Dial H: Dessert tips from Dial House chef An­drew Jones

This month An­dew Jones shares some chef’s se­crets for dreamy desserts

Norfolk - - INSIDE - the­di­al­house.org.uk farm­yardrestau­rant.com

Never trust a din­ner guest who doesn’t want dessert. It’s the most pop­u­lar part of the meal for most, but when it comes to mak­ing puds at home it can some­times seem like a step too far in terms of your own time. So I’ve a few ideas on how to whip up a sweet with­out the sweat...


Most im­por­tant of all – I al­ways have a fresh vanilla pod in the house, the flavour it gives to any dessert recipe is un­mis­take­able. I like to make my own vanilla essence by cook­ing a pod with 100g of sugar and 100g of wa­ter per pod. Just blitz ev­ery­thing to­gether when the pod has plumped up. The flavour is way more pow­er­ful than shop-bought essence; just add a dash to your desserts for an in­stant wow fac­tor. It will keep in the fridge for ages.


First class cus­tard, the hack’s way... Equal quan­ti­ties of cream and milk (half pint each), 100g sugar and then sub­sti­tute half the sug­gested amount of cus­tard pow­der with four egg yolks and ide­ally a dash of your home­made vanilla syrup. Mak­ing it this way gives you an­other level of cus­tard which ba­si­cally jazzes up any­thing you serve it with.


Guess what – crème Anglaise is just cold cus­tard! Swap out the cus­tard power and dou­ble the egg yolks. You can also fold it through with an equal quan­tity of stiffly-whipped cream for a spoon-able, vanilla-ry cus­tard cream. Serve ei­ther with a zesty le­mon tart or with fruit.


I al­ways bake with salted but­ter to add depth to the flavour – there’s just enough salt in the but­ter to bring out the flavour of your pas­try or cake to make it taste re­ally rich and deca­dent. Also I like to add a pinch of Mal­don salt to any­thing with choco­late or co­coa. You’ve heard of salted caramel? Salted choco­late is next level.


If you’re cook­ing with the kids and they’re keen to get stuck into break­ing the eggs (shells and all) into the bowl, or you’re just a bit of a shell drop­per your­self then use a cup to break them into and just sieve the egg.


Bread and but­ter any­thing – If you’ve got crois­sants, fruit bread or reg­u­lar bread pop it in an oven-proof dish with some raisins (cin­na­mon if you’re feel­ing fancy) and cus­tard and put it in the oven with a sprin­kling of sugar. If you re­ally want to push the boat out make it with mar­malade sand­wiches, or choco­late spread, peanut-but­ter...


Ar­guably the most pop­u­lar dessert in our house­hold is the fruit crum­ble. If you’re or­gan­ised in ad­vance it’s rel­a­tively sim­ple any­way but there’s an even quicker way to suc­cess if you’re caught off guard (or you just for­got).

My sim­ple crum­ble top­ping stores well in the fridge or freezer – use it to sprin­kle over stewed fruits or ice cream for an any­time dessert. I like to use oats to add tex­ture – you can also add chopped nuts.

Just pulse equal quan­ti­ties of but­ter (salted), de­mer­ara sugar, plain flour and oats to­gether to a coarse crumb. Bake in a mod­er­ate (160C) oven for 20-25 mins on a flat tray, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally to even out the colour. When it’s a deep golden colour and smells like bis­cuits it’s ready. Store in an air­tight con­tainer in the fridge and use on top of stewed fruit, maybe with a dol­lop of cus­tard cream.

ABOVE:Cre­at­ing de­light­ful desserts might not be as hard as you think...

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