My child­hood favourites for dessert lovers

SWEET TREATS A great steamed pud­ding should be fluffy and light, says An­gela Hart­nett, who this week shares her tips for top-notch tri­fle and per­fect prof­iteroles, too

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

Idon’t have the sweet­est tooth, but I love old-fash­ioned desserts like Eve’s pud­ding or Queen of Pud­dings. My mum is a great pud­ding maker: I grew up with her home-made ap­ple pie and mince pies made with short­crust pas­try, not sweet pas­try. And my grand­mother used to serve zabaglione, which is a clas­sic Ital­ian dessert of eggs, sugar and a dash of al­co­hol whipped to­gether.

A great steamed pud­ding served with warm cus­tard is evoca­tive of cosy­ing up in the colder months. I’ve shared a recipe for my favourite, made with golden syrup and black trea­cle, over­leaf. Peo­ple al­ways think of pud­dings as stodgy, but for me, they should be light and fluffy. Steam your trea­cle pud­ding in a steamer if you’ve got one, with the steamer pan on top of the wa­ter. And if you haven’t got a steamer, use ramekins. Make sure there’s con­stant steam, as you don’t want it to dry out.

You can’t just make a pud­ding sweet and rich and hope for the best. One of my con­stant re­frains when I do a dessert tast­ing with my staff is: less sugar, less sugar. In cer­tain desserts you need the sugar for bal­ance and as a set­ting agent, but not in the same way as gelatin or agar. You can al­ways take a lit­tle bit away: when fol­low­ing recipes, I tend to cut it down by 10 to 20 grams, just in case.

The poached pear and ri­cotta recipe here was passed on to me by Luke Holder (the chef at Hart­nett Holder & Co at Lime Wood in the New For­est). It’s sim­ple, but de­li­cious, with a slight savouri­ness and acid­ity from the cheese. It can be adapted with sea­sonal fruits, and sprin­kled with al­monds or nuts. A clas­sic Ital­ian al­ter­na­tive is to poach the pears in red wine and serve with gor­gonzola.

Prof­iteroles are an­other child­hood favourite, and the trick is to make sure they’re not too soggy. You don’t want them crispy (it’s not toast) and there should be a slight soft­ness, but you need some tex­ture, es­pe­cially if you’re pair­ing them with hot cho­co­late sauce and ice cream. If you can get hold of it, Pump Street Cho­co­late in Or­ford, Suf­folk, make a bril­liant Ja­maican cho­co­late with hon­eyed rum. They source their co­coa beans eth­i­cally and, as well as cho­co­late bars, they do phe­nom­e­nal cook­ing cho­co­late.

I grew up with home­made ap­ple pie and zabaglione, a clas­sic Ital­ian dessert

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