Category Archives: Puddings

Oaty Rhubarb & Port Crumble

My Oaty Rhubarb & Port Crumble is a twist on a British traditional pudding. The port helps bring out the sweetness in the rhubarb and the topping has an extra added crunch from the oats and almonds. 

Rhubarb crumble is a pudding we have had for years. It is comforting and delicious and really easy to make. My parents and Mr Curly’s Nan both grow rhubarb so I do tend to to end up with quite a lot of it each year. 

As I receive more than I can eat, I freeze it so I can get it out and make a tasty rhubarb crumble at any time of year. Although a traditional rhubarb crumble is great, I wanted to tweak it slightly to make it a little more interesting. 

When cooking down the rhubarb, I quite like to make sure it is really soft which does make it go a bit mushy. If you would like more definition to your rhubarb, then cook it for slightly less time. The port helps bring out the sweetness in the rhubarb and tone down the tartness. If you don’t want to add port however you don’t need to. 

My family have always been partial to a glass of port. When I was a child, we spent quite a few holidays in Portugal where my parents along with my Grandad would sample the local port before bringing a box of their favourite home with them. Then when I went to uni, we used to have ‘Port Tuesday’s’ where we would sit around and catch up over a bottle of port. 

The idea for the topping came after I had made my Apricot & Almond Flapjacks. I really liked the taste of the almonds and the oats together and thought they would add a lovely texture to a rhubarb crumble. 

You can easily make this dessert vegan by using dairy free margarine. I’m a fan of dairy free margarine and always have some in my fridge these days. It’s readily available in most supermarkets. Use gluten free flour and oats to make this gluten free too. 

My choice would always be to serve this with cold double cream, but I know lots of custard lovers so the choice is yours. 

Serves 4

For the rhubarb
600g rhubarb

100g caster sugar
3 tbsp port

For the crumble topping
100g self raising flour
85g unsalted butter (use non dairy margarine to make this vegan)
50g brown sugar

40g porridge oats
50g flaked almonds

  1. Cut the rhubarb into thumb length pieces and add to a saucepan along with the port and sugar
  2. Cover and simmer the rhubarb on a low heat for 15 minutes. Taste and add some more sugar if it isn’t sweet enough

  1. When the rhubarb is soft, pour it into a medium baking dish
  2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC or 180ºC fan
  3. Make the topping by adding the flour, butter and oats to a bowl and rubbing the ingredients together with your fingertips until you have a soft crumbly texture

  1. Add the sugar and flaked almonds and mix together with your hands. Scatter the crumble topping over the rhubarb and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the top is golden brown

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Hot Cross Bun Bread & Butter Pudding

This Hot Cross Bun Bread & Butter Pudding is the perfect Easter desert. It is a great way of turning the humble hot cross bun into something a little bit fancier. 

I love hot cross buns and am very happy when I start seeing them in the supermarkets again. Although a warm hot cross bun dripping in melted butter is absolutely delicious, I wanted to come up with another way to eat them.

I took inspiration from my Christmas Pudding & Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding to come up with this Hot Cross Bun version. 

Hot cross buns are packed with dried fruit and subtle spices. I have made them before, but it is much easier and quicker to buy them instead! As they are a bread, they tend to become stale relatively quickly. My Hot Cross Bun Bread & Butter Pudding is a great way to perk them up again.  You can buy so many different flavours of hot cross buns these days. I must admit I still prefer the traditional type with sultanas and mixed peel which is what I have used in this recipe. I do also like the apple and sultana hot cross buns you can buy. If you wanted to use these you could add some dried apple along with the sultanas. You could also add some orange zest to enhance the flavours in the hot cross buns. 

This Hot Cross Bun Bread & Butter Pudding would make a great desert during Easter. You could double the quantities if you wanted to make it for a larger family gathering. It also reheats really well so you can always make more than you need you can enjoy it the next day too! I like to serve this with lots of double cream. 

