JTwo easy baked puddings to see you through early fall. First up, my chocolate banana pavlova, a dreamy combination of banoffee on chocolate meringue – the combination of crunch, cream and caramel makes it incredibly decadent, belying its simplicity. The tarte tatin, meanwhile, is ideal at this time of year, with seasonal pears which, cooked with star anise caramel, absorb the heat of the spice. Dark chocolate and hazelnuts add drama, as does crème fraîche or ice cream.
Banoffee Chocolate Pavlova (top photo)
Banana and caramel is a combination I can’t say no to, especially when served over a chocolate meringue. This dessert disappears in seconds once it hits the table in our house.
Preparation 20 mins
To cook 1h30
For the meringue
4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 tcornstarch sp
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted and slightly cooled
3 ttablespoon unsalted butter
4 bananaspeeled and cut in half lengthwise
4–6 tbsp Salted butter caramel sauce
500ml double cream
2 tonstbsp caster sugar
Heat the oven to 120 C (100 C fan)/240 F/low gas. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Draw a 20cm circle on the paper and turn it over, so the pencil mark is at the bottom, but still visible.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then stir in the powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time, until combined. Add the cornstarch, whisk until the mixture is shiny and stiff, then drizzle with the cooled melted chocolate and gently fold in – being careful not to overmix.
Spread the meringue on the prepared tray, inside the boundaries of the circle and in the shape of a crater, so that the sides are a little higher than the middle. Bake for an hour and a half, until crispy and dry, then remove and let cool.
Heat the butter in a pan, then add the bananas and cook, stirring gently, for two or three minutes, until caramelized on both sides. Let cool.
When ready to serve, whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Put the meringue on a serving plate and place the cream on top. Garnish with caramelized bananas, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve immediately.
Pear, chocolate, star anise and hazelnut tarte tatin
A great way to end a meal: puff pastry with soft pears covered in star anise caramel, nuts and chocolate.
Preparation 20 mins
To cook 1h10
1x320g wrap ready-made puff pastry
70g Butter without salt
100g caster sugar
1 tsp ground star anise
4–6 pearspeeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
50 grams roasted and crushed hazelnuts
50 grams dark chocolate (70% cocoa), coarsely chopped
1 egglightly beaten
Before you start baking, roll out the dough. Take a 20-23cm ovenproof pan and cut out a circle of dough the size of the pan. Put the dough on a tray and refrigerate until needed.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the butter and sugar in the pan, cook on low heat for five to six minutes until caramelized, then stir in the star anise.
Remove the pan from the heat and lay the pear halves, cut side up, on the caramel, keeping their narrow ends in the center. Brush some of the caramel over the pears, then bake for 30 minutes, until the pears are tender.
Sprinkle the hazelnuts in the interstices between the pears, then distribute them over the chocolate. Place the circle of dough on top and fold it over the edges of the mold around the pears.
Using a knife, make slits all over the pastry to allow steam to escape, then brush with beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for a minute, then unmold onto a plate, slice and serve.
Recipes taken from Chetna’s Easy Baking: With a Twist of Spice, published by Octopus at £20. To order a copy for £17.40, go to guardianbookshop.com