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

Nutella cheesecake recipe

Russell Hobbs have a new product, the Aura 6 in 1 Hand Blender out and they want to show everyone just how easy it is to use so they asked me to make Nigella’s Nutella cheesecake using it and tell you all about it.

They even sent me a jar of Nutella on with my name on it, thank you :D

Nutella Cheesecake Mari

The Aura 6 in 1 hand blender comes in a neat box and the first thing I liked about this product is how compact it is. All of the blades and choppers pack away inside the main bowl leaving only the whisk and the hand held part out this makes it very easy to store which in my kitchen is always a bonus as I’m always short on cupboard space especially for gadgets.

nutella cheesecake recipe

It’s very easy to assemble too. Basically, the hand held part acts as the motor, it plugs into the mains and clips into the top of the bowl and has a button on the side which you press to spin, whizz, chop or cut the contents. You have to turn the plug off in order to remove it all which is a handy safety feature. The white plastic base also acts to hold the machine still whilst in use.

nutella cheesecake recipe

For the cheesecake, the first part of the recipe is breaking up the biscuits, adding the melted butter and hazelnuts and mixing together to form the base.

nutella cheesecake recipe

The second part was mixing the cream cheese with the Nutella and pouring over the base to set.

nutella cheesecake recipe

The third part was sprinkling the chopped hazelnuts on top – I must confess to buying ready chopped but had that not been possible I could have easily chopped whole hazelnuts in my Aura 6 in 1 blender.

Verdict

Easy to use, very compact and reasonably priced RRP £64.99 but I noticed it’s on offer for £49.99 right now

Nutella Cheesecake - Nigella recipe
 
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A simple dessert to make which is a crowd pleaser and especially good for all chocolate lovers. simple to make.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Serves: 8 - 10
Ingredients
  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 75 g soft unsalted butter
  • 1 x 400 jar of Nutella
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts
  • 500 g cream cheese
  • 60g icing sugar
Instructions
  1. Break the digestives into the bowl of the Aura 6 in 1, add the melted butter (30 seconds in the microwave) and 1 tbsp Nutella and blitz until it starts to clump together. Add 3 tbsp hazelnuts and continue to pulse until you have a damp, sandy mixture.
  2. Tip into a 23cm (9") springfrom tin and press into the base using the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge and chill.
  3. Beat the cream and icing sugar until smooth and then add the remaining Nutella to the mixture. Beat until combined.
  4. Place the Nutella cream cheeses mixture on top of the biscuit base, Scatter over the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top and place the tin in the fridge for at least four hours.
  5. Before serving, use a knife to run around the edge of the cheesecake before loosening the tin, place on a plate and decorate with a strawberry or two.
  6. This is a rich dessert, small portions are better.
 

nutella cheesecake recipe

chocolate and orange mousse in a glass

This recipe is one I’ve been toying with like forever and just never got round to actually making it. I’ve bought the ingredients a thousand times and used them up for different recipes so this time with Chocolate week approaching fast, oh yes there is a chocolate week now too, I wanted to get it done.

The inspiration comes again from my time in Italy when Budino al Cioccolato was a family favourite and dead simple to make only there you can buy it in a powder, add milk and presto your budino (pudding) is ready after chilling.

I searched high and low, checked out all my books and discovered there are a lot of different ways of making this lush dessert so I went with a mixture of them all rolled into one. It can’t be added to the ‘Easy Recipes’ section as although it is easy it was a bit of a faff with quite a few bowls to wash up. I think this is the main reason I kept putting the job off BUT now I have got round to doing it I am so pleased with the results and the girls are too as it was a great hit with them. Although Alice did mention she didn’t like the chocolate drops on the top (???) She ate the WHOLE LOT. #justsaying

Chocolate and Orange mousse in a glass

Ingredients makes 6

1 x 75g bar of dark chocolate 
2 tsp orange flavouring
300 ml of double cream
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 large egg whites
mini jaffa cakes
 

Method

Break the chocolate into little pieces in a bowl and melt in the microwave for 60 seconds, stir and if it still needs a bit longer try another 20 seconds.