Serves 4 

5 hot cross buns, torn into large pieces
40g unsalted butter, melted
75g sultanas

2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
25g caster sugar
115ml milk
75g double cream
2 tsp Cointreau 
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt 
Icing sugar to serve

  1. Rip each hot cross bun into roughly five pieces. Add to a large bowl and put in the microwave for one minute to soften them up 
  2. Brush the inside of an ovenproof dish with some of the melted butter 
  3. Add the hot cross buns to the buttered dish along with the sultanas 

  1. Spoon the remaining melted butter over the hot cross buns 
  2. Whisk the eggs, extra yolk and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  3. Add the milk, cream, Cointreau, cinnamon and salt to the eggs ans whisk again
  4. Pour the egg mix over the hot cross buns making sure it is all covered. Gently push the hot cross buns down into the custard and leave to absorb for 15 minutes 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan assisted)
  2. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it is just set and a lovely brown colour

  1. Dust with icing sugar to serve 
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Brioche & Christmas Pudding Bread & Butter Pudding

Soft delicious custard soaked brioche with tasty Christmas Pudding with crispy edges. Once you have eaten this Brioche & Christmas Pudding Bread & Butter Pudding, you will struggle to eat it any other way again. 

This recipe is one of my absolute favourites that my Mum made every New Year’s Day. She’d made her delicious Honey Glazed Ham followed by this Brioche & Christmas Pudding Bread & Butter Pudding. It was definitely a meal we all loo forward to all year. 

I don’t know about you, but Mum always bought a Christmas pudding every year with the intention of us having it for pudding on Christmas Day. I’m not sure I can ever remember us actually getting round to eating it though. This was partly because we were all so full and also partly because apart from my Dad, we are all not particularly fond of Christmas Pudding. 

New Year’s Day was always a day we saved room for pudding though because Mum would make this Brioche & Christmas Pudding Bread & Butter Pudding. She found the inspiration for this recipe in a Sainsbury’s Magazine years ago and tweaked the recipe from the original Panettone version to be the one we know and love today using brioche, Cointreau and orange zest.  

This definitely is the best way to eat Christmas pudding. The soft, sweet brioche and the orange flavours really compliment the Christmas pudding and make it far more exciting than just eating Christmas pudding by itself. 

I have been known on more than one occasion to eat any leftovers for breakfast the next day. At Christmas you can get away with eating pretty much anything for breakfast so I take full advantage of this. You can heat it up again in the oven or just use the microwave which is what I do. This still keeps the crispy bits of the brioche crisp. 

My preferred way of serving this is with lots of double cream; and I mean lot of. Double cream is a glorious thing and should never be used sparingly in my opinion!

This pudding will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. 


Serves 6-8 

225g brioche
450g Christmas pudding
75g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
40g caster sugar
225ml milk
150ml double cream
Zest of one orange
2 tbsp Cointreau
Pinch of salt 
Icing sugar for dusting 

  1. Cut the Christmas pudding into roughly 2cm chunks. Add to a microwaveable bowl and heat for one minute to soften the pudding 
  2. Brush the inside of an ovenproof dish (with a capacity of 3 pints) with some of the melted butter
  3. Cut the brioche into roughly the same sized pieces as the Christmas pudding and add both to the buttered dish 

  1. Spoon the remaining butter over the brioche only 
  2. Beat together the eggs, extra yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy 

  1. Add the cream, milk, orange zest, Cointreau and salt and mix to combine 
  2. Pour the liquid mix over dish and allow to soak for 15 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan assisted)
  2. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until it is just set and a lovely brown colour 

  1. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and serving 

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Gluten Free Nutella Choux Buns

Crisp choux pastry filled with deliciously soft whipped cream, topped with Nutella and roasted hazelnuts. These Gluten Free Nutella Choux Buns are pretty amazing. 

I have only made choux buns once before which is when I was at University. I decided to make them for my friend’s birthday because it was a family tradition of hers to have profiteroles for her birthday. I intended for mine to be profiteroles, but they were far too big so turned out to be choux buns! 

