Category: dessert

The No-bake Vanilla Chocolate cheesecake recipe


I came up with this cheesecake recipe after I was asked to make some Cheesecake for the Jewish festival of Shavout with the Synagogue’s Sunday school. A lot of the kids are really little so I wanted to make it as simple as possible. These chocolate ones (above) were my test run and after Beau and Darcey didn’t like the chocolate layer I decided to leave it out when I did the kiddie in plastic cups version at the synagogue. They would have turned out ok if I hadn’t completely forgotten to include the icing sugar. I was just about to put the kids cheesecakes in the fridge to set when I saw the bowl of ready prepared-  sieved sugar just waiting to be added to the mix! It was too late to do anything about it! Well 4-5 year olds don’t really need more sugar in their diets do they?

So, I made these ones in pretty etched tumbler glasses and as the cake is so rich I felt that they  were probably twice the size they needed to be. As a result I ate way too much cheesecake last week! I couldn’t open up the fridge without helping myself to a spoonful! I think chocolate cheesecake is one of my all time favorite cakes. EVER!


The no bake Vanilla chocolate cheesecake recipe

(makes 8-10 individual servings or one 9″ cake)

  • 200g chocolate digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter
  • 1kg full fat cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400ml double cream
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie then set to one side to cool a little.
  2. Place the biscuits in a sandwich bag then crush them into fine crumbs. Use a rolling pin to get every single bit.
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter then remove from the heat and add the crushed biscuits. Mix until all the biscuits are completely coated.
  4. Place a large spoonful of the biscuit mix in each glass container or spread out on a 9″ loose bottomed cake tin. Press down with the back of a spoon and place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes or more.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk the double cream until it is stiff then add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.
  6. Split the ingredients into two bowls and add the cooled melted chocolate to one  and mix until completely combined.
  7. Place the vanilla cheesecake mix into one piping bag and the chocolate cheesecake mix into another.
  8. Pipe a layer of chocolate mix over the biscuit base then top with a vanilla mix. Continue till you use up all the mixes or you have eaten it all straight from the piping bag (or is that just me?)
  9. Pop in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour. You can make this cheesecake a day ahead.CHEESECAKEEmmaMT

Pear and almond pudding – dairy free and delicious!

Pear and almond pudding

Last week we had Friday night dinner at my mum’s house and as she was making meat I wanted a dairy free pudding to take with. Have you seen the pears that are in season at the moment? I don’t normally reach for pears when I want a fruit snack but Tim sliced some up after dinner a few nights ago and they were so good I now can’t leave them alone!

So that made it really easy to choose what I wanted to bake for pudding. I made this pear and almond cake. It’s quick and easy to make but as I did it when we’d just got back from school the kids where a little tired and hyper (not a good combination) and as we had my nephew home too I wasn’t properly concentrating when I was doing the baking. Sometimes when things go a bit wrong you discover a whole new technique. I forgot to only use some of the oil and sugar to coat the pears and used the whole lot. I had to scrape it all off and re layer the pears, but the up side is that there was a lot more sugar on them than I originally intended there to be, but the outcome was amazing! So, it just goes to show you can mess up to a good end!

Pear and almond cake

Pear and Almond pudding


  • 4 pears
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs- beaten
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Almond essence or extract
  1. Line an 8″ baking tin with greaseproof paper and pre heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  2. Cut the pears in half and remove the stalks and cores. Place them face down in the baking tin.
  3. Mix the oil and sugar together in a bowl and take a quarter of the mix and brush it over the pears. It will be quite thick and bumpy – don’t worry. Set to one side.
  4.  In another bowl mix all the other ingredients. Add the remainder of the sugar and oil mix then pour the whole mix over the pears.
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pudding is golden brown on the top. A skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack until ready to upturn onto a plate to serve.
  7. Tastes best warm served with some dairy free soya ice cream.





Rhubarb crumble recipe


Rhubarb CrumbleI’m very lucky with my next door neighbours. They’re really amazing at taking in the countless parcels I get for work- which always seem to turn up the moment I leave the house after waiting in all day! – and they have given me some of their home grown rhubarb for years now.

