Nigel Slater’s 20 best Observer recipes: desserts and cakes

Chocolate praline truffle cake

Cake designed intended for serious chocolate lovers. I serve this cake in skinny slices. It needs something to counteract its astonishing volume. Fresh raspberries do the trick.

Produces approximately 8-10 slices of Praline

hazelnuts 100g Shelled and skinned

sugar caster 80g

For the truffle

dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids) 350g

Double cream 170ml

butter 85g

cognac, rum or Frangelico A little

Also, you will require

a 20cm x 10-cm loaf pan covered with greaseproof papers or Clingfilm and a baking sheet lightly oiled

For the Praline, place the nuts shelled in a small pan and toast them over a low temperature until they’re fragrant and golden brown. (If the hazelnuts have their brown skins, Rub the nuts thoroughly in an absorbent tea towel till the skins fall off. Then toast the nuts again.)

Place the sugar in a small, heavy-based pan (it is more likely to burn in thin ones). Place it over an oven at moderate to low heat, let the sugar melt, and then slowly change toffee colored. There are better times to get distracted. A little shake or stir can be helpful, but excessive amounts will stop it from melting as it causes the caramel to crystalize. Mix into the nuts that have been toasted and let them cook inside the caramel for a minute.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. You could use groundnut oil, but I prefer hazelnut oil if I have an abundance. Add the praline mix to the tray and allow to cool. Any caramel that remains stuck in the pan can be removed by boiling water.

To create the truffle mix:

  1. Cut chunks of chocolate, then melt them in a small bowl over a boiling water saucepan.
  2. Stir it now and then, but no more. The bottom of the bowl must not be in contact with the water.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, turn off the heating.
  4. Mix it with two tablespoons of hot water, then allow it to be.

Scrape the Praline out of the tray, place it in the plastic bag, and smash it using the rolling pin. It is possible to use a food processor if you’d like, but be cautious to avoid crushing it too much. It should be roughly the size of coarse gravel, not fine grit. Large lumps that are uneven in size add to the fascination.

Whip the cream until it forms soft folds, not stiff peaks.

Beat the butter using a wooden spoon until it becomes light and fluffy, and then mix it into the chocolate that has been melted until it is completely melted. Mix in the Praline and cream.

This is the moment to mix in your cognac or rum or Frangelico. The mixture should be poured into the tin lined with liners and then smooth the surface. Set aside in the refrigerator for a night to get set. (If you’re not patient, you may be able to do it in three or four hours.)

Once the cake is set, use a warm knife across the edges of the cake to remove the cake from the mold and transfer it to a serving dish. Serve it in thin slices and fresh raspberries.

Blackcurrant ripple

A simple ice-cream terrine that requires no ice cream machine.

Serves 6

For the fruit

Blackcurrants 250g

sugar 2 Tbsp

water 2 Tbsp

To make Ice cream

eggs 3

caster sugar 80g

vanilla extract, a few drops

Double cream 300ml

Also, you will require

an oblong tin of approximately 22cm 12cmlined with Clingfilm

Take the blackcurrants off their stalks, place them in a small pot, and add sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes or until the fruit explodes and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the stove and allow to cool.

To make the Ice cream:

  1. Separate the eggs.
  2. Put egg yolks in a food processor bowl together with the sugar.
  3. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  4. Add the vanilla extract.

Mix it until the cream is it is thick but not too stiff. The cream should be enough to be able to slide into the bowl. The cream should be folded gently into the sugar and egg. Transfer the mixture to the lined tin.

The blackcurrants can be lightly crushed with a fork. After that, put the currants in the tin by holding the juice back. Gently swirl them around in the mixture. Make sure to keep the mix manageable. Place Clingfilm on top and let it sit for six hours before turning it out and cutting.

Friends with blackberries

Moist, almondy little cakes.

Makes 8-12

butter 180g

simple flour 50g

icing sugar 180g

Ground almonds 100g

lemon zest 1 tsp

eggs whites 5

Blackberries 60g

Bake at 200C/gas mark 6. Lightly butter 12 bun tins.

Place your butter into a smaller pot, allow it to melt at a moderate temperature, and observe it closely until it turns dark and nutty. Make sure not to let it become burnt. Let it cool a bit.

Mix all the flour and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl, then add the ground almonds. Include the zest from the lemon. The egg yolks should be beaten until an even foam. They won’t be able to be lifted.

Create a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and add egg whites and mix with the butter melt.

Mix well but not too much, then pour it into buttered tins. Chop the blackberries roughly and place them in the containers. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, then take them out of the oven and allow a bit before carefully removing the berries from the tins using a palette knife.

Cake made of walnut and fig

A vast family cake was created in the same method as carrot cake.

Serves 8 (at minimum)

Soft dried figs250g

walnuts with shells 100g

eggs 3

golden sugar for casters 65g

light muscovado sugar 65g

groundnut oil200ml

flour 250g

baking soda, a generously heaped teaspoon

ground cinnamon 1 tsp

ground nutmeg A pinch

yogurt 100ml

vanilla A couple of drops

To make the cake

cream cheese 350g

Softened Butter50g

vanilla A couple of drops

icing sugar 250g

Place the oven in the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

The bottom of two cake tins 20cm with oil or lightly buttered baking parchment. Cut the figs and walnuts. The walnuts need to be cut slightly smaller than the fruits.

Mix the sugars, eggs, and oil with an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Mix the flour with baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and one teaspoon of salt. Add the yogurt to the mixture and mix it with the spices and flour. Add the vanilla, figs, and walnuts.

Divide the batter between the two baking tins that have been lined and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cover with foil for the final 10 minutes if the top gets dark. Take the cake out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes, then take a knife, run it around the edges, and carefully transfer it onto the cooling rack. The cake’s papers must be removed from the cake.

Prepare the frosting. Mix the cream cheese with butter, vanilla, and sugar until smooth. Add the sugar for icing. Spread a layer of icing over the bottom of one cake. Set another cake on top and transfer it onto a cake stand or plate. Sprinkle the rest of the icing on the sides and top of your cake.

Apples baked with maple syrup, dates, and brandy butter

Sadly, the brandy butter is only kept for a single pudding that is eaten on occasion. It’s a shame that it doesn’t get an appearance alongside the apples stuffed with fruit.

Makes 12

large dessert apples 12

Filling

Golden sultanas 180g

dates with stone 180g

Maple syrup 3-4 Tbsp

ground cinnamon A pinch

To make the butter that is soft and sweet.

butter 150g, at room temperature

light muscovado sugar 75g

golden sugar for casters 75g

the brandy three tablespoons, and more, if you like

Place the oven in the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

Remove the apple cores using an apple corer small knife. Please make a small cut around its tummy using an abrasive knife. Place in the roasting tin.

Place the sultanas into the bowl of a mixer. Cut them into chunks approximately similar to the size of the sultanas. Mix both with maple syrup and the cinnamon in a pinch. Put all of this mix as you can in the holes in the fruit. If you have any to be used, place it in your roasting pan. Cook until apples have become puffy and begin to break open, revealing the soft interior of the baked apples – 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the variety of apples.

To make your brandy butter put the butter in the bowl of your food processor and beat until it becomes soft. Add the sugars, and beat until you get a smooth, creamy consistency. Then, add the brandy.

Prosecco jelly and pomegranate

For those who don’t need anything sweet or creamy to close their dinner. Perfect for Christmas.

It can make six or more large martini glasses

Pomegranatesabout the size of 6 (700g seeds weight)

prosecco or any other sparkling wine in 750ml

gelatine leaves 8 (12g)

Take the seeds out of the pomegranates. You can either peel off the skins and then take the seeds out in a mass, breaking them up in the process or cut the pomegranates into half and then smash the roots with the help of a wooden spoon.

The wine should be heated to half its temperature in a small saucepan, close the pan, and then add the gelatine, one leaf at a time leaf. Let it soften for a while. It should take at most five minutes. Then pour the rest of the wine and stir until the gelatine completely dissolves. If there’s any frothy substance on the surface, put a piece of kitchen paper over the liquid, pat it down lightly, and lift off the foam. It will fall along with it.

Divide the pomegranate seeds among six medium martini glasses, ensuring they are filled two-thirds full. Pour into the Prosecco, then place in the refrigerator and let it sit for four to five hours.

Banana Ice Cream with warm the cranberry sauce

Serves 4

ripe bananas, three medium-sized

natural Yoghurt 300g

For the recipe of, the cranberry sauce

sugar caster 250g

Water 250ml

cranberries 250g

To make the ice cream peel the bananas, chop them into chunks and then drop them into the blender. Add the yogurt, and then blitz until smooth. Pour the mix into the bowl or container of an ice cream machine and let it churn until the mixture is completely frozen. You can also pour it into a container made of plastic and place it in the freezer. If you opt for the latter, give it a vigorous rhythm every 30 minutes and bring the edges of the ice into the center, which is more liquid.

Place the sugar in a small saucepan with water to prepare the sauce, and bring it to a simmer. Add the cranberries, and after the syrup has returned to a boil, let it simmer at a gentle simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s finished when the fruit bursts and the juices have turned the syrup red. Scrape off any foam using the help of a spoon or kitchen towel (lay your paper over the top of the syrup and gently pull it away). Let the sauce cool just before serving.

Remove the ice creams from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Divide it into four bowls (it could serve up to six at a time), then pour the sauce into it.

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