Double the pleasure: Annie Bell’s indulgent puds are made for sharing.
Raspberry chocolate fudge cake
Divinely tender and truffle-like, the raspberry frills make this an all-singing production.
MAKES 1 x 20CM CAKE
200g unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
200g dark chocolate (around 50% cocoa), broken into pieces
3 tbsp smooth orange juice
4 medium eggs, separated
125g light muscovado sugar
75g ground almonds
100g dark chocolate (around 50% cocoa), broken into pieces
80ml whipping cream
20g unsalted butter, diced
raspberry powder, to decorate (optional)
fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a 20cm x 9cm deep cake tin with a removable collar and line the base with baking paper.
2. For the cake, melt the butter, chocolate and orange juice in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, stirring occasionally. At the same time beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff using an electric whisk then gradually add in half the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a stiff glossy meringue.
3. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in another large bowl for several minutes until they are pale and have doubled in volume.
4. Fold the chocolate and butter into the egg yolks and sugar mixture, lightly fold in the ground almonds, then the egg whites in two goes.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin, give it a couple of taps on the work surface to bring up any large bubbles then bake for 40 minutes – it should rise like a soufflé. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake then leave it to cool in the tin when it will sink.
6. Meanwhile, make the icing. Gently melt the chocolate with the cream in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, then remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Leave this to set at room temperature for about 1 ó hours while the cake is cooling. It should firm to a spreadable consistency.
7. Run a knife around the edge of the cake again, remove the collar of the tin, invert it on to a serving plate then remove the base and paper (you will be icing the bottom rather than the top).
8. Spread the frosting over the top then dust with raspberry powder if wished. It is meltingly tender at room temperature, or dense and fudgey if chilled. Serve with raspberries and a drizzle of sauce for a pud.
If you like pistachio ice cream, you’ll love this. It is worthwhile trying to find pistachio extract, but if you can’t almond extract is fine.
MAKES 1 x 23CM CHEESECAKE
85g plain flour, sifted
40g ground almonds
50g golden caster sugar
85g unsalted butter, melted
850g cream cheese
270g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs, plus 1 yolk
420ml whipping cream
100g ground pistachios
1 1/2 tsp pistachio or almond extract
50g white chocolate, broken into pieces
50g finely chopped pistachios
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/ 150C fan/gas 3. Mix the pastry ingredients together in a medium bowl then use your fingers to press the mixture into the base of a 23cm x 7cm deep cake tin with a removable collar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pale golden then allow to cool.
2. Turn up the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6. To make the filling, whiz the cream cheese and sugar together in a food processor. Add the eggs, yolk and cream, then the ground pistachios and the extract.
3. Carefully pour the mixture into the tin then bake in the oven for 1 hour until puffy around the edges and just set (it should wobble if you move it from side to side). Leave to cool.
4. Run a knife around the collar. Gently melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it. Brush this around the raised edge of the cheesecake, scatter with the chopped pistachios, discarding any powder, and chill overnight.
5. The cheesecake will keep well, loosely covered with foil, for up to three days.
Coffee banoffee pie
With its buttery biscuit base, thick bank of caramel and cloud of whipped cream, this feels deliciously indulgent – even when you are sharing it.
MAKES 1 X 23CM PIE
375g digestive biscuits (eg McVitie’s), broken into pieces
150g unsalted butter, melted
100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
100g light muscovado sugar
397g tin Nestlé Carnation Caramel
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 small bananas, peeled and finely sliced, ends discarded
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 gelatine leaf, cut into broad strips
1 1/2 tbsp strong hot coffee (eg espresso)
300ml whipping cream
dark chocolate shavings and icing sugar, to decorate
1. Line a 23cm x 3cm deep tart tin with a removable collar with clingfilm so that it overhangs the sides. Whiz the biscuits into crumbs in a food processor, add the melted butter and whiz again.
2. Press the crumbs on to the base and sides of the tin. These steps can be done several days in advance – just cover and chill to store.
3. To make the filling, melt the butter with the sugar in a small nonstick saucepan, then add the caramel and the vanilla extract, bring to the boil, stirring constantly and, if necessary, whisk until smooth and the sugar has completely melted. Pour this over the biscuit base then leave to cool completely.
4. Several hours before serving, toss the banana slices in a medium bowl with lemon juice to coat them, then arrange in a layer on top of the toffee, just inside the tart rim.
