The cooler autumn weather means we can welcome warm puds, pies and homemade buns back on the menu.
When talking about autumn, one major thing comes to mind: pumpkins. As much as we love a slice of pumpkin pie, trying new things is an important part of life – we are encouraging you to switch up your recipes this autumn.
Mini dark chocolate, blackberry & bay pavlovas
For the meringue
80g dark chocolate – chopped
220g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
4 medium egg whites
For the blackberries
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
2 fresh bay leaves
For the yogurt-spiked cream
300ml double cream
150g natural yogurt
STEP 1: To make the meringue, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in quick bursts in the microwave. Allow to cool. Mix together the sugar, cream of tartar and cornflour.
STEP 2: Put the egg whites in a stand mixer or a metal or ceramic bowl. Using an electric whisk, whisk on a low-medium speed for a few mins until stiff peaks form, then slowly start to add in the sugar mixture, 1½ tbsp at a time, whisking between each addition until the sugar has dissolved and is well incorporated into the meringue. Once you have a thick, glossy meringue that holds its shape on the whisk, pour over the melted chocolate and swirl it in so you have a rippled meringue – avoid overmixing to retain the swirl effect.
STEP 3: Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas ½ and use a little of the meringue mix from the whisk to stick some baking parchment to two baking sheets, then dollop on little mounds of meringue, or, if you prefer, make a nest shape by flattening the meringue down with the back of a spoon. Bake the meringues for 1 hr 10 mins until crisp and pulling away from the parchment. Leave to sit in the oven until completely cool.
STEP 4: Meanwhile, weigh out 150g of the blackberries and put in a non-reactive pan (such as stainless steel) with the sugar and bay leaves. Cook over a gentle heat for a few mins, stirring so that the blackberries start to break down into a loose compote and release their juice. Leave the mixture to cool, then stir through the remaining blackberries. Set aside.
STEP 5: Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then fold through the natural yogurt. Swirl through a couple of spoonfuls of the blackberry and bay juices so you have a ripple effect. Add a spoonful of the cream mixture to each meringue and spoon over the blackberries and their juices. Discard the bay leaves. Best eaten on the day of baking.
Caramel pear blondies
250g unsalted butter – cubed, plus extra for the tin
3 large eggs
275g light brown soft sugar
25g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp fine sea salt
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g dried pears – roughly chopped
100g dark chocolate – roughly chopped
3 tbsp caramel – from a can or jar
STEP 1: Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line a 20 x 20cm square cake tin.
STEP 2: Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, swirling it around. Allow to bubble for a few minutes, or until it turns a light golden brown and smells biscuity. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
STEP 3: Tip the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk together with the light and dark sugars until just combined. Whisk through the melted butter, vanilla and salt.
STEP 4: Gently fold through the flour, baking powder, dried pears and most of the chocolate chunks, being careful not to overmix (this will make the blondies dense).
STEP 5: Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Top with the remaining chocolate and dollops of the caramel. Put in the centre of the oven to bake for 40 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out with sticky crumbs (it shouldn’t be wet). Leave to cool completely in the tin. It will sink a little – the centre should be slightly squidgy. Cut into 12 squares. Will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
200g unsalted butter – softened
2 unwaxed oranges
325-350g golden caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
Double cream or ice cream, to serve
STEP 1: Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and butter a 23cm cake tin. Zest the oranges, then remove the peel and pith using a small, serrated knife. Set aside. Cut the oranges along the equator into 1cm-thick slices. Sprinkle 25g sugar over the base of the tin and arrange the orange slices on top. Set aside while you make the syrup and cake batter.
STEP 2: Weigh the orange peels into a saucepan with the pith, and add the same amount of sugar and water (about 100g). Bring to a simmer, then boil for 10 mins until reduced and thickened. Set aside to infuse until needed, then strain.
STEP 3: Beat the butter and 200g of the sugar together in a stand mixer or using an electric whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 mins. Crack in the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Finally, beat in the orange zest and marmalade before carefully folding in the flour and a pinch of salt. Spoon the batter over the orange slices and carefully level the surface. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
STEP 4: Leave to cool in the tin for 15-20 mins before carefully inverting onto a plate. Brush some of the bitter orange syrup over the top (any leftover syrup can be used for cocktails). The syrup will keep chilled for two weeks. Serve warm with cream or ice cream. Once completely cool, the cake will keep in an airtight container for three days.