7. All kinds of puddings and desserts

Lemon Flan

1 pkt (or slightly less) Marie biscuits
100 ml melted butter

1 can (397 g) sweetened condensed milk
250 ml whipping cream
juice of 3
large lemons (about 150 – 200 ml depending on how tart you like it)

Crush biscuits finely and mix with melted butter.  Press this mixture into the bottom
and sides of a deep 20 x 20 cm pan or a round serving dish.

Whip cream to soft peaks, stir in condensed milk, mixing well.  Stir in lemon juice,
mix well and pour into prepared crust.  Chill for at least 2 hours.

This flan keeps well – just cover and refrigerate.  It freezes well and is delicious
served frozen.


Rice Pudding

100g pudding rice
50g sugar
700ml semi-skimmed milk
pinch grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf, or strip lemon zest

Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Wash the rice and drain well. Butter an 850ml heatproof baking dish, then tip in the rice and sugar and stir through the milk. Sprinkle the nutmeg over and top with the bay leaf or lemon zest. Cook for 2 hrs
or until the pudding wobbles ever so slightly when shaken.

Summer pudding trifles

600g raspberries
50g golden caster sugar
1 Madeira loaf (about 300g/10oz)
227ml tub clotted cream
icing sugar, to serve

Set half the raspberries aside. In a bowl, roughly mash the remaining raspberries with the sugar. Cut the Madeira loaf into 12 slices, then use a round cutter to cut out rounds of the cake to fit 4 serving glasses. Beat the clotted cream until slightly thickened.

Layer up the trifles in glasses starting with a slice of cake, then some cream and some mashed raspberries. After the final slice of cake, spread over some cream and top with whole raspberries. The trifles can be kept in the fridge for a couple of hours. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.

Glamorous trifle slice

flavorless oil, for greasing
1 shop-bought large Madeira loaf cake
250ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
few sprinkles (optional)

For the cream layer
2 gelatin leaves
200ml double cream
3 tbsp sweet sherry
100g mascarpone
4 tbsp icing sugar

For the custard layer
2 gelatin leaves
3 tbsp custard powder
3 tbsp icing sugar
400ml milk
For the jelly layer
135g pack raspberry jelly
350g frozen raspberries, defrosted

Grease a 900g loaf tin, then line with cling film – as smooth as you can get it. Use 1 long strip of baking parchment to line the base and ends of the tin, leaving some sticking up at each end to help you pull the loaf free later. Criss-cross another piece of parchment to line the base and longer sides.

For the cream layer, soak the gelatine in cold water. Gently warm the cream and sherry in a saucepan. When the gelatine is softened, squeeze out excess water, take the cream off the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Gently whisk in the mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth, then scrape into the tin and bang a couple of times to level. Chill until set – about 1 hr.

Start each following layer while the previous layer is chilling. For the custard layer, soak the gelatine in cold water. Make up the custard following pack instructions, but using the quantities we’ve given. When the gelatine is soft, squeeze out excess water, remove the custard from the heat and stir in the gelatine until melted. Lay cling film directly on the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming, then cool. Once room temp, scrape into the tin on top of the set cream layer, as above. Chill again until set.

Make up the raspberry jelly following pack instructions but using 300ml water. Whizz with 150g of the raspberries, then sieve. Cool to room temp, then scatter the remaining raspberries over the set custard layer in the tin. Pour over the raspberry jelly and chill until the jelly is almost set.

Trim the brown edges from the Madeira cake, then cut it lengthways into big slices 1.5-2cm thick. Cover the jelly with sponge, like a puzzle, using as few bits as possible. Push slightly into the jelly to stick, then cover in cling film and chill until completely set, ideally overnight.

To serve, turn the tin upside-down onto your serving plate. Ease the loaf from the tin using the overhanging parchment and gently peel off the cling film, then the parchment. Whip the final 250ml cream with the sifted icing sugar until thick enough to hold its shape. Spoon into a food bag, snip off the corner and pipe onto the top. Scatter with sprinkles, if you like.


Almond & apricot trifles

1 Madeira loaf cake, cut into cubes
8 tbsp Disaronno
2 x 410g cans apricots, chopped and juice reserved
500g pot fresh custard
300ml double cream
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Line the bottom of 4 small glass serving dishes with the cake. Mix ½ the Disaronno with 6 tbsp of reserved juice, then divide this between the bowls. Arrange apricots on top of the sponge, then pour on custard. Cover and chill for at least 10 mins, or up to a day.

Just before serving, add the remaining Disaronno to the cream and whip until it just holds its shape. Spoon over the custard and sprinkle with flaked almonds.


