Tag Archives: dessert

Rhubarb Mini Crumbles

You know we love our mini crumbles right? Quick, easy, delicious and perfect for a little naughtyness after dinner! This one is a very seasonal version with some beautiful pink rhubarb bought at the same time as the celeriac from this post.

Lovely Rhubarb

To make two little ramekins of spring you’ll need:

  • 1 long stick/2 sticks of rhubarb, chopped into roughly 2 inch pieces
  • Sugar, to taste
  • 20g  unsalted butter, cubed
  • 30g plain flour
  • (optional: small handful of oats)

Pop the rhubarb in a small saucepan with a splash of water and add 1 tbsp of sugar to start with. Once it’s bubbling give it a taste and add as much sugar as you want, we think ours had about 2 tbsp of sugar in. Preheat the oven to 180°C while the rhubarb bubbles away for about 10 minutes.

Rhubarb In Pan

Rhubarb Stewing

To make the crumble topping rub the butter into the flour with about 1 tsp of sugar and add in the oats if using until you have a lumpy-sand texture. All that’s left to do is divide the rhubarb compote between two ramekins, top with the crumble and bake for about 15-20 minutes. We served ours with a little scoop of vanilla icecream on top for extra indulgence!

Rhubarb Crumble with Ice Cream

Go on… treat yourself this weekend!

Lindt Creation Dessert Chocolates*, Fats and Bird Caramel Eclairs

We’ve been pretty spoilt this year when it comes to sweet treats. After managing to eke out our Christmas haul all the way until the back end of February, we were ready to say “that’s enough – no treats for a while, let’s be good”. Fortunately, we were snapped out of this madness when we were given the chance to sample some lovely Lindt chocolates. We’re huge fans of Lindt, so we couldn’t turn down the chance to try something new. Fats in particular has fond recollections of Lindt – unfortunately there’s no big romantic story here, instead the memories were formed in the Lindt factory outlet store in Aachen, Germany,  down the road from some offices he used to work in… he did bring Bird back one of these beauties for Valentine’s day – the gorgeous little tin is still used! If you fancy trying these out for yourself make sure you read to the bottom for a chance to win a box!

Lindt Creation Desserts are bite-sized chocolates, each one based on a well-known dessert. This is a great concept, and made for a rather obvious post inspiration – we were to chomp our way through the chocolates with the aim of deciding which one was our favourite, and we’d make the winner into a full-sized dessert and post the recipe on our blog. In fact, we decided to go one further and rank all of the chocolates. It’s a tough job, but we were definitely ready for this particular challenge…

Lindt Chocolate Box

Chocolate Box Full

So (in the style of BuzzFeed) here is the DEFINITIVE ranking of Lindt Creation Desserts!

7. Tiramasu
Tiramasu Choc

At the centre of this chocolate was a thick layer of milk chocolate praline with a layer of white chocolate mousse. This was wrapped by lovely milk chocolate and topped with a thick layer of white chocolate dusted with cocoa powder. Although delicious in its own right, we felt it could have had a stronger coffee flavour.

6. Meringue
Meringue Choc

A hard, white chocolate shell, covering a creamy white chocolate mousse dotted with tiny little bursts of crunchy meringue giving pops of texture. Really tasty, but white chocolate will always be second to milk really…

5. Chocolate Fondant
Chocolate Fondant Choc

Chocolate chocolate chocolate! Thick milk chocolate shell with a rich, gooey centre. Really gooey, the kind of chocolate that sticks your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

4. Brownie

Brownie Choc

A squishy texture with crunchy hazelnut pieces and a nutty, dark, almost burnt flavour. This was really indulgent – perfect with a mug of tea!

3. Mille-feuille

Mille Feuille

This was a lovely milk chocolate coating a rich praline, laced with specs of wafer, giving a great texture.

2. Creme Brulée
Creme Brulee Choc

A milk chocolate cup containing a delicious white chocolate cream with a smooth milky flavour, topped with a crunchy layer of caramelised sugar that gave that lovely burnt flavour you associate with creme brulée – delicious!

1. Caramel Eclair
Eclair Choc

Our winner! Caramely and classic milk chocolate surrounding a gooey centre somewhere between caramel and fudge in texture, with a sweet but complex, coffee-like, slightly burnt taste. So good, we were inspired to make them for real!

