Whisky Caramel & Banana self-saucing pudding

Self saucing puddings are great, aren’t they! The ones I know best are the chocolate one, and the lemon one, but there are many variations on the theme.

I saw this recipe in Olive Magazine and thought I’d have to give it a go (it’s not pretty, I know, but taste is more important!

Ingredients:

175g plain flour

100g golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 very ripe bananas, mashed; plus one extra banana sliced

300ml whole milk

85g melted butter

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel topping:

150g soft brown sugar

4 tablespoons golden syrup

2 tablespoons whisky (I used bourbon instead)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Butter a 7cm deep by 26cm wide baking dish.

Put flour, sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl put the mashed bananas, egg, melted butter, and vanilla and whisk well to combine. Gradually whisk the liquid mixture into the flour mix until combined. Pour into the baking dish.

For the sauce part, put the sugar, golden syrup and 250ml of just boiled water in a pan and heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and then take off the heat. Add in the whisky. Pour this over the pudding. Slice the remaining banana and arrange on top of the batter. I don’t need to remind y0u that this doesn’t look very nice at this stage!!

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until there is a cooked sponge on top with the sauce beneath it.

Serve with cream or a good vanilla ice cream.

To be honest, this pudding just didn’t float my boat. I love all the flavours individually, but the pudding was just too much. Having said that, everyone else loved it and so I will definitely be making it again. I’ll just have a swig of whisky whilst they eat the pudding 😉

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Hot Cross Buns

I keep thinking that I should bake something that challenges me, rather than something which is easy.  The problem is (isn’t it always) that I’m tired of challenges and so instead I met this halfway.  When a friend asked if these were easy to bake, I had to respond “yes, if you enjoy baking bread”.  Because really, that’s the thing.  The issue is time rather than technical difficulty. 

The last time I baked hot cross buns I was 10 years old.  I don’t remember much of the experience other than at that age I had no mental processes constantly questioning my wisdom.  Age, huh!  Anyway, here we are, a number (lots) of years later and I thought I should give these another try.

I love a good hot cross bun, and I am usually very traditional, none of those fancy variations for me……until Marks & Spencer brought out their chocolate and salted caramel hot cross buns.  Oh, heaven!!  These are divine.  I can’t however aspire to baking something quite as delicious and so I thought I’d stick with traditional, although I quite fancy trying a cranberry, orange and ginger variation at some stage.

I couldn’t find my original recipe and my google search took a while since a lot of the recipes made larger quantities than I hoped for.  I found this Mary Berry recipe on the BBC Food website, and so here it is.

Ingredients:

500g strong bread flour

75g caster sugar

2 teaspoons mixed spice powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 lemon, finely grated zest only

10g salt

10g fast action dried yeast

40g butter

200ml milk

1 egg, beaten

200g sultanas

50g finely chopped mixed candied peel

Method:

Put the flour, spices, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and yeast in a large bowl and gently mix to combine.  Add the sultanas and candied peel.

Melt the butter in a small pan and then warm the milk so that it is tepid, in a separate pan.

Add the butter and half the milk to the dry ingredients and add the egg, using your hands to bring the mixture together.  Gradually add more milk as necessary so that you have a soft pliable dough, you might not need it all.

Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes until the dough is silky and elastic.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to rise – around 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 balls (if you are a perfectionist, weigh each ball so that they are all exactly the same size).

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place the balls on the tray fairly close together, flattening them slightly.  Cover with a large polythene bag, or a cloth and leave for around an hour to rise – until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan).

For the topping, put 90g flour in a bowl and mix with 100ml water to form a smooth paste (you might not need all the water).  The paste should not be too thick or too runny, as you want to pipe the paste on to the buns.

Once the buns have risen pipe a cross on each bun.  Put the buns in the oven to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are pale golden brown.

The recipe calls for golden syrup to be brushed on each bun as it comes out of the oven, to make a glaze, but I made a mix of icing sugar and water and brushed this on the buns instead.

Wait for these to cool before eating, and enjoy!  These buns also freeze well.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Mississippi Mud Pie

I was given this recipe years ago by my aunt, it was, I understood a Keith Floyd recipe.  I have tried to google this, but cannot find it.  It is another of the many variations of recipes using melted marshmallows.  I have no idea what the original Mississippi Mud Pie is like and I suspect this bears no relation to it, but it is lovely nonetheless.

sorry about the splodges of cream I didn’t mix in!

