baking, celebration, christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, pastry

Christmas Tart

Christmas Tart
A moist tart full of festive fruit and topped with a light sponge. Encased in a crisp buttery pastry.

A moist tart that is an ideal Christmas treat. With lashings of moist fruit, soft sponge and a crisp sweet pastry, it won’t last long. It makes a wonderful alternative to a rich Christmas pudding and will accompany a freshly brewed pot of tea…to a tee. Simply decorated, with a glazed top and glittery fondant stars it creates a stylish looking pastry.

Ingredients: (Makes 10″ tart)

Pastry:
250g plain flour. Extra for rolling dough.
156g chilled butter – cut into cubes.
62g caster sugar.
84g egg – approx’ 1 1/2 eggs.
1/2 tsp salt.

Fruit filling:
50g raisins.
100g sultanas.
50g veg’ suet.
25g mixed peel.
50g soft dark brown sugar.
50ml brandy.
1 tsp mixed spice.
Juice of 1/2 orange and all the zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon and all the zest.

Jam for tart base:
3 dessert spoons of ginger jam/preserve for base of the tart.

Sponge:
60g self raising flour – sieved.
50g ground almonds.
1 tsp mixed spice.
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
2 beaten eggs – at room temp.
1tsp vanilla extract.
100g caster sugar.
100g soft butter.

Apricot Glaze:
3 dessert spoons of apricot jam.
2 tabls of water.

Decoration:
50g of fondant easy roll icing. Rolled to 3mm thickness and cut into star
shapes with cutter.
Edible glitter spray – lightly spray each star.

Method/cook:

Fruit filling:
Mix all the ingredients together. Leave to macerate for 24 hours in a cool place.

Pastry:
Beat the egg and sugar together until well mixed – set aside.
Add the salt to the flour.
Rub the butter into the flour to create a crumb texture.
Once all the butter has been rubbed into the flour add the egg and sugar mix.
Combine all ingredients into a dough, wrap in cling film and chill for several hours.
Note: This dough is quite sticky, so use a little extra flour to bring it all together. Refrigerate for several hours before rolling.
Once chilled, roll out and line a 10″, loose bottomed, flan tin. Pop your lined flan tin in the refrigerator to chill. Set aside.

Sponge:
Combine the flour, ground almonds and spices. Set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar.
Gradually mix the beaten egg into the creamed butter and sugar . (Note: Eggs at room temp’ will lessen the risk of splitting when mixed with the butter. If your mix starts to split before all the egg has been added – mix in a couple of tabls’ of the flour mix.)
Add all the flour mix to the butter mix. Combine, thoroughly, with a balloon whisk. Set aside.

Preparing the tart for baking:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
With your fruit macerated, flan tin lined with pastry and the sponge mix made, it’s time to prepare the tart for baking. Place your lined flan tin on a baking tray.
Firstly, spread a layer of ginger jam over the base of your flan. (see image)
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Next, drain any liquid from the macerated fruit mix. Put a layer of the drained fruit mix on top of the jam layer. (see image)
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Finally add the sponge layer over the fruit. (see image)
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Bake on the lower middle shelf for 35-45 mins’. The tart is cooked when the middle of the sponge is firm to touch. After 35 mins’, give the centre of the sponge a light press with your finger. If the sponge is firm and springs back up after lifting your finger – it’s baked. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Time to prepare the apricot glaze.

Apricot glaze:
In a pan, slowly heat up the apricot jam and water to a, simmering, runny consistency.
Sieve the glaze to remove any apricot bits.
Now spoon the hot apricot glaze over the top of your hot tart.
Leave the tart to cool in the flan tin.

Serving:
Turn out your cooled tart and decorate with glittery fondant stars.
Serve generous slices with whipped cream.
Enjoy.

celebration, christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, pudding

Flaming Fabulous Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding
A Luxurious Christmas pudding made in single succulent portions. With rich fruit, treacle and brandy… it’s flaming fabulous.

A rich, fruity pudding for the festive season. This ‘old flame’ pops up once a year and it’s well worth the wait. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off making your own luxury puddings. They’re very easy to make and can be steamed several days in advance and re-heated just before serving on Christmas day. These puddings actually taste better if cooked several days before serving and one less thing to think about on Christmas day.

Ingredients: Makes 8 individual 150ml puddings. Tip: Heatproof plastic pudding moulds are great to use, as the cooked puddings can be chilled and re-heated in the microwave. For the purpose of this recipe I have used both plastic and stainless steel moulds.

50g strong flour.
100g veg’ suet.
100g raisins.
100g sultanas.
50g mixed chopped peel. (See recipe below)
50g chopped dried apricots.
65g glacé cherries – halved. (Extra for garnish)
1/2 nutmeg – grated.
1 heaped tsp mixed spice.
100g soft dark brown sugar.
100g bread crumbs.
25g flaked almonds.
50ml milk.
2 eggs lightly whisked.
100ml brandy.
Juice of 1 orange. (save the peel)
Juice of 1 lemon. (save the peel)
2 dessert spoons of treacle.

Butter for greasing your dariole/pudding molds.
8 good teaspoons of treacle for the bottom of each mould.

Mixed Peel:
Peel from 1 orange
Peel from 1 lemon.
600ml water
2 dessert spoons of sugar.
1 bay leaf.
4 cardamon pods.

Garnish:
200g glacé cherries.
Strips/julienne of orange and lemon peel – use mixed peel recipe.
Brandy for flaming – 2 tabls for each pudding.
50g Fondant/easy roll icing. Roll out to 3mm thickness and cut out star shapes with a small star cutter.

