Rabbit, Kidney and Sultana Puddings
I originally made this for the The Alan Titchmarsh Show, when I wanted to develop a new savoury pudding. It is one of my most popular recipes.
4 tablespoons sultanas
Grand Marnier liqueur for soaking
1 large farmed rabbit, boned (use the bones to make stock)
50g plain flour seasoned with sea salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 rashers of bacon, finely diced
15g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 lambs’ kidneys, quartered
125ml red wine
300ml rabbit stock or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
For the pastry:
400g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
175g shredded suet
180ml boiling water
Put the sultanas in a bowl, cover with Grand Marnier and set aside to soak. Cut the rabbit meat into 2cm pieces and toss it in the seasoned flour. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on all sides. Transfer it to a casserole dish. Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper, add a little oil and fry the onion until soft. Add to the rabbit. Fry the bacon in the same pan and add to the rabbit. Melt the butter in the frying pan and fry the kidneys until brown outside but still pink inside. Set aside.
Pour the wine into the frying pan and stir well to deglaze, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. Add the liquid to the rabbit mixture, then pour in the stock, add the herbs and mix well. Bring to the boil, cover the casserole dish and put into an oven preheated to 180C/Gas Mark 4 for about 40 minutes.
Add the sultanas, their soaking liquid and the kidneys to the casserole, then return to the oven for another 20–25 minutes, until the meat is tender. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside to cool, then strain the sauce from the meat, reserving it as gravy for later.
To make the pastry, put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Gradually add the boiling water, mixing until a smooth dough forms.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, shape it into a log, then cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll them into circles large enough to line 8 buttered 150g pudding basins, leaving a 5mm overhang. Cut off the excess pastry and set it aside.
Spoon the filling into the basins until three-quarters full. Roll out the pastry trimmings and cut out eight circles to cover the filling. Place them on top and brush some water around the edges. Bring up the overhanging pastry and fold it over each lid to seal well.
Cover them and place on a rack in a deep baking tin. Pour cold water under the rack, making sure it doesn’t actually touch the basins. Cover the whole tray in foil and place in an oven preheated to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 for one hour. Turn out the puddings and serve with the hot reserved gravy and mashed parsnips.
Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Icing and Confit Orange
I rarely find carrot cakes that I really love, but this one is special – a very soft, moist cake, sweetened with honey, dates and carrots. You don’t have to include the icing and confit orange topping, but if you do you can serve it as a pudding.
250g runny honey
100g carrots, finely grated
180g dried stoned dates, chopped
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
For the icing:
200g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g thick crème fraîche
zest of 1 orange
For the confit orange:
zest of 3 oranges, cut into fine strips
150g granulated sugar
200ml cold water
Place the honey, carrots, dates, spices, butter and water in a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Simmer for 5–7 minutes, then set aside until lukewarm. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and walnuts into a large bowl. Beat the eggs into the honey mixture, then pour into the flour mixture and mix well.
Butter a 20cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin, then line the base with baking parchment. Pour in the cake mixture, level the top and bake in an oven preheated to 180C/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until cold.
To make the icing, put the mascarpone in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in the crème fraiche and orange zest.
To make the confit, place the orange zest in a heatproof bowl and cover with fresh boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water. Repeat twice more, using fresh boiling water each time. Put the sugar and cold water in a small saucepan, bring slowly to the boil, then add the orange zest and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until translucent. Drain and leave to dry. To serve, spread the icing over the cake and garnish with the confit orange.
Blackcurrant Iced Soufflé
A delicious and very pretty little number. Wrapping greaseproof paper round the ramekins and overfilling them is an easy technique to make it appear that the soufflés have risen above the rim of the dish – you simply peel off the paper once the mousse has set.
12g gelatine leaves
400g canned blackcurrant purée
40g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
300g Italian Meringue
250ml double cream
Soak the gelatine in a little water for 15 minutes. Take six small ramekins and tie or tape greaseproof paper around the outside of each one, ensuring it stands 5cm above the rim.
Take one-third of the purée, heat gently to a simmer, then take off the heat. Squeeze the gelatine dry and add it to the purée, stirring until it has dissolved. Stir in the butter until melted, then add the remaining purée. Set aside.
Whisk the meringue into the purée. Lightly whip the cream until just holding its shape, then fold it into the purée. Fill the ramekins so that the mixture comes 1cm below the top of the greaseproof collar. Chill for 4 hours and carefully peel off the paper to serve.
If you want to use a fresh purée – top and tail 600g blackcurrants, then rinse and drain well. Whiz in a blender, then push through a fine sieve, discarding all the solids.
Rosemary Shrager’s Bakes, Cakes and Puddings is published by Octopus, £18.99.