Ba­nana, choco­late and spiced rum pavlova

The Guardian - Cook - - Baking at Christmas -

Cus­tard and cream are flavoured with am­ple nut­meg and booze, topped with per­fectly ripe ba­nanas driz­zled with lash­ings of dark choco­late ganache.

Serves 6-8 For the meringue

4 egg whites

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp vine­gar

1 tsp vanilla ex­tract

270g caster sugar 2 tbsp corn­flour

½ a nut­meg, grated, plus ex­tra to fin­ish

For the cus­tard

50g corn­flour

4 egg yolks 600ml whole milk

100g caster sugar

½ tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla ex­tract

For the cream

400ml dou­ble cream

2 tbsp rum

A grat­ing of nut­meg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp caster sugar

For the ganache

200g 70% dark choco­late 200ml dou­ble cream

To fin­ish

3 ripe (but not over-ripe) ba­nanas

1 Pre­heat the oven to 110C/230F/gas mark ¼. Line a tray with bak­ing pa­per. With an elec­tric mixer, beat the egg whites, salt, vine­gar and vanilla on a high speed un­til soft peaks form.

2 Whisk the sugar, corn­flour and nut­meg to­gether by hand, then add half to the frothy egg whites. Whisk un­til very stiff, then add the re­main­ing sugar mix­ture. Whisk un­til smooth and glossy.

3 Pipe the meringue into a 23cm cir­cle or oval, mak­ing a slight de­pres­sion in the cen­tre. Bake for about 2 hours. Re­move from the oven. Trans­fer the meringue on to a cool­ing rack right away to cool com­pletely.

4 To make the cus­tard, have ready an iced wa­ter bath, with a bowl set in­side it. In a small bowl, whisk the corn­flour into the yolks.

5 In a heavy-based pan, heat the milk, sugar, salt and vanilla un­til it starts to foam. Pour a lit­tle over the yolks to tem­per, whisk, then re­turn to the pan. Cook un­til the cus­tard has thick­ened and coats the back of the spoon.

6 Trans­fer the cus­tard to the bowl set in the iced wa­ter bath to stop it cook­ing any fur­ther. Cover the sur­face of the cus­tard with cling­film to pre­vent a skin form­ing. Chill.

7 For the cream, mix all the in­gre­di­ents to­gether in a large bowl. Whisk un­til it has just thick­ened into loose peaks, as it will con­tinue to thicken af­ter you stop whisk­ing. Set aside.

8 To make the ganache, chop the choco­late finely and put in a heat­proof bowl. Heat the cream un­til it is just bubbling, watch­ing it closely to en­sure it doesn’t bubble over. Pour the hot cream over the choco­late, and leave to sit for five min­utes. Stir to com­bine and un­til the ganache is shiny.

9 To as­sem­ble the pavlova, trans­fer the meringue to a serv­ing dish. Top with the cus­tard, then the cream, and fi­nally the sliced ba­nanas. Driz­zle with the ganache, and fin­ish with a grat­ing of nut­meg.

Dried figs are plumped with the re­mains of yes­ter­day’s red wine and steeped in spices

Figgy mulled wine honey cake

Dried figs are plumped with the re­mains of yes­ter­day’s red wine and steeped in spices, then drenched in honey. The tex­ture and stick­i­ness of this one makes it my favourite.

Makes 1 cake

400g dried figs

165g un­salted but­ter

75g brandy

300ml red wine

Zest of 1 orange, and 25ml freshly squeezed orange juice

250g honey, plus ex­tra for driz­zling

1 egg

1½ tsp ground cin­na­mon

¼ tsp ground cloves

200g whole­meal wheat or whole­meal spelt flour

1½ tsp bak­ing pow­der

½ tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda

1 Pre­heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a 23cm cake tin with bak­ing parch­ment.

2 Trim the rough stems off the figs, then chop into 1cm pieces. Cut the but­ter into small pieces and al­low it to soften to room tem­per­a­ture.

3 Put the brandy, wine and dried figs in a heavy-based saucepan and sim­mer over a medium-low heat to plump the figs. Af­ter 15 min­utes, re­move the pan from the heat and cool for 20 min­utes.

4 Add the orange zest and juice, then stir in the but­ter and honey. Leave for 15 min­utes, then whisk in the egg.

5 In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk to­gether the cin­na­mon, cloves, flour, bak­ing pow­der and bi­car­bon­ate of soda. Slowly whisk into the wet in­gre­di­ents. Trans­fer the mix­ture to the pre­pared tin, and bake for 45 min­utes.

6 Cool the cake in the tin for 10 min­utes, then turn out on to a plate. To serve, driz­zle with a lit­tle ex­tra honey and serve warm with yo­ghurt.

