Flourless caramelised white chocolate and mini egg cake

My contribution to Easter: taking a recipe that really really doesn’t need to be any sweeter, and adding Mini Eggs to it. It sounds gross, but most of what baking is is layering sweet things on top of each other. You’re supposed to introduce a savoury element, reduce the sugar where appropriate, balance the flavours (salt, acid etc.) in your baking to make sure the end product isn’t cloyingly sweet. Instead, I thought about the flourless dark chocolate cake and I wondered whether it would work with white chocolate and Mini Eggs. The result has the texture of a blondie, just a little bit gooier because of the lack of flour. You still get a crackly top – I always feel disappointed when I see a brownie/blondie without one so this was definitely a win-win situation.

The cake would have been too sweet if I didn’t caramelise the chocolate for an hour and a half, even if sticking your head in a hot oven every ten minutes to stir chocolate feels a bit OTT – caramelising the chocolate is necessary, especially if you’re going to add crushed up bits of chocolate that contain an indecent amount of palm oil and E numbers. If you can’t be bothered to caramelise the white chocolate and can’t justify buying a 2.5kg bag of it (smaller quantities yet to be seen), you could fold through crushed raspberries. Or save yourself the hassle, use dark chocolate, leave out the Mini Eggs and serve with a dollop with crème fraiche – it doesn’t get much more sophisticated than a flourless chocolate cake, and it would make the ultimate dinner party dessert.  Continue reading

Chamomile buttermilk pie in a chocolate crust

Another day, another pie. I promise that my next post will not have a short crust casing! It might be something round, but that’s about as pie-like as it’s gonna get. As for the last of the pie chronicles, this one took me by surprise. It claims to be a buttermilk custard pie, but the taste is so similar to cheesecake that I have to question whether it’s custard at all. It’s not too sweet, thick and creamy and has a tangy flavour – pretty much everything you’d ask for in a cheesecake.

I infused the cream in chamomile before adding it to the rest of the “custard” ingredients for a very subtle tea-ish flavour. If you want something more pronounced, I recommend using Earl Grey or Lapsang Soushong.

I used the leftover chocolate pastry from the white bottom matcha pie as there was plenty leftover. It’s a system of waste not want not really, and since we’ve taken an interest in saving our planet recently (and for good reason – our sea mammals shouldn’t have to swim amongst our waste products) it makes sense to do a kind of ‘look what you can make with your leftover pastry dough’ kinda post. Continue reading

Rhubarb kadaif pie

I don’t really eat pies with the filling in mind. For me it’s all about the pastry mixed together with custard and a bit of the fruit juices – that makes the perfect mouthful of pie and any chunks of soggy fruit just get in the way of my pleasurable experience. This winter though, I’ve become unhealthily attached to roasted rhubarb. I’ve been eating it with yogurt for breakfast, using it to make a British Bakewell classic and drinking rhubarb soda to pep me up for the last leg of the bakery shift. I’m even feeling a bit anxious for when this forced Yorkshire rhubarb season draws to a close, other roasted fruit just doesn’t offer the same texture and tartness – even if they are much cheaper. Continue reading

Rhubarb bakewell pie

I’m having a pie moment and according to this blog, it’s an on-going moment that has lasted four glorious months and shows no signs of ending. From the outside, this particular pie looks like it has the chicken pox virus but if you dig deeper you’ll see that it’s a Bakewell tart disguised as an American style pie (my favourite rendition of any dessert with a pastry base). What gives this pie it’s alarmingly basic ‘twist’ is that instead of using a jam on the base, as is traditional with Bakewell tart, there is a layer of beautifully pink roasted rhubarb, of which the juices are used to make the water icing that is spread on the top of the cooled frangipane topping. I loved this pie, but it’s not a dessert, so treat it as something to have a slice of next to an afternoon cuppa. Continue reading

Matcha buttermilk white bottom pie

I’m actually not the biggest fan of matcha, and if I were to bake this again I’d use one tablespoon instead – but I was making it with a matcha-lover in mind, so the flavour is at the forefront of this version. All of the other components, the almost savoury and deeply cocoa-y shortcrust, the white chocolate ganache bottom (inspired by four and twenty blackbird’s genius black bottom), really do act as an (enhancing) backdrop for the matcha buttermilk custard. Continue reading

No-bake cheeseecake with black pepper strawberries

Ingredients

For the base

  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 75g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg white

For the cheesecake

  • 4 leaves gelatin
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 160g mascarpone
  • 280g cream cheese

For the topping

  • 200g strawberries
  • 60g caster sugar
  • Zest and 2 tbsp juice of a lemon
  • 5 turns of a pepper mill

Note: You can leave the gelatine out, the cheesecake just won’t have a firm set, but it will still taste good. 

Method

  1. To make the base, preheat the oven to 180 C/160 F and lightly grease a 7-inch springform pan. Beat the butter and sugar to combine, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix just until a dough forms. Press the dough into the base and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20-22 minutes until firm in the middle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  2. To make the filling, soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes, then transfer to a small saucepan with 150ml of the double cream and stir on a low heat until the gelatine dissolves. Pour the gelatine cream and the rest of the cream into a large bowl and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, add the rest of the cheesecake ingredients and use an electric whisk to mix until smooth and thick. Spread the filling over the cheesecake base and level it off with a spoon or offset spatula. Put the cheesecake in the fridge to set for 4 hours, or overnight.
  3. To make the topping, slice the strawberries into halves and quarters and put them in a bowl with the sugar, lemon and pepper. Stir to coat the strawberries and leave to macerate for 10 minutes, then pile the strawberries on top of the cheesecake. Reserve the juice for guests to pour over the cheesecake before they dive in.