Add the orange flavouring to the chocolate and stir well. Set to one side to cool down.

Place the double cream in  a bowl, add 1 tbsp sugar and whip until thick.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until stiff, whisk in 1 tbsp of sugar until the mixture is shiny.

Fold the cooled melted chocolate into the cream and then beat in one spoonful of the whisked egg whites.

Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture until thoroughly mixed.

Place a mini jaffa cake in the bottom of the glass, top with one tablespoon of chocolate mousse. Cover with two more mini jaffa cakes and add another spoonful of chocolate mousse.

Cover and chill in the fridge for an hour. Decorate with chocolate drops, strips of orange rind or a mini jaffa cake.

Note: This is a filling dessert. I made six glasses but in the future I would stretch it out more and make 8-10.

 

Sacher Torte

I’m so pleased to be taking part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014 again where basically we make something in line with whatever challenges have been set by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood on the weekly BBC show.

European cakes caught my eye this week as the one most likely to produce edible results in my kitchen, I did Google Dobos Torte and was horrified at the amount of work that went into it so went back to my original idea of a Sacher Torte.

Sacher Torte originates from Austria, Vienna to be precise and was created in 1832 by Franz Sacher. Why did this cake spring to mind? Well because when I first lived in Italy I helped my brother-in-law Gastone in the bakery of the hotel as one of my first jobs out there. He didn’t speak a word of English and I didn’t speak any Italian but with hands and gestures we understood one another. You should have seen his face when he asked me to add a drop of ‘alcohol’ to the zabaglione he was making and I was a bit heavy handed.

“Stop, that’s 90% proof!” he screamed. (Oops, sorry!) I learnt the word goccio right there and then.

Gastone made the most delicious brioche to sell in the hotel bar at breakfast and they were known and appreciated all over the village. He also made more than 20 different pastine (pastries) to be sold to eat in or take away and they were highly successful.

He then went on to make Sacher Torte amongst other cakes and it was the most delicious chocolate cake I’d ever tried.

Gastone went on to open his own place Folgaria Post Hotel and took the bakery with him but thankfully never once refused us entry or a slice of cake. I’d go as far as to say my son grew up on Gastone’s briosh!

If you take a look at his hotel in the link above you can see that like many of the hotels in Folgaria there is a very strong Austrian influence which comes from the proximity to Sud Tirol, a beautiful part of Italy that never let go of its Austrian roots.

I did manage to produce a Sacher Torte, it was my first attempt and I followed the Mary Berry recipe on the BBC and it worked out fabulously well.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sacher Torte - European Cakes #GBBO
 
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This is a reproduction of the Mary Berry recipe that can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sachertorte_59630 It worked perfectly for me
Author:
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Austrian
Serves: 10 - 12
Ingredients
  • 140g/5oz plain chocolate
  • 140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g/4oz caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 free-range eggs, separated
  • 85g/3oz ground almonds
  • 55g/2oz plain flour, sieved
  • For the topping and the icing
  • 6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved (this was way too much jam, I only used 2 tbsp maximum and didn't sieve)
  • 140g/5oz plain chocolate
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream (This was too much as well and I have a bowlful leftover - great for ice cream topping though!)
  • 1 tube of milk chocolate writing icing
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a deep 23cm/9in round cake tin line the base with greaseproof paper.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt for 1 minute in the microwave, stir until all the remaining lumps are dissolved.
  3. Beat the butter in a food processor until really soft, then beat in the caster sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla extract and beat again.
  5. Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and sieved flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this stage.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Add about one-third to the chocolate mixture in the food processor and mix well. Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl for easier work.
  7. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until well risen at the top. The cake should spring back when pressed.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  10. To make the topping, heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cold cake. Allow to set.
  11. Make the icing by breaking the plain chocolate into pieces. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool till a coating consistency.
  12. Pour the icing on to the centre of the cake. Spread it gently over the top with a knife and down the sides and leave to set.
  13. Pipe ‘Sacher’ across the top with the writing icing and leave to set.
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apricot crostata

One of my favourite memories of Italy is called merenda.

