Desserts, puddings, cakes

A collection of sweet recipes for puddings, desserts, cakes, biscuits and more. Anything sweet goes in here. I have a very sweet tooth, chocolate being at the top of my list, my dessert collection has some easy cakes, chocolate mousses and many classics from both the British cuisine and Italian too.

white chocolate mousse dessertswith Panettone croutons

white chocolate mousse with Panettone croutons

White chocolate mousse with Panettone croutons and a cranberry & orange coulis

One of my favourite Italian foodie Christmas traditions is Panettone, I really can’t tell you how delicious it is in words. Suffice to say that once you cut into it and taste a bit you’ll be right back for some more. Panettone is like a soft bread mixture that is flavoured with fruit; it’s a cross between a bun and a brioche. It is also the major ingredient for my easy white chocolate mousse recipe.

I have been sent a Panettone by the Italian company Crosta & Mollica, along with some other products like the Pandoro – New Year’s Eve speciality and a couple of their jams. I was asked to come up with a recipe on how else Panettone could be eaten.

easy white chocolate mousse

 

It was whilst I was chatting with my son Tommy that I mentioned this project and he shared one of his favourite recipes that he makes this time of year at Hotel Eghel for their guests, a white chocolate mousse with Panettone croutons.

He sold it to me and so I started researching the best way to make my fabulous dessert. It was a huge success and very easy and quick to make. Perfect if you have people round and want to impress them plus you can make it in advance as it needs a couple of hours in the fridge before serving.

Buon appetito!

White chocolate mousse with Panettone croutons and cranberry & orange coulis
 
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An easy white chocolate mousse with panettone croutons and served with a cranberry and orange coulis.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • White chocolate mousse
  • 1 tbsp skimmed milk
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 300g double cream
  • Panettone sliced and diced
  • Cranberry & orange coulis
  • 300g cranberries
  • 500ml orange juice
  • 60g sugar
  • I added a tbsp of Crosta & Mollica's fig jam
Instructions
  1. Break the white chocolate into cubes and melt in a pot over a saucepan of boiling water OR in the microwave but only in 30 second bursts as white chocolate will burn if over heated.
  2. Add the milk and combine well, leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place the cubes of panettone on a baking tray and put in an oven at 160C for five minutes at a time checking until they crisp up and become crunchy.
  4. Beat half of the cream until soft peaks form.
  5. Once the chocolate has cooled add the other half of double cream and combine well.
  6. Add the chocolate mixture to the beaten cream and fold in well.
  7. Place all the coulis ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  8. Turn down to simmer and continue until all of the cranberries are broken down.
  9. Puree and cool.
  10. To Serve:
  11. Place some croutons at the bottom of a glass, soak with a tbsp of coulis.
  12. Add a dollop of white chocolate mousse on top.
  13. Scatter more croutons and drizzle with coulis.
  14. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
Disclosure: I was sent the Crosta & Mollica products for the purpose of this post.

 

Tirami Waffle - coffee flavoured waffle

The lovely people at SAGE ( the same people as my slow cooker which I am constantly raving about) asked me to have some fun with their latest waffle grill and sent one through for us to have a go on making some fabulous waffles.

If you’ve ever been afraid of waffles, maybe you thought they’d be really difficult to prepare, well let me tell you they are not. In fact they are incredibly easy to prepare and the SAGE Waffle maker does the rest.

SAGE waffle maker

We started with good old plain waffles served with ice cream and they went down a treat with the whole family.

Then we got a bit adventurous and I decided I wanted to try an Italo American fusion dish. I came up with Strudel waffles, that is plain waffles with a strudel topping served with custard or fresh cream, mmm. They were good!

apple strudel waffle

Apple Strudel waffle recipe

6 apples peeled and cored cut into tiny pieces
100g sugar
a generous handful of raisins and sultanas (I used some dried cranberries I had in the cupboard with raisins)
a handful of pine nuts
1 tsp cinnamon
4 biscuits crushed
1 knob of butter

Combine all of the ingredients and cook over a low heat until the apples are soft. Or place in the microwave and cover with clingfilm, piercing the top with a couple of air holes and microwave for a couple of minutes until the apples are soft.

Cook the waffles in your SAGE waffle maker and break along the lines into quarters. Place one quarter on the plate, add some strudel topping and cover with a second quarter. Serve with custard or fresh cream.

Feeling victorious with my Strudel Waffles I wondered if it would be possible to flavour the waffle mixture? And then I thought of Tiramisu, my favourite Italian dessert (well apart from Panna Cotta).

