Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. And a mango tart: the finest pudding recipes chosen by Observer Food Monthly.
Nigella Lawson's chocolate key lime pie
It's extraordinary how potent cheap confectionery is. Proust may have had his madeleines, but my taste memories are shamelessly low-rent; I am forever, it seems, trying to recreate the so-long-ago-savoured delights of the sweetie jar. This is yet another evocation of the chocolate limes of my childhood. Luckily, it tastes how I impossibly remember them, not as they would really be, were I to eat one now. My version of this classic American pie doesn't have the traditional meringue topping, nor, of course, does it require Florida key limes - limey limes do it for me.
digestive biscuits 300g
cocoa powder 1 x 15ml tbsp
soft unsalted butter 50g
dark chocolate chips 50g
sweetened condensed milk, preferably chilled 1 x 397g can
limes 4, to give approx. 2 x 15ml tablespoons finely grated zest and 175ml juice
double cream 300ml
best-quality dark chocolate 1 square
You will also need:
1 x 23cm x 5cm deep fluted tart tin with loose base
Put the biscuits, cocoa powder, butter and chocolate chips into a food processor and process to a dark, damp, sandy consistency. Tip into a fluted tart tin, and press onto the base and up the sides. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Pour the condensed milk into a bowl. Zest the limes into another bowl and reserve for decoration later. add the juice of the limes to the condensed milk, whisking to mix.
Pour in the double cream and whisk together - in a freestanding electric mixer or with a hand-held one - until thick, then spoon the mixture into the chilled biscuit crust and use the back of the spoon to finish off the top in a swirly fashion, leaving the soft filling encircled by dark crust.
Chill the pie in the fridge for 4 hours (if the condensed milk was chilled), until firm, or, ideally, covered overnight.when you are ready to serve, unmould the pie from the tart tin, but leave it on the base.
Grate the chocolate to give a light dusting to the top of the pie and then sprinkle with the lime zest. This is important because without food colouring the pie will seem too pallid to conjure up the limes that flavour it. Serve immediately, as it will become soft if kept out of the fridge for too long.
The pie can be made 1 day in advance. When chilled and firm, tent with foil (try not to touch surface of pie with foil as it will leave marks) and store in fridge. Store the zest in a bowl, tightly covered with clingfilm. Decorate with zest just before serving. The pie will keep for a total of 2-3 days in the fridge.
Extracted from KITCHEN: RECIPES FROM THE HEART OF THE HOME by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, RRP £26). © Nigella Lawson 2010. Photographs © Lis Parsons 2010.To order a copy for £18.99 with free UK p&p, click here
Bruno Loubet's fresh raspberry mousse with basil syrup
The basil syrup is a lovely, unusual touch with a "trick" in the recipe to guarantee a stronger basil flavour; it's a simple colourful twist!
raspberry coulis 300ml
gelatine leaf, soaked in cold water until soft 1
lemon juice ½ tsp
caster sugar 80g
egg whites 2
double cream 150ml
raspberry liqueur (such as Chambord) 2 tbsp
fresh raspberries crushed 200g
jam sugar 100g
basil roughly chopped 1 bunch
Pernod (the "trick" ingredient) 2 tbsp
You will also need:
a cooking thermometer
Start by making the basil syrup. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the basil. Remove from the heat and blitz in a blender with two ice cubes until smooth. Pour into a bowl placed in iced water, then stir in the Pernod. Chill until ready to use.
Heat 100ml of the raspberry coulis in a small saucepan until warm, then stir in the soaked gelatine. Pour into a bowl and add the remaining coulis and lemon juice, then place in the fridge. In a small pan, boil the sugar with 50ml of water until it reaches 121°C ("soft-ball" stage). Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites with a mixer or an electric hand whisk until the whisk leaves a ribbon trail when lifted out, then pour in the sugar syrup in a fine stream, whisking continuously until the mixture cools completely.
Whip the cream until the whisk leaves a ribbon trail when lifted out, then add the liqueur. Transfer the coulis to a large mixing bowl, whisk well then fold in the whipped cream and finally the egg whites. Fold in the crushed raspberries.
To serve, pour or squirt some mousse into the bottom of six tall glasses, then cover with about a tablespoon of the basil syrup then another layer of mousse, and so on until you fill the glasses.
