Posts

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding (Vegan)

When we’re looking for satisfying, healthy comfort food using cupboard ingredients, then this Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding ticks the boxes.

Made the night before, we love it chilled or slightly warm for breakfast. Top with toasted almonds and served with extra dried fruits, it’s all prepared in just 35 minutes (see topping ideas below). What’s more, these creamy pots happen to be GLUTEN FREE and VEGAN.

Read on to discover the version of almond milk rice pudding that Alexandre Dumas made, according to his Grand Culinary Dictionary (1873).

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding – Make it a Pantry Staple

Only a couple of weeks ago, I found myself reaching for more long-life cupboard ingredients at the supermarket that could come in handy over time. Although I can’t find an alternative to fresh cow’s milk for my morning bowl of coffee, as a family, we have completely converted to serving almond milk with our breakfast maple & oat granola.  Yippee!  We’re making progress on the vegan front, albeit slowly but each step helps, I hope.

Almond milk’s shelf life is long, making it an ideal pantry staple. What’s more, it is fortified with calcium, is lactose-free and is lower in calories than regular milk.
(Note: for those who are allergic to nuts or almonds, replace almond milk with coconut milk.)

Moreover, what’s more exciting than having a delicious challenge to make gourmet food with simple, easy-to-find ingredients?

Sweetened vs Unsweetened Almond Milk

Normally I spend time checking labels but exceptionally, this time around, in my speed to get organised as quickly as possible, I reached for our local French supermarket’s own brand of almond milk.

As Lucie poured it over her coveted dark chocolate & coconut granola the other day, she was shocked at how sweet it was. Reading the label together – to our amazement – the brand had added sugar to the almond milk.

Who adds sugar to milk, I ask you?

Ideal Recipe for Sweetened Almond Milk

Clearly we had to find another use for this sweetened almond milk. So that no food would go to waste, I tried out my favourite French creamy riz au lait recipe, using less rice, much less sugar, no egg yolks and came up with this creamy almond milk version.

I literally added just a couple of tablespoons of raw cane sugar to this rice pudding but if you are using an organic, unsweetened almond milk (like we normally use from the health food store), then use the sugar quantities I’ve stated in the recipe below.

What Can I Use Instead of Almond Milk?

Don’t have almond milk in the pantry? Then rice milk or soya milk are great almond milk substitutes, keeping the rice pudding creamy.

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding Topping Ideas

If you like the touch of rose to desserts, then I urge you to add just a little rosewater to this (see recipe below).  Topping the rice puddings just takes it to another level. Here are some ideas, based on what you have at hand:

  • Chopped fresh fruit or chopped dried fruits (figs, apricots, dates);
  • Toasted almonds (or any other nuts) just adds that perfect crunch and brings out the natural almond flavours too. Either toast them for a few minutes under the grill or dry-fry in a frying pan.
  • Top with a spoonful of jam – even better if slightly warmed so that it melts on top. I love fig jam, rhubarb & rose jam (or my strawberry & elderflower speedy jam in my book, ‘Teatime in Paris’) – or serve with this rhubarb and hibiscus compote – it’s fabulous.
  • Oat praline topping. Incidentally, make a batch of it and store it in a jam jar and use to top on ice cream or any dessert.

Bon appétit !

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Almond Milk Rice Pudding by Alexandre Dumas

I discovered recently that Alexandre Dumas (author of ‘The Three Muskateers’ & ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’) listed Almond Milk Rice Pudding in his impressive ‘Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine’ (1873). The recipe he uses is just like the one below but without any dried fruits, vanilla or rose water. Instead he adds just a little lemon zest and a couple of almond leaves if you prefer to make something a bit more historical about your rice pudding!

