COLD PUDDINGS

 

 

 

 

While he from forth the closet brought a heap 

Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;        

With jellies smoother than the creamy curd, 

And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon; 

Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d 

From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one, 

From silken Samarcand to cedar’d Lebanon. 

 

Keats, St Agnes Eve.      

 

 

 

BOODLES ORANGE FOOL  (for 6)

This recipe is probably quite unlike the famous dessert served by Boodles club in St James's Street, but it is nevertheless very good and is simple to make.

4-6 trifle sponges or 100gr sponge fingers

juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 oranges

2 further oranges

2-3 tablespoons castor sugar

300 ml double cream

Cut the trifles sponges into 1 cm/½ in slices (or break the sponge fingers into pieces). Use them to line the base of a serving dish so that they also come part way up the sides. Mix together the orange and lemon juices and zests and dissolve the sugar in this mixture. Whip the cream until it is just beginning to thicken and slowly whip in the juices. Pour the cream over the sponges or sponge fingers. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours and preferably longer, so that the juices soak into the sponges. Decorate the top with segments from the other two oranges.

 

 

STRAWBERRY MOUSSE  (for 6-8)

1 lb/400-500gr strawberries

½ oz powdered gelatine

6-9 oz/200gr caster sugar

juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or cointreau

1-2 egg whites

½ pint/300ml whipping cream

Hull and purée the strawberries, reserving a few whole ones for decoration. Put 4 tablespoonfuls of cold water in a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine on top. When it is moistened, stir in half the strawberry purée, the lemon juice, liqueur and sugar to taste. Heat gently, without boiling, until the gelatine is melted. Draw off the heat, add the remaining strawberry purée and leave to cool for half an hour or so. Whip the cream and the egg white in separate bowls until both are thick. Stir the cream into the strawberry mixture and the fold in the egg white. Pour into a serving bowl and put into the fridge to set for at least 6 hours. Serve decorated with the remaining strawberries.

 

 

ETON MESS  (for 4)

Eton mess is too often these days adulterated with all sorts of unnecessary extras. This is a no-frills version.

400-450gr strawberries

250-300ml whipping cream

70-100gr meringue

2 tablespoons grand marnier or cointreau (optional)

Hull the strawberries and cut into 1-2 cm pieces. Crumble the meringue into similar size pieces. Not too long before eating, whip the cream (not too stiffly). Fold in first the grand marnier or cointreau, then the strawberries and meringue. It can be decorated with a few reserved strawberry pieces.

 

 

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE  (for 6-8)

Shortbread biscuits, crumbled

zest of 1 orange

2 eggs

3 heaped tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)

1 lb/500gr curd cheese such as Philadelphia

¾ lb/300gr strawberries, hulled and halved

150-200ml soured cream

Make a base in a gratin dish out of the crumbled shortbread mixed with the orange zest. Cream together the cheese, eggs, 2 tablespoonfuls of the sugar and the liqueur. Pour the mixture over the base and cook for 30 minutes in an oven pre-heated to gas mark 5/190° C. Mix the remaining sugar with the soured cream and pour it over the top. Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool and arrange the halved strawberries over the top so as to completely cover the cheesecake.

 

 

RASPBERRY CRANACHAN (for 2)

 

Also good with cooked rhubarb instead of raspberries. A traditional Scots dessert. Dr Johnson (in his dictionary, published in 1755) defined oats as "a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people". Boswell's riposte was supposed to have been "Aye, but what horses and what men."

 

3 tablespoons rolled oats

1 dessertspoon caster sugar

150ml whipping cream

1 tablespoon Scotch whisky

1 tablespoon runny honey

150gr raspberries

 

Mix the oats and sugar together in a dry frying pan and toast until the sugar has melted and the oats are golden-brown, taking care not to let the mixture burn. Whip the cream and beat in the whisky. Just before serving, fold in the runny honey, raspberries and the toasted oats (it is important to add the oats only at the last minute, otherwise they go soggy).

