Makes 1 litre
- 2-3 large handfuls fresh elderflowers
- 500ml water
- 300g sugar
- 180ml freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
- 180ml freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
- 100ml rosé
Place elderflowers into a large bowl, cover with water, and let soak overnight.
The next day, drain elderflowers carefully, making sure that they are clean, and put back into the rinsed bowl.
Heat water and sugar over a low heat in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat, pour over the elderflowers, cover and leave overnight to infuse.
The next day, strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing the flowers with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavour from them as possible.
Add the lemon and orange juices, the rosé, and chill the mixture thoroughly.
Freeze in your ice cream machine and serve in small scoops.
Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Red-Wine Syrup
- 150ml Pinot Noir
- 150g castor sugar
- Seasonal fruit to serve
- 250ml pouring cream
- 100g castor sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, and seeds scraped out
- 3 gold strength gelatine leaves
- 500g Meredith Dairy Mediterranean Natural Sheep Milk Yoghurt
Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
Put cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds into a saucepan. Cook over low heat till sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Remove from heat, and take out vanilla bean, squeeze excess water from the gelatine, and stir into the cream to dissolve.
Whisk the yoghurt into the cream mixture, strain through a sieve, then pour into 6x 125ml moulds.
Place in the fridge overnight to set.
For the syrup, combine wine with sugar in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar, then set aside to cool.
Dip moulds in hot water; invert them onto serving plates, place fruit around panna cottas, and drizzle with red wine syrup.
If you are not able to find gelatine leaves, use 1.5tsps of powdered gelatine and dissolve following instructions on the packet.
Chocolate Mousse Tart
Dark Chocolate Mousse
- 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Manjari (64%), finely chopped
- 2 tbsp (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tbsp espresso or hot water
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 1 tbsp sugar
Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in a stainless steel bowl over hot, but not boiling water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool until chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it’s too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.
Meanwhile, whip the cream into soft peaks and put aside. Whip the egg whites until they are foamy and beginning to hold their shape. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites until just incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining cream.
Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl, or individual little dishes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- 1/3 cup fresh, skinned hazelnuts
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
- 10 tbsp (5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 7 1/2 ounces (13/4 cups) plain flour
- 1-2 tbsp ice water
- Butter and flour for the tart tin
- Dark chocolate mousse, just prepared
- Cocoa powder
- Shaved bitter chocolate
Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor, then add the sugar and grind again. Add the salt and butter and flour, and process until the mix comes together, adding ice water as necessary. Remove the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling.
Butter and flour an 11inch tart tin with a removable bottom.
Between 2 sheets of baking paper roll the dough into a 14 inch circle about ¼ inch thick. Remove the top sheet of paper, roll up dough around the rolling pin and unroll it into the tart tin. Gently lift the edges to ease the dough into the corners of the tin, then push down gently to be certain the dough around the sides is ¼ inch thick. Cut away excess dough. If there are any thin spots in the sides of the tart shell, pat a bit of the dough scraps over them to create an even thickness. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and refrigerate for ½ hour.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with dry beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown. Don’t rush this process, if the weights are removed too early, the sides will shrink. Remove baking paper and beans and bake until it is a rich golden brown and the bottom is thoroughly cooked. Place on a rack and cool completely.
When crust is cool, spread the mousse into the tart shell and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate, covered, for 8 hours to allow the mousse to set completely.
To serve, dust the top evenly with cocoa powder, and sprinkle the shaved chocolate around the edges.
- 200g plain flour
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- A little milk
- Pinch of salt
- For the Tart filling
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1tsp pure vanilla
- 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- Crème fraîche for serving
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1tbsp cream
- 20cm-22cm tart tin with removable bottom
Firstly make your pastry. Process flour, butter and salt in food processor until it starts to come together, add egg yolk, a little milk, and process just until it forms a ball. Remove, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until light and creamy, and then gently fold in vanilla and hazelnuts with a large spoon. Set aside, whilst between 2 sheets of baking paper, you roll out a little more than half the pastry, and place it in the tart tin. Spoon in the hazelnut mixture, and then roll out the rest of the pastry, laying it on top of the tart, and pressing the edges together so they adhere. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze over the tart, put it on a baking sheet, and place it into the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven, let rest for 30 minutes before serving with spoonfuls of crème fraîche.
