Archive for the ‘Dan Lepard’ Category

Chocolate and pecan brioche twists (Dan Lepard)

October 15, 2013

I made the mistake of keeping a baked batch of these hugely rich twists in the freezer and then, within a week, managed to eat them all. So I can tell you they microwave from frozen quickly, though the chocolate turns volcanically hot, so be careful. Play with the flavours, you can’t go wrong.

Makes 8-10 twists
500g brioche dough (see recipe on this blog)
350ml cold and very thick Bird’s custard or homemade pastry cream
100g chocolate chips
100g pecan nuts, chopped
1 beaten egg
Demerera sugar, for sprinkling
Flour, for rolling

1 Roll the dough out to 30cm x 20cm, using flour to stop it sticking. Spread the custard over the dough. Cover half the surface with chocolate chips and nuts, then fold the rest of the dough over it and press down to seal.

2 Chill for 30 minutes then cut 3cm-wide slices, twist these and place on baking trays lined with non-stick paper. Cover and leave to rise for about 2 hours. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake at 200C/180C fan/400F/gas 6 for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas 4 and bake for a further 10 minutes until they turn a deep, dark brown.

Brioche loaf (Dan Lepard)

October 15, 2013

Extra-rich brioche

Makes 1350g dough
2 x 7g sachets fast-action yeast
50ml warm water
5 medium eggs
575g Italian “00”, or strong white flour
75g caster sugar
2 tsp salt
350g unsalted butter, softened
Extra flour for kneading and shaping
Beaten egg to finish

1 Stir the yeast and water in a mixing bowl, leave for 5 minutes, then whisk in the eggs until smooth. Mix in the flour, sugar and salt, then knead the dough for a minute until smooth (the egg can turn the dough grainy if you don’t). Leave for 10 minutes.

2 The easiest way to mix the butter through the dough is with an upright Kenwood-style stand mixer, but I do it by hand this way. Spread the dough out on a clean worktop, then break the butter into lumps and drop them over the top. It’s advisable to have a scraper ready, as this will get very messy. Work the butter into the dough energetically, scraping and squeezing with your fingers again and again, until you have a smooth mixture. It will take you about 4-5 minutes and there will be an “oh my goodness” moment in the middle.

3 Use the scraper to push the dough back together every so often, then when it is utterly smooth and slightly elastic, scrape it into a ball, scoop it up and return it to the bowl. Cover with clingfilm, refrigerate for 24 hours (the dough keeps chilled for 3-4 days) and relax, as most of the work is done.

4 Line a large, deep loaf tin with non-stick paper. Set aside 500g of dough for the second recipe (or a second smaller loaf) and divide the rest into two equal pieces. Lightly knead and shape them into balls while still cold, place side-by-side in the tin, cover, and leave for 3-4 hours until almost doubled. Chill the risen loaf for 30-45 minutes to firm the exterior, brush with beaten egg, and bake at 200C/180C fan/400F/gas mark 6 for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 30-40 minutes to a deep, dark brown. Remove from the tin as soon as it’s out of the oven, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Honey almond parfait with warm apricots (Dan Lepard)

October 15, 2013

Makes 1 x 18cm dessert
3 medium eggs
300ml double cream
125g honey, a richly flavoured one if possible
50g light brown sugar
100g flaked almonds, toasted
500g apricots, semi or fully ripe
50g caster sugar

1 Make the custard by separating the eggs, then whisk the yolks lightly with the cream and 75g honey. Pour into a saucepan, then bring to the boil slowly. As soon as the mixture coats the back of a spoon and gets very hot, take it off the stove and pour into a clean, cold bowl and leave until cold.

2 Line the base and sides of a deep 18cm round cake tin with clingfilm. Gently stir the whites with the sugar and remaining honey in a saucepan until hot, then pour into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 4-5 minutes to form a thick, soft meringue.

3 Fold the almonds through the custard, add to the meringue and fold together, then pour into the cake tin and freeze for eight hours, until firm.

4 To serve, stone and halve the apricots, cook over a very gentle heat with the caster sugar until they soften, then cool. Serve a wedge of the parfait with a spoonful of the warm apricots.

Pumpkin labne cheesecake (Dan Lepard)

October 11, 2013

First the labne: to make about 400g, take two 500g pots of natural yoghurt – around 2% fat, not the thick, Greek kind – and pour into a large sieve lined with muslin and sat over a deep bowl. Place this in the fridge for about 24 hours, and you’ll be left with a thick yoghurt the consistency of soft cheese.

