Cakes and puddings to treat those you cherish
As the early evenings of late autumn make way for the darkening skies of winter, thoughts turn to tarts and cakes, custards and creams. The bustle of the kitchen is cheery. The clutter and clatter of pans, tart cases and cake tins is as invigorating as the purpose of nourishing and warming those we hold dear. The home warms to the aromas caught on the steam, filling the house and sending spirits and appetites soaring at the delightful promise of eating well.
The pairing of buttermilk and lemon curd with Jersey cream is a happy conceit. Make 8 pots or glasses
silver gelatine sheets 1½ vanilla pod 1 buttermilk 350g caster sugar 60g best double cream 250ml lemon curd 8 tsp (see recipe below) Jersey cream thick or pouring, to serve Lay out little pots or glasses. Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water and let soften.
Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a knife. Put the seeds into a pan and add the pod. Pour in the buttermilk. Add the sugar and double cream. Heat all this to just below a boil. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod.
Lift the gelatine from the water and squeeze out any excess. Add the gelatine to the infused cream and stir well, ensuring the gelatine dissolves completely. Stir well. Strain the mixture through a sieve and pour into the pots or glasses. Cool, then cover and refrigerate.
When all is ready and requiring to be served, place a teaspoon of lemon curd on each buttermilk pudding then a modest pouring or dollop of Jersey cream.
Make lots, for it is very good for so many other lovely things.
Makes a medium jar
lemons 6 eggs 5 caster sugar 175g best unsalted butter 150g
Set a pan of water to simmer on the cooker. Zest the rind from the lemons very finely, then juice the fruit. Crack the eggs into a bowl large enough to sit on the pan. Whisk the eggs with the sugar, then add the butter and zest and juice of the lemons. Stirring all the while, cook the lemon curd for 20-25 minutes, or until it thickens. Pass through a sieve then transfer into a pot or jar. Cool and store in the refrigerator till needed.
Chocolate, prune and almond tart
A harmonious trinity of chocolate, prunes and almonds makes a splendid tart. Feeds 12
best 70% cocoa chocolate 125g whole prunes 12 – I love Agen prunes Jersey cream, roasted almonds and icing sugar to serve
For the pastry: plain flour 250g icing sugar 25g unsalted butter 125g, cold and cut in pieces egg yolks 2 salt 1 pinch cold water 1 tsp
For the frangipane: blanched whole almonds 500g unsalted butter 500g, softened caster sugar 250g eggs 4, at room temperature