 

 

BLACKBERRY MOUSSE  (for 8)

1½ lb/700gr blackberries (frozen will do)

6 oz/200gr caster sugar

juice of 1 lemon

¾ oz/1½ packets gelatine

3 egg whites

½ pint/300ml whipping cream

Put the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan and cook very gently, covered, for about 10 minutes until the blackberries are exuding their juice. Meanwhile, put 4 tablespoonfuls of water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine on top. Leave until all the gelatine is moistened. Remove the blackberries from the heat and pour into the gelatine mixture, stirring until all the gelatine is dissolved. Put this mixture through the fine sieve of a vegetable mill to eliminate the blackberry pips. Stir in extra sugar or lemon if necessary. Leave until cool and beginning to thicken. Whisk the cream and egg whites separately until thick. Fold first the cream and then the egg whites into the blackberry mixture. Pour into a serving dish and chill until set – at least six hours. Decorate with spare blackberries or blobs of extra whipped cream.

 

 

BLACKBERRY AND APPLE FOOL (for 6)

Bramleys have the right degree of sharpness to cut the cloying sweetness of the blackberries. The other advantage of using Bramleys is that they cook down to a puree. If using other apples, they will need to be pureed after cooking, and possibly some lemon juice added.

1 lb blackberries (frozen will do)

2 medium Bramleys

Caster sugar

300ml whipping cream, whipped fairly stiffly

Quantities can be varied according to taste and availability. Cook blackberries in a saucepan until their juice begins to run, and put through a vegetable mill on the finest sieve to eliminate the pips. Peel, slice and core the Bramleys, putting the pieces straight into a bowl of water to prevent their going brown.  Drain them and put into a saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook very gently, stirring occasionally, until they have become a pulp (the pulp will still have an interestingly rough texture; if you prefer a smoother mix they can be put through a sieve). Mix the blackberry and apple pulps together and add sugar to taste. When cool, stir in the whipped cream.

 

 

APPLE AND GINGERNUT  (for 8)

2½-3 lb/1.5 kg Bramleys

200-300gr caster sugar

3-4 tablespoons brandy

150gr (approx) gingernuts

10 fluid oz/300ml whipping cream

stem ginger in syrup

Peel, core and slice the apples. Cook down to a purée. Cool and stir in sugar to taste. Spread out in a shallow dish and arrange a layer of gingernuts on top. Sprinkle the brandy over the gingernuts and leave to soak in for an hour or two. Whip the cream and spread it over the top. Sprinkle some chopped stem ginger on top of the cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Giovanna Garzoni (1600-1670): apples

 

KIWI FRUIT WITH BURNT SUGAR  (for 2)

1 kiwi fruit

4 tablespoons fromage frais or creamy (e.g. Greek-style) yoghurt

2 tablespoons sugar

Remove the hard core from the stalk end of the kiwi fruit with a sharp knife. Peel the fruit, cut in half lengthwise and slice. Divide the slices between two ramekins. Spoon over the fromage frais or yoghurt. Cover with a thick layer of sugar and cook immediately under a very hot grill until the sugar is brown. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, but not more than 2 hours, as after that the sugar starts melting away.

 

 

PETITS POTS AU CHOCOLAT  (for 6)

This is one of Jennifer Paterson’s recipes, originally published in the Spectator.

6 oz/200gr dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or more)

½ pint 300ml single cream

4 drops vanilla essence

pinch of salt

1 egg

Break the chocolate into a blender. Bring the cream to boiling point and pour it over the chocolate. Whizz for a moment or two. Add the egg, salt and vanilla. Whizz again until everything is amalgamated. Pour into 6 little ramekins and chill for 24 hours in the fridge. (J. Paterson.)

 

 

PRUNES STUFFED WITH ALMONDS  (for 2)

Rather a good way to cook prunes, suggested by Hugh Arnold in the Financial Times in the 1990s.