Poached Pears with Raspberries and Orange
- 3-4 pears. I use Beurre Bosc
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Julienned rind of one orange
- 1 punnet raspberries
- 1 litre light sugar syrup made with 2 parts water to 1 part sugar
In a saucepan, bring syrup to a simmer with lemon juice, vanilla bean and orange rind. Peel pears, cut in half and take out the cores. Put pears into the syrup, and simmer very slowly until they are tender. This can vary from 30 minutes to one hour depending on the ripeness of the pears. Leave to cool in the syrup and serve at room temperature scattered with the raspberries and drizzled with a little of the syrup.
To make the sugar syrup, put 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool. And keep in a jar in the fridge until needed.
Pears Baked in Red Wine
- 6 firm pears. The variety I use is Beurre Bosc
- 200g castor sugar
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
- 2tbsp quince paste, optional
Preheat the oven to 150C, and in a casserole large enough for all the pears, bring the sugar, red wine, vanilla bean and quince paste to a simmer. Peel the pears, leaving the stalks on, and put them into the simmering red wine syrup, covering them with water if necessary. Cover with the lid, and put into the oven for 1 hour. After an hour, turn heat down to 100C, take off lid, and turn the pears over. Replace lid, and bake for another 4 -5 hours, turning pears over every hour. When the pears are tender and very red, take them out and place in a pretty dish. Put the casserole back onto the stove, and over a low heat gently reduce the syrup until it’s a coating consistency: strain through a sieve and drizzle over the pears. Serve with softly whipped cream.
Hazelnut Meringue with Coffee Buttercream
Hazelnut Meringues with Coffee Buttercream
- 11/4 cups/170g toasted hazelnuts, skins removed
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup/ 128g icing sugar
- Pinch Himalayan pink salt
Preheat oven to 170C degrees, and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until finely ground. Now, combine egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium stainless steel bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, about 5cm deep, and whisk constantly, until warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and using an electric mixer, beat mixture on a high speed until thick and glossy, about 3-4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold in hazelnuts. Using a teaspoon, drop meringue onto the baking sheet in little mounds, 5cm apart. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, about 18-20 minutes, until the meringues are cracked on top, and slightly caramelised. Turn off the oven, and let meringues cool in the oven, leaving the door slightly ajar. These will keep nicely for 2 weeks in a sealed jar.
- 350g icing sugar
- 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
- Pinch Himalayan pink salt
- 1 1/2tbsp very strong espresso, cooled
Process the icing sugar in a food processor until there are no lumps, add the butter and the salt and mix until well combined and smooth. Pour in the espresso, and pulse to mix it into the buttercream. Use immediately.
Plum and Walnut Cake
- 4 sweet plums, seeded and chopped. About 350g
- 155g unsalted butter
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1cup ground almonds
- ½ cup ground walnuts
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 11/2 cups self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
Place plums in a food processor, process until smooth and set aside. Place butter and sugar in a bowl, and beat until light and creamy, add eggs and mix well. Stir plums, almonds, walnuts, vanilla extract, flour and baking powder through egg mixture and pour into a greased, floured and lined 20cm cake tin. Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Let stand in tin for 5-10 minutes, and serve warm with thick cream.
- 11/2 cups water
- 1 cup white or red wine
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 12-15 plums, halved and stones removed
Bring all ingredients except plums to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Slip in plum halves and simmer for 10 minutes, then allow to cool in the syrup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Lavender Ice Cream
- 1 litre milk
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup lightly packed unsprayed lavender flowers (depending on strength)
- 8 free range egg yolks
- 330 ml honey
- 600 ml cream, not ‘ thickened cream’
Warm the milk with the honey in a saucepan, then pour it over the lavender in a bowl. Leave the lavender to infuse until the milk is cold. Overnight is best.
Beat the egg yolks well and then strain the cold lavender milk into the egg yolks and beat gently to combine. Return to a clean saucepan and over a low heat stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Immediately pour in the cold cream and stir to combine. Strain into a bowl and set aside until cold. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and freeze.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a choice of 2 Sauces
- Makes 5 – 6 small dariole molds measuring 125 ml each.
- 50g castor sugar
- 150 ml cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split length ways
- 3 leaves of gelatin. If you cannot find gelatine leaves, use 2 teaspoons gelatine powder
- 500 ml buttermilk, whisk until quite smooth
Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. If using powered gelatine soak in 25 ml water for 5 minutes. Heat the cream with the sugar and the split vanilla bean over a low heat.