Ingredients:

200g digestive biscuits (I used Hobnobs)

100g butter, melted

300g plain dark chocolate

300g marshmallows (use the small ones, they melt quicker)

60ml milk

4 teaspoons instant coffee granules

20ml boiling water

600ml double cream

Method:

Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and mix with the melted butter.  Grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm springform cake pan.  Press the biscuit mixture over the base and up the sides of the pan (I didn’t bother with the sides!) and place in the fridge to set.

Meanwhile put 200g of the marshmallows in a non stick pan with the milk, and heat very slowly over a medium to low heat, stirring constantly.  Don’t be in a rush to melt the marshmallows, slower is better.  Put to one side to cool.

Break up the chocolate and put in a bowl over hot water until melted.  Stir this into the marshmallow mixture.

Dissolve the coffee granules in the water and place in a small non stick pan together with the remaining marshmallows and melt slowly, stirring constantly.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile whip the cream until it just holds its shape.  Whisk ¾ of the cream into the chocolate marshmallow mixture until well blended (unlike me, I still had blobs of cream visible!). Whisk the remaining cream into the coffee marshmallow mixture.

Spoon the chocolate mixture over the biscuit crumb base, and then spoon the coffee mixture in a layer on top.  Put in the fridge to chill for about 4 hours.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

The “not quite” Tiramisu

Tiramisu, eh……I love the stuff. I’m however not prepared to make one that includes raw eggs (only because of my aversion – for no good reason – to raw eggs). I did a bit of Googling and there are many recipes for this lovely pudding, which avoid the whole eggy issue!

I inadvertently ended up improvising because I didn’t have Marsala and so I used Amaretto instead. I also could not find the sponge fingers required and so used Amaretti biscuits instead. I started to lose the plot at this point and thought I might even substitute the coffee liquid for Tia Maria and some of the mascarpone with cream cheese….but I restrained myself just in time.

This is so easy and is really like a version of a trifle, but nicer, and so whilst I told myself I was eating Tiramisu, I know full well that it was not the genuine thing. The recipe I based my pudding on was this one from BBC Good Food which is always an excellent source for recipes. So, this is what I did:

Ingredients:

600ml double cream

250g mascarpone

80 ml Amaretto liqueur

5 tablespoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons coffee granules dissolved in 300ml just boiled water

Amaretti biscuits

100g dark chocolate

Method:

In a large bowl soften the mascarpone, add the caster sugar, Amaretto and double cream. Whisk until well combined and the mixture resembles thick cream.

Place a layer of Amaretti biscuits at the bottom of your dish of choice and spoon some of the coffee liquid over. Cover with half of the mascarpone mixture and sprinkle 50g grated chocolate over the top. Place another layer of biscuits on top of this, drizzle the coffee liquid over and cover again with the remaining mascarpone mixture. Finally, grate the remaining 50g of chocolate over the top. Put in the fridge to set.

Smugly eat your creation!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Cheese Scones (re-visited)

I wrote about this recipe a long time ago, and decided to revisit it.

I love scones, but the thought of rubbing the butter into the flour is just an effort too far for me.  Yes, ridiculous I know, but we all have our limits!  This particular recipe uses oil instead of butter.  It is the quickest, easiest recipe for scones, and the scones are lovely and light.  On the downside, they are quite crumbly because the dough is wet compared to traditional scone dough. You don’t roll it out, you dollop it onto the baking tray. 

If form and aesthetics are important to you, instead of putting spoonfuls on the baking tray, you can dollop the dough into a muffin baking tray, so the dough will hold a much better shape as it cooks.  Either way, it’s fine. Also you can safely add more cheese, to make the scones even cheesier!

Ingredients:

500 ml cake flour

1 medium egg

100 ml oil

125 ml milk

20 ml baking powder

½ teaspoon salt.

50g grated cheese (I used a combination of mature cheddar and gruyere)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan).  Lightly grease a baking tray or line it with baking parchment – or use a muffin tin.

Lightly whisk the egg, milk and oil in a bowl until just mixed.

