Friday, 29 July 2016

Molasses Ice Cream

My beloved husband, bless him, has decided that sugar is a potential poison, so is happily guzzling on molasses instead...  oh, the innocence!    It's ok, it won't last long but, in the meantime, I was experimenting with molasses ice cream (apparently molasses is brilliant for arthritis.. me neither).   And, actually, it's pretty good!  It's got that really, really dark treacly flavour you'd expect, and isn't particularly sweet, but, when paired with gingerbread (ginger, also good for arthritis), it's a winning pudding!  You could use health food store molasses or Lyle's black treacle.   Serve with gingerbread (

Molasses Ice Cream with Gingerbread
Molasses Ice Cream

3 egg yolks
5 fl oz/120mg molasses
23floz/600ml mixed milk and cream – normally 2/3 cream to 1/3 milk

Quick method:

Separate the egg yolks into a bowl/food processor (putting the whites into a jar to make meringues later).  Add the molasses and beat the mixture together.  Slowly add the cream/milk mixture, and whisk until it is well combined.

Slower Method:
Separate the egg yolks and add the molasses.  Warm the milk/cream mixture until blood heat, then pour it over the yolks/molasses.  Return the mixture to the pan and heat gently, stirring until it has thickened up and you’ve made a beautiful custard.  Allow it to cool, then…

Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until it is thick – probably about 35-50 minutes, depending on the warmth of the day.   This quantity usually makes about 1.5 pint, enough for 6-8 people (or one hungry husband).  

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Mixed Berry and Cheese Mousse

This is best described as a light cheesecake without the base...  The original in my ancient Good Housekeeping was a ring mould, with the jelly part crowning a cheese mousse.  However, as my ring mould wasn't large enough, and I wanted something a bit more 21st century, I opted for the striped effect.   It didn't take much longer to make, as I chilled the jelly part in a separate mould, dropping it into the bowl with the cheese bit before adding the final cheese mousse.  Top tip - make the jelly in a mould exactly the same size as the bowl!   (second top tip - use sheet gelatine, it's much easier)

Mixed Berry Cheese Mouse

Mixed Berry and Cheese Mousse

Berry jelly layer:
1lb/400g mixed fruit – red/black/white currants, raspberries added later
¼ pint/150ml water
1-2oz/25-50g caster sugar (to taste)
4 sheets gelatine  

Cheese mousse layers:
2oz/50g caster sugar
1 orange, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
7floz/200ml crème fraiche (1 tub)
9oz/250g cream cheese (1 tub)
2 eggs, separated
6 sheets gelatine plus 3 tbsp hot water in a small bowl
½ pint/142ml double cream

Put the mixed currants into a pan, add the water and sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.  I started with the smaller amount of sugar, and added a little bit more as the blackcurrants were especially tart!  Cook slowly, so that the berries keep their shape, then add the raspberries before letting it all cool down.  Soak the gelatine sheets in water until soft, then add to the fruit, stirring gently to distribute the gel.  Pour almost all of the mixture into a tin the same size as the serving bowl, and put it in the fridge to set.  Leave the remaining part for decoration.

Put the rind, juice, caster sugar, crème fraiche, cream cheese and egg yolks in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Again, soak the gelatine sheets in cold water, before squeezing them out and putting them into the hot water to disperse.   Add the liquid gelatine to the mix and blend again.  In a large bowl, whip the cream, then add to it all the cheese mixture and fold together (yes, I know you’re supposed to do it the other way round, but you can’t fold cream into a blender, and it means dirtying another bowl!).  Lastly, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, folding in a tablespoon to break up the texture, then the rest. 

Pour half of the cheese mixture into your chosen dish, chill (keep the other half of the mixture in a warm place so it doesn’t set prematurely).   When it is pretty nearly set, turn the jelly layer over the top of the cheese layer (it helps to loosen the edge of the jelly layer with a knife and then give it a sharp jolt or two until it has shivered out onto the bottom layer).  Add the remaining cheese layer and chill again.  Lastly, warm up the remaining jelly section, just so that it comes loose and you can pour it onto the top.  Chill again, then serve. 

Friday, 15 July 2016

Mocha Mousse Cake

The world's most fabulous chocolate mousse cake just grew up... and became a mocha mousse cake! The original, a wonderful recipe by Claire Macdonald, features in my second cookbook - Kate's Puddings Second Helpings (available from my website or via  Wanting to make something sophisticated, I sought to improve on her perfection and here's the result!  Another new Stour recipe, so I piped some liquid chocolate key signatures to go onto the top to denote the musical theme, but you could use whipped cream blobs or grated chocolate.   The picture below shows it in its travelling tin, as it wouldn't have survived the journey otherwise!  When taken out of the tin, you can see the delicious two layers of mousse over a light chocolate cake.  Heaven.

Warning:  You will find yourself in the kitchen “tidying up” this cake once it has been started….
Mocha Mousse Cake 
Mocha Mousse Cake

6oz/175g dark chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
5oz/150g caster sugar
30ml/1fl oz strong black coffee

1 tsp powdered gelatine (or 2 leaves, soaked)
6oz/175g dark chocolate, chopped
90ml strong black coffee
4 eggs, separated
¼ pint/150ml double cream, lightly whipped (preferably at room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg.  Butter a 25cm spring clip cake tin and line the base with parchment.   Melt the chocolate.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together, until it is thick and pale.  Fold in the coffee and stir in the cooled chocolate.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.  Pour into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until you can stick a skewer or hot knife in and it comes out clean.   Leave the cake to cool in its tin.

