Archive for the ‘Dessert (Non-fruit based)’ Category

Here in the UK, rice pudding has long been associated with nursery food (blame the Victorians, perhaps), school dinners or, at best, comfort food for the Winter.  When slowly baked in the oven the milk reduces, the rice becomes thick and a brown skin forms on the top.  The flavouring, apart from sugar, comes from a sprinkling of nutmeg and sometimes (rather unusually) a bay leaf.  Safe, but unexciting – and to some people a complete turn off.  Spanish rice pudding, however, is something entirely different and it would be so easy for the uninitiated to miss out on a treat.  Spaniards appear to have a very sweet tooth and love their creamy desserts.  The sweet vanilla custards crema catalana (a version of the French crème brûlée) and flan (similar to crème caramel) are both very popular, as is this very un-British rice pudding.  Flavoured with vanilla, coconut, cinnamon, lemon and orange rind it is served chilled and is a popular sweetener at the end of the meal in restaurants and tapas bars.  This is not a dish for a winter day (or the nursery) but ideal to finish off a summery meal.  My family’s verdict was that this was really delicious so I shall certainly be making it again, especially as it was so easy.  I would definitely serve it as part of a Spanish themed meal, possibly with some fresh fruit.  Caramel oranges would be ideal and in keeping with the Spanish theme.  A Spanish biscuit or small churro as an extra would be a good addition in place of some of the suggested serving toppings.

My starting point for this recipe was a combination of two found online.  The first – my main source – was from The Times Online: Cinnamon Rice Pudding with a few ideas from the Canadian site Lululuathome, although I did not add either the egg or condensed milk suggested in this second recipe.  The first time I used part milk and part coconut milk made from 25g dessicated coconut soaked in 250ml boiling water.  A better alternative, which avoids having to discard the coconut, is to use all milk and add 1oz/25g coconut powder.  Another alternative would be to use a can of coconut milk, which is available in a low fat version, topped up with milk.  I took my quantities from the Times recipe, which is supposed to serve 4-6 but this would give very small portions: I prefer to think of it as for 3-4 people, even though it is rich.  If it was cooked for slightly less time the portions would be larger but a little more runny.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Arroz con Leche
Spanish Style Rice Pudding
(Serves 3-4)

1¾ pints/1 litre milk (whole or half fat)
1 small/medium cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves or a tiny pinch of ground cloves (optional)
Zest strips peeled from a lemon
Zest strips peeled from an orange (plus a few thin zest strips – see below)
short-grain rice (Spanish Calasparra or UK Pudding Rice)
3ozs/100g caster sugar (could reduce a little)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon to serve
A few thin orange zest strips to serve (optional)
A little dessicated coconut (optional)

1.  Remove the zest from the fruit with a potato peeler, making sure no white pith is included.  Put the milk, cinnamon stick and clove (if using) in a saucepan along with the lemon and orange zests.  Bring to the boil then take off the heat and put to one side.

2.  Leave for the flavours to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and throw away the rinds and cinnamon stick.

3.  Return the milk and heat through in the saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and then add the rice.

4.  Cook on a low to medium heat.  Stir the rice and milk regularly for 10 minutes so it does not start to stick or burn.  Add the sugar and vanilla extract.  Continue to cook, stirring regularly for a further 10 minutes.

5.  When the rice mixture has thickened and the grains are cooked (they should be soft when squeezed between a thumb and finger) remove from the heat.

6.  Allow the rice mixture to cool and then chill in the  fridge.

7.  Serve chilled in small dishes dusted with cinnamon and a few strips of orange zest and/or dessicated coconut.

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Do you find that some recipes stay with you down the years?  This cake is one I learned to make in Domestic Science (Cookery) when I was at school.  Seems a long time ago now, but it has stood the test of time.  (The original recipe uses the old Imperial measurement of the gill.  I remember learning: ‘4 gills are 1 pint, 2 pints are 1 quart, 4 quarts are 1 gallon, 1 pints are 1 gallon …’ so there you are, proof that I listened in school!  Nevertheless I have converted it to a more measurable amount for the 21st Century.)  The teacher called it simply Gingerbread but, as I usually now connect this word with something more like a biscuit, I have added the word Cake to the title.  There are one or two other good recipes in my old exercise book which ought to be added to this site at some future date. 

The recipe uses a technique (my 12year old handwriting says) called the ‘melting method’: the sugar and oils are gently heated together until liquid and then combined with the dry ingredients.  The basic recipe is for a plain ginger cake but sultanas or raisins could be added, but for real ginger lovers crystallised ginger or ginger marmalade could be included instead or as well.  I think it would be possible to make a citrus/ginger version but have not tried a it: experiment by replacing some of the milk with juice and/or adding orange or lemon rind or marmalade.  The proportions of 50% Treacle and 50% Golden Syrup can be adjusted as well to give a less treacly version.  The school version was baked in a square tin, but I have successfully made it in a round tin as well and am sure that it could also be baked in a loaf tin. The cake is finished with a dusting of icing sugar or drizzled icing.  Alternatively a sticky top could be achieved by adding a sugar & water glaze – see Fragrant Chocolate Orange Marble Cake.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Gingerbread Cake

6ozs/170g self-raising flour
1tsp/5g ground ginger
¼tsp/1.25g mixed spices
¼tsp/1.25g cinnamon
pinch salt
2ozs/55g black treacle
2ozs/55g golden syrup
20zs/55g dark brown sugar
3ozs/85g lard (try white vegetable fat as an alternative, but I have never tried it)
1 egg
¾gill/scant 4fl ozs/110ml milk
¼tsp/1.25g bicarbonate of soda

Additional flavourings to add (but not all at the same time), not in original recipe:
20zs/55g dried fruit or chopped crystallised ginger – optional
2tbsp marmalade or ginger marmalade – optional
grated lemon or orange zest – optional
lemon or orange juice, in place of milk – optional

1.  Preheat oven to 170oC Fan oven/180oC/350oF/Gas 4.  Line a 7inch/18cm square tin with baking parchment.  Alternatively use an 8inch/20cm round tin or a 2lb loaf tin (see picture).

