The Recipes - Sweet things

Pumpkin and amaretti cake
Torta di zucca e amaretti

Makes one 23cm cake
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes – 1 hour

250g self raising flour
500g pumpkin deseeded and skinned
180g caster sugar
50g amaretti biscuits crushed
2 free-range eggs
Icing sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 170ºC and grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

Chop the pumpkin into chunks and steam until tender, for about 10 minutes, then set aside to cool slightly.  In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and foamy then add to this the cooked pumpkin.  Whisk the mixture until the pumpkin is mashed and completely incorporated.  Next add the crushed amaretti and flour.  Give the mix a final whisk and then pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. When the cake has cooled, dust with icing sugar.

Lemon curd tart
Tartine al crema di limone

Makes one 24cm or 6 individual tarts
Preparation time: 10 minutes plus resting
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes

For the pastry
300g plain flour
100g sugar, softened
150g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
For the lemon curd
100g butter
200g sugar
2 unwaxed lemons
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon cornflour

To make the pastry, place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Do not overwork the dough.  Wrap the dough up and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

To make the lemon curd, place the juice and zest of both lemons in a heat proof bowl with the butter and sugar.  Place this bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave until the butter has completely melted, stirring from time to time.  In a separate bowl mix the eggs and one egg yolk with the cornflour and then stir into the lemon butter mixture.  Let this cook over the simmering water for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly until it thickens.  Remove the curd from the heat and leave to cool.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to line six individual tart cases or 1 large case.  Bake blind in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes for individual cases and 30-35 minutes for a large case.  Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans from the tart 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time so that the base of the tart cooks thoroughly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  When cool fill with the lemon curd.


Bisciola della Valtellina
Fruit cake from the Valtellina

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

200g plain flour
50g rye flour
2 free-range eggs
50g butter
25g sugar
100ml milk
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g sultanas
50g walnuts
150g dried figs, roughly chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, butter, eggs, sugar, milk, pinch of salt and baking powder until a smooth dough is obtained.  Next, add the dried fruits and walnuts, mixing these in well.  Finally, shape the dough into a long loaf shape, brush with egg wash if desired, place on a lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 40 minutes.

TIP:  For an adult version, soak the figs and sultanas in some rum before adding to the mixture.

Redcurrant yoghurt puddings
Budino di ribes allo yoghurt

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes + chilling time
Cooking time: N/A

400ml Greek style plain yoghurt
300g redcurrants
2-3 tablespoons icing sugar
10g sheet gelatine
3 tablespoons milk

Place the sheet gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave for 10 minutes until softened.  In the meantime, gently heat the milk in a pan and set aside.  Once the gelatine has softened, remove it from the water, squeeze to remove any excess water and then add it to the milk and stir well until it has completely dissolved.  Add the milk to the yoghurt and stir together. 

Place the redcurrants into a blender (saving a few for decoration) and whiz until smooth.  Add a tablespoon or two of water if the puree is too thick.  Blend 2/3 of the pureed redcurrants into the yoghurt mixture (you can sieve the puree first if you prefer not to have any seeds in the pudding).  Finally, add two tablespoons of icing sugar to the mixture and stir.  Taste for sweetness and if desired add another tablespoon of sugar.  Pour the mixture into pudding moulds and leave in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or even better, overnight. 

When you want to serve, dip the pudding basins into hot water for a few seconds to loosen them from the container.  Serve the puddings with the remaining redcurrant puree poured over the top (taste the puree to see if you need to sweeten it with a tablespoon or two of icing sugar).