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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Am I feeling bad that this year I have not baked anything festive?  Actually I am.  I do love different bakes for special times of the year.  But sometimes, I just have to accept that it is not a good idea.  So this year, no mincemeat, no Christmas cake, nothing.  I have bought a Panettone, the Marks and Spencer chocolate, cranberry and orange one.  This will satisfy my need for a festive bake (albeit one that I bought).  Even Christmas day itself is going to be low key.  I haven’t decided on the main course – which would ordinarily have been Nigella’s ham in coke, which is a many-times tried and trusted recipe.  As for pudding, again I am taking the easy way out.  I have bought ready made pastry and ready-made mincemeat and will make mince pies, served with (ready-made) brandy cream.  I should be ashamed of myself.

Tony’s birthday is in December and again I usually bake a special cake for him (you can never be too caked-out in December!) but not this year.  I did however bake this recipe from Good Housekeeping for Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake.  Stupidly, I am unable to find a link to it.

I saw the recipe and immediately started thinking oooh….maybe if I just tweak it….I reigned myself in and kept my tweaking to a minimum.  I simply replaced the liquid in the sponge with bourbon. There are just a couple of things I would do next time I bake this:  once the dates have been soaked, I would mash them, so they were more like a puree as I think they will incorporate more smoothly into the sponge mixture; and for the pudding sauce, I would either completely replace the dark muscovado sugar with light muscovado sugar, or do half and half.  Actually, I might even put some vanilla extract in the sauce (that makes it a third tweak!!).  For me, personally the toffee sauce, whilst delicious, had too strong a molasses flavour.  Having said that, everyone else loved the pudding and the sauce.  It is all super easy to make too.  My photos are a bit unappetising unfortunately.

Ingredients:

100g stoned dates, finely chopped

100ml hot English Breakfast tea, freshly brewed (I replaced this with bourbon)

125g butter, salted

150g dark muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

2 medium eggs

125g self-raising flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° Fan).  Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment or a loaf tin liner.

Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.  Add the golden syrup and eggs and beat again.  Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until well incorporated, then stir in the date mixture (liquid and all) until just combined.  Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce:

50g butter

50g dark muscovado sugar

100ml double cream

In a small pan, heat together the sugar, butter and cream, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil, stirring and let it bubble for about 2 minutes, stirring all the while.

Serve the cake warm, or at room temperature in slices with the sauce (reheat gently if required) and vanilla ice cream.  The leftover cake reheats very well when wrapped up tightly in foil.

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

The “not quite” White Russian Tart

P1010247

I haven’t blogged in a while, and I haven’t baked.  Life has been somewhat challenging.  I keep looking at recipes and in between all life’s goings on, struggle to find time to actually make anything.  And, this heat…..oh! My! isn’t it hot?!! Lack of energy is a deciding factor here as well.

But, finally, here I am today.  Sadly it is with a “fail” rather than a success, but, hey, I’m not too proud to say when things didn’t work out right.  It happens!

I love Emma Freud’s food columns in the BBC Good Food magazine, and had an eye on her recipe for a White Russian Tart for ages.  Named after the cocktail, of course, it looks delicious.

It is made with, amongst other things, marshmallows, which are melted, and mixed with milk, cream, vodka and coffee liqueur.  I have made a few puddings involving melting marshmallows and it gives a lovely texture, so I was quite confident this would be a winner.

I did (honestly) follow the recipe to a “T”.  I made the base first, which consists of crushed biscuits and butter, and left it in the fridge to set.  I melted the marshmallows with the  milk, added the alcohol (breathe deeply!!) and left it aside to cool.  I whipped the cream and added the melted marshmallow mixture.  But……the mixture had separated…..I ploughed bravely on, hoping it would somehow be okay, but it was far too thin and runny to pour into the crust to set.  I put the bowl in the fridge, hoping that it would thicken a bit on cooling, but an hour later it was still too liquid. Urgh, how frustrating. But…..light-bulb moment, I thought I’d whisk in some extra cream, maybe that would thicken it.  It didn’t.  Instead I managed to spray myself and most of the kitchen in a white Russian marshmallow splatter (got carried away with the electric whisk).  I couldn’t bear to give up (crazy lady, huh!) so I grated some dark chocolate and mixed that into the marshmallow mixture….then I remembered the base.  I had used chocolate chip Hobnobs, so they are crunchy, oaty, chocolate-chippy biscuits.  It was death or glory…..I broke up the base and mixed it in as well, gritted my teeth and put the bowl back in the fridge to cool.

