Passion fruit crème brûlée served with passion fruit jellies

Crème brûlée is always a popular pud, I think it’s because everyone loves the thrill of cracking the thin caramalised sugar topping – a dessert with a bit of theatre is always a winner.

The idea for this recipe came from looking through Rick Stein’s French Odyssey in a holiday cottage in Cornwall. This book features a dairy and gelatine heavy passion fruit crème brûlée and passionfruit jellies and I thought it looked like a great flavour for a pudding. So here we have my friendly version, no eggs, cream or gelatine in sight, but a wonderful elegant pudding none-the-less. You could always serve just one or the other, but the combination of creamy crème brûlée  and the zippy jelly really works.

 I’m using Iota, otherwise known as carrageenan iota as a setting agent as it gives great results for a slightly wobbly jelly.

 

Passionfruit Crème Brûlée  

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

serves 4

50ml passionfruit puree

50ml dairy-free milk

150ml dairy-free cream

30g caster sugar

1 ½ tbsp cornflour

Another 1 ½ tsp passion fruit puree

4 tsp sugar, to top

  1. Place the 50ml passionfruit puree, milk and cream into a sauce pan. Stir in the sugar and start to heat

2.     Mix the cornflour and 1 ½ tbsp passion fruit puree together to form a smooth liquid

3.     Stir the cornflour paste into the warming cream mixture

4.     Continuously stirring bring the mixture to the boil, at which point it should have thickened. Turn off the heat and divide equally between 4 ramekins.

5.     Place in the fridge to set.

6.     When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 tsp sugar over each crème and blowtorch or place under the grill until you have a uniform, golden caramel layer. Serve immediately.

Passionfruit Jellies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 6 passionfruit jellies served in a half skin

3 passion fruits

50g water

1g Iota 

20g sugar

  1. Halve the passion fruits and scoop out the centres, sieve to get a lovely smooth puree. Take 1 tsp of the seeds and place back into the puree. Place in a saucepan with the water.
  2. Remove any membrane from the passionfruit skins and set aside.
  3. Mix together the Iota and sugar, pour into the passion fruit mixture and stir well. It will start to thicken straight away and then liquify when it heats.
  4. Stirring all the time, bring the mixture to a simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into the empty passion fruit skins and place in the fridge to set

 

Lime and ginger cheesecake

This is one of our family favourites, one of those puddings that often gets wheeled out when we have guests over, but for some reason I’ve never posted the full recipe.

This is a no-bake cheesecake (my favourite type) and the texture of the cheesecake layer is slightly softer than a conventional cheesecake, but it’s none the worse for it. The combination of ginger ‘buttery’ biscuit base and zingy lime cheesecake layer is certainly a match made in heaven. Although do feel free to swap the lime for lemon if you prefer, as that is an equally wonderful combination. This cheesecake has even been requested over a birthday cake before, so that gives you some indication how much we love it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do 🙂

I’ve decorated mine with candied lime slices, but a dusting of freshly grated lime zest is just as good.

 

Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

Makes one 16-18cm cheesecake

Prep time – 15 minutes

Chilling time – 1 hour +

 

140g ginger biscuits (approximately 14)

70g dairy-free margarine

300g dairy-free cream cheese

50-60g icing sugar

1 tbsp dairy-free yogurt

Juice and zest of 1 lime (1-2 tbsp juice)

 

  1. Prepare a springform or loose bottom 16-18cm cake tin by lining the base with parchment
  2. Crush the biscuits until they form a fine crumb
  3. Melt the margarine and then stir in the biscuit crumbs. Press into the base of the tin and then place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up
  4. In a food processor (or with a whisk), blend together the cream cheese, yogurt, 50g icing sugar, lime juice and zest. Make sure the mixture is smooth and well combined. Taste and add more icing sugar and/or lime juice as desired.
  5. Spread over the chilled base, level off and place in the fridge to firm up.
  6. Once ready to serve, sprinkle over some additional lime zest and remove from the tin.
  7. This cheesecake is best eaten fresh but will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge

 

Pain Perdu aka French Toast

Pain perdu, French toast, gypsy toast, eggy bread – whatever you call it, this dish is a brilliant one to have in your repertoire. Basically, it’s a batter soaked stale bread made into a sweet or savoury dish, perfect for a quick breakfast, brunch, lunch, pudding or snack. Plus it’s a great way to use up some state bread, you can’t argue with a recipe that does that!