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

5 from 7 votes
Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding
Almond Milk Rice Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A Quick French Riz au lait rice pudding made with organic almond milk for a healthy vegan breakfast or dessert and an easy recipe to prepare using long-life cupboard ingredients.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: almond milk recipes, almond milk rice pudding, quick rice pudding recipe, riz au lait, veganbreakfasts
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 420 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 1 litre organic almond milk (6%) (unsugared)*
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder/extract)
  • 140 g (5oz) short grain pudding rice (arborio/risotto rice)
  • 30 g (1oz) golden sultanas (raisins or other dried fruits)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp rose water or lemon zest
  • slivered almonds (optional, for decor)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the almond milk to the boil with the vanilla pod, if using (or vanilla powder/extract). Remove the vanilla pod, scraping out the seeds with a sharp knife and return the seeds to the pan.

  2. Rain in the rice, sugar, rose water and dried fruits. Using a wooden spoon, stir every 3-4 minutes so that the rice doesn't stick together.

  3. The rice pudding will start to thicken after 25 minutes. Continue to stir gently for another 5 minutes and transfer to individual pots or dishes. Leave to cool and either serve or chill and serve next morning.

Recipe Notes
  • If you discover your almond milk contains sugar, reduce the sugar by at least a half.

Serve chilled or at slightly warm with toasted almonds (toasted for a few minutes under a grill or dry-fried in a frying pan) and any topping of your choice: e.g. chopped dried apricots, chopped banana, honey, walnuts. See more ideas in the post.

Don't have almond milk? Rice or Soya Milk also works just as well.

See my other recipe here for a French custardy rice pudding, using egg yolks.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

French Vacherin Ice Cream Cake (Vacherin Glacé)

The Vacherin Ice Cream Cake has to be one of the most impressive yet simplest special occasion cakes to make – it almost feels like cheating!

Trust the French to turn something we generally have stocks at home into an occasion. Take a tub of ice cream, a tub of sorbet and dress it up to party with some meringue and whipped cream. It also just happens to be gluten free.

Vacherin Ice Cream Cake Recipe

What is a French Vacherin Dessert?

Not to be confused with the round Vacherin cheese made of cow’s milk, the Vacherin dessert is also round in shape and basically composed of ice cream. I’ve seen some Vacherins on the web that are confusing, as they look more like a pavlova just with meringue, cream and fruit. A French Vacherin is an iced celebration dessert.

It couldn’t be easier: a Vacherin is made up of a layer or two of meringue, topped with vanilla ice cream then raspberry sorbet and finished off with a Chantilly cream, often laced with a little festive tipple.

Vacherin Ice Cream Birthday Cake

A French Vacherin Ice Cream Birthday Cake

My French father-in-law, Jean-Pierre, adores a Vacherin cake. Each time we have a family reunion or party of some sort – whether it’s a birthday or an excuse for a special dessert, he always orders a Vacherin Glacé from the local patisserie. It’s such a French classic, that most patisseries sell them in the freezer, opposite the counter.

So, when Jean-Pierre (‘le Toucan‘) was visiting recently, I decided to make my own homemade Vacherin to surprise him for his 80th birthday. Thankfully they arrived when they did last month, before this Covid-19 virus has taken over.

La Vache! Pink Boobies…

Surprise, Jean-Pierre! I really did create an element of surprise, n’est-ce pas?

So much so, I shocked even myself by a last-minute mind-blowing idea of adding some pink colouring to the meringue.  Not exactly a great idea for a very traditional Corsican father-in-law male – but let’s just say it continued the raspberry sorbet theme? I loved how he totally ignored my pink boobies all around the cake, though. Luckily I had a few macaron shells handy to disguise them!

Vacherin French Ice Cream Dessert

Easy Dessert to Prepare in Advance

Moreover, a Vacherin is a perfect dessert made in advance.  Just prepare the day before, the morning itself – or even a few days before.

If you prefer the Chantilly cream fresh and unfrozen, then add this at the last minute and enjoy adding your own personal decorations. I added gold leaf, some pistachios and served cape gooseberries on the side, just as an excuse for some winter fruit, otherwise raspberries are great.

Vacherin French Ice Cream Cake

How to Prepare a Vacherin Cake

A Vacherin is more about organising the presentation of ice cream than an actual recipe, to be honest. Traditionally it’s made with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet, but I used nougat ice cream with extra raspberry ripple in it. Pistachio ice cream would be wonderful too.

