Thursday, 15 January 2009

Girdlebuster Pie

I am a big fan of Nigella Lawson and have all of her books. So when her new Christmas book was released last year I just had to get a copy. It is full of seasonal recipes and along with the traditional Christmas dinner there are many other wonderful recipes. There are lots of little details like Black Bean soup hangover cures and chicken soup flu remedies. There is a great selection of twists on the tradional stuff like chilli jam to give as a gift and pomegranate vodka.

There are many recipes in this book that I am looking forward to trying. I don't think this book is just for Christmas and I certainly won't be putting it away just yet.

There is a recipe in this book called Girdlebuster Pie and I just had to try it. As I read the description I was drooling and who could resist it with a name like that.

In the book Nigella suggests coffee ice cream for the filling. I substituted this with vanilla as my little nephew was joining us and I thought this would be better for him. Last summer my husband and I were having lunch in a country pub near Wimborne in Dorset and on the way home we drove past a farm that makes their own ice cream We had to stop and buy one and I went back just before Christmas to get some for over the festive period. If you are ever near Wimborne then call into Barford Farm and try some of their ice cream. My favourite is the Baileys one but they are all scrmptios. I used some of their vanilla flavour to make this pie.

This pie was pretty easy to make and totally delicious. The caramel topping is heavenly and we all loved it. I used the same pie dish that Nigella uses in the book and I did find it a little tricky removing the pie from the dish in order to serve it. I think when I make this next time I might try doing it in a springform cake tin.

This is definately a winning recipe in our household.

For the base:
375g digestive biscuits
75g soft butter
50g dark chocolate chips
50g milk chocolate chips

For the ice cream filling:
1 litre vanilla or coffee icecream

For the topping:
300g golden syrup
100g light muscovado sugar
75 butter
a quarter of a teaspoon of maldon salt or a pinch of table salt
30ml bourbon
125ml double cream

  • Process the biscuits with the butter and chocolate chips until it forms a damp crumb like clump.
  • Press into a 23cm pie plate or flan dish. Form a lip of biscuit a little higher than the dish if you can. As Nigella says in the book this take patience as you need to form a smooth even layer.
  • Freeze the biscuit lined layer for about an hour so it sets really hard. In the meantime let your ice cream soften in the fridge.
  • Spread the ice cream into the biscuit layer then cover in cling film and place in the freezer.
  • Put the syrup, sugar and butter into a saucepan and let it melt over a low heat before turning it up and boiling for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and add the bourbon letting it hiss in the pan.
  • Add the cream and stir into a sauce then leave to cool. Once cool but not set pour over the pie to cover the icecream layer and then put back in the freezer.
  • When ready to serve remove from the freezer, take the whole pie out of its dish and cut into slices. Should you have any left over put it back in the dish, return to the freezer and enjoy another day.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy New Year

Firstly I would like to apologise for not posting much over the last few weeks. I have been very busy in the kitchen cooking up lots of festive recipes but sadly I have been without a computer. Now it is all fixed I hope to be back to blogging more freqently. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I would like to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.

I spent my Christmas day with my inlaws and we had a lovely but quiet afternoon. My husband and I started the day with a breakfast of bacon sarnies and bucks fizz. We then went to visit Pauls sister and her family. It was so lovely seeing the little ones opening their presents although I think that some of the adults had more fun with the toys than the children. My husband is a big kid and spent ages playing with the little ones toys.

Then it was back to my mother and father in laws for dinner. My Mother in law had done a lovely traditional Christmas dinner which we all enjoyed. I provided the dessert. I spent ages pondering over what to take. My husband doesn't like Christmas pudding so I wanted something different but something festive as well.

After searching through what felt like hundreds of recipes I came across and idea for a chocolate Christmas pudding. It sounded delicious and so I settled for that. The recipe is basically a chocolate sponge filled with chocolate mousse and is shaped to look like a Christmas pudding. I flavoured my chocolate mousse and the chocolate ganache with some Baileys Irish Cream which was wonderful but I'm sure other flavours would work just as well.

This went down really well with everyone and although it looks like a Christmas pudding I think it would be delicious all year round. And If you are a chocoholic like me then you will love it.


For the sponge:

4 eggs
100g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
50g cocoa , plus extra for dusting the tin, sifted
85g butter , melted, plus extra for greasing
3 tablespoons Irish Cream

For the mousse:

3 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
200ml double cream

dash of Irish Cream

For the topping:

142ml double cream
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
2-3 tablespoons Irish Cream

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Butter a 22 x 31cm or similar Swiss roll tin, then line with buttered baking paper. Tip in 1 tbsp cocoa, turn the tin until it's evenly coated, then tap out any excess.

For the sponge, beat the eggs and sugar with electric beaters for 7 mins, or until thick enough to hold a trail. Fold in flour and cocoa, then swirl in butter and fold through. Tip into the tin, bake for 10 mins until just firm, then cool under a clean tea towel.

For the mousse, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Melt the chocolate and loosely whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Quickly beat half the cream and all of the chocolate into the egg mix, then gently fold in the rest of the cream. Whisk the egg whites until softly peaked, then fold in. Stir in the Irish Cream

Grease a 1.4 litre/2½ pint basin with a little oil. Line with cling film, letting it overhang. To build the pudding, cut a circle of sponge to fit the bottom of the basin and put it in. Cut seven sloping rectangles about 10cm long from the sponge and fit them tightly together around the bowl.

Sprinkle with the Irish cream. Fill the bowl halfway with the mousse then, using what's left of the sponge, top the mousse with a snug-fitting circle of cake. Sprinkle with remaining Irish Cream. Spoon in the rest of the mousse, then cover with the overhanging cling film. Chill for at least 4 hrs until firm (ideally overnight), then turn onto a plate.
For the topping, heat all the ingredients gently in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy. Spread all over the turned-out pudding, then top with the chocolate-coated cocoa beans and chocolate curls.

Before serving
Leave the pudding out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving to let the mousse relax to a chocolatey velvet.