Sweets for your Sweet

Annabelle White shares her tips and tricks:

The perfect dinner has a luscious finale – a sweet treat providing great energy and yet tantalisingly joyous to savour.

annabelle whiteLittle wonder people feel cheated and ‘upset’ if the meal ends without a pudding.  A famous quote suggests “order dessert first, as life is uncertain”!

Many diners will admit they plough through the main course to get to the dessert and that’s just the way they like it. Years ago, I met a man who ordered dessert first, then the main and then another dessert – he admitted it was unusual, but he didn’t want to miss out!

Famous British actor Robert Morley always said he only got excited when he saw the dessert trolley being wheeled out and would have to suppress anger when other dining companions said “no dessert, thanks I never eat it”.

Fresh Fruit

I think of Barker’s fruit syrups almost like a salad dressing for salad, but instead a flavour enhancer for something sweet. Instead of adding sugar to a fruity dessert, drizzle over a little fruit cordial. The fruit can quickly be enhanced whilst saving you so much preparation time. 

fresh fruit saladMy favourite accompaniment to a fresh fruit dessert is to place a pottle of cream fraiche in a bowl and add a few large spoonfuls of Barker’s Lemon Curd. If there is an orange or lemon in the fruit bowl, add a squeeze of juice and a little citrus zest.

Now you have made the most divine fruit cream that everyone will want seconds and embarrassingly ask for the recipe!  If for any reason you have some left-over it can be frozen and makes a great instant ice-cream.

Tasty Tartlets

Barkers’ Lemon Curd is equally delicious as a filling for pre-baked pastry cases and then just topped with a few fresh berries and make sure it is served with some whipped cream on the side. 

That same curd can be added to natural yogurt to provide full flavoured sweetness to accompany a slice of cake, but you have control over the amount rather than using a pre-sweetened fruit yoghurt.

Lemon Ice Cream

Curd can also be simply drizzled over ice cream and a delicious suggestion is to take vanilla ice cream, soften slightly on the bench for 20 minutes and then add crumbed lemon biscuits and swirls of lemon curd. Place back in freezer and you have your own instant lemon ice cream creation!  It’s a great way to use up lemon biscuits crumbs and can be used to help re-work leftover lemon cake pieces as well. Serve with a little glass of chilled limoncello. 

lemon ice creamBite Sized

That jar of jam in the fridge can also be a huge help when making a few sweet options for a special dinner. For example, you may have a favourite cookie recipe: when you place the little ball of pre-cooked dough on the baking tray make an impression with your thumb in the centre and place a little of that jam in the middle and bake as per normal. That jam centre gives the cookie an extra charm.

Almond Thumbprints Don’t have a recipe? Try ours!

Let Them Eat Cake

The classic sponge cake or sponge roll has become very in fashion. For a classic sponge cake presentation simply spread one of the sponges itself with the jam and top with cream – you then place the other sponge on top and decorate with a sprinkling of icing sugar. 

Jam spongeA fun idea is to get a few paper doilies (your grandmother might have a set spare) and place the paper doily on the top sponge then dust with icing sugar using a little tea strainer and remove the doily and hey presto you have an artwork, as well as a great dessert option.

Baked Apple

Another simple suggestion is to use the syrup with a traditional baked apple.  Cut around the middle of a cooking apple to break the skin to prevent the apple ‘exploding’ when you cook it. Remove the centre core and scoop out a little flesh. Fill the centre with diced dried apricots and currants or other dried fruits and you do not need to add sugar.

baked applesDrizzle the stuffed apple in a baking pan with your favourite Barker’s fruit cordial and then cover with foil and a few little pieces of butter and bake as per normal in the oven – removing the foil towards the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Normally baked apple recipes require making a sugar syrup to go with the baking apple – with the Barker’s cordial you save time and get that delicious addition of extra vibrant fruit flavour.

It’s just so easy!