I love rhubarb. It’s got that tangy, sour, zing that just works with so many sweet dishes. This year I’ve been trying out a few new recipes. I’d been wanting to do a rhubarb and chocolate brownie recipe for a while and hadn’t really got it right till now. Tim and I thought they were amazing – but the kids found them a bit too rich. Grown up brownies we don’t have to share!!! Yay! I then went on to try my hand at rhubarb blondies. They were okay but as I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate I wasn’t sold (I think they were too sweet so I’ll have to give them another go some time!)

For some reason I couldn’t get crumble out of my mind so that’s what I made first. It was one of those spur of the moment “I’ve got freshly picked rhubarb sitting on my kitchen table and I really fancy crumble for pud tonight – even though it’s a Wednesday and pudding is usually saved for the weekend!  – type of moments!

I literally threw it all together in 10 minutes and popped it in the oven to bubble away. It was quick, simple and delicious. The sweet, oatiness of the crumble together with the sharp tartness of the rhubarb and the creaminess of the ice cream made this the perfect pudding. 

Rhubarb Crumble recipe

For the crumble topping

  • 75g plain flour
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 75g oats
  • 75g butter- at room temperature

For the filling

  • 10g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 450g rhubarb – chopped into small pieces
  1. Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan 160ºC)
  2. In a bowl cut the butter up into small pieces and add the sugar, flour and oats. Rub together with your fingers until completely combined but still crumbly. Place in a sandwich bag in the fridge till the filling is ready.
  3. Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a deep frying pan (don’t let it get too hot- you don’t want the butter to burn). Add the sugar until it’s dissolved and then add the rhubarb and cook for 5 minutes. Set to one side to cool slightly.
  4. Place all the semi cooked rhubarb into your pie dish and layer the crumble on top. Bake immediately in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until the crumble starts to brown around the edges.
  5. Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream

Rhubarb 2014


Labour Day and ‘that’ peach pie


PEACH PIE RECIPE A few weeks ago, along with a bunch of mummy and foodie bloggers I was invited to see a preview of the new film ‘Labour Day’. I have to admit I was a bit miffed as to how I was going to link this film to my baking blog. Then about 30 minutes into the film I got it. It was the peach pie.


 ‘Labor Day is about 13-year-old Henry Wheeler, who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive mother Adele (Kate Winslet) while confronting all the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict. The events of this long Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.’

You can see the trailer here.

Now, I’m not going to give the game away and tell you the whole film (including the ending like some bloggers have done! I mean really?!?!) but I am going to share this amazing looking pie with you.

In the film Frank simply throws this pie together with a bucket full of over ripe peaches and it’s a really sensual and romantic moment (did you watch the trailer! OMG!). There’s lots of hands in the squishy peaches, all fingers entwined and gentle caressing – think Ghost and that pottery scene. Frank says that the trick to making this pie was putting a pinch of salt in the pastry and then before he added the peaches to the pastry (which he had baked blind) he sprinkled the secret ingredient – tapioca! Have you ever seen that done before? Me neither.

Peach pieBut what really grabbed me was the way he literally piled the peaches sky high in the dish and covered them in pastry. I mean I would never think to put such a lot of peaches in a dish like that. He was teaching Kate Winslett and her son that you don’t have to worry about it being perfect and tears in the pastry and bits crumbling off don’t matter, just press that torn piece back over the peaches and bake it. Let me tell you, it looked so delish I wanted to bake it right there and then. But then I am a bit of a sucker for a romantic moment.

Peach pie recipeSo the next day I tried to recreate that pie at home and it was pretty close. I’m not a huge fan of peaches – and as they are out of season I had to use nectarines instead and they weren’t exactly ripe- in fact they were rock solid! I also didn’t peel them – which I regretted as the skin stayed hard and I think it would have tasted even better had I done that. But it tasted pretty amazing any way. But just look at it!

