk.  Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl.  Add treacle mixture, ginger pieces and milk and beat well.  Pour into the prepared tin.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes on 180 deg C until brown and springy to the touch, beginning to shrink away from the sides of the foil. 

When the cake is cold, make up the icing by warming the juice of half a lemon in the microwave, then beating in the icing sugar until you have icing that pours reasonably well, but isn't so thin it rushes off the cake.   Use a piping bag or a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cake.  

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: 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Coffee and Hazelnut Meringue

Officially titled a "Vacherin", this is a fabulously nutty triple decker confection of coffee meringue and cream..... A tweak on the chocolate and hazelnut meringue, I made this for a recent party, and it went, very quickly indeed!  Try to find blanched hazelnuts, but if you can't, the skins come off when the whole ones are toasted (although some had to have a little bit of help).   If you don't have Camp coffee (amazing stuff), substitute with strong instant coffee.  I assembled this just before the party started, and it was deliciously gooey by pudding time!

Coffee and Hazelnut Meringue

Coffee and Hazelnut Meringue

6oz/170g shelled hazelnuts, preferably blanched
6 large egg whites
10oz/280g caster sugar
1 ½ tbsp “Camp” coffee essence
½ tsp vanilla
2tsp cornflour

1 pint/16floz double cream
2 tbsp “Camp” coffee essence
1 tub crème fraiche
1 punnet fresh raspberries (4oz/100g)

Preheat the oven to 130 deg C.   Toast the hazelnuts in a heavy-based pan.  Don’t use any oil, just keep moving them about until they are browned.  If they are not blanched, the skins will come off as they cook.  This will take at least 5 minutes.  When they are cooled, chop them up, but not too small – you want a bit of bite!

Inscribe 10” circles on three pieces of baking parchment to act as a guide (or put a 10” circular tin base underneath each one as you load on the meringue), and place on three baking trays.   Then whisk up the egg whites until stiff, adding the sugar gradually, plus the essences and cornflour.  If you can’t taste enough coffee, add a little more essence.    Fold about half of the hazelnuts into the mix, and spread it equally onto the three circles. 

Bake the meringues until they are not soft and squidgy – this can take up to an hour and a half, as the coffee essence makes them extra soft.   If they start to go too brown, cover with a layer of foil.    Cool.

To assemble, whip the cream, add the crème fraiche and coffee essence.  Peel the parchment off the meringues, and stack in layers with the cream, adding more of the hazelnuts as you go.  Remember to keep some for the top!  Top with raspberries and remaining hazelnuts and sprinkle with icing sugar.    

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: 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


There is truly nothing to beat home made mincemeat, which is nothing like that anonymous brown slurry you get in jars.... it's so easy to make, too!   I adore this recipe, it's one of Claire Macdonald's, and contains no suet, so is perfect for vegetarians.  As she points out, we don't need the extra calories, and the mincemeat is so good anyway, it doesn't need the fat.

The recipe below makes a fair amount, but make it now, and you will find it goes quickly if you give it to people as pre-Christmas presents, or make mince pies for friends, school, church or the TA!   It also keeps for a year, going dark and alcoholic.  I just refresh mine with more alcohol, and consider it to be "vintage".

In her recipe, Claire specifies quantities of raisins, peel, sultanas and currants.  For simplicity, I add the lot together (2lb 10z/1.180kg) and buy bags of mixed fruit, adding extra peel to make up the difference!

Kinloch Mincemeat

Kinloch Mincemeat

1lb 8oz/700g raisins
6oz/175g chopped mixed peel
12oz/350g sultanas
6oz/175g toasted flaked almonds
6 medium sized eating apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped
12oz/350g soft dark brown sugar
8oz/250g dried apricots, chopped
1tsp nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice
grated rind and juice of 2 oranges plus 2 lemons
¼ pint/150ml brandy, whisky or rum (this is a minimum!)

Mix everything together well and leave in a large covered container, stirring once or twice a week for three weeks.  Then pot and seal in jars. 

I prefer a finer texture mincemeat and can’t be bothered to cut everything by hand, so blitz it all in a food processor in batches until the individual pieces are about the size of chocolate chips.   You can do this at any time before potting it!   Feeding with extra alcohol is also a bonus…. 

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: 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Quick Mango Mousse

This is a delicious alternative to the traditional mousses, and very light and refreshing.   Using fresh or tinned mango (preferably fresh!), it is very quick to make, although mangoes are quite fiddly to unlock, as the flesh seems to cling very firmly to the stone.    Everybody has their own technique, but one I have found easy is to slice around the long edge, then slide a serrated knife into the mango, sawing it as close to the stone as possible, then lifting off the cut away part.  Repeat with the other half.  Score lines into the cut mango, and then cross hatch.  Using a spoon, scoop away the flesh.    It's messy!

Quick Mango Mousse
Quick Mango Mousse

2 ripe mangoes, flesh diced
2 egg whites
small quantity of icing sugar
2 tbsp lime juice (or lemon), and lime zest for decoration
½ pint double cream

6 pretty little glasses (approx, depending on size)

Purée the mango flesh in a processor, adding the lime juice, then the sugar to taste - it should be sweet, but not too sweet!   In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Whip the cream in yet another bowl until thickened, but not stiff.   Set aside 6 tbsp of the mango mixture. 

Fold the cream into the mango purée, then fold in the egg whites.  It helps to do a tablespoon of the whites first which opens up the texture of the mixture, then fold in the remaining whites until it is evenly mixed but you haven’t lost all the air in the whites. 

Pour a small quantity of the mango purée into the bottom of each glass, before adding the mousse.  Decorate with lime zest and any remaining mango purée, and chill before serving. 

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: