These sweet, crumbly almond delicacies might be traditionally served at Christmas, but they are so good to eat at any time of the year. Continue reading “Mantecados de Almendra (Spanish almond shortbread)”
An easy fruity shortbread with a hint of spiced citrus and a gentle kick of almond. Continue reading “Spiced apricot & almond shortbread “
These punchy macarons are far too easy to eat and when dipped in dark chocolate with a grating of orange zest they are sure to liven up the palate. Continue reading “Orange and star anise macarons”
These are biscuits to come back to again and again: tasty, easy shortbreads and really rather special, these shortbreads are sure to be a hit whether smothered in chocolate or not. Continue reading “Almond & pistachio shortbreads”
This is my take on this classic biscuit: custardy biscuits sandwiched together with a simple custard-flavoured buttercream. A real tea-time treat. Continue reading “Custard Cream biscuits”
Chewy, nutty and oaty, sandwiched together with a peanut butter ganache, these incredibly simple biscuits are certain to be devoured quickly.
This is particularly good timing: our fig tree is currently being generous with its fruit and the technical challenge for Episode 2 of The Great British Bake Off is that classic crowd-dividing biscuit: the fig roll. Continue reading “Fig, rose & pistachio rolls”
Macarons that have a fruity tang tick every box for me, and if there is a kick of alcohol in the filling then I am all over them! These Peach Bellini macarons are little bites of pure, unadulterated indulgence. Continue reading “Peach Bellini macarons”
Vegan and gluten-free shortbread, topped with luscious dark chocolate & tangy dried strawberries: little bites of melt-in-the-mouth joy! Continue reading “Chocolate strawberry shortbreads: vegan & gluten-free”
This is such an easy, no-bake treat, using mostly ingredients lying around. A real crowd-pleaser, it is packed with goodies such as chocolate pretzels, salted caramel, Kirsch-soaked cherries and the like: very rich (and rightly so!) but moreish. Continue reading “Salted caramel pretzel rocky road”
Tangy, fruity macarons are a joy to eat and this is one of my favourite macaron flavour pairings.
This is a very simple shortbread, flavoured with orange. The dough is made up in moments, left in the fridge to chill before being sliced thinly and baked. Continue reading “Easy orange shortbread”
I adore passionfruit and I need no excuses to use its fragrant sharpness in a dish: these macarons are filled with a simple passionfruit filling which cuts through the sweetness of the shells. Continue reading “Passionfruit macarons”
I love different flavours with biscotti so I have gone for what I think is a festive cherry and clementine version, studded with chopped pistachios.
Who doesn’t love a choux bun or éclair? Crisp pastry, creamy filling and a sticky topping…..such a treat! And they are so simple to make, yet look deceptively difficult.
When it comes to macarons, I have a penchant for fruity ones: the sharpness of a punchy filling with the sweetness of the shell hits the spot for me every time.
Whilst a sweet cheesecake can be a thing of great joy, a savoury one is often even more special for me. The flavours of Gorgonzola, pears and walnuts make a great match at any time and here the sweet juicyness of the pears with the sharp kick of balsamic vinegar work well with the rich tangyness of the cheesecake. Continue reading “Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)”
This is my take on Millionaire’s Shortbread, but slightly jazzed up: a real excuse for indulgence – but is an excuse ever needed? Continue reading “Salted caramel shortbreads”
These biscuits, which are a cross between brandy snaps and florentines, are incredibly easy and quick to make, with a batch made and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. Continue reading “Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps”
I usually prefer to make mince pies using shortbread dough rather than pastry: it makes them more special than a standard pastry mince pie and it is really no harder to make. Besides, Christmas would not be Christmas without shortbread! And whenever I have made these mince pies, they have gone very quickly. Continue reading “Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping”
Melt-in-the-mouth is never more the case than with Viennese biscuits or Viennese whirls or any variation on this classic biscuit. They can be served simply dusted with icing sugar, dipped in chocolate or sandwiched together with jam and a little vanilla buttercream – although they can take any flavour combination within! Continue reading “Cinnamon & orange Viennese biscuits”