Orange al­mond syrup cake

Claudia Ro­den’s orange cake is fa­mous for its use of an orange boiled whole. I’ve spiced it up here with cin­na­mon, added whole, un­peeled al­monds that you grind your­self, and driz­zled it with a Coin­treau-laced syrup.

Makes 1 cake For the cake

2 large or­anges

250g whole al­monds (skins on)

6 eggs

200g caster sugar

1 tsp bak­ing pow­der

For the cus­tard

2 bay leaves

300ml dou­ble cream

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp caster sugar

For the syrup

Juice and zest of 1 orange

100g caster sugar

100ml wa­ter

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tbsp Coin­treau or other orange liquor 1 But­ter and line a 20cm cake tin with bak­ing parch­ment. 2 Wash the or­anges, then sim­mer them whole (in­clud­ing their peel) in a saucepan of wa­ter for two hours. Cool, then cut open and re­move any pips.

Grind the al­monds to a fine pow­der in a food pro­ces­sor, then set aside.

Pre­heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cut the or­anges into quar­ters and put in a food pro­ces­sor. Process to a pulp. Add the ground nuts, then the eggs one at a time, then the sugar and bak­ing pow­der.

Scrape the bat­ter into the pre­pared tin and bake for about an hour. Cool in the tin, and then turn out on to a serv­ing plate.

For the cus­tard, put the bay leaves and the cream in a heavy-based saucepan. Steep over a medium heat just un­til the cream comes to the boil. Watch it closely as it can boil over.

In a bowl, whisk to­gether the yolks and sugar. Tem­per the yolks with a lit­tle of the bay cream, then re­turn to the saucepan and whisk over a low heat for five min­utes. Al­low to cool.

For the syrup, put all the in­gre­di­ents into a small saucepan. Re­duce by half. Skewer the cooled cake, then pour half of the syrup over just be­fore serv­ing. Serve the re­main­ing syrup sep­a­rately for pour­ing over in­di­vid­ual slices of cake with the cus­tard. 3 4 5 6 7 8

Dulce de leche and choco­late pud­ding

This is made with the mor­eish caramel that re­sults from re­duc­ing cream and sugar or con­densed milk into a jam. Choco­late and cin­na­mon have a long his­tory to­gether in Mex­ico and here they make this de­li­cious, self-sauc­ing, flan-like dessert more Christ­massy. The cake mix­ture and the flan mix­ture could both be made in ad­vance and then as­sem­bled and baked closer to the serv­ing time. Al­ter­na­tively, you could bake the dish a few hours be­fore serv­ing and serve at room tem­per­a­ture, but it re­ally should be made on the day.

Makes 1 cake

200g dulce de leche

¼ tsp Mal­don salt

For the cake

150g caster sugar

100g plain flour

40g co­coa pow­der

1 tsp ground cin­na­mon

½ tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda

¼ tsp bak­ing pow­der

A pinch of fine sea salt

180g plain yo­ghurt

4 tbsp mild olive oil

1 egg

For the flan

340g evap­o­rated milk

400g sweet­ened con­densed milk

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 Pre­heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5 and have ready a roast­ing tray that is large enough to house a round or oval pud­ding dish, and is at least 4cm deep. Spread the dulce de leche in­side the pud­ding dish, as if you were but­ter­ing it. Sprin­kle with the Mal­don salt.

2 For the cake, whisk to­gether the dry in­gre­di­ents. In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk to­gether the yo­ghurt, olive oil and egg. Whisk the wet in­gre­di­ents into the dry in­gre­di­ents, and pour into the pre­pared pud­ding dish.

3 In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk to­gether the evap­o­rated milk, con­densed milk, eggs and vanilla. De­cant into a jug, and slowly and gen­tly pour this over the choco­late cake mix­ture. You want to try to keep dis­tinct lay­ers at this stage.

4 Set the pud­ding dish within the larger roast­ing tray, then care­fully fill the tray with wa­ter un­til it is half­way up the sides of the pud­ding dish. Cover the whole roast­ing tray with tin foil (shiny side down), and bake for one hour, un­til the choco­late cake has risen to the top and is set.

5 Re­move from the oven and al­low the pud­ding to cool for 10 min­utes in the wa­ter. Re­move from the wa­ter and cool for an­other 10 min­utes. Run a small sharp knife around the perime­ter of the pud­ding to sep­a­rate it from the dish. In­vert on to a serv­ing plate and serve.

Choco­late and cin­na­mon have a long his­tory to­gether. Here, they make this self-sauc­ing dessert more Christ­massy

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