An hour later, I took the bowl out – it had actually “set” (whoop, whoop!!!).

So, dear reader, my botched pudding ended up not as intended, but instead it was a delicious boozy, moussey, crunchy mixture……and no, tasty as it was, I will NOT be making it again!

P1010250

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

 

Chocolate Orange Pudding Cake

P1010207a

I have long been a huge fan of Nigella Lawson.  I first discovered her when she did a food column for Vogue magazine.  She was less well known then, not having written her cookery books, but has deservedly gone on to even greater heights.  Today’s bake is one I used to do often when I had friends over for dinner.  It was always a success, and is so easy to make.  It is, as it says, a pudding cake.  The texture is dense and slightly squidgy (technical term) and is more pudding than cake.  I wrote the recipe down when I first baked it, and have since tried to Google it.  I am unable to find this one other than looking at other bloggers’ sites.  I am guessing it might have appeared in her Vogue column.  There is a similar (but not identical) version with raspberries in her fabulous book “How to Eat“. But, again I cannot find this recipe online other than via other bloggers’ sites.

Ingredients:

125 butter

100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces.

300g good orange marmalade

150g sugar

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

150g self raising flour.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Butter and flour a 20cm springform cake tin – or use a cake tin liner.

Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and melt over a low heat (you can also do it with a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water).  When the butter is nearly melted, add the chocolate.  Remove from the heat and stir until the butter and chocolate are smooth and liquid.  Set aside to cool for a bit.

P1010203

Add the marmalade and sugar (I used light muscovado sugar, but plain white sugar is fine too).  Use any type of marmalade you like, one with a coarse shred adds more texture to the cake, but not everyone prefers that.  Add the beaten eggs and mix well until amalgamated.  Stir in the flour, and pour into the cake tin.  Place in the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes – ovens vary and I find my cake needs just under an hour of cooking time, but check, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.

This pudding cake is best eaten slightly warm, with cream, mascarpone or crème fraiche.  This is so simple and easy, and everyone will ask for the recipe!

Of course it would have looked a whole lot better if I had sifted a light dusting of icing sugar over the cake, but hey, it’s all about the taste, isn’t it!!

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

Salted Butterscotch Whip

Aaah, butterscotch, remember this from last time?!  No, you can’t see a theme developing.  Well, maybe just a tiny one.  Yes, I admit it, I’m in love with butterscotch.

Do you remember Angel Delight?  That powdered pudding you whisk with milk, which gives a lovely whipped mousse-like pudding?  Especially the butterscotch flavour one?  Well, this recipe is a home-made version of this.

I saw the recipe for Salted Butterscotch Whip in the March 2018 issue of Olive Magazine. I had to make this!  It is oh, so easy to make, minimal effort and not many ingredients.

The only thing I did differently was that I used light muscovado sugar instead of, as the recipe called for, soft dark brown sugar.

This particular recipe has the addition of some sea salt flakes (that delicious sweet/salty combination).  It is, to cut it down to basics, a cornflour and milk based pudding, but certainly not reminiscent of any of the disgusting wobbly versions I ate as a child.

The butterscotch is made, milk is added and this is all thickened with cornflour.  The mixture is then refrigerated and once cold, softly whipped cream is folded into it.  I made the mistake of over-whisking the cream (unfortunately I seem to keep doing this unintentionally) and so it was slightly too stiff, but nevertheless I managed to combine it with the butterscotch mixture.  I should have piped the pudding into the glasses, as it would have looked so much better, and I should have topped the puddings with a sprinkling of grated dark chocolate……..but, it is ALL about the taste after all, isn’t it!  Now, don’t let’s waste any more time, grab a spoon and join me!