For the crust
100g shelled walnuts
75g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
50g unsalted butter, cubed
75g plain flour
½ tsp cinnamon

For the filling
400g cooked and very soft pumpkin
150g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of an orange, or 1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g full-fat cream cheese
400g labne
5 medium eggs
Caster sugar and sesame seeds, to finish

Dan step 1: grind walnuts, sugar and seeds til fine. Add butter, flour and cinnamon

1 Have a 20cm round cake tin ready, either springform or with a removable base. In a food processor, grind the walnuts, sugar and seeds until fine. Add the butter, flour and cinnamon, and grind into a dough. Press this into the base of the tin evenly then bake at 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 for about 20 minutes, then leave until cold.

Dan step 2: Peel pumpkin, chop into cubes, bake or microwave, covered, without water, until tender

2 Peel the pumpkin, chop into cubes and bake or microwave, covered, without any water, until very tender. (Mine took three bursts of 5 minutes on high, stirring in-between.) Pour off any liquid and put the pumpkin in a sieve over a bowl to drain even more. Leave until cold, uncovered.

Dan step 3: puree pumpkin, sugar, zest, vanilla. Add cream cheese, puree; add labne, eggs; puree

3 In a food processor puree the pumpkin, sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Add the cream cheese, puree again, then add the labne and eggs and puree until smooth, scraping the bowl down as you go through the stages. Line the insides of the tin with a band of nonstick paper, add the filling, then bake at 160C/140C fan/325F/gas mark 3 for 60-70 minutes or until there’s only a slight wobble in the middle, or until the centre reaches 68C/154F on a temperature probe. Leave to cool on a wire rack then chill to set firmly.

Dan step 4: caster sugar in pan with 25ml water, bring to boil; cook until caramel. Add sesame seeds

4 To serve, put 100g caster sugar in a saucepan with about 25ml water, bring to the boil then cook until you have a light, golden caramel. Add 2 tbsp sesame seeds, swirl the pan to mix them through off the heat, then let the foam to drop. Spread spoonfuls of the toffee on to a baking sheet lined with nonstick paper, leave to harden, then break them up and pile them in a centre of the unwrapped cheesecake.

Chocolate cookie fridge cake (Dan Lepard)

October 11, 2013

This is one of those simple desserts that’s been around since the 1950s. It relies on the cookies softening when layered with whipped cream and left overnight. I remember mum making it with brandy and vanilla when I was little, so I lay responsibility for the booziness at her feet. You can make it with plain chocolate biscuits from the shop, but homemade ones are better.

Serves 8-10
400ml double cream
30g caster sugar
30ml brandy
Seeds from a vanilla pod
Brandy and cocoa to finish
8-10 roasted cocoa cookies

1 Put the cream, sugar, brandy and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until thick. Spoon brandy on to the bottom of the cookies – about 1-2 tsp each. Let it soak in, then spread about 1 tbsp of the whipped cream mix on each cookie.

2 Spread a 5cm wide strip of cream on a long plate. Stack the cookies on top of one another then put the cookie stack on its side, embedded in the cream.

3 Spread the remaining cream over the stack, lightly press clingfilm over it then chill overnight until the cookies soften – check with a skewer. To serve, dust with cocoa and slice diagonally.

Ginger cashew bars (Dan Lepard)

October 11, 2013

For the base
75g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
75g caster sugar
1 medium egg
100g toasted cashews, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder

For the ginger layer
175g unsalted butter, softened
200g dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp tamarind extract
2 medium eggs
200g chopped glace ginger
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cocoa
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Desiccated coconut to finish

1 Grease a 23cm-square tin, ideally with a removable base. To make the base, beat the butter and sugar until combined, then beat in the egg. Stir in the cashews, add the vanilla, flour and baking powder and mix well. Spread this over the base on the tin.

2 In the same bowl, make the ginger layer. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the tamarind and eggs. Stir in the gingers and cocoa, then add the flour and baking powder. Spread over the base, sprinkle with coconut and bake at 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes.

Beef, wine and aubergine pie (Dan Lepard)

October 11, 2013

Makes 6 medium-sized pies
For the filling
1 bottle red wine
4 medium red onions, peeled and sliced
2-3 bay leaves
25g butter
800g beef shin, cubed
2 medium aubergines
1 tbsp plain flour
2-3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper

For the bottom crust
500g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250g unsalted butter, softened
100g full-fat cream cheese
1 medium egg, beaten
Flour, for rolling
Butter for the dishes
1 egg yolk, for brushing
½ batch puff pastry (about 500g)

1 For the filling, put the wine in a deep ovenproof pot and bring to the boil until reduced by three-quarters. Add the onions, butter, bay and beef, stir well then bake with the lid on at 170C/150C fan/335F/gas mark 3 for 2 hours till the meat is almost tender.

2 Meanwhile bake the aubergines on a tray in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender. Take out, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then peel, chop the flesh, sprinkle on 1 tsp salt and place in a sieve over a bowl to drain off the liquid.