I make my own meringue as a base but you could buy yours or even make a macaron base out of it and stick macaron shells or whole macarons all around the cake.  Just follow the macaron recipe instructions in either of my books.

Warning: If you do buy macarons from a store, ensure they have not been frozen first – otherwise do not freeze and serve at the last minute.

First take an 18cm cake ring. Trace a circle on parchment paper. Whip the meringue until stiff peaks are easy to work with a piping bag and pipe it as a spiral in the ring (no need to add colouring – keep it white!)

With the remaining meringue, pipe out little kisses. These will be stuck around the cake at the end.

While the meringue is baking in a coolish oven, use the cake ring to mould out both ice cream layers. The ice cream shouldn’t be too hard, making it easy to spread it into the ring. For this part, you will need to act fast so that the ice cream is easy to work with (still frozen, not melted!). KLxDate

Start with vanilla ice cream (or try this lemon verbena ice cream), then with raspberry sorbet. Leave each layer to harden in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Top the vanilla ice cream with the meringue base, turn upside down and top with Chantilly Cream, sticking on the meringue kisses around the sides using more cream.
NOTE: I don’t add any sugar to the Chantilly cream, as there’s enough sugar in the meringue and ice cream.

Place in the freezer until dessert! I should add that this dessert is gluten free.

Vacherin Ice Cream Dessert Macarons

 

Vacherin French Ice Cream Dessert

French Vacherin Ice Cream Cake

5 from 4 votes
Vacherin-Ice-Cream-Dessert
Vacherin Ice Cream Cake
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Freezing Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hrs 25 mins
 

A French iced celebration cake that's easy to prepare in advance. Just add meringue to a layer of vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet and top with unsugared Chantilly cream, laced with Chambord raspberry liqueur (gluten free).

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French iced dessert, gluten free desserts, Ice cream cake, Ice Cream Dessert, Vacherin
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 396 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Meringue
  • 3 egg whites
  • 100 g (3.5oz) sugar
  • 100 g (3.5oz) icing sugar (powdered/confectioner's sugar)
Ice Cream
  • 500 g (18oz) vanilla ice cream or other creamy, soft ice cream
  • 400 g (14oz) raspberry sorbet
Chantilly Cream
  • 300 g (10.5oz whipping cream (crème fleurette 30% fat)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or few drops vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Chambord Liqueur (or Kirsch) (optional)
Decor (optional)
  • pistachios
  • dusting of icing/confectioner's sugar
  • fresh raspberries
Instructions
Meringue
  1. Take an 18cm cake ring and trace the ring on to parchment paper as a guide for the spiral. Preheat the oven to 130°C/110°C fan/250°F/Gas 1/2

  2. Using an electric whisk (hand or stand mixer) whip up the egg whites until foaming, then gradually add a third of the normal sugar until it starts to look brilliant, then add the rest until the meringue has stiff peaks. Stop the whisk and fold in the icing sugar

  3. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag with a regular, straight tip and pipe out into a spiral on to the parchment paper. Using the rest of the meringue, either pipe out another spiral or pipe out small kisses. Bake in the oven for an hour.

Ice Cream
  1. Using ice cream that's a little soft for ease of use, place the cake ring on to a rimmed baking sheet and spread the ice cream into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then repeat the process by topping with the sorbet. Freeze for another 30 minutes.

Chantilly Cream and Preparation
  1. Whip the whipping cream for about 5 minutes until thickened. There's no need to add any sugar as there's enough sugar in the ice cream and meringue. Once whipped into peaks, add the liqueur, if using. Transfer the cream to a piping bag with a star tip.

  2. It needs quick work during this stage so that the ice cream doesn't melt. Remove the ice cream mould, placing the meringue spiral underneath. Spread a third of the cream all around the surface and stick on the meringue kisses around the sides, sticking on a little extra cream for each meringue. Finish off the rest of the cream by piping it out in a circle around the edges. Either serve immediately or freeze for at least another 30 minutes until ready to serve. Decorate as desired with pistachios, raspberries and icing sugar.