Method/cook:

Pudding:
Combine all the dry ingredients – set aside.
Add the milk and eggs to the dry ingredients – mix.
Now add the brandy, lemon juice and orange juice – mix.
Finally, add the 2 dessert spoons of treacle and thoroughly combine.
Cover the pudding mix with cling film and store in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Once the pudding mix has had the time to macerate it’s ready to cook.
Grease your 8 pudding moulds with butter.
Drizzle 1 good teaspoon of treacle into the bottom each mould, then drop in 3 glacé cherries. (see image)
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Divide your pudding mix between the 8 moulds – approx 140g for each pudding. Note: Don’t overfill or pack the moulds – leave a centimeter from the top. (see image)
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When all your moulds have been filled, top with a circle of parchment paper and fix in place with string or an elastic band. (see image)
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Wrap each pudding in tin foil. (see image)
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To steam the puddings: Pop your puddings into a large pan. Top up the pan with boiling water until it reaches half way up the sides of the moulds. Bring the water to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer – pop on a lid.
Simmer the puddings for 50 mins’.

Mixed Peel: (I like to make my own as it uses up orange and lemon peel that would otherwise be discarded. Also, the strips of homemade peel look very attractive as a garnish and taste great with xmas’ puds’.)

Place all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil, pop on a lid and simmer for 40 mins’.
After 40 mins’ drain the peel and chill.
Chop 50g for your pudding mix. Save the rest for garnish.

Serving:
Note: If you have made your puddings several days in advance, re-heat in the microwave. Place your puddings, in their plastic moulds, upside down in a dish. Heat on full power for 2 mins’.
Serve your hot puddings topped with 3 glacé cherries and strips of your cooked orange and lemon peel.
Top with an optional spoon or two of brandy.
Serve with either brandy sauce, brandy butter or custard.

Enjoy.

christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, ice cream, sweets

Poached Pears in Blackcurrant with Chocolate, Pistachio and Sultana Ice Cream. Served with Parisian Scrolls, Whipped Cream and Caramel Nibs.

Poached Pears.
Pears poached in blackcurrant served with a chocolate and pistachio ice cream. Accompanied with Parisian Scrolls and caramel nibs.

Christmas is here…according to the supermarkets. Don’t remember retail festivities starting quite this early.
So here is another early Christmas dessert – poached pears. I adore poached pears, but not in red wine, so these are poached in blackcurrant juice. With typical festive spices, such as cloves and cinnamon, these sweet pears are a real winner for the holiday season.
Accompanied by a lush ice cream, crunchy Parisian Scrolls and melt in the mouth Caramel Nibs – that kids and grannies’ will fight for – it’s a dessert to please most families.
Everything can be made in advance giving more time – for kitchen slaves like myself – to enjoy the company of friends and family.

Ingredients:

Ice Cream: Makes approx’ 900ml.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
100g dark chocolate.
300ml Milk – I used lactose free milk.
150ml coconut milk – full fat tinned.
1 dessert spoon of cocoa powder.
2 dessert spoon of skimmed milk powder.
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod.
1 tsp of ice cream stabiliser. (optional)
70g sultanas.
70ml rum or brandy.
60g pistachio nuts – crushed.
Tip: Tinned coconut milk contains creamy coconut solids and liquid. Use the creamy solids and make up the 150ml with the coconut liquid.

Parisian Scrolls: (makes 18-20)
130g caster sugar.
2 egg whites – equal to 80g.
65g warm melted butter.
60g plain flour – sieved.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Pinch of salt.
20g melted chocolate. For dipping ends of baked scrolls – optional

Caramel Nibs: (makes 260g)
120g honey.
120g double cream.
50g golden syrup.
60g white chocolate.

Poached Pears: (Serves 6)
6 firm fresh pears – peeled with stalks still attached.
200ml water.
500ml blackcurrant juice/cordial with 50% juice.
Juice and zest of 1 lemon.
6 cloves.
3 cardamon pods.
3 star anise.
2 bay leaf.
1/2 cinnamon stick.

Method/cook:

Ice Cream:
In a small dish, soak the sultanas in rum or brandy – for at least 5 hours.
Add the water and sugar to a pan. Slowly bring to a boil. Once boiling simmer for 5 minutes to create a light syrup. Set aside to cool.
In a thick bottomed pan add the milk, coconut milk, cocoa powder, milk powder, vanilla and stabiliser. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 minutes. Sieve into a clean bowl and set aside to cool.
Once the the milk mixture is cool add the syrup and any excess liquid from the soaked sultanas – don’t add the sultanas.
Churn the ice cream mix in an ice cream maker.
When your ice cream has formed, remove from ice cream maker and mix in crushed pistachio nuts and soaked sultanas. Freeze for several hours in a suitable container.

Parisian Scrolls:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
Melt butter and add vanilla. Set aside.
With a hand mixer whip the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks.
With a balloon whisk, fold the sugar, flour, butter and vanilla into the whipped egg whites. Combine thoroughly.
On a baking tray, lined with silicon paper, place 2 teaspoons of the mixture three inches apart. With the back of the spoon spread each portion of mixture out, using a circular motion, to a 10cm-11cm circle. (see image)

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Bake on the middle shelf for 8-10 mins’. The outer edges will bake to a rusty brown while the centers will be lighter in colour.
Remove tray from the oven, leave for 10 seconds then quickly lift each wafer, flip over and roll. The wafers are hot so asbestos fingers are required – no pain no gain. Set aside to crisp up on cooling racks. (see image) When cool, dip ends of scrolls in melted chocolate – this is optional.

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Tip: Perform a test bake or two to get your technique correct.
Don’t be tempted to over bake the parisian scrolls, as over baking will cause them to brake in the rolling process.
I usually bake two to a tray until all the mixture has been used up.
Store your baked and cooled Parisian Scrolls in an airtight container.