We seriously enjoyed these desserts, and we reckon you will too – there’s definitely something for everyone in there. With two weeks to go until Mother’s Day, it would be a great gift too. Read on if you want to know how to make your very own eclairs, and to find out how to get hold of your very own box of delicious chocolates!

Salted Caramel and Coffee Eclairs

This recipe is a bit adapted from a Paul Hollywood recipe that you can find on the BBC food website – we drew on some of the skills we learned at our Bordeaux Quay cookery school earlier in the year and changed the recipe a bit – we hope you like it!

For 4 eclairs (and a few profiteroles for good measure), you’ll need:

For the filling:

And for the icing:

Before you start, pre-heat an oven to 190°C. Now, make the choux pastry. This is pretty scary if it’s your first time, but take it from us that it’s nowhere near as hard as it looks! Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat along with the salt, caster sugar and water. Once the butter has melted, bring it to the boil and immediately add the flour. Keep it on the heat for a few minutes (bit different from Hollywood here!) to cook some of the flour out, while stirring fairly vigorously to bring it all together. Once everything has come together, take it off the heat.

This is what the choux looks like when an egg has just gone in - don't panic!
This is what the choux looks like when an egg has just gone in – don’t panic!

Start adding the eggs, a little bit at a time, and stir to incorporate into the rest of the mixture. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come together immediately, you really need to put some effort in! Hollywood reckons 2 eggs for twice this mixture, but we got nearly 2 eggs in – what you’re looking for is a really shiny, silky texture that isn’t runny but will be easy to pipe.

Ahh - perfect silky choux!
Ahh – perfect silky choux!

Once the choux mixture is done, put it in a piping bag with a 1 cm nozzle (we used disposable bags and cut a 1 cm nozzle), trying to make sure there are no air bubbles. Pipe out four 12cm-long eclairs onto a pre-prepared baking sheet lined with baking paper, and as many profiteroles as you can get out of the rest of the mixture – we managed 4 fairly large ones (about 3 cm across).

Choux going in bag

Eclairs going on

Dab down any spikes of choux with a wet finger, and whack in the oven. Bake until a light golden-brown colour – this should be about 30 minutes. As soon as they come out, put a small hole in each one with the tip of a knife, to let any steam out – otherwise they’ll go a bit soggy, and no-one wants soggy choux.

Cream

Now for the cream filling. Beat the marscapone in a bowl until smooth, and then add the coffee and icing sugar and mix in. Beat the cream until it holds soft peaks and then fold into the rest of the mixture. Spoon into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, and pipe into the eclairs and profiteroles. This is another step that’s a bit scary if you haven’t done it before! Just stick the nozzle into the hole that you made and squeeze (making sure that the cream is going to come out of the right end of the piping bag!). The eclairs will hold a surprising amount of cream, inside they’re nothing but air. They’ll be pretty weighty when you’re done!

Perfect one-hand filling from bird there!
Perfect one-hand filling from bird there!

Eclair Filled

For the icing, heat the sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan. Don’t stir initially – give it the odd shake around though. When everything is melted and a bit smoother, add the milk and bring to the boil. Keep it boiling for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take it off the heat and sift in the icing sugar. You’ll need to be quick now, the icing will harden surprisingly fast! Slather over your eclairs, and dip the profiteroles in to get a little cap of icing.

For a last extra-special touch, sprinkle over a little sea salt and gently press into the top of the icing. This lovely burst of flavour and texture just puts the icing on the cake… or should that be the salt on the icing?

The sea salt is a really excellent touch!
The sea salt is a really excellent touch!

Now – eat them! We have to say thanks to Lindt for this, not only for the lovely chocolates, but for inspiring us to get in our kitchen to cook up this quite frankly incredible dessert.

Eclair Done

We also have an exciting announcement – head over to our twitter feed for a chance to win a box of your very own Lindt Creation Desserts. A perfect gift just in time for Mother’s Day (or a treat to scoff yourself!). UK only, competition closes 21/03/2014, one box available and winner is chosen at random from followers who have retweeted – retweet and follow us on Twitter for a chance to win!

