I designed this to not only look amazing but taste good too; at the end of the day who wants a boring fruit plate, or even just air, when everyone else is having a wicked chocolate treat? It takes five minutes to blitz up and plate up.
350 g (12 oz) silken tofu, at room temperature
200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate (70%), melted
70 ml (2¼ fl oz) soy milk
250 g (9 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved
150 g (5½ oz) raspberries
1 small handful of baby basil
1. Blitz the tofu in a food processor on high speed until smooth. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
2. Reduce the speed of the food processor and slowly pour in the melted chocolate. Return to high speed and blend until completely combined.
3. Reduce the speed of the food processor again and slowly pour in the soy milk, then blend until completely combined.
4. Line a flat tray with plastic wrap and place six 150 ml (5½ fl oz) tumblers on it. Put 4 whole raspberries into the bottom of each glass and then divide the chocolate tofu mousse evenly between the glasses. Carefully transfer the tray of glasses to the refrigerator for 10 minutes so the mousse can set.
5. Cut the remaining raspberries in half and combine them with the strawberries in a small bowl. Arrange the berries on top of the tofu mousse. Garnish with the baby basil leaves.
Make sure that the tofu is at room temperature and the chocolate is fully melted, or you get chocolate chunks in the tofu. Make sure to pour it straight away, otherwise it will set due to the chocolate.
I grew up with this quick cake recipe: Mum learned it from a lady at work and ended up making it for every occasion. For birthdays, kitchen teas, a Sunday family lunch: the occasion didn’t matter. It’s just whipped cream and chocolate biscuits, with a cherry on top to finish it.
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) pure (pouring) cream (35% fat)
20 g (¾ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 packet chocolate-flavoured biscuits (cookies)
6 glacé cherries with stems
Combine the cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until semifirm.
Lay one biscuit down on a tray and put 1 tablespoon of whipped cream on top. Put another biscuit on top of the first one and top with whipped cream. Continue to make a stack of four biscuits and cream.
Dollop the cream on top of the last biscuit.
Finish the creation with a cherry on top, then refrigerate for 1–2 hours before serving to allow the cream to soak into the biscuits
You can make this as a big cake in a loaf (bar) or round tin, and use chocolate sprinkles or anything you like. Blitz any remaining biscuits in a food processor and sprinkle the crumbs on.
This is my favourite Greek dessert: one of those things that taste better straight out of the oven with syrup poured over. My mother would always tell me off for attacking the tray before it had cooled down. This recipe is completely Mum’s: I haven’t adjusted it nor have I added my French training. This is what I grew up with and I want you to experience a little part of me too. You’ll come across loads of different recipes for this dish, but in my eyes this is the perfect way — Mum’s way.
600 ml (21 fl oz) milk
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (from the supermarket)
70 g (2½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
125 g (4½ oz) fine semolina
25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
375 g (13 oz) packet frozen filo pastry (about 20 sheets)
400 g (14 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1. Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan with 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) of cold water and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Refrigerate the syrup until completely cool. The syrup is best made the day before so that it is really cold when you pour it onto the hot galaktoboureko.
3. Put the milk into a medium saucepan with the vanilla sugar and bring to the boil.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until pale in colour and well combined. Add the semolina to the egg mixture and continue whisking until well combined.
5. When the milk has come to the boil, add the semolina mixture. Whisk for a further 5 minutes over medium heat until the mixture has thickened.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest. Set aside at room temperature until needed.
7. Preheat the oven to 165°C (320°F). Lay the filo sheets on a clean work surface, cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel) that has been slightly dampened with cold water. This is so the thin sheets of filo don’t dry out.
8. Lightly brush a deep-sided 20 x 30 x 4 cm (8 x 12 x 1½ inch) baking tray with melted butter.
9. Lay 1 sheet of filo in the base of the baking tray and brush with a little melted butter. Top with another filo sheet and lightly brush with melted butter. Repeat with another 8 filo sheets and melted butter. Make sure that the filo sheets overhang the sides of the dish so it holds in the semolina custard.
10. Pour the semolina custard into the baking dish. Repeat the layering with the remaining filo sheets and the remaining melted butter.
11. Use a small sharp knife to score the top of the galaktoboureko into 20 rectangles. Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle a little water over the top. Bake for 60 minutes or until golden.
12. While the dish is still hot, pour the cold syrup over it.
Make sure to cut the filo layers to shape before baking, but don’t cut right to the bottom: if it hasn’t been done before baking you won’t be able to do it after. When cooking the semolina custard, make sure you keep whisking so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the saucepan.
As a child I would buy yoyos from a pastry shop and sit and eat them with my godmother Angela, my second mum.
6 eggs, separated
140 g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
125 g (4½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
50 g (1¾ oz) cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
300 g (10½ oz) dark chocolate (53%), chopped or buttons
200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
VANILLA CUSTARD FILLING
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk
100 g (31/2 oz) unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
12 egg yolks
200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
100 g (31/2 oz) custard powder
1. To make the syrup, combine all of the ingredients with 200 ml (7 fl oz) of water in a small saucepan and stir. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely before using.
2. To make the custard filling, combine the milk, butter and the vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and custard powder. Pour half the boiling milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir well. Return the mixture to the pan with the remaining milk mixture.
3. Return to medium heat, whisking until the custard becomes quite thick. Make sure it does not catch on the bottom of the saucepan.
4. Pour the custard into a heatproof bowl and discard the vanilla bean. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely before using.
5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line one large or two small baking trays with baking paper.
6. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks with 90 g (3¼ oz) of the caster sugar on high speed until pale and thick. Transfer to a bowl.
7. Using a clean dry bowl and whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high speed, to soft peaks.
8. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the remaining sugar, then increase the speed to high and whisk to firm peaks.
9. Fold half of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. The fold through the flour and cornflour. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture; make sure not to over mix the sponge.
10. Put the mixture into a piping (icing) bag fitted with a plain size 13 nozzle. Pipe 5 cm (2 inch) discs onto the prepared trays, making sure there is plenty of space between each one. Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on the tray. The mixture should make 50–60 sponge discs.
11. To assemble, match the sponge cookies up into pairs. Turn one of each pair over so that the flat side faces up. Brush the flat side with the sugar syrup.
12. Take the custard filling out of the refrigerator and beat with a spatula until smooth. Fill a piping (icing) bag fitted with a plain size 15 nozzle with the custard filling and pipe it on to the cookie just inside the edge.
13. Turn the other discs over and brush the flat side with the sugar syrup. Place the matching cookie on top of the custard so that the flat side coated with sugar syrup is touching the custard. Gently squeeze together, so that the custard cream reaches the edge of the cookie.
14. Put the chocolate into a microwave-proof bowl and melt in 40-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until two-thirds of the chocolate is melted. Stir the chocolate until it’s completely melted and then temper down to 30°C (86°F) — see page 232.
15. Dip the top of a Kok into the chocolate and allow the excess chocolate to run off. Place the Kok back onto the tray with the chocolate side up and allow to set completely.
16. Repeat for the remaining Kok. Fill a paper piping (icing) bag with the remaining chocolate and pipe a spiral on top of each Kok.