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Chocolate Fondant Pudding

Ingredients

50g (2oz) butter, softened
75g (3 oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) condensed milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
350g (12oz) dark (70%) chocolate
75g (3oz) plain flour
Extra butter and caster sugar for coating the inside of the basins

  • Serves 6.
  • Equipment:  6 x 150ml aluminium pudding basins

Instructions

  1. Butter the insides of the basins and coat with caster sugar.
  2. Melt the chocolate.
  3. In a food processor combine the butter, sugar and flour.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, process again.
  5. Then add the chocolate and process until smooth.
  6. Spoon into the pudding basins and bake for 12 – 15 minutes in the hot oven or put in a fridge until needed, but they will need a little more cooking if the mixture is cold.
  7. Run a knife carefully around the outside of the puddings and turn out onto a plate.  Serve immediately with whipped or clotted cream.

Herb Pancakes stuffed with chargrilled peppers and goat’s cheese

Ingredients

50g (2oz) plain flour
1 egg
150ml (1/4 pint plus) milk
Olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (parsley/tarragon or dill)
3 red peppers
200g (7oz) creamy goat’s cheese
A small bunch of basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Makes 24

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg into the flour with a little of the milk to form a smooth batter.
  2. Dilute to the consistency of single cream with the milk and add the chopped herbs and seasoning.  Whisk a little oil into the batter and make the pancakes in the normal way.
  3. Chargrill the peppers until they are soft and remove the skins.
  4. When the pancakes are cold spread each one thinly with goat’s cheese and arrange a layer of basil leaves then a layer of pepper over the top, leaving a cm free around the edge of the pancake.  Spread a little more goat’s cheese over the peppers and sprinkle with black pepper.
  5. Roll up the pancakes tightly and trim the ends.  Cut into thick slices to serve.

Caramelised Onion Tartlets

The Shortcrust Pastry:

225g (8oz) plain flour
150g (5oz) butter
1 egg plus a teaspoon of cold water

The Filling:

4 medium onions
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Makes 24
  • You will need 2 mini muffin tart tins
  • Any mixture leftover can be frozen.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F, Gas mark 6).
  2. Peel and chop the onions as finely as possible and crush the garlic if using.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan then tip in the onions.
  4. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  5. The cooking of the onions is crucial. First, it should fry to give it some colour, then cook slowly with a lid on so the onions become very soft.  Finally, increase the heat and remove the lid to reduce the liquid and cook it to an almost jam-like consistency.
  6. Towards the end of the cooking add the balsamic vinegar.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool.
  8. Line the tins with the pastry and fill with the onion mixture, three quarters full.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked.
Mincemeat Frangipane Tart

Mincemeat Frangipane Tart

  • Serves 6 – 8.
  • You will also need:  Tart tin 20 cm x 3 cm

The Frangipane Topping:

150g butter
150g icing sugar
150g ground almonds
2 eggs
50g flaked almonds
40g plain flour

The Sweet Pastry:

175g plain flour
85g cold butter
25g icing sugar
1 egg plus a dash of water

The Filling

1 – 2 tablespoons of good quality mincemeat

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour, icing sugar and cold butter into a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg and a teaspoon of water and mix until the mixture comes together.
  3. Allow to rest a little in the fridge if you can.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F, Gas mark 4).  Roll out the pastry and line the tin.
  5. Prick the base, line with parchment paper and scatter with baking beans.
  6. Bake blind for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven.
  7. To make the topping beat the butter and the sugar together until it is light and fluffy.  Add the flour, eggs and ground almonds and beat to a smooth cream.
  8. Carefully spread a layer of jam over the pastry base.
  9. Fill with the almond filling.  Scatter with flaked almonds.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown.  Test the middle with a skewer if uncertain.

Of course you can make mini ones if you wish – you don’t need to bake the pastry blind first!

Happy Cooking!