Caramel Nibs: (Sugar thermometer needed)
Note: When making this caramel never leave the pan unattended. It will boil over and burn. Take your time, lightly stir regularly once boiling.
Place the honey, cream and syrup into a thick bottomed pan.
Slowly bring to a boil then turn down the heat slightly.
Using a sugar thermometer, bring caramel to softball temperature – 116°C / 240°F
Once reaching the required temperature, remove from the heat and mix in the white chocolate. Pour the caramel into a heat proof tin/dish lined with parchment paper. I use an oblong dish that is 21cm L x 7cm W x 3cm D. (see image)

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Leave the caramel to cool at room temp’. Once cool, wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
When you are ready for serving with the ice cream etc; cut off small chunks/nibs with a sharp knife.  Use as and when ice cream is on the menu or you just fancy a, melt in the mouth, caramel hit.

Poached Pears:
Add the liquids, spices and lemon to a large pan.
Trim the bottoms of your peeled pears so that they will stand upright.
Place your pears into the pan with the other ingredients.
Bring the blackcurrant liquid to a boil and pop on a lid. Simmer the pears for 35-40 mins’ or until soft. Once cooked remove from the heat.
Place the pears in a clean dish and pour over the blackcurrant liquid. (see image)

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Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.

Serving:
Now that all your prep’ is done it’s just a matter of serving as you see fit. The dessert can be plated for each individual or the poached pears can be presented in a serving dish with the ice cream and Parisian Scrolls offered on the side. Don’t forget your caramel nibs.

desserts, food blogging, food photography

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream Dessert with Crunchy Chocolate Oat Cookies.

Citrus, coconut and pineapple dessert.
Citrus and coconut ice cream with a pineapple-lemoncello syrup. Served with toffee-pineapple and chocolate crunch cookies.

This is a great dessert to share – especially if you’re the one with the biggest spoon. 
With a, cream free, palette cleansing freshness it’s a wonderful way to end a spicy meal. For a little twist, scroll down to see the plated version served with a ‘Spiced Milk Curd’. The hint of chilli will surprise and delight your dinner party guests… a real winner.

Ingredients:

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream: (makes approx’ 600ml)
150ml skimmed milk or lactose free.
150ml Greek yoghurt.
150ml coconut milk – tinned, not fresh.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 tsp cardamon powder.
Juice and zest of two limes.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
1 tabls honey.
3 tabls lemoncello.
1 tsp ice cream stabiliser (optional)
Tip: When opening the tin of coconut milk, the creamy solids will usually have settled. Spoon out all the solids and make up to 150ml with some of the coconut liquid.

Crunchy Chocolate Cookies: (makes approx’ 14 cookies)
100g butter.
60g soft brown sugar.
1 dessert spoon of honey. (Use golden syrup or maple syrup if you like)
90g self raising flour – sieved.
100g porridge oats.
10g cocoa powder – sieved.
pinch of salt.
50g white chocolate for decoration.

Pineapple Syrup: (makes 120ml syrup)
200ml pineapple juice.
50g sugar.
4 tabls Lemoncello.

Spiced Milk Curd: (Optional, but this hint of spice works great)
200ml milk.
4-6 slices of fresh chilli, plus the seeds.
5 cardamon pods crushed.
1 tsp sugar.
1 tsp agar agar.

Citrus and coconut ice cream with spiced curd and pineapple syrup.
Citrus and coconut ice cream with spiced curd and a pineapple-lemoncello syrup. Served with chocolate crunch cookies.

Toffee Pineapple:
100g sugar.
2 tabls water.
Fresh pineapple cut into chunks – 4 chunks per person.

Garnish:
Zest of 2 lemons.
Drizzle of Lemoncello.
2 limes sliced and crystalised. (See below for recipe)

Method/cook:

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream:
Combine the skimmed milk, yoghurt, coconut milk, vanilla and cardamon. Set aside.
Add the lime juice, zest, water, sugar, honey and lemoncello to a pan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and add ice cream stabiliser, simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid has reduced to 100ml.
Once reduced leave to cool and then combine with the milk mixture.
Churn in an ice cream maker until frozen.
Transfer to a plastic container and store in the freezer.

Crunchy Chocolate Cookies:
Set oven to gas 3 or 160°C / 325°F
In a pan, slowly heat to a simmer the butter, soft brown sugar and honey.
Once the sugar has melted remove from the heat.
Add the flour, oats, cocoa powder and salt.
Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
Take heaped dessert spoons of the cookie mix and form each spoonful into balls.
On a baking tray, lined with parchment, press each ball into flat rounds with the palm of your hand. (see image)
Bake on the middle shelf for 15-20 mins’
Once baked transfer cookies to cooling rack with a wide spatula/slice.
Once cooled drizzle with melted white chocolate.
Store cookies in an airtight container.

Pineapple Syrup:
Place all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until for 5 mins’ until reduced to 120ml.
Set aside to cool then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Spiced Milk Curd:
Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring to just boiling, then simmer for 5 mins’
Strain the mixture and pour into a shallow square container/dish lined with cling film. Leave to set.
Once set, turn out the curd and cut into cubes. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Toffee Pineapple:
Dry your fresh pineapple chunks on kitchen roll. Set aside.
Place the sugar and water into a pan and gently heat to make a caramel. Note: (do not stir the sugar as the sugar will crystalise)
Once the sugar has formed a golden caramel remove from the heat.
With a fork dip chunks of pineapple into the caramel, one chunk at a time.
Place your caramel coated pineapple onto parchment/silicon paper.
Note: The toffee pineapple chunks need to be prepared just before serving as the toffee will begin to melt due to the moisture in the pineapple.

Crystalised Limes:
2 limes sliced.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
Sugar for sprinkling on cooked limes.

