The atlantic crop of blueberries is in shops at this time of year (though I’ve never grown them at home), which are bigger than the smaller variety at other times of the year. Frozen are fine – they come out the same when used in pie. I mixed a bag of frozen blueberries with cooking apples and baked a pie with vanilla custard to go with it.
Magic cakes are a unique type of cake which form three distinct layers from one batter. They’re cooked at a lower temperature (150C/300F) which allows the layers to split out during baking. The base is a standard sponge, the middle forms a custard and the top is a Genoise sponge. These were studded with pistachios and had cherries on top, the with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Nanaimo bars are a Canadian bar from the city of Nanaimo. They have a biscuit and walnut base, custard in the middle and chocolate on top. They’re a good ‘make-ahead’ dessert for Canada Day on July 1st and a change from the predictable maple syrup and pancakes.
Sweetcrust pastry with vanilla creme patissiere and strawberries on top. The pastry is extremely light and flaky due to the cream. It’s pretty much shortbread, so you can bake any leftover pastry and eat on it’s own.
I also made a gluten free one with crushed gluten free digestive biscuits. Instead of pastry, crush a handful of biscuits and mix with just enough melted butter to moisten. Don’t overdo the butter – it’s easy to misjudge at first and add more than needed. Once you the butter into the biscuits the mixture should hold together.
Bite sized puff pastry tarts filled with baked custard. These are similar to Portuguese egg custard tarts, but sometimes the Portuguese version has more spices and a Brulee topping. This Hong Kong (Macau) variant has a plainer, more custardy flavour which soaks into the crust during baking making it soft. The custard is quick and easy to make – just mix all of the uncooked ingredients together and bake. Any leftover custard can be baked in a ramekin.
Similar to a Bakewell tart but with custard instead of frangipane topping, a Manchester tart consists of an almond shortbread crust with raspberry jam and vanilla creme patissiere, coconut and cherries. This recipe makes anough pastry and custard for the equivalent of 3 x 20cm tarts, but I made two 15cm tarts and two 10cm tarts. You can also mix the recipe up by using half of the pastry to make banana custard tarts. This is where Dr Oetker’s Banoffee Sprinkles add a nice finishing touch.
I’ve been loving some Toasted Nut Brulee Ooolong tea from Teavana recently. These chocolate cupcakes are inspired by this wonderful tea (please send more!) They have a custard filling, peanut butter frosting and a sprinkling of chopped nuts and are perfect with a cup of Oolong. Chocolate and peanut butter are something you have to be told about and would probably not think of pairing together, but like chocolate and chilli, they work really well together. I know a few people who love peanut butter so these didn’t last long.
This is the USA’s version of a British bread and butter pudding. Originally made in New Orleans, it’s made with bananas baked in custard and is served with a rum caramel sauce.
You can use any type of bread – I used a French stick but in searching for recipes, I found versions which used Italian panettone, croissants and brioche.
I go through phases of love and hate with bananas. I’ll avoid them for months then eat them until I’m sick of them. With it being so long since I’ve eaten them or used them in baking, I’m rekindling my love of them.
After the strawberry brain pudding went down so well, I wanted to try something a little different and get my money’s worth from the brain moulds. These Banoffee Brains have an Oreo biscuit base topped with banana custard with chunks of banoffee fudge.
What’s the bonus you ask? Scroll to the bottom (after reading the recipe) to find out. Blackberries seem to be everywhere at this time of year. Given the extortionate price of them in shops, it seems wrong not to pick as many of them as you can to bake.