Recipe Notes

Serve with a rosé Champagne or demi-sec Champagne.

I would recommend enjoying this dessert in one go and not re-freezing this dessert if leftovers (who needs an excuse to eat the whole lot, anyway?). Ideally, make using shop-bought ice cream - although this is delicious with homemade lemon verbena ice cream

This iced celebration dessert is gluten free. 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

Luxury Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

There’s nothing more cereal-ously satisfying to see that many of you still enjoy making this healthy, homemade maple granola for breakfast.  For serious chocolate and coconut lovers, I’ve now taken it to a nutty new level. Make way for a luxury dark Chocolate Coconut Granola with plump dried cranberries, toasted brazil nuts, seeds – all wrapped in maple syrup and then melted dark chocolate. Moreover, this granola just so happens to be vegan.

The recipe is now demonstrated on a short video on my YouTube Channel HERE!

Jump to Recipe

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Granola

No Added Sugar

This started out as a basis of a recipe I saw in a French magazine years ago. However, it was unnecessarily overloaded with sugar. You may know I have a sweet tooth – but not THAT sweet. Too much sugar can totally kill a dessert or a macaron filling overloaded with it. Likewise, for breakfast, I prefer sugar kept to the minimum. There’s NO added sugar in this!

When it comes to granola, the beauty of making homemade is you can control this.  By adding natural sugars via healthy, dried fruits and maple syrup, there is NO ADDED SUGAR. Add the dried fruits after baking so that the juicy fruit retains all of its healthy nutrients.

chocolate coconut granola vegan

Gluten Free Homemade Granola

If you follow a strict diet or you are Celiac, please do ensure that your oats are specifically labelled as being GLUTEN FREE.

Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad?

Coconut oil is basically a good saturated fat oil. Ensure, however, you check the label when buying that it’s both cold-pressed and unrefined.

When is Granola NOT Vegan?

Making this for somebody following a strictly vegan diet and worried about granola being 100% vegan?
Granola is not vegan when honey or milk chocolate is used – it’s as simple as that. Also ensure that there are no milk additives in your cocoa powder.

Chocolate Coconut Granola for Vegans

If you are following a strict vegan diet, use vegan dark chocolate for the recipe. Good quality chocolate chips are good, as are dark chocolate chips. If you’re not following a vegan diet, however, you may prefer to use milk chocolate which will work well.

chocolate coconut vegan granola

Quality Chocolate – Best Tips for Baking Chocolate Granola

How do you bake a good quality chocolate granola? The the best tip I have for you is adding the chocolate AFTER baking. Bake it together in the oven and the chocolate will be burnt – who wants that? Burnt chocolate is incredibly bitter and what a waste of your best chocolate! Instead, melt it gently and give it the respect it deserves.

Either wait until your granola cools down completely and add chocolate chips or, my favourite method, as soon as it comes out of the oven, scatter over your chocolate chips, drops or grated dark chocolate and leave it to melt into the hot cereal.  As soon as the chocolate melts, stir the granola around again to mix it well together. Leave to cool (even quicker if 15 minutes in the fridge) and voilà – a gourmet chocolate coconut granola is ready for you to fill a cookie jar!

Chocolate coconut granola vegan

Healthy Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts are particularly good for selenium (great for memory). Just 2 brazil nuts a day will have you covered – just don’t forget to buy them!

Sesame seeds (poppy seeds or flaxseeds) are good natural sources of calcium. All this makes for a HEALTHY THYROID too – and, if you’re like me without a thyroid, it’s a great way to keep a daily healthy supply of essential nuts and seeds.

Dark chocolate coconut granola

Healthy Homemade Granola Variations

To vary the flavours, try with a mixture of almonds like in this plain Maple Granola without the chocolate

or with a hint of warm spices such as cinnamon, gingerbread spice or pumpkin spice for a spiced festive granola version for the holidays.

Looking for more healthy homemade breakfast cereals?