2.  Sift together the flour, spices and salt.

3.  Put the treacle, syrup, sugar and lard in a saucepan and carefully heat together on a low temperature until melted.  Do not boil.  Leave to cool a little.

4.  Beat the egg and pour into a well (a depression) in the centre of the flour.  Add a little of the melted mixture and blend together.  Continue to mix together gradually until all the melted mixture is used up.  If using orange or lemon zest, dried fruit or crystallised ginger it should be added at this point.

5.  Add about three-quarters of the milk and stir in.  Blend the bicarbonate of soda into the remaining milk and stir into the rest of the cake mixture.  Beat very well.

6.  Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

7.  Bake for about 50mins-1hour.  Cover with a piece of tin foil for the final 15 minutes of cooking time if the cake starts to get too dark. 

8.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with icing sugar.  For a sticky surface brush with a mixture of sugar dissolved in water before the cake dries.

8.  Can be served both as a cake and as a dessert with custard or cream.

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Since I found this recipe in late August (2009) I have made it three times, twice as a contribution at shared lunches.  It has received lots of compliments and is an ideal dessert to make as it eats well cold and can easily be made a day ahead of time. 

The recipe was adapted from one in the August 2009 issue of the ASDA free instore magazine.  The recipe said that the ingredients would separate into a pastry crust, egg custard filling and coconut topping. It was called The Impossible Pie, but the separation into layers has never taken place for me.  I have found that there is a slight crust which forms on the bottom but the texture of the finished dessert is much more like a dense coconut cake so I have re-named it Rich Coconut Dessert Cake.  I have substituted sunflower margerine for butter as.  It is very rich and can be a bit indigestible so a small piece is enough as one serving, especially if served with fruit.

100_7747 Magic Coconut Pudding

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Rich Coconut Dessert Cake
(Serves 8)

125g/4ozs margerine or butter
250g/8ozs sugar
250g/8ozs dessicated coconut
4 eggs
125g/4ozs plain flour
2.5ml/½tsp ground nutmeg
2.5ml/½tsp vanilla essence
250ml/½pint milk, full or half fat

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350oF/180oC/170oC(Fan oven)/Gas Mk4

2.  Lightly grease a 10″ pie or flan dish.  If loose bottomed then line with tin foil first.

3.  Cream the butter and sugar together. 

4.  Beat in the eggs and stir in the coconut. 

5.  Sieve the flour and the nutmeg into the mixture and add the vanilla essence. Fold well in.

6.  Gradually whisk in the milk.

7.  Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 45mins to 1 hour until the top is golden and a skewer or knife inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.

8.  Serve warm with mixed berry fruits or mixed tropical fruits and a sprinkling of coconut.  Can also be served cold.

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Under this nutty topped chocolate sponge pudding hides a gooey mocha fudge sauce. Delicious, yet simple to make, the sponge is mixed by the very quick ‘all in’ method and then you simply pour over strong black coffee which ends up underneath the pudding. A mocha/chocolate lovers dream. (This recipe is quite sweet and you could experiment by slightly reducing the demerara sugar in both the topping and the coffee – I suggest that no change is made to the sugar in the sponge.)

This is another excellent recipe from The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook. (Original recipe by Pat Dixon, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire)


‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’ http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Chocolate Up and Over Pudding
(Serves 4-5)

75g/3ozs self-raising flour
1 rounded tablespoon cocoa
125g/4ozs soft margerine
125g/4ozs granulated sugar
2 eggs
Topping & sauce
1 rounded tbsp cocoa
40g/1½oz chopped nuts – I used 1oz rough chopped hazelnuts & ½oz flaked almonds
125g/4ozs demerara sugar
300ml/½ pint hot, strong black coffee (pour water onto 3tbsp coffee, if using instant)

1. Grease a deep ovenproof pudding dish – 1.2litre/2pint capacity.

For the pudding:
2. Sieve flour and cocoa into a bowl with the other pudding ingredients.

3. Mix together well, either for 2 minutes with a wooden spoon or ½ minute with an electric mixer.

4. Tip mix into the greased pudding dish and level the top.

For the topping & sauce:
5. Mix together cocoa, nuts and 2ozs of the demerara sugar and sprinkle over the pudding.

6. Sweeten hot coffee with remaining 2ozs demerara sugar and pour over the pudding.

7. Bake in a moderate oven Gas 4/350oF/180oC for 50minutes to 1hour. During cooking the sponge rises up and over and the coffee mixture forms a thick fudge sauce underneath.

8. Sprinkle over a few more toasted nuts to serve, if you wish. Serve with cream or ice cream.

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