Tuesday, 06 September 2016
Life » Food

Daring dairy

Artisan cheesemaker Nick Haddow reveals the science, tradition and passion behind cheese, milk, yogurt and butter, and how to use them in 75 sweet and savoury recipes

Written by Nick Haddow

Milk puddings with elderflower caramel (pictured above)

Serves 6

3 eggs
1 egg yolk
340ml whole milk
70ml double cream
80g caster sugar
60ml elderflower cordial

For the caramel
50g caster sugar
2 tbsp elderflower cordial

Preheat the oven to 145C/285F.

Place six small glass jars or serving glasses in the oven to warm for 10 mins. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To make the caramel, place the sugar, 1 teaspoon water and the elderflower cordial in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and turns a light golden colour. Pour the caramel evenly among the glass jars and set aside.

Fill and boil the kettle.

To make the puddings, whisk the eggs and the egg yolk in a medium-sized stainless-steel bowl, until the mixture is a bit foamy. Set aside.

Place the milk, cream, sugar and elderflower cordial in a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat and stir until combined and the mixture starts to steam. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and gradually add the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Carefully divide the mixture evenly among the jars.

Cover each jar with an aluminium foil ‘lid’ and stand in a deep baking dish. Fill the dish with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the jars.

Cook in the oven for 25-35 mins, until the puddings are set but still a little wobbly. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool slightly before serving.

These puddings can also be made the day ahead and are just as delicious served cold.

Icelandic skyr, honey and cinnamon cake

Serves 10


8 gelatine sheets
500g plain skyr or quark
2 eggs
85g honey, warmed, plus extra, for drizzling
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp caster sugar
250ml double cream
80ml whole milk
Fresh figs, quartered, to serve

For the base
200g dates, pitted
100g shredded coconut
200g almond meal

Grease and line the base and side of a 25cm springform cake tin with silicone paper.

Make the base by processing all of the ingredients in a food processor until they come together to form a moist breadcrumb-like mixture. Add a little boiling water to soften if required (some dates are drier than others). Press the date mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake tin using your fingers or the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to firm up while you make the filling.

In a small bowl, soften the gelatine in some hot water.

Combine the skyr, eggs, honey, vanilla seeds and cinnamon in a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the sugar and cream together until peaks are formed and the sugar is dissolved. Fold this into the skyr mixture.

Squeeze the water out of the softened gelatine sheets and place them in a small saucepan with the milk. Over a low heat, stir until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Allow to cool, then stir into the skyr and cream mixture until combined. Spoon the mixture over the cake base and smooth the top with a spatula.

Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 8 hours. Drizzle with warmed honey and top with the fresh figs just before serving.

Blue cheese, apple and leek pithivier

Serves 4


50g unsalted butter
1 leek, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves u 250g puff pastry
Flour, for dusting
150g blue cheese, crumbled (a drier version works better than a soft, creamy version)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 210C/410F. Melt the butter in a heavy- based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and sauté for 4-5 mins or until soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the apple and thyme and set aside.

Divide the pastry in two and roll out each half on a lightly dusted work surface until 5-6mm thick. Cut out two circles, one slightly bigger than the other (this will be the top). Place the smaller circle on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Prick all over with a fork. Stir the blue cheese through the cooled leek and apple mixture and spoon it into the centre of the pastry circle, leaving a 2cm margin from the edge. Brush the pastry margin with a little beaten egg and place the larger pastry circle on top. Use your fingers to press down and seal the two pastry circles together. Cut a 1cm hole in the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.

Brush the top with beaten egg, then place in the fridge for 30 mins. Bake the pithivier for 15 mins then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F and cook for a further 20-25 mins or until golden brown. Serve immediately with a green salad on the side.

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