In a pan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.
Add the lime slices. Pop on a lid.
Simmer the lime slice until rinds are soft – about 40-60 mins’
Once the limes are cooked, remove from the liquid and place on a tray with parchment/silicon paper.
Sprinkle both sides of the limes with a generous amount of granulated sugar.(see image)
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Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place for several days. Note: don’t place in refrigerator.
After several days they are ready to eat. They add a nice contrast to sweet desserts as the rinds retain a touch of sourness.

Serving:
Arrange your pineapple and curd on a serving plate. Serve a scoop or three of ice cream. Drizzle with the pineapple-lemoncello syrup and Lemoncello. Sprinkle with lemon zest and a slice of crystalised lime.
Place a cookie on the side.
Enjoy the tang.

baklava, desserts, food blogging, food photography, panna cotta, recipes, restaurant food, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Wild Blackberry and Baklava Dessert.

Wild Blackberry Panna Cotta and Baklava Dessert.
Blackberry Panna Cotta with an Apricot and Nut Baklava.
Served with Whipped Cream, Sharon Fruit and a Blackberry Sauce.

British hedgerow meets Italian cream meets Ottoman delight.
Wild Blackberries are growing in abundance here in England at the moment. I don’t think I have ever seen so many fruits – it’s a bumper year – but a word of caution.
My first container was half full when an elderly lady appeared with three Great Danes…I will only pick fruits growing above chest height from now on.
After a few hours picking and culling the little black jewels, I put 500g of fruit to one side and froze the rest.
The recipe for today is a Wild Blackberry Panna Cotta with an apricot and nut Baklava. Served with whipped cream, Sharon fruit and a Blackberry sauce.
This dessert can be made in advance, chilled in the refrigerator and served when ready.

Ingredients:

Blackberry Panna Cotta: (makes 5 150ml desserts)
500ml double cream.
200ml skimmed milk.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1/2 tsp agar agar or setting agent of your choice.
300g fresh blackberries.
70g sugar.
4 tabls water.

Blackberry Sauce:
200g fresh blackberries.
25g sugar.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
2 tabls water.

Apricot and Nut Baklava: ( makes 20 x 25 tray bake)
15 20cm x 25cm sheets of filo pastry.
300g ground mixed nuts (100g each of walnuts, hazelnuts and almond)
180g melted butter.
150g dried apricots – pureed in a food processor.

for the Baklava syrup:
100g sugar.
210 ml water.
180g honey.

Garnish:
2 ripe Sharon fruits.
15 fresh blackberries.
125ml double or whipping cream.
10g ground and roasted mixed nuts. (optional)

Method/cook:

Blackberry Panna Cotta:
Add the blackberries, water and sugar to a pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn down the heat, add the agar agar, simmer for 4 minutes.
Next, blend the blackberry and agar agar mix then pass through a fine sieve. Set aside.
Bring the milk and double cream to just boiling. Thoroughly whisk in the blackberry and agar agar mix.
When combined, divide into five 150ml dariole moulds. Leave to set overnight.
When set, and ready to serve, loosen the at the edges then dip the moulds in hot water for 1 minute. Turn out your Panna cottas on to serving plates.

Blackberry Sauce:
Put all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
Once simmered, pass through a sieve and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, chill in the refrigerator.

Apricot and Nut Baklava:
Set oven to gas 3 or 160°C/325°F
In your baking tray, place a single sheet of filo pastry and brush well with butter.
Do this with a further 4 sheets of filo – brushing each layer with plenty butter.
Now add a layer of ground nuts Approx’ 8 tabls’ and a layer of apricots. (see image)
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Add a layer of filo and press down. (see image)
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Now brush with butter and again add a further 4 layers of well buttered filo.
Add a further layer of nuts, followed by 5 more buttered layers of filo pastry.
Bake in the oven for 45 mins’ to 60 mins’ until golden brown.

Now make the Baklava syrup:
Place all ingredients into a pan, stir and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
Once boiled, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Once the Baklava has baked, cut into squares. Leave to cool and then pour over the warm Baklava syrup.
Leave to soak for several hours – preferably overnight.
(see image – minus a few irresistible squares)
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Serving:
Turn out your Panna Cottas on to serving plates.
Add two squares of Baklava.
Spoon on ripe Sharon fruit.
Top your Panna Cotta with whipped cream and Blackberry sauce.
Garnish with fresh blackberries.
Optional: top cream with ground and roasted mixed nuts.

Enjoy.

desserts, food blogging, food photography, lemon curd, mousse, shortbread biscuits, sorbets, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Vanilla and Lemon Curd Jelly Dessert served with an Orange Sorbet.

Vanilla and lemon mouse.
A summer dessert with orange sorbet and buttery shortbread

A light vanilla mousse, layered with a tangy lemon curd jelly and garnished with slices of, Zespri SunGold, kiwi and a passion fruit syrup. With an orange sorbet accompaniment, it makes for a beautiful and refreshing summer dessert.
Lets not ignore the shortbread base recipe. It’s a, melt in the mouth, buttery sensation with enough to make extra biscuits – you can’t have enough shortbread…gone already.

Ingredients: (Makes four 9cm x 4cm round desserts or six rectangle 12cm x 4cm x 3cm desserts)

Shortbread: (for base and extra slices as accompaniment)
165g softened unsalted butter.
73g caster sugar.
225g plain flour – sieved.
20g cornflour – sieved.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Zest of a lemon (optional)
1/4 tsp of salt.
Extra flour for dusting and rolling dough.
Caster sugar to sprinkle on uncooked shortbread.