Stir until the sugar is just dissolved. Squeeze gelatine leaves and drop into the warm cream. Stir until quite smooth. With powered gelatine pour the water/gelatine mix into the warm cream and stir until smooth. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out into the mix. Add the buttermilk, stir and strain through a sieve. Pour into the molds and allow to set in the fridge overnight. Turn out and serve with either sauce.
Warm Cherry, Red Wine Sauce
Firstly, make a red wine syrup with 2 cups red wine, I use a Pinot Noir, and 1 cup castor sugar.
Heat the red wine with the sugar in a saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Pit 500g ripe cherries with a cherry stoner and place in the red wine syrup and cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool and reheat gently before serving with the Panna Cotta.
This can be made up to 2 days before and stored in the fridge.
- 250g raspberries
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
Blend ingredients in a food processor until shiny and sugar crystals have disappeared. Press through a coarse sieve to extract the seeds. Lovely served with the Panna Cotta with a pile of fresh berries on the side of the plate.
Coeur à la Crème
If you don’t have Coeur à la Crème moulds, I think you could try small clean yoghurt cartons with holes pierced in the bottom.
Serves 6, draining time, overnight.
- 2 egg whites
- 75g caster sugar
- 200ml cream
- 250g very fresh ricotta cheese put through a fine seive. Believe me, the fact it’s fresh makes a huge difference.
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Fresh raspberries, or raspberry coulis to serve.
Beat the egg whites until just starting to peak. Add half of the sugar and continue beating to firm peaks. Lightly whip the cream in a separate bowl. In a third bowl whisk the ricotta cheese with the rest of the sugar until smooth. Don’t overbeat. Add the seeds from the vanilla bean, fold in the whipped cream then gently fold in the beaten eggwhites.
Place the moulds on a tray and line with damp muslin cloth. Fill with the cream mixture, cover with the muslin and drain in the refrigerator overnight. Carefully turn out the hearts onto serving plates and serve with berries or coulis.
Crème Brûlée Tart
Makes 6 shallow 12cm tartlets
- 6 x12cm Pâte Brisée tartlet shells baked and cooled
- 2 cups cream
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten and strained
- ¼ cup castor sugar
- 1.5tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup (approx.) castor sugar for caramelising
To make crème brûlée, put the cream and the vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together in a bain-marie over simmering water until pale and fluffy. The mixture should become dense but it must not scramble; be sure that the heat is not too high. Whisking constantly, strain the cream into the egg-sugar mixture. Continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature.
Soon the custard evenly into the baked tartlet shells and refrigerate for at least 4 hours for it to set. I have found that even if you leave the tarts in the fridge overnight, the pastry will still be perfect and the custard just firmer.
NB/ I have found that 4 hours is not enough time for it to set sufficiently. 24 hours is better, and the tarts will keep for up to three days in the fridge without the pastry softening. In fact, the custard will become denser the longer it is in the fridge.
Immediately before serving, sprinkle a small amount of sugar on top of each custard tartlet and caramelise. I use a small blow-torch for this.
- 2.5 cups plain flour
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp sugar
- 250g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup ice water
Put the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. This takes about 10 seconds. Add the ice water, drop by drop through the feed tube with the machine running just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Turn out the dough on to plastic-wrap and make into a flat circle with your fists. Chill for an hour in the fridge.
Roll out the pastry thinly and place in the tart tins. Freeze any excess. To blind bake, line the pastry with foil and weigh with dried beans and bake in a 180c oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven until golden brown. Cool before filling.
Nearly Flourless Chocolate Cake
I can’t remember where this recipe comes from, all I know is that it is extremely delicious, and is best served with a large spoonful of softly whipped cream. Heaven.
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g good quality dark chocolate broken into small pieces
- 50g almond meal
- 60g plain flour
- 6 medium eggs at room temperature, separated
- 50g brown sugar
- 175g caster sugar
- Softly whipped cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 23cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper.
Place butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water ( don’t let bowl touch water). Leave until melted, then stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sift together the almond meal and flour. Pace the egg yolks in a large bowl with the brown sugar and whisk until pale and creamy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate, followed by the almond mixture.
Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk into soft peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, to make a soft meringue. (If egg whites are too stiff, you will find it difficult to fold them into the rest of the cake mixture.) Fold into chocolate mixture with a large metal spoon. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake still comes out a bit wet. This cake should be slightly undercooked and moist in the middle and will sink a little in the middle as it sets. Cool, then carefully remove from pan and pull off the paper. Dust generously with icing sugar and serve.
