Layers of crisp brown sugar and almond meringue nestle between clouds of whipped honey cream, fresh dates and soft dried figs, as warm honey cascades down the sides of this beastly yet elegant mountain of texture, colour and soulful flavour. And it’s easy. I’m all for easy recipes lately. Life is flying by way too fast, but I’m still determined to bake wherever I can. So that means I’m turning to recipes that can be planned ahead, prepared in sections and offer a low flop-risk. So voila!
Nothing beats a classic; except when you take a classic and throw dates and walnuts at it and it becomes an addictively scrumptious, surprisingly wholesome and completely heartwarming little scone. My Nan used to always bake date scones, and her favourite recipe used lemonade, which gave them a wonderful fluffiness. I’ve gone for this buttermilk version (admittedly to use up the leftover buttermilk I had in the fridge), and they turned out wonderfully! The wholemeal flour, sweet, juicy dates and crunchy walnuts promise tantalising texture in every mouthful, and you could happily experiment with any dried fruit and nuts you have in your pantry. Think apricot and almond, cranberry and macadamia, sultana and pecan…
Today I’m sharing with you a treasured family recipe. You know the type; baked first by my Nan for hungry farmers and children over the years, then by my Ma at special family lunches to follow a feast of roast lamb. Now I’ve added my own flair to this classic and secretly simple dish; a delightfully rich and moist Sticky Date and Pear Pudding covered in crispy caramelised pecans, served warm with vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of homemade butterscotch sauce. You’ll be able to have this one in the oven in well under an hour, and there are no tricks at all in the recipe. Perfectly embracing so many irresistible and comforting winter flavours, this dessert is a definite crowd pleaser and the ultimate comfort food.
Public service announcement; I have made a dessert that is purely, honestly, authentically healthy! I had my first ‘bliss ball’ last week after my last exam, and it was an awe-inspiring, eye-opening, life-altering experience. Ok perhaps that’s a slight overstatement, but it was pretty darn delicious! And as much as I love baking with butter and sugar and cream etc., in reality we can’t all stuff ourselves with cake everyday of the week (tragic, I know). But, the beautiful thing about these little treats is that although they are vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and 100 % natural, they are entirely decadent and addictive. Packed with almonds, dates, coconut, seeds, cacao and some protein powder, just a single ball of bliss is satisfying and delicious enough to boost you through a slow afternoon, or accompany a cup of tea before bed.