I’ve been attending a plant-based patisserie course to extend my knowledge and I’ve learnt so much, it’s been just brilliant and it’s really going to enhance my recipes 😊 

Last week we made brioche with no butter or eggs – I’ve made a brioche before but the techniques I’ve recently learnt give a much improved rich, but light result and it was the perfect bread to turn into a platter of pain perdu. Like many home baked breads, it went stale fast – making it the perfect vehicle for this new improved recipe.

Dairy-free and egg-free brioche

Don’t worry if you don’t have homemade plant-based brioche on hand (I’m sure not many people will!), any slightly stale sliced bread will do. You’d think you might miss the eggs in an ‘eggy bread’ recipe, but as the principle is soaking the bread in a batter (and pancakes work pretty well being egg-free), this recipe is equally successful. In fact, this recipe just uses some leftovers (stale bread) plus a few store cupboard essentials to combine to make a rather superior dish. If you don’t have any stale bread, just cut some slices an hour or so early and leave out to air dry and you’re good to go.

I’ve flavoured my batter with cinnamon but you don’t have to if you’d rather no spice, or vanilla would be rather lovely too. Serve your pain perdu with berries, a sprinkle of icing sugar and a squeeze of honey or syrup for a delightful quick and easy sweet treat.

Pain Perdu

 (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

30g flour

20g cornflour

30g caster sugar

½ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Pinch of salt

120g dairy-free milk

6-8 slices of slightly stale bread

  1. Sift the flour and cornflour into a shallow bowl, stir in the sugar, salt and cinnamon (if using).
  2. Pour in 1/3rd of the milk whisking together to make a paste, then add the rest in two further additions. This helps avoid lumps forming in the batter – you can of course add the milk in one go if you’re not so bothered about a few small lumps! Let the batter rest for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Place a frying pan on the heat to warm up.
  4. Place the bread slices in the batter, letting them soak up the batter for a couple of minutes before turning over and making sure both sides are drenched in batter.
  5. Melt a knob of vegan butter or 1 tsp of oil in the pan. Drop in a drip of the batter, if it sizzles then you’re ready to add the batter soaked bread
  6. Fry the slices until golden on each side.
  7. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and drizzled with syrup. A garnish of berries is also rather nice.

Chocolate tiffin mousse cake – my Platinum Pudding worthy of The Queen

Have you tried my magic four ingredient chocolate mousse cake. if you haven’t you really should because it’s a fantastic showstopper made with just a few ingredients. Everyone i’ve ever served it to has loved it! So i thought I’d make a luxury version for my entry to The Platinum Pudding Competition. I was convinced it would be special enough to celebrate the Queen’s special year.

Well, sadly Fortnum’s didn’t think the same and I haven’t made it to the final. To be honest, I think they’re missing the trick, because the beauty of this recipe is that it works with any ingredients, free-from or not, and they can be bought in virtually any shop in nearly every corner of the globe. I even made it with dairy-cream and chocolate to test it out! That involved making it when no-one was home and then thoroughly sanitising the kitchen! Now that was dedication to the cause!


What could be a better, more inclusive celebratory pudding than one anyone can make, that everyone should easily be able to buy the ingredients for, and that can cater for everyone despite any dietary restrictions, and is delicious and celebratory? Well, The Queen might not benefit from this delicious pudding, but you all can. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


The basic premise is a chocolate tiffin (allegedly one of The Queen’s favourite puddings) topped with a light mousse-like chocolate cream and then decorated with some white chocolate and glitter. In my opinion, it’s a definitely pudding fit for The Queen.


Chocolate Tiffin Mousse Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


Makes one 18-20cm cake

85g dairy-free chocolate

60g dairy-free margarine or butter

2 tbsp golden syrup, honey or maple syrup

8 biscuits, roughly broken (such as digestives, ginger nuts or rich tea)

200ml (one pack) dairy-free whipping cream , I used Oatly whippable

150g dairy-free dark chocolate or 175g dairy-free milk chocolate

  1. Grease and line a springform cake tin
  2. Melt together the 85g chocolate, margarine and syrup.
  3. Roughly break the biscuits and add to the chocolate mix, stir well so they are well covered. Press into the base of the cake tin and place in the fridge to set.
  4. Whip the whipping cream on high speed for at least two minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  5. In a microwave or a Bain Marie melt the chocolate, let cool a little.
  6. Gently stir the chocolate into the cream until well combined.
  7. Pour onto the biscuit base and level off the top.
  8. Place in the fridge to set.
  9. Remove from the tin and decorate as desired.