*Lindt Creation Desserts were sent to us free of charge by 4Ps Marketing. You can buy them at the lindt shop

Spontaneous Pear Crumble 2 Ways

We recently came into possession of a couple of pears (by way of a charity walk-to-work day organised by Bird!) and we thought that rather than just eat them we’d make them into crumbles – much more interesting to blog! We’ve done these mini crumbles before, with apple, but we thought we would give you a couple of more interesting flavour ideas. We’ve gone with a couple of contrasting flavours – a sweet, spicy sugar syrup with cardamom, cinnamon and star anise and a tart, fruity alternative made with raspberries.

Ingredients – for the topping, you’ll need (makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

To make the topping, simply rub together the butter and flour in your fingertips until you get breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and mix together. Easy or what?!

To make the sweet and spicy crumbles, you’ll need (makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pear

To make the sugar syrup, add all of the ingredients to a pan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Leave it bubbling away to let the flavours infuse for about 5 minutes. If you see the sugar syrup start to darken, stop – it’s done! Chop your pear up into small (~1 cm) cubes and put it into 2 ramekins (or other small dishes), pour over the sugar syrup (taking out the whole spices) and cover with a couple of centimetres (just over half an inch) of topping.

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas...?
Is it too early to start talking about Christmas…?

For the fruity berry crumbles, you’ll need (again, makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 2 tbsp raspberries
  • 1 pear

Almost no preparation required here, just chop up your pear up into small cubes and put it into 2 small ramekins, and cover with topping. We keep some frozen raspberries in the freezer, which are useful for all sorts of things in the winter.

Raspberry and Pear

Once the crumbles are assembled, place in an oven at 180 C for 20-25 minutes – you should see the top go a lovely golden colour. Sit back and enjoy your tasty, warming winter treat!

Crumble and Coffee
Spicy Pear Crumble and Coffee
Pear and Raspberry Crumble
Pear and Raspberry Crumble

Fluffy Lemon Pancakes

We made these pancakes a long time ago and then forgot to post them… oops! But we’re posting them for you now as so many people will be baking their hearts out in the run up to Christmas (sorry about the c-bomb guys!) and this is a rather neat way of using up some leftovers. Remember when we made these lemon tarts? It made a bit too much mixture and it was far too tasty to contemplate throwing it down the sink so we popped it in the fridge and vowed to make something with it the following night. What we came up with was fluffy American-style lemon pancakes! Neither of us had ever made an American-style pancake before (British ones are more like crepes, they don’t have a rising agent) so it was pure making it up as we went along but these turned out beautifully. The measurements are total guesses, you’ll just have to go on the look and feel of your batter.

Ingredients

  • Leftover Tarte au Citron mixture
  • About 75g of plain flour (but this was just a guess based on how much lemon filling we had left)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A little milk

Simply chuck the flour in to the lemon tart mixture and mix together, add the baking powder and then drizzle in milk while whisking until you reach a thick, liquid consistency. Then just heat a little butter and flavourless oil in a frying pan and dollop spoonfuls of your mixture in! Ours took around 2 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other but just try to keep an eye on them. They’ll keep warm in a low oven and then eat them with whatever you fancy!

Pancake cooking

We hadn’t planned on making pancakes so we just had ours with a little butter on top but these would be lovely with some honey, maple syrup, or berries and yoghurt. We had some cut up into strips over yoghurt with some honey drizzled on for breakfast the next morning! If you don’t happen to have any lemon tart mixture lying around then you could make a standard American pancake recipe and add in some lemon zest for a citrusy kick.

Lemon Pancakes

Tart Tuesday: Tarte au Citron

Just a mini post tonight, it was of course Great British Bake Off night (how amazing was Christine’s Bavarian clock??) so it was time for another Tart Tuesday! Because we had some simple grilled plaice for dinner we plumped for a lemon tart for dessert. Bird has made a tarte au citron before but it was with a shop bought pastry case and it was a large one – miniature ones made from scratch were untrodden ground!

We used one of the portions of sweet shortcrust pastry that we made last week and froze, you can find the recipe on our Nectarine Frangipane post. Take it out of the freezer 24 hours before you want to use it and put it in the fridge to defrost, then just take it out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before you want to use it – easy! So the same as before, roll out the pastry, place it in mini loose-bottomed tart cases (we greased with butter and then coated in a little flour) and chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Prick the pastry with a fork, fill the tart cases with baking beans after lining with foil or greaseproof paper and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or so until firm, then remove the baking beans and bake for 3-5 minutes more until dry and pale gold in colour.

