Lemon, Mascarpone and Almond Cheesecake Crumble

Crisp pastry case, filled with a creamy mascarpone and lemon cheesecake, topped with a sweet crunchy almond brittle.

 

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For the month of November Krista & Nicole of “Two Cups of Sugar.”challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.

I was really intrigued by this daring bakers challenge, as I have never had cheesecake in a pie before, but it sounded delicious!

 

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The original recipe used a crumble topping, but I decided that I would prefer a crunchy almond topping to keep it light.

I’ve never actually made a baked cheesecake before, so I was a bit worried, but this was surprisingly easy, so I will certainly be making cheesecake again!

 

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I had a lot of fun with this challenge, so I’m looking forward the next one!

Variations: You could easily change the flavour of the cheesecake to orange or lime. Another option would be to make a chocolate baked cheesecake and top it with peanut brittle!

 

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Ingredients: Serves 10

The Pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 120g butter
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp water

The Cheesecake:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • zest and juice of three lemons
  • 4tbsp ground almonds
  • 200g caster sugar

The Almond Brittle

  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 150g flaked almonds

 

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To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a loose bottomed tart tin.

Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar, until it forms a fine bread crumb-like consistency. Then stir in the water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

Turn out onto a floured work surface, and roll out until half a centimeter thick. Place into the tart tin, and press into the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.

Cut 12 small hearts out of the leftover pastry and stick to the edges  of the pre-baked tart case with egg wash.

The Cheesecake Filling:

Whisk together all the cheesecake ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Pour into the tart tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until just set, there should still be a wobble in the centre when you shake the tin.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours.

 

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The Almond Brittle:

Line a baking tray with oiled grease-proof paper.

Place the sugar and water in a small plan and cook over a medium heat, until the mixture forms a caramel.

Turn off the heat and stir in the almonds.

Pour onto the prepared baking tray and spread into a thin layer. leave to cool completely.

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Once cool, blitz in a small blender to a breadcrumb like consistency.

Pour over the top of the cheesecake.

Serve and enjoy!

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Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Apple cupcakes topped with a caramel buttercream and a slice of toffee apple.

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Toffee apples are on of my favourite autumn-time treats, I love the mixture of sweet toffee and tart apple. So as its the right time of year, I wanted to try and get their flavour into a cupcake.

I have used the recipe for caramel icing from the primrose bakery cook book, as I have used it before in banoffee cupcakes, so I knew it would give the right flavour.

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To make these look a little ore special I have made some toffee apple slices to top them with, which give you a lovely crunchy surprise.

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#94 this week hosted by Angie! . Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different fruit such as pear. You could also use banana in the cupcakes for a banoffee flavour.

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Large Cupcakes

The Cakes:

  • 2 brambly apples
  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour

The Icing:

  • 45g butter
  • 60ml semi skimmed milk
  • 160g soft brown sugar
  • 200g icing sugar

The Toffee Apple Slices:

  • 12 slices of cooking apple
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1tbsp water

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To Make:

The Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a cupcake tray with muffin cases.

Peel, core and finely chop the apples, place in a large pan with a nob of butter and 50g of soft brown sugar. Cook over a medium heat for around 15 minutes, until the apples begin to break down and form a compote. turn off the heat and leave to cool.

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Then fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the cooled compote and self raising flour. Stir until everything is combined.

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases until 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

The Toffee Apple Slices:

Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a medium heat, until the sugar melts and turns a dark golden brown colour, this should take around 5 minutes.

One the sugar has a caramelised remove from the heat, and dip each apple slice into the caramel, making sure it is completely coated. Leave to set on a tray lined with grease proof paper.

The Toffee Icing:

Combine the milk, brown sugar and butter in a small pan, cook over a medium heat, until the mixture melts together and begins to bubble.

Boil the mixture for two minutes, then remove from the heat. pour into a large bowl along with the icing sugar, and beat to a smooth consistency. Leave to cool and firm up before using.

Assembling:

Cover the top of each cupcake with a smooth layer of the toffee icing, Then top with a toffee apple slice.

Serve and enjoy!

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Biscotti di Mandorla

Sweet, chewy almond biscuits, coated in sesame seeds, flaked almonds, or filled with a drop of raspberry jam.

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This the the second recipe I have tried out from sicillian desert cookbook. I chose to make these little biscuits because the recipe was so simple and I love almonds so I knew they would be delicious.

The biscuits turned out really nicely, although I think I probably should have made them about half the size as they are supposed to be tiny little mouthfulls, whereas mine are slightly gargantuan!

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I really like the way you can change how the biscuits taste and look just by rolling them in a different topping or adding a tiny little bit of jam. I will definitely be making them again to try out a few different variations.

I know it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas, but when I made these I couldn’t help but think about how lovely they would be as a small Christmas gift, if you wrapped then up nicely.