5. Place the gelatine in a large bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes before draining. Add the hot coffee and stir to dissolve, then add the cream, one tablespoon at a time to begin with.
6. Whisk the cream to soft fluffy peaks using an electric whisk then spread on top of the bananas and, taking it up to the sides, swirl the surface. Scatter with chocolate shavings, dust with icing sugar and chill for 2 hours.
7. To serve, remove the pie from the tin using the overhanging clingfilm, then place it, with the base, on a plate. Slip a spatula between the pie and the clingfilm and pull the base and clingfilm out with care. It will still be good the following day, but a little softer.
Lemon meringues and cream
Crisp on the outside, with gooey pockets of mousse within. Smother them with whipped cream or crème fraîche.
4 medium egg whites
200g icing sugar
vegetable oil, for brushing
75g lemon curd
whipped cream or crème fraîche, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk them using an electric whisk until they rise into a froth the consistency of shaving foam.
2. Sprinkle in the sugar, a heaped tablespoon at a time, whisking well with each addition until you have a stiff, glossy meringue.
3. Dab a little of the mixture on to the corners of a baking sheet and line it with baking paper. Lightly brush this with vegetable oil.
4. Stir the lemon curd so that it is smooth then drizzle it over the meringue mixture and fold in about three times, turning the bowl to streak it.
5. Using a large serving spoon, drop four large dollops of the mixture on to the baking paper, leaving plenty of space between each one.
6. Place them in the oven and reduce the temperature to 120C/100C fan/gas ó. Cook for 2 hours, then remove and leave to cool. These meringues are quite delicate and messy, and best directly scooped from the paper when you want to serve them. They will keep well loosely covered with clingfilm until the following day. Serve with lashings of cream or crème fraîche.
Mini cherry loaves
Deliciously moist, these mini loaf cakes make a tasty snack.
MAKES 8 x 10CM CAKES
175g plain flour
75g ground almonds
175g golden caster sugar
2 rounded tsp baking powder
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
175g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
150g glacé cherries, coarsely chopped
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp milk
icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/ 150C fan/gas 3 and arrange 8 mini loaf cases or moulds on a baking sheet.
2. In a food processor, whiz the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and butter to fine crumbs then transfer this to a large bowl.
3. Add the cherries and rub them into the mixture using your fingers to separate out and coat them.
4. Whisk the eggs with the milk in a small bowl then work into the crumble to make a thick sticky paste.
5. Fill the cases by two thirds, mounding the centre a little, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and firm. Leave to cool then dust with icing sugar. They will keep well, loosely covered, for several days.
Chunky currant shortbreads
Crunchy, oversized buttery biscuits – great with a cup of tea.
MAKES APPROX 8 GIANT COOKIES
220g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
100g golden caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
200g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
120g ground almonds
2 tsp mixed spice
1. Whiz the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds and spice in a food processor until the crumbs start to cling together.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, work in the currants and bring the dough together. You can either use the dough straight away or wrap it in clingfilm and chill until required. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 2ó.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1cm thick then use a 9cm fluted cutter to make about 8 biscuits.
4. Arrange these on one or two nonstick baking sheets spaced slightly apart, then cook for 50 minutes or until lightly coloured.
5. Dust with caster sugar then loosen with a spatula before leaving them to cool. They will keep well for up to a week in an airtight container.
Five-minute chocolate pudding
This makes twice the amount of sauce that you will need for one pud, but it can be reheated another time.
90g dark chocolate (around 70% cocoa), broken into pieces
15g unsalted butter
4-5 tbsp milk
1 tbsp double cream (optional)
2 madeleine cakes (e.g., Bonne Maman)
whipped cream and chocolate shavings, to serve (optional)
1. Gently melt the chocolate, butter and a couple of tablespoons of the milk in a small nonstick saucepan, stirring almost constantly until smooth. Add another 2-3 tablespoons of milk one at a time and a spoonful of cream, if wished, until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, then gently heat without simmering.
2. Lightly warm the madeleines either side on top of the toaster for about 1 minute in total, taking care they don’t colour or burn. Serve them liberally doused in the sauce, with a spoon of cream and some chocolate shavings if wished.
Recipes: Annie Bell. Stylist: Sarah Hardy. Hand model: Samantha Clinch