I came across this recipe on Rebecca’s blog; Glutarama – make sure you check it out. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to give it a go. I couldn’t have found this recipe at a better time as I was going for a girlie weekend in the Cotswold’s with my friends from uni. Rebecca’s recipe was even more perfect as one of my friends, Zoe, is a coeliac.

We rented a lovely cottage for the weekend and Zoe and I knew we were going to get there mid afternoon before the rest of the girls arrived in the evening. This gave us the perfect opportunity to do a bit of baking. The choux buns were very simple to make and we were very happy with how they came out. 

When the other girls arrived, we had delicious freshly baked choux buns waiting for them which they just automatically assumed Zoe couldn’t eat and were very surprised when we told them they were gluten free! Personally I think you know a free from recipe is a success when people can’t tell any difference from the normal recipe. 

I decided to adapt Rebecca’s recipe as I have made eclairs before and also because they made choux buns on this week’s Great British Bake Off. I love choux buns; pastry, cream and chocolate – what’s not to love?! The classic whipped cream and melted milk chocolate is a hard combination to beat, but when I was thinking of how I could make them a little different, obviously my brain automatically drifted to Nutella. To be honest about 50% of the time my brain is thinking about Nutella!

There are some slight differences when making gluten free choux compared to standard choux pastry. You don’t cook out the flour, the mixture seems harder to pipe and you don’t cook it at two temperatures. Even with all of these differences, the end result is delicious. 

My choux buns may not look the prettiest, but I quite liked their homemade look! 

Makes 10-12 choux buns 

For the choux pastry
130g butter
130ml water
200g gluten free flour
4 eggs 

For the filling & topping
300ml whipping cream
200g Nutella
20g hazelnuts, toasted 

  1. Add the butter and water to a pan and bring to the boil

  1. Take off the heat and add all of the flour and then stir quickly to combine making sure all of the flour is mixed in

  1. Leave to cool for at least 5-10 minutes. If you can be patient enough, leave it to cool for longer as if it is too hot there is the risk of the eggs curdling 
  2. Whilst waiting for the mix to cool, line two baking trays with baking paper and then set aside. Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan assisted or 220ºC 
  3. Beat the eggs and add them roughly one egg at a time making sure you stir quickly after each addition and making sure each egg is combined before adding more

  1. Spoon the mix into a piping bag with a large round nozzle. Pipe large circles of the mix onto the prepared baking trays 

  1. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes making sure you don’t open the door! Remove from the oven if they are a lovely light brown colour

  1. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before cutting them open. If they are a little bit stodgy inside, put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes so they full crisp up

  1. Leave to cool whilst you make the filling
  2. Toast the hazelnuts for a couple of minutes in a dry pan and then chop into small pieces
  3. Whip the cream until it it forms soft peaks and then pipe into the bottom half of each choux bun

  1. Melt the Nutella for approximately 30 seconds in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, you’re just looking to get it a bit easier to spead
  2. Add the tops of the choux buns back onto the cream filled bottoms and then spread with the Nutella before finally sprinkling with the toasted hazelnuts 

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Rhubarb Crumble


Not pretty, not fancy but a really tasty and comforting pudding. This is a perfect recipe for a cold winter’s evening.

I’m sure people will tell me that you can make crumbles look pretty but that isn’t what I want from my crumble. They remind me of home cooked meals which are rustic and simple and above all else; delicious. Part of a crumble’s charm is when the rhubarb escapes from under the crumble topping and bubbles up so don’t worry if this happens!

This rhubarb crumble uses rhubarb from my Boyfriend’s Nan’s garden. When she gave it to me, I didn’t to use it immediately so I cleaned it and cut it into roughly 5cm lengths. I then bagged it up and froze it ready for a later date. That later date came when Rien’s Nan was coming to stay for the weekend, so what better time to make a rhubarb crumble?!

The recipe is by Grey Wallace from the BBC Good Food website.