Try my friend, Christina’s simple Alpen copycat recipe with half the sugar of the regular popular muesli.

 

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

5 from 4 votes
chocolate coconut granola vegan
Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Homemade dark chocolate granola with coconut, brazil nuts, cranberries and sesame seeds with no added sugar, just natural ingredients to sweeten this luxury start to the day, stuck together with the best melted chocolate.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate granola, granola, vegan granola
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 300 g (10.5oz/3 cups) jumbo oats (if on a strict GF diet, ensure they're labelled gluten free)
  • 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) brazil nuts roughly chopped (or mix with walnuts)
  • 50 g (2oz/1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 25 g (2 tbsp) sesame seeds (or flax seeds)
  • 50 g (2oz) dessicated coconut
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 75 g (3 tbsp) coconut oil, melted (unrefined/cold-pressed) or neutral oil
  • 100 ml (5 tbsp) maple syrup
To add after baking:
  • 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) dried plump cranberries (or golden raisins)
  • 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate chips, drops, or grated chocolate (Vegan if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (Gas 4).

  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chocolate and dried fruits. Mix well until completely coated in the coconut oil and maple syrup.

  3. Cover a baking tray with baking paper (or a silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turn over the mixture and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes.

  4. As soon as out of the oven, immediately sprinkle over the chocolate chips/drops/grated chocolate and the dried fruits over the hot granola (see note*). After about 5 minutes, turn over the granola to mix in the melted chocolate and dried fruits. Leave to cool for the chocolate to set either on the counter at room temperature or for 15 minutes in the fridge. Transfer to a sealed container when cool.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy at its best within 10 days.

* Quicker altervative: wait until the granola cools completely then add chocolate chips and fruits (the result is different - no clumps achieved with melted chocolate but still good).

Serve with almond milk, fresh berries or with homemade rhubarb compote for a vegan breakfast or any of your favourite vegan accompaniments.
Otherwise, if it doesn't need to be vegan, enjoy with yoghurt, milk or Skyr (we're seeing this appearing from Iceland in French supermarkets all of a sudden - it's great!)

See the short Video Demonstration here.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Truth be told, I was planning all sorts of French travel posts and recipes lately but have been so tired after radiation treatment, I’ve things left aside until after the holidays. Yesterday, however, I did make these Crispy Sesame Tuiles for teatime, simply as they were so quick to make: they’re made in only 30 minutes!

I experimented using the basic Almond Tuiles recipe in my book, Teatime in Paris. Not only did they work using sesame seeds but they were so delicious, we couldn’t stop eating them! The bonus? They can keep even longer in a biscuit tin – if you can resist the temptation.

SEE THE VIDEO 

HERE

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Sesame Seeds – High in Calcium

Why Sesame Tuiles? Well, for the last 4 months, I’ve had trouble balancing calcium levels following the removal of my thyroid – and especially parathyroid glands. Even if you don’t have thyroid issues, we need calcium in our diet for healthy bones. Sesame seeds are naturally high in calcium, so I’ve been sprinkling them on more or less everything: on breakfast oat granola, on my favourite goat’s cheese salade de chevre chaud, soups like corn chowder and grilled Béarnaise chicken. It has worked!

Then yesterday, I just thought, why not replace the almonds with sesame seeds in my favourite, easy-and-fast-to-make teatime Tuiles? They’re even crispier and not as sweet as the classic French biscuits.

sesame tuiles

Whether you need more calcium or not in your diet, I urge you to try them: you’ll discover that Crispy Sesame Tuiles are also rather compulsive eating. What’s more – YOU NEED ONLY 2 EGG WHITES!

Sesame Tuiles

How Can I Serve Sesame Tuiles?

Crispy sesame tuiles are not just great on their own for teatime. Here are some ideas to serve with some of our favourite desserts:

In the recipe I have used white sesame seeds but try black sesame too. What about serving sesame tuiles with this Black Sesame ice cream, inspired by our gourmet visit to Japan last summer.

Sesame tuiles ice cream
Read more on our experience of Teatime in Japan here.