So I flavoured my waffle mixture with Camp coffee essence and served it with a mascarpone topping and some fresh fruit. A sprinkling of cocoa powder and there you have it a Tirami Waffle, the coffee flavoured waffle.

 

tirami waffle

Of course this opens up endless waffling avenues of which I am becoming quite fond of. Bailey’s Waffles, Orange and cranberry waffles and of course savoury waffles like Colcannon waffles and Rosti waffles but that’s another post. In the meantime have a go at Tirami Waffles and let me know what you think.

TiramiWAFFLE – coffee flavoured waffle

5.0 from 1 reviews
Waffling on: TiramiWAFFLE - coffee flavoured waffle
 
A fusion of the popular Italian dessert Tiramisu and waffles
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italo-American
Ingredients
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 55g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400 ml milk
  • 30 ml Camp coffee essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g butter melted and cooled slightly
  • Mascarpone topping
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 50g sugar
  • Fresh fruit
  • Cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the milk, eggs, coffee essence in a second bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the milk mixture and the melted butter and whisk until combined well. Don't over mix the batter and for best results leave to rest before cooking.
  4. Make your waffles as per instructions of your waffle maker.
  5. Cut the waffles along the lines into quarters, place one quarter on the plate and top with a generous portion of mascarpone. Add a second quarter on top and cover with some fresh fruit. Sprinkle with cacao and serve
 

Disclosure: I was sent the Smart Grill Pro for the purpose of this post

Watch the No-Mess Waffle Maker™ in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xw-JdG5N3M

The Smart Grill ProRRPs at £99.95 and is available from John Lewis, Amazon and Sage Appliances online.

very berry pimms semifreddo

I love this time of year as it is the perfect Pimm’s time and what nicer than a jug to share amongst friends as the sun goes down in the sky?

Have you heard of the Italian dessert semifreddo? It literally means half cold. It’s like an ice cream cake. I’ve been wanting to make a semifreddo for a while now and I wanted to do something different so I tried making one with Pimms and it worked!

It’s a really simple recipe and can be made ahead which is really handy as you can get your dessert done and not have to think about it until 15 – 30 minutes before serving.

Obviously it contains alcohol so not good for children. There are lots of different recipes out there and a traditional semifreddo would be made with half gelato (ice cream) and half whipped cream, my one is slightly different but an absolute doddle to make.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Very berry Pimm's semifreddo
 
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A simple and delicious semifreddo recipe for a great dessert that can be made ahead of time and pulled out of the freezer a quarter of an hour before serving.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 300g mixed berries - I used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp Pimm's
  • 3 large eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • strawberries, orange and lemon slices, cucumber slices and mint to decorate
Instructions
  1. Line the base of a 1kg loaf tin with cling film. To help it stick to the pan rinse the inside of the tin with cold water, don't dry it out but just tap out the excess.
  2. Place the fruit 50g caster sugar and Pimm's in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  3. Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff.
  4. Best the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl until thick and leaves a trail.
  5. Beat the cream in a third bowl until it holds it's shape.
  6. If you beat everything in that order you won't need to wash your whisks between bowls.
  7. Fold the very berry mix into the cream, then stir in the yolks and finally fold in the egg whites.
  8. Pour into the prepared loaf tin and place in the freezer, once solid wrap the excess cling film over the top and cover with foil.
  9. To serve, take out of the freezer 15-30 minutes before serving, Open the cling film and turn upside down on your serving dish, remove the cling film and decorate the top. Serve in slices with a Pimms coulis or cream
very berry pimms semifreddo

Wimbledon win yes I wonAlison Henley / Shutterstock.com

Rafael Nadal above – “Yesssss!”  or rather “Siiiii!”

He just found out he’s getting some of my cake for his dinner. 

lemon and blueberry polenta cake

Wimbledon is on it’s way, the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It is still the only Major that is played on grass and takes place over two weeks in late June and early July. My nan LOVES it.

We do love a tradition in this country and Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors, strawberries and cream and the Royal patronage. Personally I’d add Pimms to that list.

Did you know that Ralph Lauren has been the official outfitter of Wimbledon for the past 10 years? To celebrate I have been invited to bake a cake, a Wimbledon inspired cake. The winner will receive £100 of Ralph Lauren vouchers.

lemon and blueberry polenta cake

Well it just so happens I wanted to try my hand at a polenta cake which I had tried years back in Italy. There are lots of different versions out there and I wanted mine to include ricotta cheese, this makes it lovely and moist and a sort of baked cheesecake too.

I also wanted to have fruit running through it so I chose blueberries which are a superfood, which Wimbledon players need as much as they can lay their hands on right now plus it kind of represents the tennis ball too or is that stretching your imagination a bit too far?