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

Cranberry, Apricot & Butterscotch Pudding

P1010165

When winter seems determined to hang on for just that little bit longer, when the days are cold and grey, we look for comfort.  To be honest, we don’t really need much of an excuse to have comfort food, but to justify it makes us feel better!!  Something warming and tasty is always welcome.

I found this recipe in the December 2017 issue of BBC Good Food magazine.  It is one of Nigel Slater’s recipes – oddly enough the first one of his recipes I have tried.  How could I have lived so long and not made more of Nigel’s recipes?!  Frustratingly enough, I am unable to find the recipe to give you the link.  When I searched the BBC Good Food website I could not find the recipe, and when I Googled Nigel Slater’s recipes the apparent link to this recipe kept taking me to a completely unrelated page.  I blame myself, as I am  not very tech-savvy, so please look this recipe up (I’m sure you’ll have more luck than me) as it is really worth making.

So, you think comfort food…….stodgy, unhealthy, fattening…..No!  It’s all about quantity and balance.  And in this case there are cranberries and dried apricots – two of your five a day!!  See, there’s always something good 🙂

This is a sponge pudding with the fruit, and it is accompanied by a butterscotch and cranberry sauce.  It is lovely.  The dried apricots and the cranberries have a nice sharp tang anyway, and they stop the pudding from being too sweet.

P1010168

I began to get a bit concerned when I made the batter, it was very stiff.  I re-read the recipe as I thought maybe I had put in too much flour, or misread ingredient quantities.  But I had followed the recipe exactly.  I gritted my teeth and put it in the oven.

Then on to the butterscotch sauce.  I was actually tempted to put all the cranberries in the pudding, instead of, as the recipe says, some in the pudding, but the larger quantity go in the sauce.  This time I went with the recipe.  Yes, honestly I did!

P1010167

This was also the first time I’d made butterscotch.  How could I not have made it before?! It was difficult not to devour the sauce before I had even put it on the pudding!

Towards the end of the cooking time, some of the sauce is poured over the pudding, and it is returned to the oven for 10 minutes.  You would then serve it with the rest of the sauce.  I poured all the sauce over the pudding before finishing baking.  In spite of my earlier concerns, the sponge part of the pudding turned out lovely and light.

The pudding goes really well served with a nice dollop of thick cream, or – as I did- some lovely vanilla ice cream.

P1010169

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

Cappuccino Cheesecake Cups

I don’t particularly like traditional Christmas pudding, and years ago I decided that as long as I was cooking the Christmas meal, I would make a pudding I wanted.  Sod tradition! The pudding I make most often is Christmas Crumble, which is always popular, and is sufficiently “Christmassy” to satisfy most people’s idea of what is acceptable on the day! I have, however, also made various trifles, and various chocolate-based puddings.

This year I was particularly indecisive.  I wanted to do something that required minimal effort.  A no-bake cheesecake was an option.  Years ago there were many variations on a theme of cheesecake pots – little pots of cheesecake mixture, usually involving brandy, rum, or some kind of alcohol.  I eventually found – in my gigantic trunk of recipes collected over the years – this one.  In the end I didn’t make this for Christmas day as the numbers of my guests doubled and Christmas Crumble was an easier way to feed the masses.

I still had cream, and cream cheese which I had bought in preparation, to use up, and so this weekend I made these Cappuccino Cheesecake Cups.  This recipe is so quick and easy, minimal effort.  It is very adaptable in that the flavour (in this case coffee and chocolate) can be easily varied.

P1010077

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

450g cream cheese

150ml double cream, plus extra for decorating

3 tablespoons Tia Maria

Amaretti biscuits

Dark chocolate for decorating

Method:

Put the sugar and coffee granules in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.

Soften the cream cheese and mix in the sugar & coffee mixture with the Tia Maria.

Add the cream and using an electric whisk, beat it all together until it is well mixed and thick.

Place an Amaretti biscuit at the bottom of a small glass and spoon the cheesecake mixture on top (it would look really neat if it was piped). Pour a thin layer of cream over the top and finely grate the chocolate to cover the cream.  Refrigerate for a couple of  hours to set.

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