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Crispy Sesame Tuiles Recipe

4.89 from 9 votes
Sesame Tuiles Best Recipe
Crispy Sesame Tuiles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Cooling Time
14 mins
Total Time
32 mins
 

A variation of French Tuiles (literally 'roof tiles' by their biscuit shape) using sesame seeds instead of almonds - and high in calcium. Recipe adapted from French almond Tuiles from my book, Teatime in Paris.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: teatime recipes
Servings: 9 people
Calories: 162 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 70 g (2.5oz) Egg whites from 2 eggs
  • 65 g (2.25oz) cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 65 g (2.25oz) butter melted
  • 35 g (1.25oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 65 g (2.25oz) sesame seeds
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/170°C fan/gas 5.

  2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together with a spoon until well combined.

  3. Leave to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes - this will make your batter easy to spread out thinly on the baking sheet.

  4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper or a silicone mat and spoon the mixture into oval discs - using the back of a spoon - to about 6cm (2.5") in diameter.

  5. Bake in separate batches* (one tray at a time) in the oven for 8 minutes - keep your eye on them, as they cook fast. They should be toasted around the edges and cooked but golden in the middle.

  6. Straight from the oven, transfer each flat tuile (using a palet knife or pie slice) to a rolling pin to shape them to their tuile - or roof-tile - shape. Otherwise transfer to a wire rack to cool for 4 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Enjoy the tuiles freshly made, otherwise eat within 2 days if stored in an airtight container. 

* If not using all the batter, keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding

It’s about time I posted my favourite comfort-food dessert recipe, known affectionately in our family as S.T.P.: Sticky Toffee Pudding. I make this, however, with an added grated apple, giving it a twist to the classic. Here’s a Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding – adding a little extra fruit to the decadent luscious toffee scrumptiousness!

UPDATE – read on below, as I’ve added another ingredient to this gorgeous sticky sauce to make it rather special date at home!

sticky toffee apple pudding dessert

Why haven’t I posted this before? It goes against my Frenchie-style eating habits: I love dessert but shy away from over-sugared filling puddings.  This is the one exception – and the version below is my final answer to this most delicious dilemma called Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome.

Another reason? I already have a version of it in my first cookbook. For some fun, I converted the Sticky Toffee Pudding into a macaron for Mad About Macarons – making it an entirely gluten-free version.  I also made them into a giant macaron dessert for the book’s macaron dessert chapter, a kind of Xtra Large S.T.P. macaron!

Funnily enough, some American critics initially thought that S.T.P. was a “bit too British” for a macaron book – but little did they know that the recipe for sticky toffee pudding may well have originated in Canada, just like my Scottish Granny’s Matrimonial Cake (oaty date squares).

Sticky toffee pudding #macarons #glutenfree

As a youngter, my parents would often drive my wee brother and I down to the Lake District. It didn’t take us long to discover THE highlight of any of our trips there: we’d make a mandatory stop at the legendary Cartmel Village Shop for a S.T.P. dose from their “Home of Sticky Toffee”.
I distinctly remember the difference over many other sticky toffee puddings we tried in Scotland: it was distinctly dark and lush, covered in the darkest ever toffee sauce.

Living in France has meant the necessity of making this at home, as it’s not something we can just run out to our local pâtisserie or boulangerie and find – so this Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding was created along the way. It’s often requested by my beau-père, Jean-Pierre, who’s accent is adorable: can we have more of that steeecky toa-fee pood-eeeng?

Well, here it is, beau-papa.

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding

sticky toffee apple pudding #dessertlove #puddings

There are two ways of making this recipe:

Normally it’s made as a flat cake, batter sitting (nearly floating) on top of a pool of toffee sauce in a buttered ovenproof pie or gratin dish and serve spooned into pudding bowls or – in this case – teacups, inspired by Carina Contini’s family recipe for Sticky Ginger & Date Pudding in her Kitchen Garden Cookbook.

I adapted the recipe, cutting down slightly on the butter and sugar and added apple, since my Granny always mixed dates with apple – it’s a deliciously nostalgic thing I can’t help continuing.