Lemon Curd Jelly:
135g caster sugar.
2 large eggs
Juice and zest of 4 lemons – approx 130g – 135g.
1/2 tsp of agar agar or setting agent of choice. (equiv’ to 1 leaf of gelatin)
140g unsalted butter – cut in to cubes.

Orange Sorbet: (makes approx 450ml)
300ml fresh orange juice.
Zest of two oranges.
130g sugar.
200ml water.
1g silk gel (optional)
Note: Silk gel stops sorbets from becoming to icy/solid. Also less sugar syrup can be used in your recipes.

Vanilla Mouse:
170ml double cream.
120g cream cheese.
20g caster sugar.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Juice of 1 lime
1 tabls water.
1/2 tsp of agar agar or setting agent of choice. (equiv’ to 1 leaf of gelatin)

2 egg whites.
40g caster sugar.
Pinch of salt.

Passion Fruit Syrup:
100ml water
2 dessert spoons of sugar.
1 passion fruit.

Garnish:
4-5 Kiwi fruits. Zespri SunGold are so sweet – they are ideal.
3-4 Passion fruits.
Fresh Cherries or summer fruit of your choice.
12 sprigs of fresh mint.

Method/cook:

Shortbread: (oven gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F)
Cream together the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and salt.
Combine the sieved flour and cornflour.
Make a dough by adding the flour mix to the creamed butter mix.
Bring all the ingredients together, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out on a floured surface to 1cm in thickness.
Using your round or rectangle moulds – the same moulds you will use to set your mousse and curd – cut out your shortbread.
Use up all the shortbread mix by cutting further rectangles or rounds that can be served as a biscuit accompaniment.
Place your shortbread shapes on lined baking sheets, sprinkle with caster sugar, and bake for 10 minutes at gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F – middle shelf.
Tip: After 5 minutes baking, turn your baking trays so that the shortbread at the front go to the back. Bake for the remaining 5 minutes. This gives your shortbread a more even bake.
When your shortbread has cooked, remove from the oven, and immediately, while still hot, re-cut the shortbread with your round or rectangle moulds. I have used both as an example. (See image)
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Re-cutting the shortbread is important, as the shortbread expands during baking and you want the biscuit bases to fit inside of the moulds.
Once cooled, store shortbread in an airtight container. Eat the trimmed pieces.

Lemon Curd Jelly:
Except for the butter, place rest of ingredients into a thick bottomed pan and combine, thoroughly, with a hand whisk.
Note:
If using leaf gelatin – soak in a dish of water first before adding.
Put the pan over a medium heat and, while stirring, slowly bring the contents to just boiling.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
Sieve the curd and set aside to cool.
Once chilled, store in an airtight container and refrigerate to chill.

Orange Sorbet:
Create syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil in a thick bottomed pan.
Once syrup boils add the orange zest and silk gel and simmer for 5 minuets.
Once syrup has simmered leave to cool.
Add the fresh orange juice to the syrup and strain.
Chill the orange and syrup mixture in the refrigerator.
Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker and store the resulting sorbet in a freezer.
Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the sorbet mix in a suitable container and pop in the freezer. Stir the sorbet mixture every couple of hours until it creates a soft, but frozen ice.

Passion Fruit Syrup:
Bring the sugar and water to a boil.
Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Add the seeds and juice from the passion fruit. Chill and set aside.

Vanilla Mouse:
Whip the double cream to soft peaks – set aside.
Mix the cream cheese, vanilla and 20g of caster sugar. set aside.
Place lime juice, water and agar agar in a pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering take off heat and set aside. Note: If using leaf gelatin – soak in a dish of water first before adding to the warm lime juice.
Whisk egg whites, with a pinch of salt, until stiff peaks form. Then add the 40g of sugar to the stiff egg whites and whisk for 3 minutes.
With a hand whisk, combine the warm agar agar and lime juice to the cream cheese mixture.
Now add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix and combine with hand whisk.
Now fold in the egg white mix until well combined.

Making the individual desserts:
On a baking sheet, place a shortbread biscuit in the base of your moulds.
Now pipe a layer of vanilla mousse in each mould – a third of the way up. (See image)
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Follow the vanilla layer by piping a lemon curd layer.
Now pipe a final vanilla layer, on top of the curd layer, and smooth with a palette knife. (See image)
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Chill your individual layered desserts for several hours to set – overnight if you can.

Serving/plating:

Once the desserts have set, carefully run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the moulds. With the mold still in place, slide a palette knife under the whole dessert and transfer to a plate. Carefully remove mould.
Garnish the top of each mouse with passion friut and mint sprigs.
Serve with slices of, Zespri SunGold, kiwi fruit, a scoop of orange sorbet and a drizzle of the passion fruit syrup.
I added a couple of fresh cherries, but any summer fruit will suffice.
Serve with extra shortbread biscuits.

Enjoy.

chocolate, chocolate cream, desserts, food blogging, food photography, ice cream, licorice, liquorice, recipes, restaurant food, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Fruit Tart with Liquorice Ice Cream and Blackcurrant Jelly.

fruit tart with liquorice ice cream
Fruit Tart with Liquorice Ice Cream. Served with Chocolate Cream and Blackcurrant Jelly

A melt in the mouth sweet pastry filled with a tangy fruit compote and topped with a dark chocolate cream. But it doesn’t stop there; Jelly and ice cream will take you back to your childhood…Mmm liquorice and blackcurrant.

Ingredients: Makes 6 tarts.

Liquorice Ice Cream: (makes approx’ 500ml)
3 egg yolks.
75g sugar.
300ml whole milk.
30ml double cream.
20g skimmed milk powder.
1/4 tsp salt.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 1/2 tspns liquorice powder.
1 tsp liquorice syrup.
1g ice cream stabiliser. (Optional)

Pastry for tart cases:
200g plain flour.
125g chilled butter.
50g caster sugar.
1 beaten egg.
Pinch of salt.