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I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#90 this week, hosted by Angie, and co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Lindy @ Lindy Mechefske. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: Any kind of nut would work as the coating, I might try pistachios next time. I also think dipping a few in chocolate would be delicious!

Ingredients: Makes 20 Biscuits

  • 300g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • vanilla
  • zest of one lemon

Optional:

  • flaked almonds
  • sesame seeds
  • crushed pistachios
  • raspberry jam

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a few baking trays.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl and beat until it forms a smooth, stiff dough.

Coat your hands in flour, take small pieces of dough, and roll into balls. Then roll in the coating of your choice and transfer to the prepared baking trays. Making sure the biscuits are a few cm apart, allowing them to expand slightly.

To make the jam filled biscuits, take small pieces of dough, roll into balls and place on the baking tray. Use your thumb to press a dent in the top of the ball, and fill with 1/2 a tsp of jam.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until cooked though and golden brown. Transfer to a wire ack and leave to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve!

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Biancomangiare alle Mandorle

Set puddings made of sweetened almond milk, covering a layer of tart raspberry jam.

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This is the first recipe I tried out of my new cookbook; Sweet Sicily. I bought the cookbook as soon as I got back off holiday as I loved the food in Sicily so much, and there were loads of things I didn’t get to try!

One of the desserts I missed out on when I was on holiday was a Biancancomangerie, which is basically like a pana cota, but made using almond milk rather than cream.

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The recipe was really really easy, and it worked really well first time round, so hopefully that will be the case will all the recipes in my new book!

These desserts have a really unusual taste, I don’t think I’ve ever had almond milk before so it was a completely new flavour for me! But it has a really nice light but nutty and flavourful finish. It’s also gluten and dairy free, so a great one to have in your repertoire!

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My only disappointment in how this dessert turned out is the colour. I should have splashed out and bought a better quality of almond milk, as the one I used had a light brown colour,meaning the dessert is not the pure white colour it should be, but at least I know for next time!

I don’t own any pana cota moulds so I made them in ramekins with some lemon curd or raspberry jam at the bottom, but to my surprise I could actually tip them out of the ramekins and they kept their shape beautifully.

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Variations: I think this would taste really good with some chocolate chips or caramelised nuts on top. You could also a try a mixture of cream and almond milk for a richer finish.

Ingredients: Makes 6-8 puddings

  • 1 litre of almond milk
  • 200g sugar
  • 90g cornflour
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

optional:

  • raspberry jam
  • lemon curd

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To Make:

In a small bowl combine the cornflour with a few tbsp of the almond milk. Whisk into a smooth paste.

Transfer the rest of the almond milk into a large pan and slowly bring to the boil.

Pour in the cornflour mixture, along with the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract, and whisk continuously untill the mixture thickens. This took about 10 minutes when I made it!

Meanwhile place a tsp of jam in the bottom of some small ramekins.
Once the mixture has started to thicken, immediately remove from the heat and continue to whisk until it has stopped thickening.

Pour into the prepared ramekins and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to set.

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Pear and Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart

Crisp pasty encasing a sweet almond frangipane, studded with thinly sliced pear, drizzled in dark chocolate.

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This is my fourth bake-off themed post inspired by pastry week! On that episode the bakers had to make frangipane tart, and they all looked amazing! I have made them in the past, but Ive never paid much attention to making them look that pretty, so I wanted to have a go!

I decided to do pear and dark chocolate because I love the flavour combination. It was also really easy to make it look pretty with pears, its amazing how much difference arranging the fruit can make! When I’ve made a fruit tart before i haven’t paid much attention to the arrangement to the fruit, and it has never looked as good as this!

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This actually a really easy tart to make, my pastry recipe is super easy as it doesn’t need chilling in the fridge (as long as you use very cold butter!), or weighing down with baking beans during the blind bake, and making a frangipane is really simple.

I have seen some recipes that recommend poaching the pears before baking them in the frangipane, but I added mine raw and they cooked beautifully in the frangipane so there is no need! so really tis is a minimum effort tart that looks like a lot more impressive than it really is, perfect if you want to impress!

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I will be bring this along to share at Fiesta Friday#86, hosted by Angie. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different fruit in this tart, I’m sure raspberries would taste lovely, or maybe some plums.

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Ingredients: Serves 8

The Pastry Case:

  • 150g butter
  • 270g flour
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp cold water

The Frangipane Filling:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g ground Almonds
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • Flaked almonds (for scattering)
  • 150g dark chocolate

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To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a loose bottomed tart tin.

Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar, until it forms a fine bread crumb-like consistency. Then stir in the flour 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

Turn out onto a floured work surface, and roll out until half a centimeter thick. place into the tart tin, and press into the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.

The Frangipane Filling:

Peel the pears, then cut them in half lengthways, and cut out the cores. Slice them into thin strips horizontally.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then fold in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Finally, mix through the milk.

