Put 1 inch of water in bottom of double boiler and bring to a simmer. In the top bowl of a double-boiler, combine the sugar, salt, and flour; stir to blend. Slowly stir in milk or half-and-half until smooth. Place bowl on bottom pot of double boiler containing just simmering water. Cook, whisking often, until the mixture begins to thicken.
In a small bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks. Gradually, so as not to cook the yolks, whisk in about 1 cup of the slightly thickened hot milk mixture. (This is called tempering the yolks.) Pour the warmed egg mixture into the milk in the double boiler, stir in the vanilla and butter, and continue whisking constantly. Cook until custard is thick and smooth, scraping bottom frequently. Gently fold in mashed banana. Remove from heat, let cool slightly. Pour into dessert cups. Decorate with a sprinkle of nutmeg, a piece of sliced banana and a sprig of mint.
If you want to serve warm, serve immediately otherwise place custard cups in refrigerator and let chill until cold. The pudding is best the day after making it.
Note: Using half-and-half, or evaporated milk, makes a richer pudding.
Variations on Traditional Banana Custard Pudding:
Coconut Banana Pudding: Use coconut milk as 1/3 of the milk for the custard, and stir 3/4 cup shredded coconut into the custard. Complete recipe as above.
Ingredients: 2/3 cup cake flour (not self-rising) 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar 8 large egg whites 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 container strawberries 1 cup heavy cream, substitute whipping cream
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15 1/2-inch by 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan. Line pan with waxed paper; grease waxed paper. Into small bowl, sift flour and confectioners' sugar.
In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating just until whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks when beaters are lifted. Beat in vanilla.
Sift flour mixture, one-third at a time, over beaten egg whites; fold in with rubber spatula just until flour mixture is no longer visible.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Invert cake onto cutting board; carefully peel off waxed paper.
While cake cools, prepare strawberries and whipped cream. Set 5 or 6 smaller berries aside; reserve for garnish. Hull and slice remaining strawberries. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream and remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until soft peaks form. Reserve 3/4 cup whipped cream. Fold strawberries into whipped cream remaining in bowl.
Assemble cake: With serrated knife, cut cake into 3 equal strips, about 10-inch by 5-inch each. Place 1 cake strip on platter; spread with half of strawberry whipped cream. Top with 1 more cake strip then with remaining strawberry whipped cream. Top with remaining cake. Spread reserved whipped cream on top of cake. Cut each reserved strawberry in half; use to garnish platter and top of cake. Refrigerate if not serving right away.
Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon pinch of grated nutmeg 4 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut 4 large eggs 3/4 cup white sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar 3/4 cup canola oil 2 1/2 cups finely grated raw carrots 5 ounces walnut halves, toasted and chopped 1 tsp butter, for the Bundt cake pan
Method: Preheat your oven to 350 F (170 C) and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9-inch Bundt cake pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, shredded coconut and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs with the sugars until the batter is thick and light colored.
Add the oil and whisk to combine.
Add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated.
With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cake onto a serving platter.
Preheat the oven to 175C. Line a twelve hole half-cup capacity muffin tray with paper liners.
Place all ingredients into a bowl of a mixer and beat on low speed until mixture just comes together. Increase the speed and beat for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture is thick, smooth and aerated. Spoon into the prepared tin, filling them two-thirds full.
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cupcakes are firm and golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For frosting, using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
Frost the cooled cupcakes using a small spatula. Decorate as desired.
You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.
125g best quality dark chocolate (you can use milk chocolate, but I find it way too sweet)
Line a 20 centimetre (8 inch) square tin with non-stick baking paper, being sure to leave excess paper overhanging to be able to lift the finished slice when baked. Preheat oven to 180C.
In a medium bowl, combine all base ingredients and press into prepared tin and bake for 15 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Allow to cool.
In a small saucepan, combine the caramel layer ingredients and cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes or until a light golden brown colour. Don’t forget to constantly stir with a whisk or spatula as you cook, or else it will get lumpy.
Pour the caramel filling over cooked base and return to oven. Bake until the caramel layer is just set – this should take 10 – 15 minutes or so. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and spread evenly over cooled slice. Once chocolate is set, cut into squares using a hot knife.
Line the base and sides of two 250ml (1-cup) capacity muffin holes with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic to hang over the sides (get as many creases out of the plastic wrap as possible).
Use a small sharp knife to cut the cheeks from the mango and carefully peel away the skin. Use a 5cm heart-shaped pastry cutter to cut 1 heart from each mango cheek. Place 1 mango heart in the base of each muffin hole.
Finely chop remaining mango flesh. Place chopped mango in a medium bowl. Add the ice-cream and frozen dessert and combine. Spoon ice-cream mixture into prepared muffin holes and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon. Fold over excess plastic wrap to cover ice-cream mixture. Place in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight until set.
Remove ice-cream bombes from the freezer. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, carefully lift the bombes from the holes. Turn the bombes onto a plate (heart-side up) and peel away the plastic wrap. Place bombes in the freezer for 1 hour.
Remove the ice cream bombes from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften slightly.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the rind from the bottom of each watermelon half. The halves will now lay flat on a cutting board.
Working from top to bottom, trim the rind from the watermelon flesh in 4 cuts, creating 2 large squares. Cut each square in half to make 4 smaller squares. Cut the squares vertically into thirds. Rotate counterclockwise and repeat the cut. Rotate once more counterclockwise and cut into thirds again.
Place on dessert plates and serve each with 2 tablespoons of Campari, if desired.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (pans) 3/4 cup dutch process cocoa (powder plus more for pans) 1/2 cup boiling water 2 1/4 cups sugar 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 4 large eggs (lightly beaten) 3 cups cake flour (sifted, self raising) 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.
Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool.
To make Chocolate Frosting:Place chocolate morsels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until combined and thickened, between 20 and 25 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
Stir in corn syrup. Transfer frosting to a large metal bowl. Chill until cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately.
Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top. Place one cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting over the top. Add the second cake layer, and spread with another 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with third cake layer. Cover outside of cake with the remaining 3 cups frosting. Serve.
With a hand mixer or whisk, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar (or salt) until soft peaks form.
Gradually add in sugar, making sure it is fully dissolved. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Add lemon juice. continue to whisk for a further 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted. Do NOT over beat otherwise the meringues will collapse during baking and beads of sugar will form on their surface.
Divide the meringue into 3 bowls and color each one with a couple of drops of food coloring. Fold the color in using a spatula.
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and squeeze to make swirls onto 2 cookie sheets lined with baking paper. Make each one about 1 inch across.
Place the meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 195°F. When you place the meringues in the oven, the initial slightly higher temperature sets their outsides. The lower temperature then dries the meringues rather than bakes them. Leave the oven on for 1 1/2 hours or until the meringues are crisp and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven - this will take 3-4 hours.
The meringues will have a crisp, light texture.
Create a paper cone using paper that matches your party theme and stick the cone together using sticky tape, threading some thin ribbons to create the effect in the image above. Fill with colourful meringues and your guests will adore their party favors as a very special treat.
The meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
strawberry or raspberry liqueur, or crème de cassis 400g strawberries , sliced or halved 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
500g pot of good quality vanilla custard
284ml pot double cream , lightly whipped
Slice the cake and sandwich the slices together with jam. Cut into cubes. Sprinkle the sugar over the strawberries in a bowl.
Divide the cake between 6 glasses and sprinkle a little liqueur over each. Spoon over the sliced strawberries and any juice and then top each with a layer of custard and a layer of cream. Decorate with strawberries.
Ingredients: 3 oz bittersweet chocolate 18 soft ladyfinger halves 1/4 cup brewed coffee 1/4 cup coffee liqueur 1 pint coffee ice cream 1 1/2 cups whipped topping 1 pint dulce de leche ice cream chocolate curls, to garnish
Line an 8-in. square pan with nonstick foil, leaving a 2-in. overhang on two sides.
Grate 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (1 cup).
Arrange 18 soft ladyfinger halves on the bottom of pan, slightly overlapping.
Mix 1/4 cup each brewed coffee and coffee liqueur in small bowl; brush the ladyfingers with half.
Place 1 pint coffee ice cream in large bowl; stir until smooth but not melted। Spread over ladyfingers, then sprinkle with half the grated chocolate and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping। Place in freezer 30 minutes। Repeat layers using 1 pint dulce de leche ice cream. Cover with foil; freeze 3 hours until firm.
A half-hour before serving, place in refrigerator to soften slightly. Peel off foil; place on serving plate.
Garnish with chocolate curls and cut in squares or freeze until serving.
Ingredients: 3 cups thinly sliced peeled peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds) or 2 cans peach slices in syrup 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon lemon juice Cooking spray 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter, softened 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 large egg 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk 2 1/4 cups vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt 6 tablespoons fat-free caramel sundae syrup, warmed
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.
Place 2/3 cup sugar and next 4 ingredients (2/3 cup sugar through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (for about 5 minutes).
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk.
Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.
Spoon batter over peach mixture in pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of cake, and invert onto plate. Serve warm with frozen yogurt and the caramel syrup.
Ingredients: 1 cup (250 mL) sugar 2/3 cup (160 mL) cocoa powder 1-1/4 cups (310 mL) whipping cream 1/4 cup (60 mL) brewed coffee or water 1 egg 1-1/3 cups (330 mL) all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt Mocha Frosting: 2/3 cup (160 mL) Semisweet chocolate chips 2 tbsp (30 mL) brewed coffee or 1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract Pinch ground cinnamon 1-1/4 cups (310 mL) Real whipping cream, divided Cinnamon hearts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with large-size paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa. Gradually whisk in cream until blended; whisk in coffee and egg. Without stirring, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir until batter is smooth and blended.
Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool completely.
Mocha Frosting: In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot, not boiling water, melt chocolate chips with coffee, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of the cream; stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.
In a large, chilled bowl, whip remaining cream to soft peaks. Fold one-quarter into chocolate mixture until blended; beat chocolate mixture into remaining cream. Chill until stiff.
Peel paper from cupcakes; cut each cake in half crosswise. With a spatula or piping bag, spread or pipe frosting over bottom cake layers. Top with cake tops and decorate with remaining frosting and cinnamon hearts (optional).
Ingredients: ½ cup two fruits, tinned fruit 60g butter cake (ready made), cut into 1cm cubes 30g strawberry jelly crystals 1 cup (250ml) water 30g lime jelly crystals ½ cup (125ml) pouring custard shaved chocolate, to garnish
Combine stewed fruit and chopped butter cake into a small mixing bowl. Spoon half of the mixture into the bottom of 8 parfait glasses (tall glasses).
Pour strawberry jelly crystals into a small jug and combine with half of the water, stir well until all the jelly crystals are disolved. Pour jelly into the parfait glasses and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After the strawberry jelly has set repeat the above process with green jelly and chill for another 30 minutes.
Finally pour custard over cooled jelly for a layered effect and garnish with shaved chocolate.
Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed. Chocolate makes it worthwhile. Me and ice cream, best friends forever. Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.
Bless the cook who serves love and laughter
Recipe for a Happy Heart:2 cups of Love, 1 cup of Friendship, 1 cup of Gratitude, Add a dash of Laughter. Pour into any soul.