Mange Tout by Bruno Loubet (Ebury, RRP £25). To order a copy for £18.49 with free UK p&p, click here
Bam-Bou mango tart with ginger ice cream Steve Gower
ripe mango 1
desiccated coconut 2tbsp, to serve
edible flowers a handful (available online or from good greengrocers; in season we would pick elderflower or borage)
For the ginger ice cream (around 1 litre)
medium-sized free range eggs 12 yolks
caster sugar 190g
vanilla pod 1, with seeds scraped
ground ginger ¼ tsp
double cream 375ml
stem ginger 50g, finely chopped
For the sweet pastry
soft unsalted butter 110g
caster sugar 80g
medium-sized free range egg 1
plain flour 225g
For the coconut cream custard
caster sugar 50g
medium-sized free range eggs 4 yolks
plain flour 20g
coconut milk 310ml
For the ice cream, in a bowl or food processor, whisk egg yolks and sugar until they've doubled in size. Bring milk, vanilla pod, seeds, ground ginger and cream to the boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour on to the egg mixture. Sieve into a bowl and chill before churning in an ice-cream maker. Once the ice cream has been churned and is still soft before it goes into the freezer, gently fold in the chopped stem ginger. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
To make the sweet pastry, in a bowl or food processor, gently mix butter and sugar together until combined. Slowly add eggs until thoroughly mixed. Sieve in the flour and slowly mix until a smooth dough is formed. Wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge until required. The pastry must rest for at least 2 hours before use.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to about 0.5cm thickness. Grease 4 x 8cm flan cases with a little butter and carefully lay the rolled pastry over them, ensuring you press the sides well and there are no air pockets or holes in the pastry. Cover the pastry bases with a ring of baking paper, place baking beans (or rice) on top and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The pastry should feel slightly dry to the touch and be golden brown in colour. Cool.
To make the custard, mix the sugar and egg yolks together in a heat-proof bowl. Add flour and cornflour and mix well. In a saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a gentle boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour slowly into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring continuously. Mix well and pour back into the saucepan. Heat again until boiling and continue to stir for another minute or so until it thickens. Remove from the heat and cool. Put to one side until you are ready to assemble the tarts.
To assemble the tarts, spread the cooled coconut cream into each of the pastry cases. Peel and slice the mango and place on top of the custard. Garnish with edible flowers and serve with the ginger ice cream on a bed of desiccated coconut.
Eric Lanlard's white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake
I am a big fan of the baked cheesecake and this recipe is smooth and zesty with a touch of the exotic. It's perfectly sweetened with the white chocolate - a great summer dessert.
unsalted butter 50g, melted, plus extra for greasing
digestive biscuits crushed 100g
white chocolate chopped 125g
single cream 125ml
cream cheese, softened 225g
mascarpone cheese 225g
golden caster sugar 4 tbsp
vanilla extract 2 tsp
eggs 3, separated
passion fruit pulp, sieved to remove pips 125ml
passion fruit and berries to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm diameter springform cake tin
Put the crushed biscuits and melted butter into a bowl and mix well. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/gas mark 2.
Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a small saucepan and heat, then pour on to the chocolate and stir until smooth. Put to one side.
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone together until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Stir in the white chocolate mixture and passion fruit pulp.
In a large, clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold a large spoonful of the egg whites into the batter very vigorously, then gently fold in the remaining whites until smooth.
Spoon the mixture on to the cooled base and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until set but with a slight wobble in the centre. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool inside for 2 hours, with the door ajar. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the tin and decorate with fresh passion fruit and berries.
Chocolat by Eric Lanlard (Mitchell Beazley, RRP £18.99). To order a copy for £14.99 with free UK p&p, click here
David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl's decadent beetroot and chocolate cake
Don't be intimidated by the beetroot. They don't taste strange at all; instead they actually add a depth to the chocolate. Leave the cake to cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing it from the tin. It tastes amazing while warm, but can be cooled and kept in the fridge for two to three days.
extra virgin olive oil 150ml
maple syrup or clear honey 120ml
dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids) 50g, broken into pieces
raw beetroot 3-4 medium sized, grated
light spelt flour 200g
baking powder 2 tsp
cocoa powder 5 tbsp
sea salt a pinch
desiccated coconut 1 tbsp
You will also need:
a 20cm bundt pan or a cake tin
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Warm the oil in a saucepan on a very low heat. Add the maple syrup and chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Add the grated beetroot and stir to combine. Beat the eggs and add them to the saucepan.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt together and stir into the beet mixture. Grease a 20cm bundt pan or a cake tin with a little oil. Sprinkle the sides of the pan with desiccated coconut, to prevent the batter from sticking. Pour in the cake batter and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly dark and cracked on top and a little sticky inside.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Warm the oil in a saucepan on a very low heat. Add the maple syrup and chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Add the grated beetroot and stir to combine.
Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add them to the saucepan. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cacao powder and salt together and stir into the beet mixture.
Grease a 20 cm (10 in) bundt pan or a cake tin with a little oil. Sprinkle the sides of the pan with shredded coconut, to prevent the batter from sticking. Pour in the cake batter and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly dark and cracked on top and still a little sticky inside. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing the cake from the tin.
It tastes amazing while warm, but can be cooled and kept in the fridge for 2-3 days.
The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (Hardie Grant, RRP £25). To order a copy for £17.49 with free UK p&p, click here
Bam-Bou mango tart with ginger ice cream Steve Gower. Photograph: Ladislav Piljar