3 Make the dough by rubbing the butter into the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, then work in the cheese and egg until smooth. Wrap and leave to chill for 30 minutes, then roll to about ½cm thick and use it to line buttered pie dishes (if you’re making six pies, use dishes about 15cm in diameter and 5-6cm deep).

4 To finish the meat, mix the flour with 50ml cold water until smooth. Remove the pot from the oven, stir the flour mix through then put the lid back on the pot and bake for another 30 minutes.

5 Put the drained aubergine in a large bowl, peel and slice the garlic then fry in olive oil until golden. Tip this over the aubergine, spoon the cooked beef (discarding the bay leaves) over, then season with salt and pepper. Pie crusts tend to suck the seasoning out of the filling, so add more than you normally would. Leave until cool before using.

6 Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425F/gas mark 7. Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pie dishes, and add 2-3 tbsp water to each to stop the filling drying out. Roll the puff pastry to ½ cm thick, cut tops from it large enough to hang 1cm over the edge of the pies. Brush with yolk thinned with a little water and pinch of salt, and notch the edges. Lay the puff lids over the pies and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for 30-40 minutes until the filling is piping hot.

Lamingtons (Dan Lepard)

October 9, 2013

Makes 16 medium-size lamingtons

125g unsalted butter, melted
300g caster sugar
250g sour cream
3 tsp vanilla extract
50ml sunflower oil
5 medium eggs
300g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder

For the chocolate syrup coating
300g dark chocolate
30g cocoa
300g caster sugar
200ml milk
1 or 2 x 250g bags desiccated coconut

1 Take a 25cm square cake tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Heat the oven to 170C/150C fan/325F/gas mark 3.

2 Pour the melted butter into a mixing bowl with the sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract and oil, beat for a minute or so until smooth, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat each one in well before adding the next.

3 Sift in the flour and baking powder, and stir well. Spoon the batter into the tin, cover the top with a lid of foil and then bake for about an hour (remove the foil after 40 minutes) until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin, covering the top with clingfilm or foil as it cools, to keep it moist.

4 Next, make the coating. Finely chop the chocolate, set aside, then whisk the cocoa, sugar and milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove it from the heat, stir in the chocolate and leave until just warm before using.

5 Slice the cake into squares, pour the warm syrup into a bowl deep enough to submerge the cake squares in it, and have a tray ready with coconut thickly spread across it. Using a pair of forks or just your fingers, dip the lamingtons into the syrup, then roll them in the coconut.

6 Allow the chocolate to set for a few hours before eating. They will keep well if you store them in an airtight container.

Rice pudding meringue tart (Dan Lepard)

October 9, 2013

The rice pudding oozes as you cut it, so if you need something less messy, make individual tarts.

Makes one 20cm tart

1 x 20cm pastry tart case, baked
1 batch of meringue
A jar of berry jam – enough to cover the base

For the rice pudding
50g pudding or risotto rice
600ml semi-skimmed milk
25ml double cream
2 tbsp sugar, to taste
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornflour

1 Boil the rice with half the milk in a saucepan, then turn off the heat, cover and leave for an hour.

2 Return to the boil with the remaining milk and cook until the rice is tender and creamy.

3 Stir in the cream, vanilla and sugar to taste, then add the cornflour, mix well and bring to the boil.

4 Spread jam over the base of the tart, spoon on the hot rice pudding then chill.

5 Make the meringue, spoon over the pudding and bake at 170C/150C fan/335F/gas mark 3 for 25 minutes, or until golden.

Vanilla chocolate marble cake (Dan Lepard)

October 9, 2013

Serves 6-8

100g unsalted butter, softened
25ml sunflower oil
75g creme fraiche
175g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
100g dark chocolate
50ml milk
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

1 Line the base and sides of a small loaf tin with non-stick baking paper and heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4.

2 Put the butter, oil, creme fraiche and caster sugar in a bowl and beat until almost white and whipped. Add the vanilla and eggs then beat well again until the mix is very smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Don’t worry if the mixture looks split or separated – it won’t affect the result. Measure out the flour and baking powder in another bowl.

3 Melt the chocolate in the microwave then stir in the milk until you have a smooth sauce.

4 Sift the flour in with the butter mixture and mix well. Spoon half of the mixture into another bowl and beat in the chocolate.

5 Spoon both mixtures into the tin in alternate blobs then swirl slightly together with a skewer. Tap the tin on the bench firmly to get rid of air pockets, then bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

blobs of chocolate in tin

6 Leave to cool in the tin then unwrap. Ice with cupcake frosting if you like. This cake will keep for 2-3 days if wrapped well, or you could freeze it.