Blackcurrant Jelly:
100ml blackcurrant cordial (50% juice).
100ml summer fruit juice.
1 level tsp Agar Agar or jelling agent you prefer.
Note: I prefer agar agar as it sets to a gel at room temperature and makes wonderful soft jellies.

Fruit Compote:
180g Frozen summer fruits.
3 dessert spoons sugar.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
3 tbls of cold water.
1 heaped tsp of cornflour.

Chocolate Cream:
150g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
110ml skimmed milk.
35ml double cream.
1 1/2 tsps sugar.
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Garnish:
6 fresh strawberries
6 sprigs of mint.
Zest of 1 large orange.
Or use fresh fruits of your choice.

Method/cook:

Ice Cream:
Mix 2 dessert spoons of the sugar with the ice cream stabiliser. Set aside.
In a thick bottomed pan heat the milk, cream, milk powder, salt vanilla, liquorice powder and syrup to 82°C / 180°F. Note: Bring to a simmer if you don’t have a thermometer.
When the milk mixture has reached the required temperature, remove from the heat, and leave to cool for 3 mins’. Stir in the sugar and stabiliser mix.
With a whisk, cream together your egg yolks and remaining sugar in a heat proof bowl.
Now add your hot milk mixture to the egg yolks and sugar to create a custard – combine with a hand whisk.
Note: Make sure that your milk mixture isn’t to hot as it will scramble the egg.
Pour the custard back into your thick bottomed pan, and on a low heat, stir until the custard thickens. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon remove from the heat.
Note: If you have a thermometer. Heat and stir the custard to 60°C / 140°F and cook until the custard has thickened, about 5 mins’.
Strain the custard into a clean bowl and leave to cool.
Once cool refrigerate until chilled.
Once chilled, churn your custard in an ice cream maker.
Store your finished ice cream in a suitable container in the freezer.
Note: You can make this ice cream without the stabiliser but it will freeze to a firmer texture.

Jelly:
Heat all the ingredients to just boiling.
Pour the hot fruit liquid into an oblong mould or dish, lined with cling film. Pop any bubbles that may form. Set aside to set. (See image)
_V2A7347

Tart Pastry cases:
Rub the chilled butter into the flour and salt.
Combine the sugar and the beaten egg.
Make a dough by combining the the egg mix to the flour mix.
Wrap in cling film and chill until pastry is firm.
Note: Initially this pastry mix is quite sticky. Have some extra flour ready to sprinkle over your hands when combining into a dough. Refrigerate the dough overnight, if you can, as it will help when it comes to rolling out.
When the dough has chilled divide into 6 equal portions and roll each piece into a circle – large enough to line 10cm tart cases.
Line six 10 cm tart cases with pastry. Bake blind for 10 minutes at gas 6 or 200°C/400°F
After 10 mins’ remove tart case from the oven. Remove parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 5 mins’ at gas 3 or 160°C/325°F.
Once baked remove from oven and leave to cool.
Note: Baking blind – line uncooked pastry tarts with parchment and weight down with baking beans, dried peas or rice. This stops the bases of the tarts rising (See image)
_V2A7340

Fruit Compote:
Except for the cornflour, in a pan, heat all the ingredients to a simmer.
Mix the cornflour with 2 tabls of water and add to the simmering fruit mixture.
When fruit mixture thickens remove from the heat and set aside to chill.
Note: Don’t be tempted to add extra sugar to the compote. A slight tang or sourness is required to balance out the overall sweetness of the final dish.

Chocolate Cream:
Put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently. As the chocolate melts whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.
Place in a clean receptacle to cool. Once cooled, place in refrigerator to firm to a piping consistency.

To serve:
Dust the edge of each tart case with icing sugar.
Half fill the tart cases with fruit compote. Top with a swirl of chocolate cream.
Turn out the jelly and cut into cubes. Arrange on the plate with slices of strawberry.
Tip: Slices of strawberry will stick to the sides of the moist jelly cubes – it gives a little height and interest to the dish.
Pipe more chocolate swirls around the plate.
Place a scoop of ice cream topped with orange zest with your finished dish.
Enjoy.

cooking, desserts, food blogging, food photography, ice cream, recipes, restaurant food, sponge pudding, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Ginger and Apricot Steamed Sponge with Irish Liqueur Ice Cream

Ginger and Apricot Steamed Sponge Pudding
Ginger and Apricot Steamed Sponge with Irish Liqueur Ice Cream.

Who doesn’t love a warm steamy pudding?  Not sure about you, but there are no hands up in our house. I do like a thick English custard with my steamed pudding, but ice cream seems more befitting for the time of year.

Ingredients: (Makes 6 – 8cm x 5cm puddings)

Sponge:
175g softened butter.
175g caster sugar.
175g self raising flour – sieved.
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda – sieved.
3 large eggs – room temperature.

6 individual pudding moulds – 8cm x 5cm.
Butter for greasing.
8 fresh ripe apricots.
50g stem ginger – chopped. (See recipe below or buy ready made)
12 heaped tsps golden syrup.

Ice Cream:
150ml semi skimmed milk.
320ml double cream.
50g sugar.
50ml Irish Cream Liqueur.
Tip: If you want a stronger alcohol taste add more liqueur and reduce the milk by the same amount – ie: extra 20ml liqueur reduce milk by 20ml.

Stem Ginger recipe and stock syrup:
260g peeled fresh ginger – sliced.
400ml water.

Stock Syrup:
500ml water.
200g sugar.
1 slice of orange.
1 slice of lemon.
1 bay leaf.
3 cardamon pods.
3 cloves.
5cm cinnamon stick.

