Whenever I see Paris Brest on a menu I'm reminded of Tony, my very eccentric head waiter who I worked with for many happy years at The Chalice Restaurant in Bury. I cooked, he was front of house. His first job when he arrived at work (usually late as he stopped to buy things on the side of the road, arriving in with eggs, flowers, vegetables and often a piece of furniture) was to check what was on the menu and then to hand write the copies. His handwriting was awful and his speciality was the deliberate misspelling of menu items hoping that I wouldn't find out before the end of service and allowing him to regale the customers with a verbal description of the desserts of the day. 30 years on I will never forget his squiggle, the r and i in Paris becoming an m. So dear followers, in honour of Tony I give you my recipe for Pams Brest.
Choux pastry desserts remain in vogue. Keep an eye out for striking and colourful eclairs, Paris Brest (a ring of choux pastry filled with a hazelnut or almond praline mousseline cream) and Religieuse (one small choux bun balanced on a larger choux bun, filled with a chocolate or mocha creme patissiere). You can order a Royal Wedding eclair from the 3 Michelin Starred chef Joakim Prat, artiste patissier at Maitre Choux. Or make your own, these are my banoffee filled salted caramel mini eclairs.
This rice pudding is a little healthier and lower in fat than our other full cream recipe. You bake it in the oven - it takes minutes to prepare and two hours to cook. Well worth the wait.
- 100g short grain/ pudding rice
- 50g caster sugar
- 700ml semi-skimmed milk
- freshly grated nutmeg
- (1 bay leaf, or strip lemon zest for a different flavour)
- Heat oven to 130C/Gas 2.
Butter an 850ml heatproof ovenproof dish.
Pour the rice and sugar into the dish and stir in the milk.
Sprinkle the freshly grated nutmeg over and top.
(Add lemon zest or bay leaf into the milk if using)
Cook for 2 hrs or until the pudding has a brown skin and the rice is slightly wobbly.
Today I made rice pudding because I had loads of milk to use up and it seemed cold enough outside to consider a winter pudding. It's so easy and with semi skimmed milk a low fat dessert. Try adding a bay leaf for a change, it works very well.
Vanilla, Orange and Mascarpone Cheesecake
Makes a 7in/18cm cheesecake to serve 8
For the base
- 50g/2oz butter
- 175g/7oz digestive biscuits
- Half a tablespoon honey
Melt the butter and honey over a very low heat.
Crush the digestive biscuits and stir into the melted butter until well mixed.
Press the rubble-like mixture in a loose bottomed 7in/18cm tin and place in the fridge to chill.
For the cheesecake topping
- 200g/8oz cream cheese
- 200g/8oz mascarpone
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- Rind and juice of 1 orange
- 200ml/8floz double cream ( whipped into soft peaks)
- 1 vanilla pod or a drop of vanilla essence
Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, orange rind and juice together in a bowl.
Fold in the whipped cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod. Mix well.
Spread the cheesecake mixture onto the biscuit base and chill.
Serve with the Roasted Rhubarb and Orange compote.
This recipe can be easily adapted - if you add lime or lemon to the mixture instead of orange, and it can be served in summer with a raspberry coulis.
Roasted rhubarb and orange compote
- 700g/1.5lb rhubarb
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- Juice and zest of one orange
Wash and chop the rhubarb into 2in/5cm lengths and place in an ovenproof dish with the sugar, orange zest and juice.
Bake in a preheated oven 375F/190C Gas 5 for about 25 minutes or until soft. Stir gently to release the juices, trying not to lose the shape of the rhubarb. Cool and serve.
For the rhubarb compote - see above
For the creamed rice
300ml/10floz milk (full fat is best)
300ml/10floz double cream
1 vanilla pod
150g/6oz short grain pudding rice
150g/6oz caster sugar
Place the milk and cream in a saucepan or better still, a double boiler.
Split the vanilla pod length ways and scrape out the seeds and add the whole lot to the cream and milk.
Bring the milk mixture to a gentle simmer and add the rice and sugar.
Simmer gently, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes until the rice is soft and the liquid absorbed.
(Watch carefully to ensure that the rice and milk do not burn on the bottom of the pan. If you do not have a decent heavy based saucepan, it is suggested that you bake the rice pudding in the oven, although it will then have a darker colour and a skin on top, but still delicious!)
Remove the vanilla pod before serving the creamed rice with the rhubarb. Delicious hot or cold!
Alice made these beautiful biscuits and you can find the recipes on our recipe page. We also made the Coeur a la Creme but couldn't find the proper moulds in our local kitchen shop - they have holes in the bottom. These really say I Love You because you made them yourself xxx
A delicious cream cheese dessert to serve with fruit, particularly summer berries. Named after the heart shaped moulds they are traditionally set in, although we had to order ours online and they didn't arrive until after we had made them in the biscuit moulds pictured above. You will need a piece of muslin to line the moulds, although if you don't want to turn the creams out, don't worry.
- 350 g cream cheese ( unsalted or sieved cottage cheese)
- 155g of icing sugar
- 600ml double cream
- 2tsps vanilla essence
- a little grated lemon rind ( half a teaspoon)
- vanilla seeds scraped from the pod
- Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the double cream, vanilla essence, lemon rind and vanilla seeds. The mixture should be of a thickish consistency which will need to be spooned into the moulds. If it is pourable it is still too runny, so whip for a little longer.
If you are lucky enough to have some proper moulds ( the ones with the draining holes in the bottom) then line them with damp muslin. If not use ramekins lined with muslin. Fill each mould and leave in the fridge, preferable overnight to allow any liquid to drain through the holes.
Turn out and serve with fresh fruit. Strawberries are traditionally served.