So here’s where this one differs a little from last weeks – the pastry has to be cool before you add the filling. We blind baked our cases before dinner, ate dinner and then filled them afterwards so there wasn’t any unnecessary hanging around. Once they’ve cooled make up the filling.

Ingredients (for 2 mini tarts plus some extra)

  • 2 eggs
  • 50ml double cream
  • 90g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 and a half lemons

Heat the oven to 150°C. Simply whisk the eggs for a few minutes and then stir in the other ingredients, it’s as easy as that! Pour the mixture into your cooled pastry, the easiest way to do this is to place the tart cases on a tray, fill them most of the way up, carry the tray carefully to the oven and slide it in and then fill them up the rest of the way while they’re in the oven. These need to bake for around 15 minutes but keep an eye on them, we turned the oven down to 100°C as they had coloured on top and were still very wobbly! They’re cooked when they have a very, very slight wobble.

Now what you should do is leave them to cool for at least half an hour, release them from the tins, then chill them down more (partly in the fridge) for another couple of hours so they are set firm with a lovely soft texture. We did not do this. There was Bake Off to be watched, Bird had a blood test earlier, Fats had a hard bike ride home – we were in need of a treat and sharp! So ours were a little… gooeyer (it’s a word!) than they were intended to be but they tasted ah-may-zing. What will we make next week? Dare we attempt a custard tart?

Lemon tart

Baked Plums with Vanilla Cream

We’ve been pretty crazy for desserts recently, and in celebration of the return to our televisions of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (yes, we’re Bake Off nerds – are you surprised?) we thought we’d post another sweet recipe. This recipe for baked plums is criminally easy, quick and absolutely delicious.

Start off by preheating the oven to 170°C.  Halve your plums and take out the stones then place them on a baking sheet, flat side up.  Pile them up with a small knob of butter and heaped teaspoon of brown sugar.  Once the oven has heated up, put them in – they should take about 10 minutes.

Pile it up! It's still a portion of fruit, right?
Pile it up! It’s still a portion of fruit, right?

You’ll just have time to softly whip some double cream (about 100 ml for two people) to serve it with.  Once whipped, fold in 1 tsp icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Not exactly a healthy lunchbox snack anymore!
Not exactly a healthy lunchbox snack anymore!

Serve the warm plums with the cream on top – it will start to melt straight away so eat it quickly!  We had some meringues lying around which we crushed over the top, but a great alternative would be ginger biscuits.

We hope you enjoy this one! Hopefully it will get you through the long week’s wait before the next installment of the Great British Bake Off. Do you have a favourite yet?

Glazed Mango and Coconut

It’s been a long week. It’s been raining, windy and we had the Thursday blues… we needed dessert! Time for an indulgent, exotic treat. We had Thai food last night (as our Instagram followers will know) so wanted a dessert which fitted in with this, and after some conspiring over the phone on our walks home from work we came up with a mango-y, yoghurt-y, coconut-y kinda thing. We didn’t really have a clue how it would turn out but we have a rule – if all nice things go in then you’ll end up with something nice!

Preheat the oven to around 150°C and once it’s heated up put some flaked coconut (not desiccated!) in a small roasting dish and whack it in the oven. You want it to be lightly golden in places by the end so keep an eye on it and mix it around every few minutes as it toasts quickly.

While it’s toasting take the cheeks off the mango. A mango stone is pretty flat which means either side there are lovely big hunks of mango which come off neatly like so:

Mango slice

Then go to town hacking up as much of the rest of the mango as you can, making sure you remove the skin on these pieces too. Once you’ve done this put all of the little pieces (not the cheeks) in a blender and whizz up with a bit of water until you have a rough puree. Then heat a griddle pan, and after lightly dusting the cheeks with icing sugar to help with the caramelisation, put the cheeks cut side down into the pan. This should take around 5 minutes on a medium to high heat, try not to check them too often as you want beautiful lines, but do keep an eye. Once it’s cooked put it on a clean surface to cool down for a few minutes and do the same with the toasted coconut.