Labour day Peach pie recipeLabour day stunning peach pie recipe

Shortcrust pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • 140g cold butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg white – for brushing the pies before baking
  • pinch of salt

The Filling

  • sprinkle of tapioca
  • 8 ripe peaches peeled and cut into slices
  • 50g brown sugar
  • egg white for white wash
  1. Sieve the flour into a bowl. Cut up the butter into small cubes then rub into the flour to form a breadcrumb consistency.
  2. Mix the water and egg yolks together then pour into a well in the bowl and mix into the flour/egg mix with a knife. Add a pinch of salt
  3. Keep mixing until well blended but don’t over mix or the dough will become tough and you’ll loose that light, light texture.
  4. Bring all the crumbs together with your hands then wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC).
  6. Roll out the dough and place in your dish.Scrunch up a piece of baking paper then flatten it out and place over the pastry. Fill with Ceramic Baking Beans(or rice if you don’t have baking beans). Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. place the cut up peaches in a bowl and add the sugar. Use your hands to cover the peaches with the sugar- this is actually fun- I love the squidgy bit!!
  8. Remove the pastry dish from the oven and take out the baking paper and baking beans – careful those beans get really hot!
  9. Sprinkle tapioca into the base before adding the huge pile of peaches in the dish and covering with more rolled out pastry. make a few holes of the steam to escape and brush the whole of the top of the pie with egg white so you get that nice deep brown shiny case.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
  11. Serve immediately with a dollop of ice cream. Yummarge!


I have to thank my taste testers – The Poopah and Theoda who both enjoyed the pie. I think this would make a really great pie to take to someone’s house. It’s got rustic wow factor.

And the film? I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It moved at a good slow pace. You really got to feel each situation and emotion. It is a girly film and I have to say I was in tears – big fat tears, but I’m not going to spoil it for you, I’m just going to say that I want to see it again and that’s always a good sign.

Labour Day is out in cinemas now (March 2014)






Leiths ‘How to Cook’ Lemon Tart recipe

Leiths Lemon tart recipe

As promised here is the Lemon tart recipe from Leiths latest book Leiths How to Cook (Quadrille, £30). Photograph: Peter Cassidy.   (see the whole book review here) It also includes the delicious pâte sucrée recipe too! Thanks Quadrille for letting me do this extract. It looks sooooo good!

Lemon tart

Serves 6
  • 1 quantity pâte sucrée (below)
  • Extra flour, to dust

For the filling

  • 3 lemons
  • 6 eggs, plus 1 extra yolk
  • 150–170g caster sugar
  • 225ml double cream
  • Icing sugar, to dust
1. To make the filling, finely grate the zest of the lemons and squeeze the juice; you will need about 100–125ml juice. Put the eggs and extra yolk into a large bowl, add 150g of the sugar and, using a balloon whisk, mix well. Add the cream, zest and juice, and stir until combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2–3 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavours to develop.
2. Roll out the pâte sucrée on a lightly floured surface into a disc about 30cm in diameter and about 3mm thick. Use to line a 24cm loose-based flan tin or flan ring set on a baking sheet. Cover with cling film and chill until very firm to the touch. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.
3 Once the pastry is firm, make a cartouche of greaseproof paper 8-10cm bigger than the tart tin. Scrunch it up then unfold it and use to line the pastry case. Add a layer of dried beans or ceramic baking beans. Blind bake the pastry for 15–20 minutes, ensuring the paper cartouche is pushed well into the corners of the pastry and the excess paper is folded over the edge of the pastry case, to help prevent the pastry from browning. Remove the beans and cartouche, taking care as the pastry is still very soft, and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/gas mark 2.
4 Taste the filling. If it seems too sharp, add some or all of the remaining sugar, to taste. Strain into a jug and pour the filling into the pastry case, filling it about half full. Transfer the tart to the oven and pour in more filling until the tart is as full as possible. Bake for40–50 minutes until almost set, with a very soft wobble across the surface. A violent ripple across the middle of the filling indicates it is not set.
5 Take the tart out of the oven as soon as the filling is set, allow it to cool a little, then carefully remove the sides of the tin or flan ring. Leave to cool completely, then dust with icing sugar. You can glaze the icing sugar dusting using a kitchen blowtorch if you wish, but take care not to burn the pastry.