Spiced apple galette

This is the perfect last minute pudding for when you have nothing planned or unexpected guests. it’s maybe the easiest and prettiest tart you could make, and I guarantee everyone will be impressed by your fine pastry skills!

I’m not a particular fan of apple pie, but this galette is a class above and has a delicate refined taste.

I’ve added cinnamon and the biscoff spread for a Christmas vibe, but feel free to mix it up. Apples straight onto the pastry is good, as is a layer of apricot jam.

Spiced Apple Galette

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 1 tart, which serves 4-6

  • 1 pack of puff pastry, shop bought is fine as long as its definitely dairy-free
  • 10g dairy-free margarine, melted
  • 1-2 crisp eating apples, I used Jazz apples
  • 2 tbsp Biscoff spread
  • 2 tbsps caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Icing sugar, to sprinkle
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6
  2. Roll out the pastry to 1/2 cm thick, then score round a dinner plate to make a perfect circle.
  3. Transfer to an un-greased baking sheet.
  4. Score a circular ring round the pastry, 1cm from the edge. Spread the Biscoff spread over the centre
  5. Quarter and core the apples (no need to peel unless you really want to), cut into very thin slices.
  6. Decoratively arrange the slices onto the pastry circle.
  7. Brush the pastry and apples with the melted margarine.
  8. Generously and evenly sprinkle the caster sugar and cinnamon over the top of the tart.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and the pastry is cooked through.
  10. Dust the top with icing sugar. At this point you can blow torch the icing sugar to give an extra cramaleized top, but it’s fine if you want to miss out that extra step.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature with dairy-free ice cream, custard or pouring dairy-free cream.

Christmas Spice Cheesecakes

In my opinion no time of year is complete without it’s own cheesecake recipe. We really do love cheesecake in this household! I could have tried to include mincemeat, or clementine would have been nice but I know the younger members of the family are not fans of either of those. So what other Christmas addition could a cheesecake have? Well spice of course. Nothing says Christmas more than some warming spice whether in some gingerbread, mulled wine or even mince pies.

These cheesecakes we were a very big hit – the spice is on the form of ginger cookies in the base and Biscoff spread in the cheesecake layer. The result is delightful! In fact, by adding the Biscoff spread the cream cheese mixture gets a bit firmer, which is all the better for a no-bake cheesecake recipe. I find the addition of the yogurt is important to give a hint of sour that cuts through the sweet.

I’ve given the proportions for 4 individuals ramekins but I’d you want to make more, or one larger cake, just multiply as necessary.

Christmas Spice Cheesecakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4 individual ramekins

8 ginger biscuits, crushed

2 tbsp dairy-free margarine, melted

150g dairy-free cream cheese (I use 1 tub of Oatly cream spread)

1 tbsp dairy-free yogurt

2 tbsp icing sugar

3 tbsp smooth Biscoff spread

Christmas decorations of choice

  1. Mix together the crushed biscuits with the melted margarine, divide between the 4 ramekins and press down to form a firm base. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Whisk together the cream cheese, yogurt, icing sugar and Biscoff spread until smooth and well combined. I find it easiest to use a food processor, but you can whisk it by hand.
  3. divide the mixture evenly between the four ramekins and level off. Chill. When read to serve add Christmas themed decorations and a sprinkle of glittery icing sugar, if you have any.

Nut-free Pecan Pie

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? For us it’s familiar from cinema but not in real life. But I find celebrations are always a great source of inspiration, and I felt that it would be a good way to grab some inspiration before we’re full steam ahead in the preparations for Christmas!

I was researching recipes to recreate for a friendly Thanksgiving and came across a pecan pie. Then a little light bulb went on, don’t pretzels looks a little like pecans? Well, maybe it just me that’s seen that connection! Perhaps, I could recreate all the yumminess of a pecan pie with no nuts? I really wasn’t sure it would work, but it seems people have made dairy and egg free pecan pies, so if I add that concept to my pretzel instead of pecan idea, then we might have a plan!

First I needed some sweet pastry, but I also wanted some added flavour (without added nuts), so I’ve included some blitzed up Biscoff biscuit crumbs to add a sweet spicy taste. It actually works wonderfully. Who’d have thought biscuit crumbs in a pastry dough would be a good idea.

The filling is loosely based upon the vegan pecan pie recipes I found during my research – combining silken tofu with soft brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Plus some added crushed pretzels for crunch.