500g rhubarb
100g caster sugar
3 tbsp port 

Crumble topping
140g self raising flour
85g butter
50g light brown sugar

  1. Cut the rhubarb into thumb length pieces and add to a saucepan along with the port and sugar


  1. Cover and simmer the rhubarb on a low heat for 15 minutes. Taste and add some more sugar if it isn’t sweet enough


  1. When the rhubarb is soft, pour it into a medium baking dish


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC or 180ºC fan
  2. Make the topping by putting the flour and butter into a bowl and rub the ingredients together with your fingertips until you have a soft crumbly texture


  1. Add the sugar and mix together with your hands. Scatter the crumble topping over the rhubarb and bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown



Milk Chocolate Tart

Crisp shortcrust pastry filled with rich, soft and deliciously smooth chocolate. This tart is chocolate heaven!2015-10-04 16.40.55

This week was chocolate week on GBBO; always a good week in my opinion. The contestant’s made chocolate tarts, chocolate souffle and a chocolate sculpture. If you follow my blog you’ll know by now that I wasn’t ever going to attempt a chocolate sculpture and a souffle seemed too scary; so a tart it was!

My tart experience is extremely low. Last year when I was baking along to the Bake Off, I made a savoury tart and that was my first. Baking along this year has meant I have made my second tart! I would like to get more practice with tarts and pastry in general. As you can see from my photos, my pastry isn’t the neatest but I suppose that will improve with practice.

I had a look through some recipes and decided that I wanted to have a go at a milk chocolate tart with normal shortcrust pastry. On the show, most of the contestants used chocolate shortcrust pastry and mentioned that it was harder to work with so I thought I would keep it as simple as I could and find a recipe using normal shortcrust pastry. The recipe I found was by Andy Bates on the Food Network UK website ( I only realised while I was writing up this recipe that there was a video as well as instructions (my iPad didn’t want to share this with me!). After watching the video, I think mine turned out quite well in comparison. I was pleased to see that his pastry was quite crumbly too – my crust in particular proved tricky to hold together when cutting.

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The recipe requires a 28cm tart tin, however mine was roughly 24cm and not quite the 4cm deep required. I had pastry and chocolate filing left over, so I made two mini tarts too. I used the same method and timings all the way through until when I baked them with the filling, the small tarts only needed 25 minutes.

My Mum has kindly lent me her food processor which her Mum bought for her years ago (possibly over 25 years ago). Since borrowing it I have used it when making chutney, buttercream and the pastry for this recipe. I thought using my K-Mix to make buttercream was fast but the MagiMix was something else – silky smooth buttercream in seconds! Making this pastry was also a breeze – add all the ingredients and pulse a few times and you’re done. I’ll definitely be adding one to my Christmas list!

The tart is very rich so I recommend a small slice. If you’re feeling really extravagant, you could serve the tart with some cream or ice cream. The chocolate filling is so soft and smooth it really does melt in your mouth.

For the shortcrust pastry
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
150g butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk

By hand

  1. For the pastry, mix together the flour and sugar. Add the salt and butter and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs
  2. Beat together the egg yolk and whole egg and gradually add these at the same time as bringing the dough together until a ball forms
  3. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour

Using a food processor

  1. Add all of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a ball of dough

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  1. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour
  2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC
  3. Lightly flour the surface and roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2mm

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  1. Carefully line the tart tin (28cm) cutting off most of the excess, I leave a small amount hanging over to allow for any shrinkage during cooking

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  1. Put the tart tin on a baking tray and allow to cool in the fridge for 20 minutes
  2. Line the tart tin with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Make sure you get them as close to the edges of the tin as possible as this will help the pastry keep its shape. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes

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  1. Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until the pastry starts to tun golden brown

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  1. Using a sharp knife, cut off the overhanging pastry

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  1. Turn the oven down to 140ºC

For the filling
450ml single cream
600g milk chocolate (over 35% cocoa)
150ml whole milk
3 eggs

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces in a large bowl

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  1. Bring the milk and cream to the boil and then pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined. It will look a little messy at first but keep stirring and it will come together

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  1. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 5 minutes and then add the beaten eggs. Stir until the eggs are completely combined

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  1. Fill the tart with the chocolate filling. Carefully put the tart in the middle of the oven to bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the filling looks set but has a slight wobble when shook

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  1. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature before serving

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Chocolate Éclairs

Crisp, airy pastry filled with vanilla cream covered in delicious chocolate. Éclairs are fantastically indulgent and one of my favourite treats.

