31 May 2012

Recipe: Jubilee Queen of Puddings

Queen of Puddings is a British Classic, and to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee the pudding was adapted.  Cherries Jubilee was invented for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. I decided to take this idea, and spread a layer of Cherries Jubilee on the pudding base.  I only hope the Queen doesn't mind that I messed about with a classic pudding, otherwise it could be the Tower for me.....

This pudding never looks the prettiest when served up, but a tip is to serve the pudding when it is lukewarm, this way the custard base has a chance to set again. For presentation, individual puddings win every time. No piped meringue, simply dollop the whisked egg whites into the centre, spread out towards the edges of the dish and swirl with a spoon. 

Serves:  4-6

For the pudding:

90g fresh breadcrumbs, 2 tbs soft brown sugar, 450ml whole milk, 1 lemon(zest only), 1 tbs caster sugar, 25g salted butter, 3 large eggs(yolks only, the whites will be used for the meringue)

For the topping:

350g jar pitted cherries ( I buy mine from Lidl), 2 tbs sugar free cherry jam, 1 tsp brandy, McDougalls Thickening Granules. 3 large egg whites, 75g caster sugar

1. Preheat the grill to medium setting.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and brown sugar onto a roasting tray and mix together.  Grill the breadcrumb mix until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted.  Put on one side to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.
3. Heat the milk, lemon zest, sugar and butter together in a pan over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined.  Stir the toasted breadcrumbs and caster sugar into the milk mixture.  Put to one side to cool for 30 minutes.
4. After the breadcrumb mixture has cooled for 30 minutes, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until pale and fluffy, add them to the milk and breadcrumb mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Pour the pudding mixture into a 20cm ovenproof serving dish and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the pudding has risen and set.
6. Drain the cherries(reserve the juice), add to a small saucepan, stir in the cherry jam and two tablespoons of the reserved syrup.  Heat gently until the jam has melted, add a teaspoon of thickening granules and stir until thickened, add the brandy. Cool slightly. Spread over the pudding layer.
7. Whisk the egg whites until the soft peak stage, add the sugar a little at a time whilst still whisking.  Continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.
8. Spoon the meringue over the pudding and return to the oven for 40 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.

25 May 2012

Recipe: Chocolate Cake With an Apricot and Amaretto Filling

You can't go wrong with a chocolate cake, it's the cake of choice for my small grandchildren and when my children were younger it was their favourite cake too,  I'm not sure my grandchildren would thank me for an apricot and Amaretto filling though. My husband prefers alternative fillings to the usual buttercream and I find St. Dalfour Thick Apricot Jam makes a fabulous jam filling, and even better if you add a few teaspoons of Amaretto liqueur to the jam.  Apricot and almonds are a perfect combination of flavours.

The flower in the photograph is a beautiful alstroemeria, unfortunately it didn't come from my garden, I have tried to grow these but have now given up the fight.  These flowers are much sought after by flower arrangers because they should last for over two weeks.

You will need: Two 18cm sandwich tins base lined and lightly greased.

175g soft margarine, 175g light soft brown sugar, 110g self-raising flour, 50g ground almonds, 2 generous tablespoons best quality cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3 eggs, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Icing: 50g dark chocolate, 15g butter, 2 tablespoons milk
Decoration: grated chocolate or Cadbury Flake.
Filling: 3 tablespoons apricot conserve and a few teaspoons of Amaretto liqueur.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. In a large mixing bowl add the margarine, sugar, sifted flour, ground almonds, cocoa and baking powder. Add the eggs and vanilla to the bowl. With an electric whisk mix for 2 minutes.
3. Divide the mixture between the two tins. Bake for 25 minutes.
4. Leave in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out and leave on a wire rack to cool.
5. When the cakes have cooled, spread the conserve over one of the sponges. Place the other sponge on top.
6. To make the icing: place the icing ingredients in a glass bowl, place over a pan of hot water. When the ingredients have melted together, stir to smooth the mixture, leave to cool and spread over the surface of the cake.
7. Decorate with grated chocolate.

15 May 2012

Bill Granger - Blueberry Breakfast Scones

I am the owner of the majority of Bill Granger's cookery books and seem to have watched most of his television programmes. 

These blueberry scones are from his book Bill Granger Holiday, they were light in texture and delicious.  The liquid measurement was far too generous, fortunately I held some liquid back, otherwise they would have been a failure.  They have to be fresh blueberries for this recipe, otherwise the scones will be coloured purple.  All you need to do is warm them in the microwave and slather them in butter - delicious.

I like Bill Granger and so obviously, I forgive him....

Blueberry Breakfast Scones

Makes 8 wedges

250g plain flour, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, a pinch of salt, 100g cubed unsalted butter, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 125ml cream(I used plain yogurt), 85g blueberries.

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease a baking tray.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well. Rub in the butter until it resembles large flakes.
3. Mix together the eggs and cream (or plain yogurt). Toss the blueberries in a little flour and add to the dry ingredients. Pour in some of the egg and cream mix and keep adding until the dough is soft.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press into a 15cm square. Cut into quarters and then cut each quarter in half.
5. Place on the baking tray and brush some of the remaining egg and cream liquid to glaze.
6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

5 May 2012

Plum, Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

I am enjoying reading The Hairy Bikers' Big Book of Baking and trying out a few of the recipes.  The television series to accompany the book has finished and I am really going to miss watching it every week.  They made me smile:)

This recipe is taken from the book and is called Slovakian Fruit Crumble, but I have adapted it.  I definitely can't call it Slovakian Fruit Crumble now.

The mix of plums, rhubarb and apple is really, really good, and is a mix of fruits I can recommend you try.  I popped my fruit mix into a bowl and cooked them in the microwave for a few minutes to start cooking them - I am pleased I did this otherwise I think some of the fruit wouldn't have cooked through. 

Serves: 6

4 ripe plums, 1 large apple, 6 stalks rhubarb, 6 tbsp caster sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, juice of  ½ lemon.

Crumble Topping: 175g Plain Flour, 1 tsp Baking Powder, ½ tsp allspice, 5 tbsp demerara sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 80g diced butter.

1. Grease a large ovenproof dish. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 4.
2. Halve and stone the plums. Peel, core and dice the apple. Chop the rhubarb.
3. Put the fruit into the ovenproof dish and mix with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.
4. Make the crumble: Put the flour, allspice, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix together, add the cubes of butter and rub in until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.
5. Scatter the crumble mix over the fruit and cook for 20-30 minutes until the fruit bubbles, the topping is golden and check the fruit is cooked.