Update October 2020: I made this again to cheer ourselves up of the darkening nights and added 2 tablespoons of dark rum to the sticky toffee pudding sauce. My goodness! It’s fabulous this way too.

You could call this version a Tipsy Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding!

sticky toffee apple pudding #puddings #dessertrecipes #stickytoffee

Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome

If you’ve been smitten with this pudding, you’ll totally understand. The cake version has one HUGE problem: we normally have at least second portions and it can get out of control. It’s what we call the Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome. So, to avoid such sticky toffee impulses, my preferred method is to pour the batter into individual silicone moulds. It’s just enough. Full. Stop.

Moreover, they’re so easy to freeze when removed from their silicone moulds and reheat when needed – making them so handy to serve stress-free for a dinner party later!

sticky toffee apple pudding

We eat half and freeze the rest before anyone can ask for more.

No second portions – unless you want a sticky toffee pudding macaron?

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding Recipe

sticky toffee apple pudding sauce recipe

Firstly, make the sticky toffee sauce: you’ll need this not just for pouring when it’s served, but also for pouring underneath the batter to make the cakes beautifully sticky.

In order to get the best, dark sauce, use soft dark muscovado sugar. If you can’t find this in speciality épiceries in France, then use Vergeoise Brun.

sticky toffee apple pudding method

Prepare the date paste adding water, bicarbonate of soda and grate in a peeled apple. Make the batter and fold in the date and apple mixture.

sticky toffee apple pudding recipe method

Pour in the toffee sauce to about 1/4 of the way then top with the batter, leaving 1/3 space at the top for the cake batter to rise. Bake for about 30 minutes and serve with the toffee sauce. That’s it!

sticky toffee apple pudding #dessertrecipes #bestofbritish #classicpuddings

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Cooling Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

An apple addition to the lush Sticky Toffee Pudding classic recipe, served individually in a pool of the darkest toffee sauce. The puddings and sauce also freeze extremely well. Just reheat them separately and serve when you need a dose of Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding! I use briochette or muffin silicone moulds, but traditional buttered dariole moulds are also good.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British, Canadian
Keyword: date pudding, sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 450 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Sticky Toffee Sauce:
  • 175 g (6oz) butter, unsalted
  • pinch salt fleur de sel
  • 250 g (9oz) dark Muscovado sugar Vergeoise Brun or soft dark brown sugar
  • 225 g (8oz) whipping cream (30% fat)
  • 2 tbsp dark rum (optional)
Pudding Batter:
  • 175 g (6oz) pitted dates roughly chopped
  • 175 ml (6fl oz) water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 apple (e.g. Granny Smith) peeled & grated
  • 75 g (3oz) butter, unsalted
  • 110 g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado)
  • 2 eggs organic
  • 150 g (5.5oz) plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (no need if use self-raising flour above)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger optional
Instructions
Sticky Toffee Sauce:
  1. Melt the butter, sugar, cream and rum (if using) in a large saucepan over medium heat, then once dissolved, turn down the heat to low and stir occasionally until the sauce becomes smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool.

Pudding Batter:
  1. In a saucepan, cover the dates with the water and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda then mash until a smooth paste. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir in the grated apple until well combined.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.

    Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or in a large stand-mixer until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, flour and ginger (if using). Fold in the date and apple mixture until mixed together.

  3. Pour 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of each silicone mould (or into a buttered gratin dish if you prefer the cake-like version). Top with the batter until 1/3 from the top, giving enough room for the batter to rise. Bake for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from the moulds after 5 minutes cooling and place directly on serving dishes. Reheat the toffee sauce and pour over each pudding. 