Pâte sucrée

This is an enriched version of shortcrust pastry, with extra butter and egg yolks replacing the water. We use a traditional method of making pâte sucrée by hand, although it can be made in a food processor. It tends to be cooked at a slightly lower temperature than shortcrust because of its high fat and sugar content, as fats and sugars both encourage browning. It should be thoroughly cooked but only to a very pale biscuit colour. Once cooked, it needs to be released from tins or baking trays while still warm, or the pastry will stick.Makes enough to line a 24cm flan ring

  • 250g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 4 small egg yolks
  • 2–3 drops of vanilla extract
1 Sift the flour and salt onto a clean work surface and, using the side of your hand, spread the flour out into a large ring.
2 Place the softened butter, in one piece, in the middle and, using the fingertips of one hand, push down (‘peck’) on the butter to soften it a little more, but without it becoming greasy; it should be soft, but still cold. It is important that the butter is uniformly soft, as if there are still small lumps of cold, hard butter in the mixture they
 an cause greasiness and holes in the finished pastry.
3 Sprinkle over the sugar and ‘peck’ until the sugar is just fully incorporated.
4 Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and continue to ‘peck’ until the egg yolk is fully incorporated and there is no colour streakiness.
5 Using a palette knife, flick all the flour onto the butter, sugar and egg yolks and, using the edge of the palette knife, ‘chop’ the flour into the butter and sugar mixture. This technique helps to keep the flour from being overworked. Use the palette knife to lift any flour left on the work surface to the top occasionally.
6 As you continue to do this, you will create large flakes of pastry. Continue until there are no obvious dry floury bits among the pastry; it should be a fairly uniform colour. Floury patches at this stage will mean having to overwork the pastry at the next stage to incorporate them.
7 Now shape the pastry into a long sausage and, using the palette knife on its side, scrape a little of the large flakes together at a time. This will finally bring the pastry together and is called ‘fraisering’. As more pastry sticks to the palette knife, scrape it off using a cutlery knife to avoid overworking it. Continue in this manner until all the pastry is fraisered: one or two more fraiserings are possible, but the more you fraiser the more the pastry will be overworked.
8 Bring the pastry together with your hands to form a ball.
9 Now shape the pastry into a flat disc. Wrap well in cling film and chill to allow the butter to firm up before rolling out.



Leiths How to Cook (Quadrille, £30).Amazon, Photograph: Peter Cassidy. How to Cook


Caramelised Honey Apple tart recipe

Caramelised honey apple tartAs I sit here at my Mac typing away my family has just left my house. Tonight was the start of Rosh Hashanna – the Jewish New year and I was lucky enough to have everyone over for Dinner. Normally Tim does the cooking when we entertain and I make dessert but as it was a school day (first day back actually) he was knee deep in bricks and timber so it was up to me.

I don’t really enjoy cooking. I have this theory that you can either cook or bake and I think you can guess which camp I’m in! I was flicking though Feel Good Food  magazine looking for some inspiration and I found a great recipe for Salmon cooked with honey and a sweet chilli sauce. The tradition for the Jewish New Year is to eat lots of sweet things so we encourage the next year ahead to be sweet and healthy. We dip bread and apple in honey so this recipe sounded perfect. And it was. It went down a storm.

For pudding I made this tart. I was inspired by one of the recipes in Couture Chocolate William Curley’s dessert was way beyond my talents or patience but the apples sounded amazing so I decided to give them a bit of a twist and pop them in a tart. My family all seemed to enjoy it and I am looking forward to having the last slice for breakfast tomorrow. Well, it is the new year after all!


Caramelised honey apple tart

Caramelised Honey Apple tart recipe

  • 8 Apples – I used gala but you can use cooking apples if you prefer.
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 100g runny honey
  • 2 tbsp ginger ale
  • 1 pack of puff pastry
  1. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and place in a pie dish. Prick the bottom with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Heat your oven to 180ºC
  3. Peel and core the apples and cut into wedges.
  4. Take a heavy based pan and place half the sugar in it on a low heat. Make the caramel by stirring continuously until it is a golden colour.Gradually add the rest of the sugar stirring as you go.
  5. Add the honey and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Place the apples in the honey caramel, pour in the ginger ale and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Then remove from the heat and leave to cool for at least 25 minutes. As the apples cool down they suck all that lovely caramelliness into them. They turn a deep brownish colour.
  7. Fill your puff pastry case with the drained apples. Set aside the left over sauce
  8. Bake the tart for 20 minutes in the centre of the oven then remove and cover the apples and pastry case with the remaining sauce- apply it gently with a pasty brush. Bake for a further 10 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown.
  9. Serve with ice cream- the perfect accompaniment.

Chag Sameach (Happy New Year) to all my lovely readers. 





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