Spoon the frangipane into the blind baked pastry case and sooth out. Arrange the pears on top, and scatter with some flaked almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the frangipane is cooked through and has turned golden brown on top.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool, then drizzle with some melted dark chocolate. Cut into 8 slices and serve! Delicious with a dollop of mascarpone cream.

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Lime and Coconut Drizzle Cake

Coconut and lime sponge, drenched in a sweet, tangy lime syrup. 

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Who doesn’t love a classic lemon drizzle cake? It’s one of my favourites because I love the way the tangy syrup gets the sponge so moist and sticky.

I had a bit of a craving for one at the weekend, but I wanted to see if I could mix it up a bit, so I made a lime and coconut version.

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I brought this cake into work and everyone agreed that lime and coconut is easily as good as, if not better than lemon drizzle!

This was a really quick and easy cake to make, so I definitely recommend it for an afternoon treat 🙂

Variations: You could change this into a classic lemon drizzle cake or you could avg some pineapple to the sponge for a pins colada drizzle cake!

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Ingredients: Makes 12-15 Squares

The Sponge:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g coconut cream
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour

The Syrup:

  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 4-5 limes
  • 150g icing sugar

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To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and line a rectangular baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – this should take around 5 minutes. Then fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the coconut cream, zest and finally fold in the flour.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and even out. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown.

Leave to cool slightly in the tin before pouring over the syrup.

The Syrup:

Combine the lime juice, zest and icing sugar in a small pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Taste at this point to check that the syrup is sweet/sour enough for you.

Poke holes along the top of the sponge with a skewer, and then pour the syrup all over the sponge, making sure you reach all the edges and corners.

Leave to cool for around 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

Slice into 12-15 squares and serve!

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Chai Spiced Creme Brulee

Thick creamy egg custard flavoured with chai spiced tea, and dark chocolate, topped with a crunchy layer of caramel. 

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This is my Fourth (belated) Bake-Off post! In the 4th bake-off episode the bakers made desserts and one of the challenges was creme brulee. I absolutely LOVE creme brulee but I’ve never been brave enough to try making it myself, so I thought it would be a good excuse to be brave and give it a go!

I made these for my family when I was at home for the weekend, and they just wanted an original creme brulee, so that’s what I did for most of mine. But I wanted to try a different flavour, so I made a dark chocolate chai creme brulee as well, which was really delicious, so I definitely recommend it!

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I think these were actually  quite easy to make! Mine took a long time in the oven, but I think that is because I filled the tray with cold water rather than hot. My first attempt at the caramel topping didn’t go to well either, as I just tried sprinkling caster sugar over and doing all the caramelisation under the grill, but the finish was very uneven.

On the bake off, one of the contestants caramelised the sugar first, then blended it back into a sugar like consistency and only then sprinkled it over the creme brulee and cooked it under the grill, I tried this and it worked SO much better, so I recommend you do the same if you try these out!

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I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#84 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Steffi @ Ginger & Bread. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: There are so many different flavor combinations you could do with a creme brulee, I would like to try a fruit version, like a passion fruit curd at the bottom.

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Ingredients: Makes Eight 150ml Pots

  • 500ml double cream
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 7 large eggs
  • vanilla essence
  • chai tea bags (optional)
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 175g caster sugar

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to fan 160C. Sit eight 150ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour in hot water, until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.

Combine the milk and cream in a large pan, and heat gently until bubbles just begin to appear at the side. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Very slowly, pour the yolk mixture into the hot cream, mixing continuously, stir in the vanilla essence.

Pour the custard into the ramekins, and bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. The creme brulees will be ready when there is a very slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and chill down in the fridge.

Chai: Make a dark chocolate ganache by meting the dark chocolate in 100ml of double cream. Pour this into the bottom of the ramekins. While the milk is heating up, infuse with one teabag/pot.

The Topping:

Weigh out 100g caster sugar in a small pan, and heat until it forms a caramel. pour onto a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper and leave to cool.

Break up the cooled caramel and place in a small blender and blitz to a fine powder.

Pour 1tsp of the blended caramel on top of each creme brulee and smooth out, covering the entire surface. Cook under the grill until the caramel has turned dark brown and bubbly. Remove from the grill and chill in the fridge before serving.

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Strawberry & Watermelon Eton Mess

Chunks of chewy meringue, folded into whipped cream, rippled with watermelon curd and fresh strawberries.

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This dessert was originally meant to be a watermelon pavlova, but I had a bit of a meringue disaster, so it has ended up as an Eton mess instead!

I made this with the egg whites I had leftover from my watermelon curd, and I thought the curd and meringue would make a lovely combination, which they did!  This was a wonderfully unusual flavour to have in a dessert, as the tropical watermelon works really well with the sweet meringue, and I managed to finish off a very large bowl all to myself!