Recipe Notes

The puddings and sauce freeze well. Once the puddings are cooled, chill then transfer to a zip-lock bag or containers - likewise for the sauce.  Just defrost and reheat before serving.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

sticky toffee apple #pudding #desserttable #bestofbritish #stickytoffeepudding

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Lucie squealed when she saw this chocolate banana marble cake peeking out from the aluminium foil in the kitchen. I squealed since that bottom layer wasn’t very marbled and the top was a bit too browned – but hey, nobody’s perfect.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

To see the marble effect, of course, someone had already cut a few slices before the ‘official opening’. By the opening, you’ll understand what I mean if you want to photograph a whole cake for a blog or book before it’s attacked.

Really, the girls think I’m some kind of expert French police detective but it doesn’t take much to notice when a squirrel has sneaked off with the hidden edibles in the kitchen, does it?

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Marble Cake

To create a marble or swirl effect like a tiger (hence its other names) divide up the batter towards the end, layer each ten make zig-zags with a fork from one end to the other – or swirl a couple of times in a figure 8 with a skewer.

Although, in this case, you could say it’s a chocolate banana cake that’s lost its marble!

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Normally we enjoy this for breakfast with a typical large French bowl of coffee to accompany it and take our time. However, this chocolate banana marble cake is also delicious coated in a fudgy dark chocolate glaze for teatime.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Chocolate Cake Glaze Festive Decor

If you have any chocolate macaron shells handy, then stick them on top for a soft yet almond crunch. To create an instant holiday decor, sprinkle on some edible glitter (I use edible metallic lustre powder to brush on macarons from DecoRelief in Paris – see stockists on the FAQ page) for a quick golden effect.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Chocolate Banana Marble Cake?  Please leave a comment below – I love it when you make and share the recipes here.

Chocolate Banana Swirl Cake

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

5 from 1 vote
chocolate banana marble cake
Chocolate Banana Marble Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

A reduced sugar chocolate banana marble cake (or banana bread) perfect for breakfast or brunch, either topped with roasted banana or served at teatime with a fudgy dark chocolate ganache.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: bananabread, chocolate banana swirl, Chocolate Banana,, Chocolate Marble,, Marble Cake,
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 330 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 100 g (3.5oz) butter (unsalted) softened
  • 75 g (2.75oz) cane sugar
  • 3 eggs (organic) at room temperature
  • 170 g (6oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 (approx.225g/8oz) very ripe bananas + 1 for decor (optional)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dark chocolate chips good quality (bittersweet)
Teatime Chocolate Glaze (optional):
  • 50 g (2oz) dark (bittersweet) cooking chocolate good quality (64-74% cacao)
  • 50 g (2oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar sifted
  • 50 g (2oz) butter (unsalted)
  • 50 g (2oz) single or whipping cream at least 30% fat
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a loaf tin, otherwise if you’re using a silicone mould there’s no need. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/Mark 4/160°C fan.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft, light and creamy (this is even easier if you beat together in a stand mixer). Gradually add the eggs, one by one until well mixed. Incorporate the flour and baking powder until the batter is smooth.

  3. In another bowl, mash the banana with a fork and transfer half of it to the other bowl. In one of them, add the chocolate powder and chocolate chips and mix well.

  4. Pour the chocolate mix into the bottom of the tin, then pour in the banana batter, then the chocolate again then banana.
  5. Marble the cake by making zig-zags with a fork from one end to the other - or swirl a couple of times in a figure 8 with a skewer. If making this without the teatime glaze, cut the extra banana horizontally (if using) and place on top of the batter. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. 

    The cake is ready when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If not, bake for another 5 minutes. Leave the cake to cool then remove from the mould to a wire rack to cool.

For the Teatime Glaze (optional):
  1. Melt the chocolate, icing sugar and butter in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie). When melted, stir in the cream until the glaze is well blended.  Leave to cool for about 5 minutes then pour over the cake, evening the glaze with a knife and decorate whatever takes your fancy. I added some mini macaron shells and finally dusted it with gold food powder, just tapping it over with a couple of fingers.

Recipe Notes

Please resist temptation to eat this straight away, as the marble cake tastes even better the next day.  Can keep for 3 days in a cool place stored in an airtight tin or in aluminium foil (although not in the fridge) - if you're lucky not to have tigers around!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

chocolate banana swirl loaf