Anyway, I have chosen lemon and lime to flavour the cake, colour of the tennis ball) and strawberries were a must to decorate the top with. I also made a lemon and lime drizzle to ladle on top of the finished and cooled cake…. I may or may not have got a bit carried away with my drizzling.

I must say it was super delicious and the only change I will make next time I make it is to go lighter on the drizzling to avoid a soggy bottom, no one likes a soggy bottom do they? Although it was rather delicious.

slice of lemon and blueberry polenta cake

Golden Set lemon and blueberry polenta cake

I turned to my Facebook crew for inspiration for the perfect, winning Wimbledon name

Citrus Ace Cake was put forward and Mari Mix as I had listed all the ingredients included.

Karin from Embrace Happy offered Lemon Lime Love .. get it?

Anya who writes Older Single Mum came up with Deuce Love (Juice Love?) I liked her idea a lot but what if someone switched the names around, that could really play havoc. Let’s not go there, this is a family blog!

So I took a look at Wikipedia, font of all knowledge imaginable on the web, and came across a Golden Slam – winning the Grand Slam and the tennis Olympic gold medal in a calendar year. Now that sounds very impressive doesn’t it BUT it’s not an Olympic year this year. I could change the name of the cake though for next year ;)

Golden seemed to fit with the colour of the cake due to using polenta rather than flour.

I dug deeper.

Golden Set. A golden set is a set which is won without dropping a single point.

Game Set and Match to me! (see what I did there?)

That’s it! I have found the name for my cake. Ladies and gentlemen please allow me to present you my Golden Set Cake which just so happens to be gluten free too.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Lemon and blueberry polenta cake with ricotta
 
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A gluten free cake made with polenta, ricotta and fruit, a gorgeous golden colour with dark blueberries running though it. Serve on it's own or with cream. Perfect for afternoon tea or as a dessert after dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 225g butter plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
  • 3 medium eggs beaten
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 100g polenta flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150 g of blueberries (or raspberries)
  • For the drizzle
  • 75g caster sugar
  • finely grated ring and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Decoration
  • A handful of strawberries and blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3
  2. Line a 23cm spring tin, I chose a heart shaped one.
  3. Put the butter, sugar, rind and juice in your mixer and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, ground almonds, polenta flour and baking powder and beat well until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour ⅔ into the prepared cake tin, scatter over the blueberries and push some into the mixture. cover with the remaining mixture and spread over evenly.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. check with a skewer in the centre, if it comes out clean the cake is ready. The top should be golden brown and springy to touch. If it looks like the cake is burning towards the end, protect with some foil on top.
  7. Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.
  8. Make the Drizzle
  9. Place the sugar, juice, rind and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer and stir for about five minutes until the sauce thickens. Allow to cool slightly.
  10. Spoon over the cake whilst still in the tin and allow the cake to cool completely.
  11. Once completely cool remove from the tin and decorate the top with fresh fruit, pour over any remaining drizzle.
  12. Serve on it's own or with cream.
 

 

fresh mint and choc chip brownies

Not so long ago the lovely Chris Mosler posted a really intriguing recipe called Thyme for lemon cake on her fabulous food site Life is Delicious, it really got me thinking about coming up with different flavour combinations and using more herbs in sweet foods.

As it happens I had bought some fresh mint for the Mini Pavlovas with mascarpone and fresh berries recipe I posted recently, remember the one with balsamic vinegar used on the fruit? Well I had the mint leaves hanging around waiting for a Pimm’s if only the British weather would play it’s part but it didn’t. So, together with the twins we started weighing up and, ‘Mummy, can I break the eggs?’ we made some Mint Choc Chip Brownies.

fresh mint and choc chip brownies

I served the girl’s with vanilla ice cream and a splodge of squirty cream (any excuse). You can really taste the mint and we all loved them, they were a real hit and I am now inspired to come up with even more new combinations, thanks Chris!

Mint choc chip brownies using fresh mint leaves
 
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A new take on the classic brownie recipe using fresh mint leaves and chocolate chips for pockets of deliciousness when you bite in to the cake.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12 pieces
Ingredients
  • 250g dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 200g softened butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g soft brown sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 1 small pack of fresh mint chopped up - keep back a leaf or two to garnish
  • 75g choc chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ gas 3 and line a square (22cm) baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the chocolate and butter in a plastic bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir until all melted, continue for another 30 secs if not completely melted but be careful not to overcook.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar until foamy, stir in the chocolate mixture and blend completely.
  4. Sift the flour and baking flour onto the mix and stir in until completely folded in.
  5. Add the fresh mint and the choc chips and stir to amalgamate well.
  6. Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.