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Ingredients: Serves 4-6

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 220g watermelon curd
  • 150g strawberries

The Meringue:

  • 3 eggs
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g icing sugar

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To Make:

The Meringue:

Preheat the oven to 160C, and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Whisk together the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks. Then fold in the sugar, bit at a time, while continue to whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray into a large rectangle, then bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven, leaving the meringue in the oven as it cools.

Remove the meringue from the oven once it reaches room temperature, and break into bite sized chunks.

Assembling:

Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold though 3/4 of the watermelon curd, the strawberries and meringue chunks.

Place a few spoonfuls of the mixture into the bottom of a small bowl, then add a few teaspoons of the watermelon curd, followed by more of the cream mixture. top with a few more drizzles of curd, and some sliced strawberries.

Serve and enjoy!

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Orange, Ginger & Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Crisp almond biscotti flavoured with fragrant orange zest, fiery stem ginger, and dipped in bittersweet dark chocolate.

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This is my second Bake-Off themed bake! The signature bake in the second episode was Biscotti. I have only ever made biscotti once before, and I stuck to the classic almond flavour, so I was really keen to try making them again with some more adventurous flavours!

This recipe was from my Delia Cakes recipe book, which has a recipe for almond biscotti, But I have added orange zest and stem ginger into the biscuits, and dipped them in dark chocolate.

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I really enjoyed making biscotti, I thought it was surprisingly quick and easy, so I will definitely try them again with some different flavour combinations.

These would be a great treat to bring round to a friends house, so I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#82, hosted by Angie, and cohosted by Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Sarah @ Sarah’s Little Kitchen. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: The possibilities with biscotti are almost endless! I think I might try an almond biscotti, flavoured with lemon, and dipped in white chocolate.

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Ingredients: Makes 10-12 Biscuits

  • 110g self raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 3 pieces of stem ginger
  • 1 orange
  • 150g dark chocolate

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Combine the flour, ground and whole almonds, sugar, orange zest and finely chopped stem ginger in a large bowl and give it a good mix. Then add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix it together first with a wooden spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.

Now place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and bake it near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 150C.

Cut the log into 10-12 slices, around 1cm thick, on the diagonal. Then place back onto the baking tray, and bake in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled dip the biscotti in melted dark chocolate and leave to set.

Serve and enjoy!

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Lemon Mousse Cake

Layer of genoise sponge topped with a zesty, tangy lemon mousse and a layer of limoncello jelly. Finished with some slices of candied lemon.

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I love lemony desserts, and this is definitely one of the most deliciously sharp and sweet lemon desserts I have ever made!

I made this cake when I visited my family at the weekend and I was asked to provide dessert. I wanted to make something light and summery, and not too rich, so I thought a light lemon mousse would be perfect. To make this a bit more sophisticated I also added a layer of limoncello jelly to the top of my mousse.

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Everyone loved this dessert and it was surprisingly easy to make (it just needs a lot of time to set!), so if your looking for a simple but impressive dessert,then this one is for you!

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#80 this week, hosted by the wonderful Angie. And very excitingly, my Raspberry and Mint Jam Tarts have been featured this week! Hope everyone has a fantastic Friday!

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Ingredients: serves 10-12

The Sponge:

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar

The Lemon Mousse:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 300ml double cream
  • 8 gelatine leaves
  • 4 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar

The Limoncello Jelly:

  • 100ml limoncello
  • 2 lemons
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 leaves of gelatine

The Candied Lemons:

  • 200g water
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 lemon

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To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then add 80g caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Pour into the egg whites and fold in. Then fold in the flour.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and level off. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and springy.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

The Lemon Mousse:

Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form, then whisk in the sugar until smooth and glossy.

In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, zest and egg yolks. Finally, in a third bowl whisk the double cream until stiff peaks form.

Soak the gelatine in water, and then transfer to a small pan with a few tbsp of water, and heat until the gelatine completely melts.

Fold the yolk mixture, gelatine and cream into the egg whites, until the mixture is completely homogenised.

Return the sponge to the bottom of the springform cake tin, and pour the mousse over the top. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

The Limoncello Jelly:

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.

Combine the sugar, limoncello, lemon juice and gelatine in a small pan and heat until the gelatine completely dissolves, pour over the set mousse and leave to chill in the fridge for a further 2 hours.

The Candied Lemons

Cut the lemons into around 8-10 circular slices.

Combine the sugar and water in a saute pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Place the lemons into the sugar syrup and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the syrup has reduced by about 2/3 and the lemon has turned translucent.

Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and leave to cool.

Assembling:

Carefully remove the cake from the springform tin, and decorate with the candied lemons.

Cut into 10-12 slices and serve. Delicious with a generous glass of limoncello on the side!

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