Shortbread is the first thing I ever made as a young boy and I love coming back to it, either making a very traditional shortbread (what can beat that?) or a flavoured variation. Continue reading “Simple roasted coffee shortbread – no rolling out”
I am so excited to share this post for roasted coffee bean butter. Coffee is one of my favourite flavours, almost beating chocolate for me. This butter, which is basically freshly ground coffee beans infused with hot butter, has a very rich, deep coffee flavour that you simply cannot get close to when using either instant coffee or even freshly brewed coffee in a bake. Continue reading “Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers”
Simply crisp ginger shortbreads topped with lemon royal icing! Continue reading “Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits”
These are very simple and tasty savoury biscuits that are an ideal vehicle for a gutsy dip, eaten with a cheese and chutney, or munched on just as they are. Continue reading “The simplest cheese, caraway & walnut biscuits”
Post updated Feb 13th 2020 (new photos)
Rich, buttery biscuits topped with a very firm royal icing are always a joy to eat. While I have made these heart-shaped with simple heart icing embellishments, these are great made into any shape for eating at any time of the year: with or without the icing! Continue reading “Lemon & honey Valentine shortbreads”
These savoury macarons are my bite-sized version of that treat the list of one of my top food pleasures: smoked salmon on sliced brioche with a thin spreading of caper butter. Continue reading “Savoury macarons: smoked salmon & horseradish”
I do like to take a humble mince pie to a level that is so much more than what commercially is usually just indifferent pastry with a fairly non-descript filling. So I often vary things a little so that the mince pie is that bit more special. Continue reading “Mince pies with pistachio Viennese biscuit topping”
Although I make macarons frequently, it is a first for me to do a macaron shape that is anything other than circular, so having seen meringue versions of snowmen in a shop recently I felt I had to make some as macarons….well, why not?! Continue reading “Ginger snowmen macarons”
A Christmas-inspired baklava that is simple and very tasty. Ok, it doesn’t skimp on the calories but this is, after all, an indulgent treat rather than a staple bake! Continue reading “Spiced cranberry & orange baklava”
I adore a good biscotti, but have never been a fan of the (ridiculously expensive!) ones you can buy in coffee shops and the like that can be little more than an expensive work-out for the jaw! Continue reading “Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti”
A bourbon biscuit is one of my favourite biscuits, but I had never made them before. Until now! Continue reading “My take on Bourbon biscuits – with mocha ganache & caramelised sugar”
After using orange, cranberry and white chocolate as the key flavours in a dessert cake I was making, I found I had a fair bit of ganache left over….so macarons were called for! Continue reading “Orange & cranberry macarons”
As moreish as sweet biscotti unquestionably are, savoury biscotti are in a slightly higher league for me, but then more-ish savoury food is one of my weaknesses! Continue reading “Two flavours of savoury biscotti”
I adore a well flavoured biscotti but have never been a fan of the ones you can buy in coffee shops and the like that can be little more than an expensive work-out for the jaw! Continue reading “chocolate cherry & almond biscotti”
Mini pistachio shortbreads, topped them with fresh passion fruit curd and coated in white chocolate. Passionfruit and white chocolate go so well together that these are really not difficult to eat!
A gluten-free version:
I have also made these by replacing the plain flour in the recipe with gluten-free bread flour. I tend to use Dove’s plain flour.
The biscuits are very melt-in-the-mouth and, as should be the case with gluten-free bakes, you really shouldn’t be able to tell that they are gluten-free.
Other fruit curds:
For other curds (lemon, orange, strawberry, raspberry are other favourites of mine) replace the passion fruit juice with the juice of the fruit you want: puréed and strained in the case of raspberries and strawberries.
As a guideline I would use about 4 lemons or 3 oranges in the recipe below. Or 200g raspberries or strawberries. But add extra if you prefer.
Pistachio shortbreads with passionfruit & white chocolate (makes about 50 mini shortbreads)
- 140g plain flour
- 50g pistachios, ground very finely
- 95g vanilla caster sugar
- 140g unsalted butter, softened
- generous pinch of salt
- juice from 12 passion fruit
- 140g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 200g white chocolate
- 50g dark chocolate
Make the passionfruit curd:
(1) Strain the passionfruit juice into a jug or bowl, getting as much of the juice as you can.