Baked chocolate pudding

455 g good-quality cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50 ml hot espresso or good strong instant coffee
125 g butter, plus extra for greasing
6 free-range eggs, separated
200 g caster sugar
100 g ground almonds
100 g rice flour
1 small handful chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Melt 125g chocolate with the coffee, then pour into small ice-cube moulds and freeze until hard. Take 6 small 3-inch pastry rings, dariole moulds or cappuccino cups and grease well with some butter. Place in the fridge while you make your sponge mixture.

Melt the remaining chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, then in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the sugar until firm. Fold the yolks into the cooled chocolate and butter mixture, then add the almonds and flour. Finish by carefully folding in the egg white mixture. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.

Take your moulds out of the fridge and spoon a little mixture into each one, then push in a cube of the frozen coffee and chocolate mixture. Cover with the rest of the sponge mixture so each ice cube is completely enveloped. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, then remove carefully from the moulds while hot. Serve immediately sprinkled with hazelnuts.


King of puddings

4 free-range eggs
565 ml milk
115 g fine breadcrumbs
225 g sugar, preferably vanilla sugar
4 level tablespoons jam , raspberry is really nice


Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Separate 3 of the eggs. Put the yolks into a bowl with the remaining whole egg and beat together. Add the milk, breadcrumbs and 85g of the sugar. Put the jam on the bottom of a pie dish and spread it evenly. Pour the custardy egg and milk mixture over the jam. Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour or until set.

Whisk the remaining 3 egg whites until stiff, then slowly add the remaining sugar until it is all mixed in. Pile it on top of the custard, then bake in the oven for a further 15–20 minutes until the meringue is set and lightly browned.

Winter pudding bombe

1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
1 kg panettone
125 ml vin santo
3 heaped tablespoons raspberry jam
25 g shelled pistachios
75 g tinned sour cherries, drained
40 g glacé clementines (or other glacé fruit), thinly sliced
2 clementines, 1 peeled and sliced into rounds
200 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), bashed up

Get your ice cream out of the freezer so it can soften a little while you get things ready. Line a 2 litre pudding bowl with 3 layers of cling film. Use a serrated knife to slice four 2cm thick rounds off of your panettone then cut them in half. You'll have some panettone left over, so keep this for another time. Arrange six of the slices in a single layer around the bowl and push them down if they overlap. Drizzle some Vin Santo around the sponge so it soaks in, then use the back of a spoon to smear the jam over the sponge.

Add 1 tub of ice cream to the bowl and use the spoon to spread it around in a thick layer. Sprinkle in the pistachios, cherries and glacé fruit then layer the clementine slices on top. Add the other tub of ice cream. Spread it out, working quickly so the ice cream doesn't completely melt. Put the rest of the panettone slices on top of the ice cream, drizzle over some more Vin Santo then cover the bowl tightly with cling film. Press a plate down on top to press everything down, then freeze overnight, or longer.

30 minutes before you want to serve, get the bombe out of the freezer and into the fridge so it warms up enough to be sliced easily. Put the bashed-up chocolate in a bowl and get that over a pan of simmering water on a really low heat. Leave the chocolate to melt while you unwrap your amazing winter bombe and carefully turn it onto a beautiful serving dish. Add a few gratings of clementine zest to the chocolate and when it's nicely melted, pour it over the top so it oozes down the sides and looks delicious.

Sticky toffee pudding

225 g fresh dates, stoned
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
85 g unsalted butter, softened
170 g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
170 g self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon ground mixed spice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Ovaltine
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

For the toffee sauce
115 g unsalted butter
115 g light muscovado sugar
140 ml double cream

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and cover with 200ml/7fl oz of boiling water. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain. Whiz the dates in a food processor until you have a purée. Meanwhile, cream your butter and sugar until pale using a wooden spoon, and add the eggs, flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and Ovaltine. Mix together well, then fold in the yoghurt and your puréed dates. Pour into a buttered, ovenproof dish and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

While the pudding is cooking, make the toffee sauce by putting the butter, sugar and cream in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. To serve, spoon out the pudding at the table and pour over the toffee sauce.

Lovely lemon curdy pud

55 g butter
115 g sugar
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 large free-range eggs, separated
55 g self-raising flour
285 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind in a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and flour and beat in, then add the milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well.

Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff, then add the rest of the mixture. Mix it all well but don't over-mix it; you don't want the air to come out of the egg whites. Pour into a buttered ovenproof dish, stand the dish in a roasting tin about a third full of water, then bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes until the top is set and spongy and it's a nice golden colour.

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