Method/cook:

Ice Cream:
Bring all the ingredients to a simmer – leave to cool.
Once cooled add the mixture to ice cream maker to churn.
After approx’ 50 minutes it will form a soft ice cream.
Transfer soft ice cream to a plastic container – with lid – and pop in the freezer for several hours.
Note: Ice cream made with ice cream makers still need to be popped into a freezer – don’t expect the ice cream maker to give you a finished product. Once the ice cream reaches an almost frozen state the mixing paddle will stop turning, but not all the mixture is frozen. Add this extra freezing time to your timings. Ice cream makers with integrated compressor are best.

Stem Ginger:
In a pan, with a lid, simmer the sliced ginger in the 400ml of water until soft – 40-60 mins’. Be careful that the pan doesn’t boil dry.
While the ginger simmers make the stock syrup.
Put all the stock syrup ingredients into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
When the ginger is soft add the stock syrup and simmer until liquid is reduced by half and syrup thickens.
Store in sterilised jam jars.

Sponge: 
Firstly prepare the pudding moulds.
Grease each mould with butter.
Pop a small amount of chopped stem ginger into the bottom of each mould.
Add a 2 heaped teaspoon of golden syrup to the bottom of each mould.
Slice 6 apricots and line each mould. (See image)
_V2A6300

Once the moulds are lined, prepare the sponge mix.
Crack the eggs into a dish and beat with a fork until well mixed. Set aside.
Seive the flour and bicarb’ of soda together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric whisk – or use a wooden spoon if you feel that you need a work out.
Once the butter and sugar are well creamed add the beaten egg a little at a time.
Once all the egg has been incorporated fold in the sieved flour and bicarb’ of soda.
Divide sponge mixture between the 6 moulds. (see iamge)
Note: Chilled eggs will cause the mixture to split, so use eggs that have been stored at room temperature. If the mixture splits before all the egg has been added, mix in a dessert spoon or two of the sieved flour – this should fix it.
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Cover each pudding with parchment paper and then a piece of tin foil. Secure with elastic bands. (see images)
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Note the fold in the parchment paper – this is to allow the sponges to rise during steaming.
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Steam the sponges for 30-35 mins.
To steam the sponges, line the base of a large pan with baking beans or a wire trivet.
Just cover the beans or trivet with water and bring to a simmer.
Add the sealed puddings to the simmering water and top up with boiling water so the level reaches half way up the pudding moulds. (see image)
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Put a lid on the pan and steam the puddings for 35-40 minutes on a low flame.
Once cooked, remove parchment paper and foil. Turn out onto plates and serve with the ice cream, fresh apricot slices and fresh cream.
Enjoy.

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Chocolate Layer Cake

One for the Chocoholic…well a slice at least.

Chocolate sponge dessert.
A moreish chocolate sponge cake with layers of summer fruits and fresh cream. Crème de Cassis and a chocolate cream, flavoured with star anise, add a touch of luxury.

I had to make something sweet to show off my latest charity shop purchases – two retro jugs, a 60’s glass plate and a nondescript little pot – all for a tenner. The items take me back to my childhood with so many memories.
My mother was always baking when I was younger, a lot younger, and this is the sort of moist chocolatey delight we as a family enjoyed. After a hard day, at a local farm, picking muddy King Edwards from a field that looked like the Somme it was a joy to sit down with a slice of cake and a hot chocolate. The money wasn’t great, but it came in handy to buy new pairs of wellingtons every week, as the thick, gloopy mud claimed so many.

Ingredients:

Chocolate Genoise Sponge:
4 eggs.
115g caster sugar.
90g plain flour.
25g cocoa powder.
55g melted butter.
1tsp vanilla extract/flavouring.

Chocolate Cream Coating:
400g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa.
300ml milk.
100ml double cream.
2 tsp sugar.
3 star anise.

Fruit Filling and Sauce:
500g Frozen summer berries – use mixed fresh berries if you like.
100g sugar.
Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
5 tablespoons of Crème de Cassis. Or use Blackcurrant juice if you prefer.
4 tbls cold water.
4 tsps cornflour mixed with 5 tbls cold water.

Cream For Filling:
100ml whipped cream.

Chocolate Flakes/scrolls:
200g Dark chocolate:

Garnish to serve:
Fresh summer fruits – I chose raspberries.
300ml Double creme.

Method/cook:

Chocolate Genoise Sponge:
Grease and line a 20cm x 25cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Set oven to gas mark 6 or 400°f/200°c
Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together into a bowl – set aside.
In a small dish mix together the melted butter and vanilla – set aside.
Crack the eggs into a heat proof bowl, add the sugar, and whisk over a pan of simmering hot water, with a electric whisk, for 5 minutes.
When the egg and sugar mixture has thickened and increased in volume, to ribbon stage, remove from the heat.
Using a balloon whisk, gently fold half of your sieved flour and cocoa powder, and half of your melted butter mix into the egg mixture.
Fold the remaining flour, cocoa and melted butter into the egg mixture.
Pour sponge mix into prepared cake tin.
Bake at gas mark 6 or 400°f/200°c for 20-30 minutes on middle shelf.
Once baked leave to cool.

Chocolate Cream Coating:
Break 200g of the chocolate into small pieces and place into a pan along with the milk, cream, sugar and star anise. Bring to a simmer and gently stir the ingredients until all the chocolate has melted. Turn the heat to its lowest setting and leave for 5 minutes for the star anise to impart a subtle aniseed flavour.
After the 5 minutes, remove milk and chocolate mix from the heat. Strain to remove star anise and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
Melt the rest of the chocolate (200g) in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted add to the cooled milk mixture and whisk by hand to incorporate all the ingredients into a chocolate cream. It will thicken to a fudge texture as it cools further.