Dust mango

Mango cook

Cooked mango

Then it’s time to put it all together! Grab a few spoonfuls of natural or greek yoghurt in a bowl and lightly ripple about half of the mango puree through it. Place the caramelised mango on the yoghurt, spoon over the rest of the puree and top with the crunchy toasted coconut.

Mango and coconut dessert
Just what we needed to brighten up a wet Thursday!

Mini Apple Crumbles

We love dessert, but then who doesn’t? Sometimes when you get home from work though cooking dinner feels like enough effort, and dessert seems like just too much bother for a weeknight. It doesn’t have to be! This apple crumble is so easy to put together and then gives you about thirty minutes to relax with a coffee or a glass of wine while it cooks and you end up with a simple, comforting pudding to round off your meal.

All you need for this is 1 apple (cooking apples work best but we’ve used different varieties before and they’re all fine), flour, butter and sugar. Everything else is optional, we added some oats and a little cinnamon to our crumble topping but you can make it as simple or complex as you like. You could use almost any fruit for this, or even a mix – apple and blackberry, raspberries, pears, peaches – you name it, you can crumble it!

Preheat the oven to 170°C. To make the crumble topping simply rub plain white flour into around 2 tbsp of butter until you have a large breadcrumb consistency. You don’t want to add too much flour, this is a more buttery mixture so some larger lumps are normal. To this add a couple of tbsp of sugar, we wanted ours quite sweet to contrast with the tart apples but if you were using a sweeter fruit then maybe tone down the sugar a bit. We then added a handful of oats and around 1/2 tsp of cinnamon because it works beautifully with apples. That’s the topping done!

Don't worry about those lumps... it's buttery goodness!
Don’t worry about those lumps… it’s buttery goodness!

So just chop the fruit into a medium dice, coat with a little sugar if it’s a tart fruit and place in ramekins – you want it to be at least 2/3 of the way up, it will shrink down a lot when cooked. Sprinkle your crumble topping on top, we pile ours high! Put it on a baking tray and in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden-brown. Let it cool for a moment and then tuck in.

Crumbly mountains
Crumbly mountains

This would have been even better with some cream or ice cream but it was a pretty spontaneous dessert so we didn’t have any in. Give it a try for an indulgent moment with minimal effort.

We had ours after bangers and mash... what will you have yours after?
We had ours after bangers and mash… what will you have yours after?

Not so messy Mess

Just a dinky little post to brighten things up on a grey Monday (I initially wrote Tuesday and then Fats depressed me further by telling me it is Monday. Boo). This is a super quick dessert we threw together in the week, I even RAN to the shops in the RAIN for the berries, that’s commitment right there.

This probably took about 5 minutes to make so is perfect for mid week if you have a craving for something sweet.

Take the berries – we used a small pack (about 150g) for 2 people – and put them in a small saucepan with about 1 tsp of water and sugar to taste. We used raspberries but this would be equally lovely with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants etc or even something like peaches, nectarines or plums. Because of the meringue and ice cream we added barely any sugar so the berries were really tart to provide a contrast but obviously do this to your personal taste.

Cook them for around 5 minutes on a medium heat until they have squashed down nicely and there is lots of beautiful bubbling sauce in the pan.

Raspberry bubbles foreverrrr
Raspberry bubbles foreverrrr

Pop a meringue (or two… we don’t judge!) in the bottom of a bowl. These ones were kindly given to us by Fats’ mum on a recent visit – food gifts will always be so well appreciated in our house!

Hi Fats' mum! Your baking is famous!
Hi Fats’ mum! Your baking is famous!

Then spoon over about half of the berry sauce, put some ice cream on top (this one is Häagen-Dazs Vanilla) and then pour the rest of the berry sauce over so the ice cream starts to melt. We also reserved a few berries before cooking them to pop on at the end for a bit more of a fresh taste.

It's about to get better...
Häagen-Dazs ist gut ja?

Ta-dah! So so easy it feels like cheating, and a lovely end to a meal – sweet, tart, hot, cold, gorgeous!

A rare shot of the elusive finished article.... usually whisked away too quickly to snap.
A rare shot of the elusive finished article…. usually whisked away too quickly to snap.