Crème Caramel and New Year's Eve
The function of the egg whites in this custard is to make the custard set as it is cooked. The role of the yolks is to make it smooth. Therefore, the higher the proportion of egg yolks and the lower the proportion of egg whites, the finer the custard will be. However, four egg whites are the minimum for a custard stiff enough to unmould properly.
- 1 litre milk
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 4 whole eggs and 8 egg yolks
- 4tbsp extra sugar for the caramel
Put the milk and the vanilla bean into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat off, and let steep for about 15 minutes. Now prepare your caramel. In a small saucepan put the 8tbsp of sugar and 2tbsp water. Over a low heat, cook the mixture slowly. The sugar will start to melt and become caramel. This can take up to 5 minutes. When it is ready, pour the caramel into a 25cm metal cake tin, turning the mould in all directions so it becomes coated. Set aside. Combine the sugar and the eggs in a bowl and whisk for a few minutes until well combined. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and scrape the seeds into the egg mixture, and then pour the warm milk into the bowl, stirring constantly. Strain through a fine sieve into the prepared mould, and place it in a shallow baking pan on a tea towel. Fill the baking pan with nearly boiling water 2/3 up the side of the mould and bake in a preheated 150C oven for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick into the centre of the custard, if it comes out clean, it is cooked. Let cool in the mould overnight in the fridge. Unmould onto a large dish with a rim just before serving. There will be a lovely pool of amber coloured caramel syrup surrounding the Crème Caramel, just gorgeous.
This recipe makes a pie that serves 4-6 people, roughly 22cm in diameter. You will need,
- 500g pastry
- 3 cups blueberries. If you have a little less, don’t worry
- 1/3 cup(75g) sugar
- 2tbsp plain flour
- A scant 1/2tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg yolk, 1tbsp milk for the glaze
- An extra 1 1/2tsps sugar
- Icing sugar to dust
- 2 cups (260g) plain flour
- 1/2tsp salt
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- 1tsp baking powder
- 10tbsp (140g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 6tbsp pouring cream, beaten with one egg yolk.
Place flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and blend for 2-3 seconds. Add butter, and process for 8-10 seconds until blended. Add the beaten egg and cream mix slowly through the feeding tube until the mix forms a damp ball. This will only take a few seconds, don’t over process! Remove from food processor, form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before using. I usually leave it overnight.
When you are ready to start baking, remove pastry from fridge, unwrap, and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper. (This is a very soft pastry, so work quickly with it) You will want a circle of about 30cm diameter for this pie, cut off the excess, and put aside to make leaf shapes. Gently mix the blueberries with the sugar, flour and butter, and place in the centre of the pastry in a rough 20-22cm circle, leaving a 4-5cm border around the perimeter. Bring the sides of the pastry up and over to cover some of the blueberries, just drape it, it doesn’t need to be too perfect, and put back in the fridge on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. With a sharp knife cut the pastry scraps into leaf shapes and set aside. Make an egg wash with the egg yolk and milk, remove the pie from the fridge, and with a pastry brush, gently brush the exposed pastry with the glaze. Now place your pastry leaves randomly around the pastry edge, and over the exposed blueberries. Brush them with a little egg wash too, sprinkle with 11/2tsp sugar, and put back in the fridge for ½ hour while you preheat the oven to 200C. When oven is at the correct temperature, put pie in, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn down temperature to 180C and bake for another 10-20 minutes more. Check it every now and then to see that it is not browning too much, if so, turn oven down a little. When cooked, remove from oven, let sit for 15 minutes, dust with icing sugar, and serve with a jug of rich cream.
Vodka Macerated Peaches with Raspberry Sorbet
Per person use:
- ½ large ripe peach, skin off and cut into slices
- 2 tablespoons sugar syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons Vodka
- 1 scoop Raspberry sorbet, recipe below, or purchased
Put peaches in a glass, I’ve used a large classic Martini shape. Spoon over sugar syrup and Vodka and let sit for a couple of minutes. Top with a generous scoop of Raspberry sorbet, and serve, very cold!
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 cup water
Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat off, and let cool. Store in fridge until needed.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cups plus 4 teaspoons water
- 6 cups raspberries, frozen is fine
Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Let syrup cool.
Blitz raspberries and remaining ¾ cup plus 4 teaspoons water in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve over a large bowl, using a rubber spatula, pressing down on the mixture gently to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.
Add the syrup, stir until well combined, and refrigerate for an hour.
Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers’ instructions. Transfer sorbet to an airtight container, and freeze until needed.