Category Archives: Desserts

Salted Caramel Sauce

A very quick post today as I know some people are eagerly awaiting this recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce. It’s simple once you know how and absolutely amazing! I have had to restrain myself from simply eating it from the jar! 

Makes 1 jar

250ml double cream

1 cup granulated sugar

1tsp salt

– Pour the cream into a small pan and heat to just short of boiling. Turn off the heat and set aside. 

– Place the sugar in one flat layer in a large, heavy bottomed pan. You need it to be much bigger than you think as when you combine the ingredients it can bubble up and rise to nearly 10 times the height! Also, thin pans mean that the sugar may quickly burn as the heating is more intense. Heat your sugar on a LOW heat. It will take time (about 8 minutes to start to melt) but if you heat it too intensely then the sugar may burn and cause problems for you. Do Not Stir!

– Once about 8 minutes has gone by you should be able to see the sugar melting around the edges. At this point you can gently turn the sugar so the melted stuff on the bottom comes on top and the solid sugar on top gets to the bottom. Your sugar should be turning from white to golden caramel. Don’t rush, it will get there. 

-Once your sugar is all melted with no lumpy bits take it off the heat. 

– Pour half your hot cream into the sugar. It WILL bubble, spit and rise up. Stir vigorously the whole time. 

– When it has died back down pour the remaining cream in, remembering to keep stirring. It will usually rise and spit again. It will look like a lumpy mess. This is normal. 

– Return the pan to a low heat and keep stirring. The lumpy mess will slowly melt back in and you will get a smooth pale caramel sauce. This will probably take about 10 minutes. If you have any huge lumps it may take longer but they will eventually dissolve. You don’t want the mixture to boil so keep it on a nice low heat and it will get there! 

– When you have a nice, smooth sauce sprinkle over the salt and give it a good mix then pour into a heat proof container. 

– I store mine at room temperature but that’s because it doesn’t last long at all! If you plan to be more restrained in your consumption then you can keep it in the fridge but be aware that it will stiffen at a lower temperature. 

3 Comments

Filed under Basic, Desserts, For the Keen Cook, Gluten Free, Jams and Preserves

 Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie                       

The nights are drawing in, the mornings are full of mist.  It’s definitely Autumn!  So that definitely means pie in my book!  This Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie uses the copious quantities of British Apples and wild blackberries available to us at this time of year.

Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie

I am lucky in that I have an apple tree in my garden and a fantastic blackberry patch at the end of my road so there’s nothing to stop me whipping up one of these as the mood strikes!

Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie

The Lattice is a more fiddly option but firstly, it looks fantastic and secondly it allows the steam to escape more easily from the pie thus minimising the risk of a “soggy bottom”!

Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie

You can be very precise with the Lattice but I prefer a more rustic, cottagey pie.  I just throw it together and am happy to enjoy the fruits of my labours without needing it to look like haute cuisine!

Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie

Makes 1 20cm pie

1/2 batch Shortcrust Pastry (Or make a whole batch and freeze half for impromptu pastry needs!)

3 apples, sliced (leave the skin on though, that’s where all the vitamins live!)
2 tbsp cornflour
5 tbsp sugar
~150g blackberries (Or whatever amount you pick!)

1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp demerera sugar

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 5 with a flat baking sheet on the middle shelf and prepare a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin.
  • Mix the apples, cornflour and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  • Gently add the blackberries.
  • Roll out 2/3 of the pastry to a thickness of a £1 coin (~3mm) and large enough to completely cover the tin with a few cm extra (keep the remaining 1/3 to the side for a minute).
  • Gently pick up the pastry using the rolling pin and drape it into the tin.
  • Gently press the pastry into the edges of the tin making sure not to leave any air bubbles underneath.
  • Tip the apples and blackberry mixture into the pie.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry into a rectangle wider than your tin and cut even* strips about 1.5cm wide.   (* Do as I say, not as I do!)
  • Form a lattice on top of the pie, leaving the strips hanging over the edge.
    There are a few ways to do this: You can assemble the lattice on a piece of baking paper and then slide it on top of the pie or you can place the vertical strips on first and weave the horizontal strips over it one at a time.
  • Trim away the excess pastry from around the edge of the pie, erring more towards leaving a little extra overhand rather than cutting too neatly as it will shrink slightly.
  • Brush the egg over the top of the pastry and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes on the preheated baking sheet until the pastry is golden brown and crisp on top.  You want to cook this for as long as possible but remove it from the oven before the top starts to catch.  Golden brown is good, blackened is bad! THe filling should be bubbly and quite liquid but it will set as it cools.
  • Allow the pie to cool for a 20 minutes (don’t be hasty, you’ll burn your tongue!) and then serve with cold cream or ice cream!

Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Moderately easy

No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte

This one is a great Friday bake!  It’s the end of the week and we’re all a bit tired.  Chocolate will help.  Specifically a No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte!  All of the flavour, none of the faff!

No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte

It’s a biscuit based crust with a smooth and silky chocolate ganache centre.  Yum!

No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte

Look at those frills!  This makes an excellent centrepiece dessert, or even an afternoon tea… I may have had it for lunch at one point too… shh!!

No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte

It’s quick, it’s simple, its packed full of chocolate.  You should definitely make this!

No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte

Makes 1 8″ torte

300g chocolate biscuits (I actually used some of my Easy Chocolate Biscuits but you could use store bought too)
150g plain dark chocolate
150ml double cream
350g plain dark chocolate, broken into chunks
15g butter
50g white chocolate to decorate

  • Crush the biscuits into crumbs.  You can leave some chunks if you like but I prefer crumbs.
  • Melt the first 150g chocolate and mix with the biscuits.
  • Press evenly into a fluted ring (the one I use doesn’t have a base, it rests on a baking sheet and lifts off). Use the back of a spoon for a smooth surface.
  • Heat the double cream in a small pan until at a full rolling boil.
  • Put the 350g chocolate and butter in a mixing bowl.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter.
  • Leave it for a minute or two, then mix to form a smooth ganache with no lumps.  The cream should be hot enough to melt all of the chocolate if you squish it against the side of the bowl.
  • Pour the ganache into the biscuit shell.
  • Melt the white chocolate and drizzle or pipe over the top of the ganache to decorate.
  • Leave to set for at least 1 hour before serving.
    No Bake Chocolate Truffle Torte

2 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Easy, Teatime Treats

Mini Syrup Sponge Puddings

I hope everyone had a good Christmas!  In the spirit of Boxing Day, here is a recipe for Mini Sticky Sponge Puddings to complete your food coma.  It’s a little different than Christmas Pudding and still heartily good comfort food!

Mini Syrup Sponge Puddings

In my opinion there is nothing quite like a syrup sponge pudding.  Previously I’ve always made big ones, because bigger is better, yes?  However, I have to revise my opinion here.  With these mini puddings you get the perfect amount of sticky syrup sauce to sponge ratio and the sponge is deliciously soft and sweet.

IMG_7424.JPGIMG_7425.JPG

It doesn’t look like much mixture when you divide it up, but trust me, this will make the perfect little pud and a wonderful finish to any winter meal!

IMG_7431.JPG

Makes 4 Puddings

65g butter, melted
65g golden caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp golden syrup
65g flour
4-8 tbsp golden syrup

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C.
– Thoroughly butter 4 ramekin dishes.
– In a large jug melt the butter, then add the sugar and mix well.
– Beat in the egg (make sure the butter isn’t still hot!) and the golden syrup.
– Fold in the flour.
– Put 1-2 tbsp of golden syrup in the base of each pudding.  If you want more syrup sauce put in more, if you just want a sticky sponge add less.  Here I went for less but sometimes I want more goo!
– Bake for 25 minutes until set in the centre and deep golden brown.
– Immediately run a knife around the edge of the ramekin and CAREFULLY* turn out onto your serving plate.  If you allow it to cool the syrup solidifies and your pudding will not come out.  (You can microwave them for ~45 seconds to get them to release if you have leftovers.)
– Serve with cream or ice cream as you like!

* BOILING SUGAR.  Do not stick your finger in it, even accidentally.  Remember, I make these mistakes so you don’t have to, kids!

 

IMG_7432.JPG

Leave a comment

Filed under Desserts, Easy

Cinnamon Rolls

Merry Christmas!!! Do you like the snow?  

Cinnamon Rolls Collage

I have a new obsession.  I don’t know what came over me.  All of a sudden I woke up one day and out of nowhere I NEEDED to have cinnamon rolls! I couldn’t think about eating anything else.  I just wanted cinnamon rolls.  Soft, spicy, pillowy cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls

Now, for some people I understand that this is quite a normal state of affairs… but I don’t like cinnamon!!!  Yeah, well that’s a thing of the past!  I love cinnamon now!  For about a week, I kid you not, I pretty much existed on a diet of cinnamon rolls.  Nothing else.  I couldn’t stop thinking about them and craving them, and I had to get the recipe exactly right.  I had to pursue this cinnamon roll nirvana!