Add the dry ingredients and the grated cheese. Mix lightly until just combined.

Drop tablespoonfuls onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Quick, easy, superlight.  Enjoy!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I wish you a peaceful weekend 😊

Espresso Martini Trifles

Who doesn’t love a good pud? Coffee, chocolate, alcohol? Yes please 🙂

I saw this recipe in Sainsbury’s Magazine. I only did a minor tweak (honestly!) and I also left out the fancy bits – the cacao nibs and nut brittle, only because I wanted easy. You can see the full recipe here.

This is super easy to make and my taste testers loved it. It is like a combination of cheesecake and trifle, with just the right amount of kick from the coffee and alcohol.

Start with the custard part – put 50g dark chocolate and 300g fresh custard in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat gently, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl and set aside to cool, covering the surface of the custard with cling film to prevent a skin forming.

Make a coffee syrup by dissolving 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and 1 tablespoon caster sugar in 2 tablespoons of just boiled water. Add 5 tablespoons of coffee liqueur, stir to mix.

Make the cheesecake layer by dissolving one and a half tablespoons instant coffee powder in 1 tablespoon of just boiled water. In a large bowl beat 400g full fat soft cheese until it softens up. Whisk in 40g of sifted icing sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and the coffee, until just combined.

Get 6 glasses and crumble (leaving some large pieces) a couple of Amaretti biscuits into the bottom of each glass. Drizzle with half a tablespoon coffee syrup. Top with half a dessertspoon of the chocolate custard, and then a dollop of the cheesecake mixture. Repeat the layers. Crumble an Amaretti biscuit on the top and decorate with grated dark chocolate, or even some cream if you’re feeling decadent. Put in the fridge and chill until ready to serve.

Next time I will pipe the cheesecake mixture into the glasses, as it was too thick to spoon neatly, so it ended up looking very messy.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Salted Peanut & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have had a round of baking disasters, so much so that I was beginning to think I’d lost the ability to bake at all.  I saw a recipe for a loaf cake.  One of the ingredients was yogurt and you used the yogurt pot to measure out the rest of the ingredients.  No scales needed, chuck everything in one bowl and mix.  But no, first it didn’t cook within the time set, I added on 10 minutes, and another 10, and another 10 and gave up and binned the lot.  Then there was a recipe for a fruit pie, topped with a crust made from ready-made croissant pastry.  Simple, I thought.  Well the fruit part was, but for some unknown reason the pastry topping wouldn’t cook properly and left a gooey mess underneath of raw pastry and fruit intermingled.  I won’t bore you with the other disasters, I’m too ashamed to admit them!  With my baking mojo gone, I had some time off and eventually decided to try again.

Today’s bake was a last minute decision as I had no inspiration (no mojo = no inspiration).  But I had chocolate buttons and salted peanuts in the house.  What else to do but chocolate chip and salted peanut cookies!

A quick look through my recipes and I picked Nigella’s Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from her book “Kitchen”.

I added salted peanuts to the recipe, and where she calls for a 326g packet of chocolate chips, I used up my chocolate buttons and added in salted peanuts to reach 320g.  I found the dough a bit too dry and so added in a tablespoon of milk and then it held together better.  Other than that, I made no tweaks to the recipe.

There are no pictures unfortunately (did I just hear a sigh of relief from you?!!). I took photos, dear reader, but the card reader failed, or my memory card is faulty, either way, I am unable to access the photos off the card. Instead, please imagine a photo of the most delicious looking cookies……

Ingredients:

150g soft butter

125g light muscovado sugar

100g caster sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg, fridge cold

1 egg yolk, fridge cold

300g flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 x 326g packet chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C Fan).  Line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and let it cool a bit. Put the sugars into a bowl and add the melted butter, beat well to mix.

Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until the mixture is light and creamy.  Slowly mix in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then add the chocolate chips (and nuts if you’re using them).

Scoop the cookie dough onto the baking sheet (I used an American quarter-cup measure to scoop), leaving large spaces between the cookies, as they will spread.  This mixture made 15 large cookies.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges are lightly toasted. 

Let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking trays before transferring to wire racks.

These cookies were a success!  They are just the right balance between crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  I will definitely make these again.  I might even sprinkle some sea salt flakes on top of each cookie before baking next time.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 😊