(2) Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and the sugar together lightly and whisk in the passionfruit juice until everything is amalgamated.
(3) Melt the butter over a low heat in a small pan and pour in the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring over a low heat until the mixture has thickened. Leave to cool, pour into a couple of clean jars and refrigerate until needed. It will keep for a couple of weeks.
Make the shortbread:
(4) Mix the flour, sugar, salt and pistachios in a bowl. Add the butter and rub in just until it comes together to form a soft ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least half an hour.
(5) Roll out the dough to about the thickness of a pound coin: it is easiest rolling it out between two sheets of baking parchment. Cut out small circles of dough using a cutter and transfer to baking sheets lined with baking parchment. Prick each with a fork and chill while you preheat the oven to 160C(fan).
(6) Bake for 8-10 minutes until between pale and light golden. Leave for a few minutes on the baking tray and then transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool.
(7) Spoon or pipe a little of the curd onto the centre of each shortbread. Dip in the white chocolate and place back on the wire rack, chocolate-side up. This can be easier if you freeze the curd-topped shortbreads for about 30 minutes first.
(8) Drizzle over some melted dark or milk chocolate.
This is my fairly quick, but certainly very easy version of the gorgeous After Dark Gü-Zillionaires’ Puddings: chocolatey biscuit base with layers of luscious cheesecake with a hint of treacle, salted caramel and finished with a soft dark chocolate ganache. A very naughty, but once-in-a-while treat! Continue reading “Quick & easy version of the “After Dark Gü-Zillionaires’ Puddings””
Post updated April 2017: recipe slightly tweaked and re-photographed.
I have seen this sort of sweet dessert with sponge and various goodies such as mousse inside an egg shell, although often it is served in the actual egg shell. However, I wanted the whole thing to be edible so I decided to make a light dessert in a crisp white chocolate shell. Continue reading “Mango and lime “egg cup” desserts”
A few years ago I made what was apparently a significant social faux pas in a restaurant while being served petits fours: when I referred to what I thought were macaroons the waiter, bristling with petulant superciliousness, exclaimed “they are macarons, sir”. All done with a pronunciation that could well have been from an episode of ‘Allo, ‘Allo with an accompanying roll of the eyes! Now, I am not the tallest of people to begin with but at that point I felt positively Lilliputian! Continue reading “Macaroons (as opposed to macarons!!)”
A very refreshing and simple sorbet: the flavours of both the lime and the watermelon come through very well, with the lime striking a subtle note against the watermelon. The sorbet is great eaten just as it is, although I like to make coconut tuiles to serve with them. Continue reading “Watermelon & lime sorbet”
A very simple and insanely good chocolate dessert, this is my variation of the inspirational Elizabeth David, whose books, many decades later, are never less than an joy to read. Essentially this is a top-notch chocolate mousse that is indulgent yet light textured; this might well be a retro dessert but, quite frankly, when something is this good it matters not one jot! Continue reading “St Émilion au Chocolat”
A slight twist on the cheesecake, inspired by one of the goodies served to us when having Afternoon Tea recently. I often get inspiration while eating out and it was fun trying to recreate the feel of this sweet at home. Continue reading “Mango & Passionfruit cheesecakes domes”
Although I often go for macarons filled with a fruit ganache, this time I’ve gone for savoury macarons. The light sweetness of the shell is a perfect foil for each of the savoury fillings I have used, with the gentle saltiness coming from the fillings creating a flavour contrast that is, quite simply, divine. Continue reading “Savoury Macarons”
Insanely simple and quick to make, these are so addictive to eat just as they are or with a glass of wine. Continue reading “Parmesan and ham tuiles”
A marvellous institution in itself, you do not need a reason to justify taking Afternoon Tea: wonderfully indulgent, it is one of the most pleasurable ways to spend what should be several unrushed hours, allowing gasps of excitement to escape out as both sweet and savoury goodies are presented. Continue reading “The joys of Afternoon Tea”
If you have ever wanted a macaron recipe for what I consider to be “as fool-proof as is possible”, I hope you find that this is the place to be! Continue reading “Perfecting macarons – the queen of confections”