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I love éclairs – fresh cream and chocolate can never be a bad thing. The choux pastry acts a tasty shell for the softly whipped cream and is then smothered with melted chocolate. I was inspired to make these by GBBO, however I was definitely not even slightly tempted to make a structure out of them like the contestants did! I haven’t baked along for a couple of weeks now due to being on holiday for pastry week and then just not being interested in Victorian baking. So when I realised éclairs were on the show, I knew I coudn’t give them a miss.

I’ve only made choux pastry once before when I was in my third year of uni. Don’t all third year uni students spend their evenings baking? It was my friend’s birthday and I can’t remember if I asked her what she would like me to make her, or whether I just remembered her telling me her Nan usually makes her profiteroles. Anyway, I decided to make profiteroles for her. Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of the profiteroles, but I do remember them being huge, much more like choux buns. She did say they were very tasty though, but she is so lovely she could have just been being polite!

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So four years later, I decided it was time to give choux pastry another go. I chose Paul Hollywood’s recipe because I thought it was a safe bet ( I was really chuffed with how they turned out! The only thing I will change next time is to put slightly more pressure on the piping bag as I’m piping the dough as this creates a slightly fatter éclair. Some of the first one’s I piped were a little thin as I didn’t put much pressure on the piping bag. They still looked good, but they didn’t have as much room inside for the cream! So a nice thick éclair means more room for cream!

I took these to my friend’s house who was holding an Afternoon Tea as a baby shower for another of our friends. The éclairs went down very well, someone said they were exactly like shop bought éclairs. Rien said they tasted even better than éclairs you can buy in shops – very unlike him to give such a nice compliment unprompted!

For the choux pastry
65g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
2 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  2. Put 120ml of water into a medium sized pan along with the salt and butter. Heat gently until the butter melts making sure you do not let the water boil

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  1. Once the butter has melted, quickly bring the mixture to the boil and then add the flour. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a smooth dough

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  1. Put the pan back on a low heat and beat for a minute to slightly cook the dough, it should come away from the sides of the pan and become smooth and glossy
  2. Tip into a bowl to cool until it is only slightly warm

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  1. Beat the eggs and then gradually add them to the dough and mix. Keep adding the egg until the dough falls off a spoon when lightly shaken
  2. Spoon the dough into a piping bag with a 1.25cm plain nozzle. Pipe 12, 10cm lengths onto the baking tray

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  1. Sprinkle the tray, not the dough, with a few drops of water and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
  2. Without opening the oven, reduce the oven to 170ºC and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp
  3. Take the tray out of the oven and make a small hole in the side of each éclair with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Put them back in the oven for 5 minutes

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  1. Allow the éclairs to cool completely on a wire rack

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For the filling
200ml whipping cream
5 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form

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  1. Carefully cut down the side of each éclair and pipe in the whipped cream

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For the topping
100g milk chocolate

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl
  2. Spoon chocolate in a strip over each éclair. Allow the chocolate to set before serving

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Eton Mess

Crisp meringues with a squidgy centre covered in deliciously smooth whipped cream and topped with juicy strawberries. This dessert is perfect for early summer when British strawberries are at their best.2015-06-30 20.41.07

I’ve had Eton Mess many times before, but I don’t think I have ever had with home made meringues. Although they take a bit of time to cook, they’re quite simple to make and are definitely worth the effort. This is the perfect pudding for the summer because you don’t have to spend hours in a hot kitchen and you can make the meringues in advance and assemble later.

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I presented these in two different ways; he first was adding the whipped cream, strawberries and crushed meringues to a bowl and combining. The second way was to add each layer each ingredient in the bowl. This was definitely the best looking option but feel free to present it however you like!