Cinnamon Rolls

Happily, I think I succeeded in my quest.  These cinnamon rolls are everything I dreamed of.  They are soft, sweet, squishy, delicious, moreish… I’ll stop now, shall I?

Having attained my perfect cinnamon roll I am pleased to say that I have moved on to new experiments but luckily even excessive consumption hasn’t put me off these… in fact, I might just make up another pan tonight, it would be a shame not to!

Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 9

500g strong bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
100g butter
2 eggs, beaten
150ml milk, warmed
50g butter, melted
4 tbsp demerera sugar
1 -2 tsp cinnamon
200g cream cheese
300g icing sugar

– Weight out your flour into a large mixing bowl.
– Put the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other.
– Mix gently with your hand to combine everything.
– Add the butter, cut into chunks, and rub it into the flour until all chunks have disappeared.
– Make a wekk in the centre and add the egg and almost all of the milk.  Hold back a little milk in reserve.  You probably will need it, but you may not.
– Start mixing everything together using your hand.  ( I like to keep one hand clean for holding the bowl and just use the other to get all sticky!)
– It should come together into a smooth dough, if it is still floury add the remaining milk.  You want a soft, smooth dough, not too sticky, not too dry.
– Turn it out on to a lightly floured worksurface and knead it for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
– Place in a buttered bowl and leave covered in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
– Turn out the dough on a lightly floured worksurface and roll out into a large rectangle, about 30cmx40cm.
– Brush the dough all over with melted butter.
– Sprinkle the surface evenly with sugar and cinnamon.  (I’ve left how heavy to go with the cinnamon up to you, I go for less at 1tsp and find that a comfortable amount.)
– Starting from the long edge furthest away from you, tightly roll the dough towards you into a tight spiral.
– Press the edge of the dough gently to seal it together.
– Slice into 9 equal sections.  (About 4-5cm each.)
– Place in a large, high baking dish cut side up.
– Leave to rise for 30 minutes.
– Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at gas mark 6 / 200C.  The centres should be springy and the dough lightly browned.

– For the frosting mix together your cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth.  Try to work it as little as possible.  Place it in the fridge to refirm it as it will be quite runny to start with.

– If you are not eating the cinnamon rolls straight from the oven simply microwave each one for 30 seconds before icing and eating!  There is little in this world more pleasurable than unrolling a warm cinnamon roll as you consume it!

Cinnamon Rolls

1 Comment

Filed under Breads, Breakfasts, Desserts, Easy, Teatime Treats

Nutella Braided Ring

NUTELLA!  Is there anything finer? Nutella smothered over sweet bread?  Got you covered here!  Nutella is one of the finer things in life and I thought it deserved something fun so this Nutella Braided Ring was born! Just look at it! (I kinda want to lick the screen!)

IMG_5341.JPG

 

This recipe uses about half a jar of Nutella.  You may want to push the envelope further and use a whole jar, but don’t!  Bad things will happen!  (Oozing and burning things!)

IMG_5356.JPG

It’s a tricky, sticky thing to get right but it tastes amazing, with each fold of bread hugging a ribbon of Nutella to it.  It is the perfect breakfast/afternoon snack type bread, just sweet enough but still nice and filling!

Nutella Braid

Serves 12

250g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter
135ml warm milk
1 egg
1/2 jar Nutella (or own brand, who can really tell these days?)

– Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, then add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
– Mix it all together.
– Chop your butter up into little bits and add this along with the milk and egg.
– Get in there with one hand and mix everything together.
– Keep mixing by hand in the bowl.  It will be sticky but keep going and after not too long it will start to come together into a cohesive dough.
– Once you have almost everything as one ball of dough you can turn it out onto a floured worksurface and really start kneading! (There will still be some sticky bits, you can take a small bit of dough and clean round the bowl to mop up stragglers.)
– Keep working it, the trick with a wetter dough is time!
– After about 10 minutes you should have a smooth, elastic dough.
– Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere sheltered to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.  I found 2 hours about perfect.
– Prepare your apples.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worksurface.  Do NOT knock it down.
– Simply start to roll it out with a rolling pin.  You want it to be about 25cm deep and 45cm long.  Try to keep it rectangular.
– Spread the Nutella in a thin layer across the dough, leaving a strip nearest you to seal it together at the end.
– Carefully roll the long end of the dough towards you, keeping the roll quite tight.
– When you have a long roll gently press to seal the dough back to itself.
– Starting about 1″ in from the end cut straight through the dough all the way along to the other end.
– Now for the messy bit!  Twist each half around the other, one over the top, followed by the next, arranging the cut side so it faces uppermost.
– Gently manoeuver onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment and bring each end round to form a circle.  Press the ends together gently to secure.
– Place in a plastic bag (bin bags work well here) and leave in a sheltered spot to rise for another hour.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Bake for 25 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
– Enjoy!