The resulting pretzel ‘pecan’ pie has worked far better than I expected; the filling is sweet but spicy with a good texture and the topping of pretzels gives a salty crunch which contrasts brilliantly. I urge you to give this nut, egg and dairy free ‘pecan’ pie a go, hopefully you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were, even our American guest approved. 🙂 I might even be tempted to pretend we celebrate Thanksgiving just to bake another one this week!

Biscoff Sweet Pastry

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 Makes 1 tart case

 

150g plain flour

50g Biscoff biscuits (about 6) blitzed to a powder

40g icing sugar

Pinch of salt

45g vegetable fat

45g dairy-free margarine

4-6 tsp cold water

 

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, biscuit crumbs and icing sugar
  2. Rub in the fats until you have a texture that resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. Add the cold water, 1 tsp at a time to form a dough, knead lightly until you have a smooth ball.
  4. Between 2 sheets of baking paper, roll out so it’s big enough to cover the tart tin. Place in the fridge and chill well (the colder the better)
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade
  6. Line the tart tin with the pastry, if it cracks (it’s delicate dough) just press some dough into any gaps. Fill with parchment and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans, prick the base with a fork and bake for another 10 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool.

 

Nut-free Pean Pie

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegan and vegetarian)

 Fills one tart case

 

200g silken tofu

150g soft brown sugar

100ml maple syrup

2 tbsp flavourless oil

1 and ½ tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp cornflour

44g pretzels (this was 2 mini bags but around 40-50g is a good amount)

 

  1. Melt the sugar, syrup and oil together until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Cool.
  2. Blend together the tofu with all the ingredients except the pretzels, until you have a smooth mixture. Roughly crush have the pretzels and stir through
  3. Pour into the tart case and top with the remaining pretzels
  4. Bake at 170 degrees Centigrade for around 45 minutes Keep an eye on the pastry, if it starts getting too dark, loosely cover with foil
  5. Leave to cool. The texture firms up over time and I’d say next day is perfect.

No bake cookies and cream cheesecake

Cheesecake, albeit a dairy-free version is the most popular pudding in this household, in fact it’s always been one of my favourites ever since I was a child, however our preference is always a no-bake version. The close textured, some might say cleggy consistency of the baked version is less to my taste, whereas the no bake type has a freshness that I particularly like. It’s also a breeze to make which is always a bonus!

We always preferred Tofutti for cheesecakes as the texture and subtle sweetness was exactly right, but sadly we haven’t been able to buy any in the UK for a couple of years. We tried to make do with other brands for a while but they were never quite right, often with too much of a fake cheesy flavour for our liking. However, since Oatly have released their creamy spread we have a firm new favourite. In my opinion it’s a fantastic creamy cheese alternative, mild yet creamy and a brilliant spread to use in a cheesecake. Combine this with dairy-free whippable cream and you have a cheesecake with the texture of clouds – utterly divine.

Another fairly new find has been the Tesco free-from bourbons – Little S used to love Tesco bourbon biscuits so much but they sadly changed the recipe and they now have a sesame warning, which is too much of a risk for Little S so we have to avoid her favourite biscuits – sad days 😦

Luckily, Tesco have produced a new free-from version, they’re not quite the same but a pretty good substitute and they’ve made us very happy. Combined these crushed up chocolate cookies with the cloud like cheesecake mix and you have a heavenly dessert. Go on, make it this bank holiday weekend and you’ll have some very happy family or guests 🙂

No Bake Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegan and vegetarian)

makes 1 cake

200g cookies, 150g finely crushed for the base 50g roughly crushed for the filling and topping

50g dairy-free margarine

4-5tbsp icing sugar, to taste

1 tub Oatly creamy spread

I carton whippable oatly cream

  1. Crush the cookies, trying to keep some a little bigger for mine through the cheesecake. Place 150g of the crushed cookies into a bowl, add the melted margarine and stir. Press into the bottom of a tin (springform is easiest) and place in the fridge to set
  2. Whip the Oatly whipping cream until it is the texture of whipped cream, add the icing sugar and creamy spread and whip until it’s all beautifully combined.
  3. Take a few spoonfuls aside and place into a piping bag if you wish to decorate with rosettes.
  4. Fold the remaining crushed cookies into the cheesecake. Spoon onto the chilled base and smooth over. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to set.
  5. Remove the tin and decorate with any remaining cookie crumbs and rosettes of whipped cream.
  6. This cheesecake keeps in the fridge for about 3 days

Rhubarb Granita

There’s a lot of rhubarb around at the moment, but what to do when it’s a scorcher of a day and rhubarb crumble is not the most ideal dish for the menu? Why not try this gorgeous candy floss pink, icy and refreshing rhubarb granita instead? Maybe you think you’re not a rhubarb fan? Well this recipe has converted rhubarb haters after one just one taste and this frozen pud will delight everyone either in the hot weather like today or as a wonderfully interesting palette cleanser.