For the meringues
4 large egg whites at room temperature 
115g caster sugar
115g icing sugar 

For the cream
300ml double cream
300g strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 110ºC/ 100ºC fab. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or non stick liners. Do not use greaseproof paper as meringue can stick to it!
  2. Add the egg whites to the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment and beat them on a medium speed until they are fluffy and stand up in stiff peaks

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  1. Turn the speed up higher and add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time waiting a few seconds between adding the next spoonful. Once all of the caster sugar has been added the egg whites should look thick and glossy

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  1. Sift one third of the icing sugar into the egg whites and gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Continue to add the rest of the icing sugar a third at a time, folding it in as you go. The egg whites should now look smooth and full of air. Be careful not to over mix

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  1. Dollop dessert spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking trays making sure you leave a small gap between each meringue. You can either smooth the meringues with the back of the spoon or leave them in rough mounds

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  1. Bake for 1½ – 1¾ hours in a fan oven and 1¼ hours in a standard oven. They are done when they sound crisp and hollow when tapped underneath and are a pale golden colour

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  1. Leave to cool completely on the trays. The meringues will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks so although you might want to eat them all, you don’t have to!
  2. Pour the double cream into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a slow to medium speed for a couple of minutes. You are looking for it to become thicker but not loose its smooth texture. It is better to keep stopping the mixer and checking on it rather than over whipping the cream!
  3. Hull the strawberries and cut them into pieces
  4. Crush the meringues and assemble the dish by either mixing the ingredients together in a bowl or by layer the ingredients separately into your serving dish

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Strawberry Pavlova

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Marshmallowy in the centre with crisp and chewy edges piled high with whipped cream and delicious fruit. Now if that doesn’t scream perfect summer desert to you, I don’t know what will!

I decided to make a pavlova after a trip to Borough Market where I bought the most delicious looking strawberries. I instantly thought they would make a perfect topping to pavlova. It also meant I got to use the whisk attachment to my mixer which I have rarely used. Feel free to make this recipe by hand, but I would really recommend using an electric whisk if possible to avoid your arm seriously aching! Then you won’t be able to lift the fork to your mouth to eat it!

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I’d never made pavlova, or even meringue before, so I thought it was definitely time for me to try. Most pavlovas are topped with whipped cream and then a selection of fruit. You can choose a number of different fruit that work well together or lots of one type like I did here.

Usually when I bake or make desserts I make them for other people to enjoy too so Rien and I don’t end up eating it all. However with this pavlova, over a few days we managed to eat the whole thing! It was so delicious we kept going back for more and of course the strawberries make it healthy…I can definitely see me making this a number of times over the summer, I might even share it next time! I loved the crisp chewy outside of the pavlova mixed with the soft, melt in your mouth marshmallow centre.

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6 egg whites
pinch of salt
270g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 tsp cornflour

  1. Preheat the oven to 120ºC. Draw a 8″ circle on baking paper and turn it over onto a baking tray so the pencil won’t touch the pavlova

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  1. Whisk 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form

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  1. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time as this allows the sugar to disolve. Keep whisking until the egg whites are smooth and glossy with no trace of sugar

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  1. Carefully fold in the vinegar, vanilla and cornflour
  2. Dab a small amount of mix on each corner of the baking tray to secure the baking paper to the tray. Pile the mix onto the baking tray trying to keep inside the line. Shape it like a cake – you can either flatten the top for a more traditional look or spike the top for a dramatic effect

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  1. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1½ hours, you’ll know it it’s done by lightly tapping the top and it’s hard. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open. Leave the pavlova to cool completely

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For the topping
300ml double or whipping cream
Strawberries – as many as you like!
2 tbsp sugar 

  1. Hull the strawberries and then put roughly half of them into a bowl. Gradually add the sugar, tasting as you go until the strawberries are the perfect sweetness. Put them aside for 30 mins or so

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  1. Whip the cream using the whisk attachment (or if you’re brave, by hand) until the cream is soft but holds its shape. If you whip for too long the cream will become over whipped and not look smooth and silky

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  1. Add the whipped cream to the top of the pavlova and spread out. The strawberries with the sugar should look glossy and have a thick syrup now. Add these on top of the cream and then add the remaining hulled strawberries

I got the recipe for the pavlova here –


Raspberry & Mascarpone Sponge Pudding

Decadently creamy with the tart raspberries to cut through the sweetness. This dessert is definitely a treat! 

