Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & sultana strudel

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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Bowl of home-made apple & sultana strudel with ice cream | H is for Home

Some say life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, I say life’s too short to make home-made filo pastry. I’m more than happy to whizz up a quick batch of puff, shortcrust or hot water pastry – I think it tastes much better than shop bought. Filo, at least to me, is just that little bit too finicky and time-consuming to make from scratch.

Apple & sultana strudel ingredients

Peeled & cored Bramley apples

That’s why I picked up a pre-made pack of filo for my apple & sultana strudel.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Cooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Yes, I know that filo (or phyllo) is Greek and apple strudel (or apfelstrudel) is German, but the former is the closest thing to the type of pastry traditionally used to encase the filling. Apparently you should be able to read a newspaper through it, it’s so thin!

Brushing melted butter between sheets of filo pastry

Spooning apple & sultana strudel filling mixture on to filo pastry

The filling is quick to make, I added sultanas to my apples, but you could try adding walnuts, dates or figs instead. The trickiest part is the assembly. Place the pastry onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment before filling and use it to help with rolling.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel

Cooked apple & sultana strudel

It’s best served hot, and always with cream… or ice cream… or both!

Apple & sultana strudel
Serves 4
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
  1. 2 Bramley apples
  2. 50g/1¾oz sultanas
  3. 30g/1oz soft brown sugar
  4. ½tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 80g/3oz butter
  6. 270g (6 sheets) pre-made filo pastry
  7. 1tbs Demerara sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and grease a large oven tray
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples into large cubes
  3. Put the apples into a large saucepan with the sultanas, soft brown sugar, ground cinnamon and 50g/2oz of the butter
  4. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring to combine well, until the apple just begins to soften
  5. Set aside to cool
  6. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the remaining butter (about 5-8 seconds)
  7. Fold the pastry sheets over in half, laying them out onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment
  8. Unfold the pastry sheets, one by one, and brush the top of each sheet with the butter using a pastry brush
  9. Using a slotted spoon to drain off the cooking liquid, place the apple & sultana mixture on the pastry forming a line along the long edge
  10. Sprinkle the rest of the pastry evenly with the Demerara sugar
  11. Using the tea towel/baking parchment as an aid, roll the pastry into a log shape, tucking in the ends so the filling doesn't fall out and place it onto the greased oven tray
  12. Brush the top with melted butter and bake for 30-35 minutes
  13. Serve hot
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Plum flaugnarde

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

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Home-made plum flaugnarde via @hisforhome

We were given half a dozen sweet, ripe plums last week. We ate a couple and used the others in a plum flaugnarde.

Plum flaugnarde via @hisforhome

A flaugnarde is similar to clafoutis in that they’re both baked French egg custard fruit puddings. However, if you’re a purist, the latter can only ever be made using cherries.

Halved plums

A flaugnarde on the other hand may contain all manner of fruit including pears, apples, figs, dried fruit, nuts…

Eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a large measuring jug

The addition of a tittle buerre noisette gives the custard a lovely, nutty flavour. Make sure you only cook it until it goes a nice, golden brown. If the butter’s even just a little bit burnt it will ruin the dish.

Plum flaugnarde batter via @hisforhome

A tablespoonful of almonds isn’t essential, but it adds texture, bite more nuttiness… and looks beautiful too!

Uncooked plum flaugnarde via @hisforhome

It puffs up beautifully while it’s cooking, but don’t worry when it deflates as it cools once out of the oven – it will do this. Serve it straight away with a little double cream or clotted cream.

Home-made plum flaugnarde with small bottle of double cream via @hisforhome

Plum flaugnarde
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 4 ripe plums
  2. 20g/¾oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 3 tbsp caster sugar
  5. ½tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  7. 50g/1¾fl oz milk
  8. 75g/2¼fl oz double cream
  9. pinch salt
  10. 1tbs flaked almonds (optional)
  11. icing sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking dish with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Shake the sugar around the dish so it's evenly coated. Tip away any excess
  3. Halve the plums, remove the stones and place them cut side down, evenly spread into the baking dish
  4. Heat the butter in a small frying pan over a low heat until it turns a light brown colour. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside
  5. In a large bowl or measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until creamy
  6. Add the flour, whisk until smooth, then slowly incorporate the milk, cream, salt and beurre noisette.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish making sure the plums are still evenly spread out
  8. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds
  9. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is puffed up and a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  10. Place on a wire cooling rack, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm with double or clotted cream
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: No bake double choc nut tart

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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Slice of home-made double choc nut tart via @hisforhome

I’ve had quite a lot on this week, so didn’t have a great deal of time to dedicate to a long-drawn-out Cakes & Bakes recipe.

Double choc nut tart ingredients

This no bake double choc nut tart is short on time, but big on taste and impact.

Dark chocolate digestives and butter

It would be perfect to make for a dinner party where there are a few courses to juggle in preparation.

Dark chocolate digestive tart base

The chocolate ganache is really simple to make and is rich and unctuous – a chocoholics dream!

Melting dark chocolate with double cream to make a ganache

The base can be made with chocolate digestive biscuits or, if you’re in the US and can’t get hold of them, Chocolate Creme Oreos are a good substitute.

Chocolate ganache

I topped it with toasted chopped mixed nuts and finished with a few pecan halves but you can use walnuts, hazelnuts or whatever takes your fancy!

Chocolate ganache poured on to digestive base

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or clotted cream and a sprig of mint to garnish – just perfection!

Home-made double choc nut tart via @hisforhome

No bake double choc nut tart
Serves 8
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  1. 250g/9oz dark chocolate digestive biscuits
  2. 100g/3½oz butter, cubed &softened
  3. 300g/10½oz dark chocolate, broken up into pieces
  4. 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  5. 1tbs mixed nuts, toasted
  6. 8 pecans
  1. Add the digestive biscuits to a food processor and grind until fine crumbs
  2. Add the softened butter to the biscuit crumbs and pulse until combined
  3. Pour the mixture into a tart dish (I used a cm diameter round one) and press evenly into the base and up the sides using the back of a spoon
  4. Put the base into the fridge for 20 minutes to harden
  5. Put the broken up dark chocolate and double cream into a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl into a saucepan filled with water to a level where it doesn't quite touch the bowl
  6. Heat the saucepan until just boiled then turn down low
  7. Stir the chocolate & cream mixture to combine well and remove any lumps
  8. Remove the base from the fridge, pour over the chocolate sauce and shake slightly to level it out
  9. Return to the fridge for 20 minutes before sprinkling with the chopped nuts and placing the pecans evenly around the edge
  10. Serve as is or garnish with a few strawberries, blueberries and/or mint leaves
H is for Home Harbinger