Fruit Filling and Sauce:
Place all ingredients, except cornflour and water mix, into a pan.
Place pan, with lid, on a low heat and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
Once the the ingredients are simmering stir in the cornflour and water mix.
As soon as the fruit mixture thickens, remove from the heat and place in a clean bowl to cool. Once cooled, refrigerate until chilled through.

Chocolate Flakes/scrolls:
Melt chocolate, in a heat proof bowl, over simmering hot water.
Once melted, pour chocolate onto work surface, marble slab – or, as I do, a piece of slate. See image:_V2A4098
Leave the chocolate to set at room temperature.
Note: If the chocolate is too cold it won’t form scrolls/shavings so don’t be tempted to speed up the cooling by placing it in the refrigerator.
When the chocolate has set, scrape a knife along the surface of the chocolate to create the shavings. See Image:_V2A4106
Use the blade of the knife, horizontal against chocolate, and drag from top to bottom across the surface of the chocolate. Keep the top of the knife slightly tilted towards you. Don’t dig the blade into the chocolate, just add enough pressure to create the scrolls/shavings.
Keep scraping across the chocolate until you have enough flakes/scrolls to cover the cake – top and sides. Transfer the choc’ flakes/scrolls to a clean tray and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Building The Cake:
For the final cake I cut 4 oblong sponge slices- approx’ 12cm x 22cm and 2cm in thickness. See image:_V2A4094
Drizzle each slice of sponge with Crème de Cassis or blackcurrant juice. See Image:_V2A4096
Pipe, narrow, lines of cream onto three of the slices and spoon fruit filling between the lines of cream. See image:_V2A4099

Now stack the sponges to create the layers – lightly firm and remove any cream that may ooze out. See Image:_V2A4101

Cover the stacked sponge with the chocolate cream: See image:_V2A4103

Now cover your cake with your chilled chocolate flakes/scrolls.
Finally, pass the remaining fruit filling through a fine sieve to be served as a sauce.

Tip: If the sauce is to thick after chilling just add a little more Crème de Cassis or blackcurrant juice.

Serve:
Serve your final cake with fresh pouring cream, fresh fruits of your choice and the fruit sauce.
Enjoy.

desserts, food blogging, restaurant food, tarts

Custard Tart

Custard Tart
Deep Filled Custard Tart with Toffee Sauce, Glazed Bananas and a Sultana Syrup.

A wonderful dessert to follow a Sunday lunch. Maybe a good idea to go easy on the roast potatoes.

Ingredients:

Pastry: (for six tarts)
300g plain flour.
180g unsalted butter – cold.
1 large egg.
70g caster sugar.
2-3 tabls cold water.
Pinch of salt.

Egg Custard:
3 eggs.
30g caster sugar.
400ml whole milk.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Fresh nutmeg for grating.

Toffee Sauce:
100g sugar.
300ml double cream.
50g butter.

Sultana Syrup:
200ml water.
3 dessert spoons of sugar.
bay leaf.
3 cloves.
slice of lemon.
slice of orange.
50g of sultanas.

Glazed Bananas:
3 small ripe bananas.
15g of icing sugar and some for dusting.

Hazelnuts optional.

Method/Cook:

Pastry:
Add flour and salt to a bowl and rub in the cold butter to a fine crumb.
Lightly hand whisk the egg and sugar together.
Add the egg and sugar mixture to the flour mix to form a dough.
If needed, add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is a little dry.
Once the dough is made place in the refrigerator to chill – 1 hour.
Divide pastry into 6 equal portions.
Roll out each portion of pastry and line six round 9cm/3.5″ baking rings. I use non-stick egg rings with a depth of 4cm/1.5″
After lining rings with pastry ‘bake blind’ (see note) for 10 minutes at gas 6 or 400°F / 204°C. After 10 minutes remove parchment paper and baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Once tart cases are baked remove from the oven and leave to cool – do not remove the rings at this point.
Note: Baking blind. Line your uncooked pastry cases with parchment paper, bottom and sides, fill each ring with baking beans or dried peas. This stops the pastry from rising at the base and falling in at the sides.

Custard filling:
Lightly hand whisk the eggs and the sugar together in a bowl.
Heat the milk and vanilla in a pan until just warm.
Pour the warm milk onto your egg and sugar mixture and hand whisk together.
Transfer the mixture to a pouring jug and pour into your cooled pastry tart cases.
Once you have filled your pastry cases with custard, grate the top of each tart with fresh nutmeg.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until custard has set. Gas 6 or 400°F / 204°C.
When cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.

Toffee Sauce:
Place sugar in a thick bottomed pan over a low heat – do not stir as sugar will crystallize before turning to a caramel.
When the sugar melts and starts to turn a golden brown remove from the heat.
Add the cream and butter – be careful at this point as the caramel is extremely hot and will bubble up as you add the cream.
On a low heat continue to stir until all the ingredients have formed a smooth sauce.
Note: On adding the cream, some of the the caramel will go hard and sticky. This caramel will melt as you stir cook the sauce out.
Once ready set aside.

Sultana Syrup:
Place all the ingredients except the sultanas in a pan.
Bring to a simmer and simmer for a further ten minutes.
Add the sultans and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Leave to cool.

Glazed Bananas:
Slice bananas into 5mm / 1/4″ slices and place on a non-stick baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Dust each slice with icing sugar and place under a medium grill until each slice turns a light golden brown. Or us a blowtorch if you have one.

To Serve:
Top your cooked tarts with a little of the toffee sauce and serve with the glazed bananas and sultana syrup. Dust with icing sugar.
Hazelnuts can be used to garnish for a little extra texture.
Note: The toffee sauce and syrup can be served warm as can the tart – enjoy.