16 pitted semi-dried (soft) prunes

16 blanched almonds

1-2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cloves

1 pinch cinnamon

Insert an almond into each prune. Put in a small saucepan with the other ingredients and just enough water to cover the prunes. Cook gently, covered, for 30 minutes. Cool and serve with cream.

 

 

GRILLED PANETTONE WITH MAPLE SYRUP  (for 4)

An excellent instant dessert.

4 slices panettone

200ml crème fraiche (loosened with a little milk if it is very thick)

4 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons flaked almonds

Roast the flaked almonds in a dry pan until going brown. Toast the panettone until golden brown on both sides. Distribute onto 4 plates. Spoon the crème fraîche onto the plates next to the panettone. Dribble the maple syrup over the créme fraîche and sprinkle the almonds on top.

 

 

COFFEE BRANDY CAKE  (for 8)

This recipe appeared in the Times many years ago.

6 oz/180gr plain flour

½ level teaspoon salt

2 level teaspoon baking powder

5 oz/150gr soft brown sugar

2 eggs

6 tablespoons sunflower or corn oil

4 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons coffee essence

4 oz/120gr granulated sugar

¼ pint/150ml strong black coffee

2 tablespoons brandy

10 fluid oz/300ml whipping cream

flaked almonds

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the soft brown sugar. Separate the eggs. Use a fork to mix the oil, milk and coffee essence into the yolks. Pour this mixture into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix to a smooth batter. Whisk the egg whites and fold into the mixture. Pour into a greased and lined sponge tin (8½” x 1½”/23 cm x 4 cm). Place high up in an oven pre-heated to gas mark 4/180° C. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool.

Measure the granulated sugar and coffee into a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved and then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Replace the cake in the tin and prick all over the top with a skewer. Spoon the hot syrup over the cake and leave to soak in for a few hours or overnight. Turn the cake onto a serving dish. Cover with whipped cream and decorate with toasted flaked almonds.

 

WINE AND PEAR JELLY  (for 8)

½ bottle drinkable claret or other red wine

3-4 pears, peeled, cored and cut into small bite-sized chunks

6 tablespoons sugar

1 clove

1 cinnamon stick

juice and zest of 1 lemon

15gr powdered gelatine

300ml whipping cream

Put the gelatine to soften in a small saucepan with the lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoonfuls of cold water. Poach the pear pieces in just enough water to cover, sweetened with 2 tablespoonfuls of sugar, until the pears are soft (a few minutes only for ripe pears). Heat the wine gently in another saucepan together with the clove, cinnamon stick, 4 tablespoonfuls of sugar and the lemon zest. Keep it hovering at just below boiling point for 10-15 minutes so as to burn off some of the alcohol. Add the hot wine to the softened gelatine, together with about 120ml of the pear poaching syrup. Stir until the gelatine is completely melted. Put the drained pear pieces in a glass bowl. Pour the wine mixture over them through a fine strainer. Cool and leave to set in the fridge (at least 8 hours). Whip the cream softly and spread over the top.

 

WINTER FRUIT SALAD (for 6)

 

4 pears, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks.

10 prunes, stoned

10 dried apricots, cut in half

2 tablespoons dried tart cherries or currants or raisins

1 lemon

1 glass white wine (or half a glass of rum)

200gr runny honey

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1 bay-leaf

 

Most prunes and apricots these days come “ready to eat” – i.e. partially rehydrated. If you have genuinely dried ones, pour hot water over them and leave to soak for an hour before proceeding.

 

Put the honey in a saucepan with 200ml water and heat, stirring, until the honey is dissolved. Use a potato peeler to cut 3-4 broad strips of zest from the lemon, and squeeze the juice out of the lemon. Add the zest and juice and all the other ingredients to the honey water. If necessary, add a little extra water so that the pears are almost completely submerged. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes (make sure the pears are tender).  Fish out and discard the cinnamon stick, bay-leaf and – if you can find them – the pieces of lemon zest and the cloves. Serve warm or cold with crème fraiche.

 


                                            

                                                            Dried fruits in Central Asia