Just desserts

On April 28, 2015 by battenburgbelle

I promise I have made some actual meals recently, but the highlights have definitely been these sweet treats.

Pistachio biscotti

Pistachio biscotti

Very sad circumstances mean that I have inherited  three of Dennis Cotter’s vegetarian cook books – a fitting memento of a lovely friend I used to pontificate at great length with about food. I first discovered Mr Cotter when my brother and/or sister-in-law requested Paradiso Seasons for a (birthday/Christmas?) gift a couple of years ago. They’ve made me several great dishes from that, but they confessed recently that they find that most recipes have at least two and often more elements to the dish and that, sometimes, this is just too much. So they lent it to me for a year. I will be returning it to them early, as I now have my very own copy. I urge them to give it another whirl – I have loved everything I’ve made from it.

Yoghurt, cardamom and pistachio tart with honey roasted figs

Yoghurt, cardamom and pistachio tart with honey roasted figs

First up was this yoghurt, cardamom and pistachio tart with honey roast figs, from For the Love of Food. The pistachio pastry took a lot longer to bake than the recipe suggested, but I think I’d rolled it a bit too thick. Anyway I kept putting it back in the oven until I’d had enough. It was fine – a bit more like a cheesecake base than pastry in my opinion, but none the worse for that. The yoghurty filling was beautiful – so delicately flavoured with orange and lemon zest and many crushed cardamom seeds. Served with figs, gently roasted in a blend of butter and honey.

Angus, Clive and Jenny came round for dinner the other evening, but work got in the way of my catering plans. This, combined with Angus’ dairy intolerance and Clive’s proper vegetarianism (and possibly the hangover referred to in Silver Screen Supper’s recent blog post…) resulted in a fabulous takeaway from Indian Rasoi in East Finchley. But I did think I should offer a homemade dessert. I turned to Dennis again – this time I took the liberty of mixing up some of his recipes. I made these pistachio biscotti and served them with vanilla poached pears. The biscotti looked a bit disastrous at one point (they felt very sticky). But if I’ve learnt one thing from all this blogging about food, it’s that even if a dish looks as though it has gone very badly wrong, you might as well carry on and see what happens. After all, there’s not much sweet stuff you can’t bung in a trifle-style dish.

The vanilla poached pears were divine:

600g sugar

800ml water

2 vanilla pods

6 pears

Bring the sugar, water and vanilla pods to a boil in a small deep pan. Peel the pears and put them in the syrup. Simmer very gently for 20-30 minutes until the pears are just tender, then leave to cool in the syrup.

Vanilla poached pears with pistachio biscotti

Vanilla poached pears with pistachio biscotti

I served them with the biscotti and some creme fruit (sorbet for Angus, of course).

They were also very good with yoghurt and granola for breakfast apparently.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins

I personally favour a savoury breakfast, but I did also make these blueberry muffins recently. Another Felicity Cloake “perfect” recipe – try them, they actually are perfect.

One Response to “Just desserts”

  • I can testify that the poached pears and the biscotti were DELICIOUS. I am very surprised that no booze was involved in the poaching, they are SO TASTY. And joy of joys, you have just reminded me (I was so drunk I’d forgotten) that you parcelled one up in some tupperware so it’s in my fridge somewhere – yippee!


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