Sweet as: Dairy based desserts
Many of my favourite desserts contain dairy — cream, crème fraîche, mascarpone, yoghurt and buttermilk. And the desserts I like the most are those that can also be prepared well ahead and left to mellow for a couple of days.
I believe that buttermilk is underutilised. Originally, it was the liquid that was left behind after churning butter prepared from unpasteurised cream. Because unpasteurised milk and cream are not generally available these days, the traditional buttermilk has been replaced by a cultured variety — lactic acid bacteria is added to pasteurised milk in a controlled environment. Buttermilk has a characteristically sour taste and a loosely clotted texture.
Normally low-fat, buttermilk provides a fluffy texture to cakes, pancakes, pikelets, scones and baked desserts. It’s also makes a great meat marinade especially for chicken and is excellent in smoothies.
A substitute for buttermilk is one cup of low-fat milk combined with one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stand the combo for 30 minutes or until the milk is lightly clotted. However, there’s nothing better than the real McCoy.
Mascarpone is a thick, indulgent, soft cream cheese traditionally used in Italian tiramisu. It is prepared by adding acid to cream.
Crème fraîche is a thick sour cream with a velvety texture. It doesn't split when heated so is perfect for soups or creamy sauces.
Serve in teacups or glasses. I used Hansells Lemon Tart Yoghurt made in a yoghurt maker and 4 lemon & ginger tea bags to make the tea. Get the recipe
A variation of the traditional panna cotta recipe, and ‘oh’ so delish. Can be prepared up to two days ahead. Get the recipe
If you don’t have access to an electric ice cream maker I’ve provided a quick version of the recipe — for immediate enjoyment. Get the recipe
Creamy chocolate pudding
To dress up this dessert, top the whipped cream with shards of toffee or brandy snaps. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a heat-proof glass or ceramic bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Serves 4-6.
¼ cup each: cornflour, sugar
1 ½ cups each: milk, cream
¾ cup grated dark chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
diced fresh fruit or berries
- Bring about 2 cups of water to a simmer in the base of a double boiler.
- Place the cornflour and sugar in the top section of the double boiler — preferably one made of heat-proof glass or ceramic. Gradually add the milk and cream. Place over the simmering water and cook until thickened, stirring often.
- When the custard evenly coats the back of a metal spoon, add the grated chocolate. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until melted and well combined.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla essence. Pour into 4-6 serving bowls or glasses. Cover and chill to set. This dessert can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.
- To serve, top with the fruit or berries and whipped cream.