We are not big on desserts or cakes in our household, as often the focus is on the main course and the portion sizes are not small, so often not leaving much room for dessert. But when we do make room for the last course, it better be a good one!
Included here is a selection of my favourite last courses covering a range of unpretentious puddings, tarts, buns, pastries, cakes and desserts. Most of these are pretty easy to make, don’t require much skill or technique as long as you follow the recipe. No sugar spun cages, complex reductions or stiff peaks here! They are also easy to adapt to change the flavourings to what you desire (within reason).
There are some of the classics from Britain and around the world. Britain has contributed some really wonderful puddings to international cuisine, not least Treacle Sponge Pudding – a delightfully indulgent and rich dessert.
France has contributed fantastic desserts, such as Crème Brûlée, one of my all time favourites (recalling when Carolyn embarrassed an Italian waiter in a restaurant asking them what was French for Crème Brûlée?) Great fun to use a large blowtorch to make the caramelised sugar topping…. Man cooking at its best! Also, classic tarts including the famous Tarte au citron – the wonderful combination of crumbly shortcrust pastry and tart lemon custard filling. Tarte Tatin, the upside down caramelised apple pastry.
To finish off, there are times when you just want a really nice slice of cake or bun to impress friends or go with your cup of coffee. The Apple and Cinnamon muffin cake is packed full of flavours and contrasting textures, and is a true culinary find. The amazing Cinnabons, ripped off from the company of the same name, wonderfully light in texture and bursting with the smell of Christmas. When you know how easy these are to make, you will never buy them again.
Apple & Cinnamon Muffin Cake with Pecan Crumble | Chocolate Mousse | Chocolate Torte & Strawberry Salsa | Cinnabons | Classic Victoria Sandwich Cake | Crème Brûlée | Hot Cross Buns | Lemongrass and Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango | Mascarpone & Lime Torte | Millionaire’s Shortbread | Spiced Orange Cake | Tarte au Citron | Tarte Tatin | Treacle Sponge Pudding | Treacle Tart