Banoffee Pie

It really annoys me when people say things like, ‘I really can’t cook’. Anyone can cook, they just have to try. There are plenty of tasty meals and treats that require minimum effort for maximum taste, Banoffee pie is one of these.

To start with, you need a biscuit base. You can use digestives, but I prefer the humble ginger nut biscuit as it adds a little more bite. Put a packet of the biscuits into a food bag and beat them to death, they will soon resemble bread crumbs. Melt around 100g butter, mix this in with the breadcrumb biscuits and press into the bottom of your dish. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Now, you need the caramel filling. If you are in a hurry, use Carnation Caramel, all ready for you to go. Alternatively, boil a can of condensed milk in water for around an hour, it will become delicious caramel! Spread the caramel onto your biscuit base, then add sliced bananas. Ripe bananas are best.

Now, whip your double cream. I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and around 25g icing sugar. Spread the cream onto your caramel/banana base. I like to add some cadbury flake on top of the cream for extra flavour and decoration.

You can make one big banoffee pie, or individual smaller ones. It is a simple, but tasty desert, that is sure to satisfy everyone that eats it.

Key Lime Pie

Fruity and zesty deserts are my favourite. So, following a big mexican meal, I decided to try my hand at a Key Lime Pie, I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 200g ginger biscuits
  • 100g butter
  • Zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Can of carnation condensed milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  2. Crush the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs
  3. Melt the butter and add this to the breadcrumbs, mix well and then put this at the bottom of your pie dish to make the biscuit base, bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool
  4. Put the sugar, lime zest, juice and yolks into a mixing bowl and mix well
  5. Add your condensed milk and continue to beat
  6. Pour the mix onto your biscuit base and bake for 20 minutes
  7. The pie should be set, with a slight wobble in the middle
  8. Allow to cool and decorate with lime slices or whipped double cream

It is so quick and easy, but so delicious. The pale green pie colour is beautiful too.

Lemon Tart

I love fruity deserts, particularly lemon ones. This lemon tart, or as you may prefer to call it, tarte au citron, is the perfect end to any heavy meal. I loosely follow baking genius, Mary Berry’s recipe.

Ingredients for pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1tsp orange or apple juice

Ingredients for lemon filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 125ml double cream
  • 225g caster sugar
  • Juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • Tbsp lemon curd (optional)
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. To make the food processor either rub the flour, butter and icing sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs or use a food processor, then add the yolk and juice (you can use water instead of juice)
  2.  Knead your pastry and leave it to chill for 15 minutes in the fridge in clingfilm or foil
  3. Grease your tart tray and roll the pastry out, dust the surface with flour
  4. Put your pastry into the dish, cover with greaseproof paper and put baking beads on top, blind bake at 180 degrees 15-20 minutes
  5. Once the pastry has cooled, remove the baking beads and greaseproof paper and begin making your filling. If you are feeling lazy you can buy Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry
  6. For the filling, whisk the eggs, add the sugar, then the lemon zest and juice, add the double cream and lemon curd if you are using it. Mix and add to your pastry, it may seem runny, but it will set
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 170 degrees, the tart should like firm but with a slight wobble in the middle
  8. Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Add an icing sugar dusting before serving

Enjoy! I served mine with lemon cream and raspberries.

Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake

With summer on the horizon (where you ask?!) and strawberries soon to be in season, a strawberries and cream cheesecake is just what every summer dinner party or barbecue needs. Based on The Hummingbird Bakery recipe, this is very simple to make and although the mix seems a little runny, just go with it and I promise the results will be delicious!

Ingredients

  • ~250g of either digestive or shortbread biscuits for the base (shortbread makes a much richer cheesecake)
  • 100g of butter
  • 200g chopped fresh strawberries (more to decorate the top as in the picture, use your judgement!)
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 600g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp St Dalfour strawberry spread
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 100ml double cream

Method

  1. Base – Bash the biscuits until they are like breadcrumbs, melt the butter, mix this with the crumbs and pat down into the bottom of your cheesecake tin. Bake at 160 degrees for around 5 minutes and leave to cool
  2. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees
  3. In a saucepan put the strawberries, 80g sugar, 30ml water and a little icing sugar and bring to the boil until the strawberries release juice and this begins to thicken, leave to cool
  4. In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, 105g remaining sugar, St Dalfour strawberry spread and then add the eggs and mix all together
  5. Add the cooled strawberry mix to this and mix well
  6. Pour into your cheesecake tin, on top of your base
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheesecake looks glossy, is firm on the outside and the middle is a little wobbly
  8. Allow to cool
  9. Beat the mascarpone and then in a separate bowl whisk the cream and icing sugar and fold this into the mascarpone.  Spread this on top of the chilled cheese cake.
  10. Add strawberries and decorate and then enjoy!

A cheesecake loving friend of ours rated this one of the best cheesecakes she had tasted, the first of course for anyone who has tried it is New York’s Juniors cheesecake. If you go to New York you MUST try it!