Merenda is an afternoon snack, nothing as fussy as afternoon tea, just a simple, sweet snack to tide you over to dinner time. The time for merenda is usually about 4 ish and you can eat anything from fresh bread with jam, biscuits, budino or crostata if you are lucky enough that someone had the thought to make one. Normally washed down with a fruit tea, juice or espresso.

Crostata is basically a tart, a big tart.

apricot crostata

Made with a base of pasta frolla and covered with your favourite jam, in this case I used the Apricot jam we bought back from France last week.

The quantity of pastry given here is enough for two crostata so I have frozen the other half for next week’s dopo scuola merenda.

The beauty of a crostata in the house is it’s good for merenda, as already mentioned but also good for a slice with a cup of tea whilst watching tv in the evening like husband and I did last night. It’s good for breakfast instead of toast and it’s good for elevenses too.

apricot crostata

Make one and tell me when you enjoyed a slice, here’s the simple recipe which I am also submitting to Mummy Mishaps Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 5 which follows the GBBO on the TV, this week was pies and tarts so Apricot Crostata here you go. Head over to her blog for lots of other fantastic ideas.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Apricot crostata - or massive apricot jam tart
 
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A simple and delicious idea for dessert or merenda or even a snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 300 g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g butter
  • 130g sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 800g apricot jam
  • egg to brush the pastry with
Instructions
  1. Place the flour, salt and butter in a mixer and whizz until it's like a breadcrumb mixture.
  2. Turn into a bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest and eggs.
  3. Mix well together with your hands until a pastry is formed.
  4. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  5. Take your pie dish (I have a removable bottom one) and coat the insides with butter and then flour to prevent the pastry sticking.
  6. Roll out the pastry until ¾ mm thick, roll it around your rolling pin and transfer over the pie dish.
  7. Push gently into place making sure it's not stretched and trim the edges for a neat finish.
  8. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork and then cover with the jam spreading evenly over the base.
  9. With the remaining pastry cut long strips about 1cm thick to make the lattice pattern on top.
  10. Place your strips about 3cms apart first one way and then go over the top in the other direction.
  11. Trim the edges and push to the top of the jam for a neat edge.
  12. Brush with eggwash and place in a preheated oven at 180C for about 45 minutes
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Frozen themed ice cream

Waitrose have a fabulous selection of ice creams on their web site, Raspberry ripple lollies, No churn peach and ginger ice cream and my favourite this year Salted Caramel ice cream but they asked us to let the girls come up with their own idea.

Well seeing as for the best part of summer has been spent in Elsa dresses singing at the top of their voices ‘Let it go! I thought it would be a good idea to try something Frozen themed.

How to make Frozen themed ice cream

So what do we need for Frozen ice creams? Well vanilla soft scoop is a good place to start and then of course we need something pale blue and snowflakes, we need berries and we need squirty cream… were some of the directions from the little people.

It was going to be a ‘special treat’ for being good girls so off I sent them to tidy their room as I set too.

I had a couple of mini meringues in the cupboard (always handy for a quick mini pavlova) and I broke them into tiny pieces placing them at the bottom of my glass.

I scattered some blueberries and strawberries on top and then placed a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Next up was some blue icing I found which I squeezed to make a star (snowflake) over the ice cream.

I topped it all with a good squirt of cream and then sprinkled with Frozen coloured decorating balls.

I found some pale blue sweets in a shop too and used them to sit on the top only they were too heavy for the cream to hold long enough for the photo!

Never mind, the ice cream was devoured in less than a minute leaving two happy princesses.

frozen themed ice cream

Disclosure: We were sent a voucher to spend in Waitrose to buy all of the necessities for our Frozen themed ice cream