IMG_5412.JPG

3 Comments

Filed under Breads, Breakfasts, Cakes, Desserts, Moderately easy

Melt-In-The-Middle Chocolate Salted Caramel Puddings

I don’t think anyone of my acquaintance can resist those words once seen on a menu.  (If they can then we tend not to remain friends long!) Melt-In-The-Middle is always a good start.  Chocolate, sure fire winner there.  Salted caramel… SOLD!

Melt In The Middle

The best thing is that contrary to everything Masterchef, Great British Bake Off, etc have told you these are actually very easy to make.  Can you mess it up? Yes, as with everything if you’re not paying attention you just get puddings and won’t get the melt in the middle.  But we all know that you’ll be paying attention, right?

IMG_5521.JPG

These things are so tempting and delightful that the anticipation won’t let you stray far from the oven for the wonderfully short baking time that they have.  You’ll want to stay close, cooing at them as they rise may be… Oh…  just me then?

IMG_5522.JPG

How could you not want to coo at them though? Just looking at them makes me want to dash to the kitchen and whip up a batch.  And that’s the other great thing about them.  You can whip them up as a last minute dessert without any hassle at all.  You can even (if you really really must) just make these as chocolate puddings if you don’t have any toffees in the house… (what kind of house do you live in???)

IMG_5523.JPG

Now, if I wanted to go all Bake Off on you I could tell you to make the toffee from scratch and the same with the caramel sauce… but these are supposed to be easy!  If it pleases you, fine, knock yourself out.  But these are a quick, no fuss, high in wow factor dessert just perfect for the recent cold turn the weather has taken.  Ultimate luxury and comfort on a plate!

IMG_5528.JPG

Makes 4

100g plain chocolate
100g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g flour
1 packet toffee/treacle toffee/soft caramels (not normal Werther’s Originals!)
200ml double cream
sea salt

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/ 200C.
– Break up/slice up the chocolate and butter into a microwave proof bowl.
– Microwave for about 1 minute until all of the butter and most of the chocolate is melted.
– Stir until the remaining lumps of chocolate have dissolved and the mixture is combined.
– Set aside to cool a little. (I usually do the microwaving bit first then go get all of the other ingredients together.)
– Thoroughly grease 4 ramekin dishes with butter and place on a baking tray for easy maneuverability later.
– In a large jug or bowl thoroughly mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla with a hand whist.
– Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, stirring constantly with your whisk.  If you can pour from a bit of a height so much the better!
– When it is all nicely combined add your flour and mix in.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the buttered ramekins.  The mixture should come just over halfway up.
– Put a toffee in the centre of each pudding.  Just rest it on the top, no need to submerge it.  Add a tiny pinch of sea salt to each toffee.
– Put in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
– Every oven varies so you’re going to have to check them at regular intervals once you get to 10 minutes.  The time between totally molten (puddle of goo) and totally cooked (cake) is not great and you want to hit it right in the middle.  If you can see any shiny cake batter where the cap lifts then they need longer, the edges should be a matt, cooked colour.  There shouldn’t be any obvious wobble, we want a squishy middle, not a squishy everything!  If you poke the top gently the crust should hold but there should be a little bit of movement in it.  If your finger goes through the delicate crust, it’s not done!  It sounds tricky but actually its really easy to eyeball when the edges are cooked enough to hold the pudding together.  If in doubt an extra minute in the oven (with a very close eye) is probably not going to hurt it.
– Remove from the oven and gently run a thin bladed knife around the outside of the pudding to loosen it.  (Remember, sugar burns are not sexy so it’s ok to let these sit for a minute or two before serving but don’t leave them for too long as you want them warm.)
– Put the cream and remaining toffees in a small pan and gently heat until the toffees have melted and the cream is hot.  Mix together well so all of the toffee dissolves and you get a pale caramel sauce.  Add a pinch of sea salt to taste and mix well.  (Can also be done in the microwave but watch the cream, it WILL boil up high!)
– Turn out the puddings carefully onto a plate.  They should slip right out.  You may find the the toffee has sunk to the bottom and a little bit remains behind, just scoop this out and pop it back on top.
– Pour over the caramel sauce to serve.
– Luxuriate!

IMG_5530.JPG

 

3 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Easy, Moderately easy