This granita has none of the bitter, sour stringyness you can get from a bad rhubarb dessert, instead it’s tangy, sweet but sour and really rather delightful. The tart zingy icy crystals are wonderfully refreshing and you’ll be sure to look at rhubarb in a whole new light. I added grenadine this time for added colour and a touch a sweet fruitiness but it’s still delicious without. Go on give it a go, and let me know what you think 🙂

Rhubarb Granita

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes enough for 4-6 portions

400g rhubarb

150g sugar

150ml water

1-2 tbsp grenadine (optional)

1. Wash the rhubarb and chop into 5cm lengths.

2. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let it bubble along for up to 30 minutes until the rhubarb has completely broken down.

3. Strain through and fine sieve and let the liquid cool. Stir in the grenadine if using.

4. Place in a container and freeze until just frozen (at least a few hours in the freezer). Break up with a fork and enjoy the tart tangy icy crystals

Victoria Sponge Cake Jars

I’m going to go a bit of a picnic theme over the next few recipes.

It’s June and sunny and so it’s just perfect to get outside and have a picnic kind of weather, and I feel the need for some more easily transportable goodies to take on days out. Some picnic foods make sense (sandwiches, bars and robust salads) but some things which are recommended for outings just don’t seem suitable. Books and magazines always suggest taking cakes on picnics, probably because they look appealing in the styled picnic photos but in my opinion cake never transports well, especially once it’s sat in the heat for a while and been jiggled about in a Tupperware box. Until now that is! With these delightfully tempting Victoria sponge cake jars you can have your cake and eat it, even on a hot picnic.

With these jars you get all the taste and elegant beauty of a Victoria sponge neatly squeezed into a jam jar, giving not only easy transportation but also the perfect individual servings. I’ve given two versions: one a traditional raspberry Victoria sponge and the other a more unconventional chocolate version. Take your pick, or do as I did and make two to please everyone 🙂

This sponge recipe is really fantastic; the yogurt and custard powder gives a taste and a structure is so authentic with none of the crumbliness that some egg-free sponges can suffer from. I hope you like it as much as we do 🙂

Obviously these jars can be dressed up anyway you like, add whatever additions you fancy and you’ll certainly have a show stopper dessert in your cool bag.

Victoria Sponge Cake Jars

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

For the sponge: (makes up to 8 jars worth)

185g self-raising flour

1 tbsp custard powder (or cornflour)

110g caster sugar

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

145ml dairy-free milk

1 tbsp dairy free yogurt

50g dairy-free margarine, melted

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5. Grease and line 1 cake tin
  2. Sift together the flour, custard powder, bicarb and salt
  3. Stir in the sugar
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dairy-free milk, melted dairy-free margarine, yogurt and vanilla.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix gently until well combined.
  6. Pour into the cake tins and bake for 30 minutes, until a knife comes out clean
  7. Cool in the cake tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

for the icing: (enough for 4 jars, multiply as necessary)

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine

1 tbsp vegetable shortening (or just use 4 tbsp of dairy-free margarine in total)

200g icing sugar

1 tsp dairy-free milk

  1. Whisk together the margarine and shortening and well combined and soft
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar and the milk until you have a light and fluffy buttercream

chocolate ganache drizzle: (for the chocolate version, enough for two jars)

20g dairy-free chocolate

1 tsp dairy-free margarine

1 tsp dairy-free milk

  1. Melt the ingredients together until you have a smooth ganache

To assemble:

  1. For the raspberry Victoria sponges: pipe in a dollop of buttercream, top with a circle of sponge (cut out using a cookie cutter so it fits snugly in the jar), top with 1 tsp raspberry jam and a swirl of buttercream, repeat.
  2. For the chocolate Victoria sponges: pipe in a dollop of buttercream, top with a circle of sponge (cut out using a cookie cutter so it fits snugly in the jar), top with a swirl of buttercream and a drizzle of ganache plus a few chocolate chips, repeat.