For the mousse, pour the second lot of coffee into a bowl or saucepan and add the gelatine.  Heat through gently until the gelatine has dissolved. 

Melt the chocolate, then stir in the coffee.  Beat the egg yolks into the mixture.   Next you fold in the whipped cream, before whisking the egg whites until stiff and folding them into the mousse.

The cake will have puffed up in the oven and crusted, so you have to press it down in the tin with your fingers to make a more compact layer.   Pour over the mousse and leave it for 3-4 hours to set (actually it set quite quickly in the fridge).

To serve, dip a palette knife in hot water and run it round the inside of the tin before opening the spring clip and releasing the cake.  Plate it up and then you can decorate it.   

To make the chocolate decorations, melt some chocolate and pipe it onto parchment.  You can make a quick piping bag by taking a 9" square of parchment.  Hold both bottom corners, then take the left corner over to the top right, curling it under.  Curl it a little tighter, then you can stick a bit of tape on to keep the shape of the cone, or just pour in the chocolate, snip a bit off the end and get going.  Chill the piped decorations in the fridge, so they will peel off easily.  

Monday, 11 July 2016

Orange, Almond and Caramel Torte

Is one of your friends both gluten and dairy free?  If so, you'll know how difficult it is to make a pudding that is not just poached fruit.   This, to me, is a challenge, and this year's Stour Festival saw a new cake, this deliciously squidgy orange and almond torte, with caramelised oranges on the top.   It's ridiculously easy to make, and, with its lovely caramelled top, looks pretty and has an intense orange flavour.  Why?  Because the main ingredient is a whole orange!  This fabulous recipe was originally published in Good Housekeeping magazine,

Although I do have a blowtorch, the caramel on the cake was made by boiling sugar and water and pouring it over the orange pieces.  This is best served with something creamy, which at Stour means piling another three puddings beside it...

Orange, Almond and Caramel Torte 
Almond, Orange and Caramel Torte

1 medium orange
3 eggs
8oz/225g golden caster sugar
9oz/250g ground almonds
½ level tsp baking powder
Plus – flour to dust (use GF flour) and oil to grease the tin

2oz/50g white sugar
A little water (2tbsp)
2 oranges

Put the orange into a jug, cover it with 3 ½ floz/100ml water, and microwave it for 1-2 minutes (900w) until it is soft.   Remove it from the water and allow it to cool.   Then cut the orange in half, removing any pips and the little end piece (do I have to tell you this?), and blitz it in a processor until it has become a smooth purée. 

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C, and line an 8 or 9” 23cm spring clip cake tin with parchment, then grease it, sprinkling a little gluten free flour on afterwards (I now use Dr Oetker’s cake release spray, it’s magic!) - cornflour would work too.    

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale – the longer the better.  Then fold in the almonds, baking powder and puréed orange.   Pour it into the tin and bake for 40-50 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 it to cool in the tin, then gently remove the sides and base, putting the cake onto its serving plate.

Use a serrated knife to cut the pith and peel off the oranges (as you can see, I failed a little on this), then hold the orange in one hand and slice into each segment with the knife so you get neat little peel-less pieces.   Arrange the oranges over the torte.  Lastly, heat the sugar and water, stirring a little to dissolve the sugar, until it becomes a brown caramel – not too brown!!!   Pour it quickly over the oranges and cake.    Leave it to cool. 

Without the orange top, this cake will keep for about a week to ten days.   

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Blackcurrant and Mint Mousse

Blackcurrant season is coming up!  If, like me, your freezer is insulated with previous years' currants, put them to good use with this delicious and easy pudding.   I suspect it freezes well, too, but haven't tried.   It went down well at Stour Festival - in fact, it disappeared on the evening it was put out, which was gratifying but meant I had to think up another pudding for the following day!   Such a first world problem...   This recipe is one of the wonderful Claire MacDonald's recipes, which I have amended only in that I prefer to sieve the puree to get rid of most of the pips.  Doing so also means you don't have to pick the blackcurrants over particularity thoroughly when you cook them.

A note on gelatine - I have discovered that the standard leaf gelatine is pork based, and the powder gelatine is beef based.   Neither sounds particularly pleasant, but the leaf gelatine smells a lot nicer!   I've not tried the vegetarian version yet, sorry.

Blackcurrant and Mint Mousse
Blackcurrant and Mint Mousse

1lb/500g blackcurrants
a good handful of mint leaves
3 large eggs, separated
6oz/175g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 sachet of gelatine (or four leaves)
½ pint/300ml double cream softly whipped

Put the blackcurrants in a saucepan, cover and simmer gently in their own juice until the currants are soft.  Cool before adding the mint leaves and puréeing them in a food processor or blender.   At this stage, I then sieve the purée before allowing it to cool completely.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, adding the caster sugar, and keep going until they are thick, pale and have increased in volume.  Soften the gelatine with the lemon juice in a saucepan and heat until the gelatine has dissolved (if you use leaf gelatine, soften the sheets in water, squeeze out and add to the heated lemon juice).  Leave it until it has started to set (ie, coats the back of a metal spoon) and then fold in the whipped cream.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mousse using a metal spoon.   I always put a tablespoonful in first to loosen the texture of the mousse before adding the rest.  Pour into a serving bowl and chill until it is set. 

This can be made a day in advance, but is best eaten at room temperature.