This is one of my family’s favourite desserts. It is so rich and creamy with the raspberries there to add a tart flavour as well as a delicious freshness. The taste truly is yummy. 

This is a delicious pudding my family has been making for years, but cannot take credit for. It was my sister’s friend’s Mum, Mrs Betts that we owe for this recipe. She had something similar in a restaurant and loved it and recreated it herself at home. She is one clever lady!

This dessert is really easy to make. You literally need no baking skills or special equipment to put this together. It also means you can get your children to help out which is something my sister and I always did when we were younger. I did use a mixer to combine the mascarpone and condensed milk because it is quicker to do this, but doing it by hand doesn’t take too much effort. Just make sure you mix them together well and get rid of any lumps. 

Do not turn your nose up at the tinned raspberries. I am generally not a fan of tinned fruit and didn’t know you could get tinned raspberries before eating this. But you do really need them, and their tasty syrup to make this dessert. 

My sister, Ally made this for pudding on Boxing Day. It was a welcome change instead of something like Christmas pudding that none of us are really that fond of. We’d had a lovely roast dinner cooked by my Mum (she cooks the best roasts) and a few hours had passed when the raspberry pudding was calling my name from the fridge. Initially it was just my brother-in-law and myself who wanted some, but after I brought his into him, Ally and my Mum soon decided they could find some room. Then when Mr Curly remembered what we meant by raspberry pudding, he had some too. My brother-in-law then went back for another ‘small piece’ and came back with a bigger bowl than his first!

You can also use low fat mascarpone cheese in a feeble attempt to reduce the calories. If you use all low fat mascarpone, you may find that the pudding is slightly more liquid – especially the next day. I would recommend using half full fat and half low fat because this seems to have the right combination to still provide the right thickness to hold the pudding together. 

When making this pudding, my final layer always seems to have the fewest sponge fingers but they are the ones that have been soaked for the longest in the raspberry syrup. This is because I always pack the sponge fingers in tightly for the bottom layer and also don’t let them soak in the syrup for too long because I don’t want to run out! If this happens to you, just spread your final layer of sponge fingers out more. Once it is fully assembled no one will be able to tell anyway!

This pudding keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, if it lasts that long. I’ve lost count of how many times I have eaten this for breakfast because I didn’t want to wait any later in the day to eat some more!

Updated 2017. 

Serves 8 (generously!) 

500g mascarpone
397g condensed milk
400g sponge fingers
600g tinned raspberries in light syrup
150g fresh raspberries
Small grating of dark chocolate

  1. Mix the mascarpone and condensed milk together in a bowl or using your mixer making sure there are no lumps 

  1. Drain the tinned raspberries reserving the syrup in a shallow bowl
  2. Dunk the sponge fingers a couple at a time in the reserved raspberry syrup. Make sure the fingers are completely covered in the syrup. You want to give them a couple of seconds so they can absorb some of the syrup but don’t leave them in there for longer than that or else they will soak up too much and you’ll run out of syrup!

  1. When you have a few of the sponge fingers that have absorbed some of the syrup, line them next to each other in a dish roughly 23x23x5cm. Once you have covered the bottom of the dish completely with sponge fingers, scatter with half of the tinned raspberries

  1. Pour 1/3 of the mascarpone mix on top of the sponge fingers making sure the fingers are completely covered

  1. Repeat again with another layer of soaked sponge fingers, tinned raspberries and mascarpone mix but lay the fingers in the opposite direction
  2. Add a third layer of soaked sponge fingers in the dish. Add the final third of the mascarpone mix and spread evenly
  3. Place the fresh raspberries on the top and grate the dark chocolate using a fine grater
  4. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to chill and then serve

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