Speedy sweets: Nicola Lamb’s recipes for 15-minute desserts

Pineapple foster (pictured above)

This dessert has oodles of retro charm. Although the flambé is optional, it is quite fun to channel your inner 1980s chef and light it up – proceed with caution, though.

Prep 3 min
Cook 12 min
Serves 4

60g butter
1 small pineapple
(tinned works well, too), trimmed, peeled and cut into 2cm-thick slices or batons
80g dark brown sugar
¼ tsp chilli flakes
(or fewer, depending on your heat tolerance)
30g dark rum
50g double cream

1 pinch salt
Creme fraiche or vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Juice and zest of 1 lime, to serve

Melt the butter in a large, wide pan and heat until frothy and beginning to brown a little. Add the pineapple, sprinkle the sugar and chilli on top, and cook on a medium heat, flipping the fruit every minute or so, until tender and caramelised – about seven to eight minutes in all (batons or fat slices may take longer).

Pour in the rum and leave to bubble and evaporate for about 20 seconds; if you want to up the drama, flambé it now by carefully lighting the rum with a long match. Remove the pineapple and divide between plates.

Pour the double cream into the pan, add a pinch of salt and let it bubble for about 20 seconds, until the mix comes together into a sauce. Pour this over the pineapple, finish with a dollop of creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, some freshly grated lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice, and serve immediately.

Stuffed souffle pancakes

Nicola Lamb’s stuffed souffle pancakes.
Nicola Lamb’s stuffed souffle pancakes.

Light and fluffy pancakes with an outrageous centre. Make sure you pick something fairly thick for the filling otherwise the middle won’t cook properly.

Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
Makes About 6

2 eggs, separated
2 tbsp milk
40g flour
1 tsp baking powder
30g sugar
2 tsp butter, plus extra for greasing

To serve
Nutella, pieces of chocolate or thick jam
Maple syrup

Whisk the egg yolks and milk in a medium to large bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into a second bowl, then whisk into the yolk mix and set aside.

In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites and sugar for about 90 seconds, until you have a stiff meringue. Gently fold the meringue into the yolk mixture in three batches, until you have a homogeneous, puffy batter (try not to deflate it).

Put two teaspoons of butter in a frying pan and put it on a medium heat. Grease six 9cm x 3cm pastry rings and, once the butter is foaming, put them into the hot pan. Spoon two tablespoons of the batter into each ring and leave the base to cook and set for about 20 seconds. Put a heaped teaspoon of your chosen filling into the centre of each ring, and top that with another tablespoon of the batter, making sure the filling is well covered.

Add a tablespoon of water to the pan (try to avoid it touching the pancakes), cover with a lid and turn the heat down low – the steam will help the pancakes rise and cook the top of the batter.

After five minutes, remove the lid and gently flip the pancakes – the moulds may slip off, or you can gently remove them with tongs. Cook for another four minutes, then serve immediately, drizzled with maple syrup.

Crispy, chewy orange and hazelnut cookies

Nicola Lamb’s crispy chewy orange and hazelnut cookies.
Nicola Lamb’s crispy chewy orange and hazelnut cookies.

These cookies have a really satisfying crunch, but remain quite gooey in the middle. Mix in whichever nuts you like, and don’t scrimp on the zest; chocolate chips wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Prep 6 min
Cook 9 min
Makes 16 small ones

45g butter, softened
45g light brown sugar
45g caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
¼ tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
75g plain flour

80g hazelnuts
, slightly broken up

Heat the oven to 195C (175C fan)/385F/gas 5½. Beat the butter until smooth, then cream it with the sugars, orange zest, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds – you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air into this mix, so it’s best to do this by hand. Stir in the egg yolk, then stir in the plain flour and hazelnuts until the mix comes together into a dough.

Divide the mix into small balls or heaped teaspoons (balls will be neater) about 2½cm in diameter and weighing 15-20g each.

Transfer to a tray lined with greaseproof paper, ensuring there is a 5cm space between each cookie, to allow for spreading. Bake for nine minutes, until golden – the cookies will puff up a bit in the oven, but will fall back down while they’re cooling. These are terrific warm, but will continue to harden and crisp up on the tray. Store in an airtight container, where they’ll keep for up to a week.

Dark chocolate and olive oil cheesecake cream

Nicola Lamb’s dark chocolate and olive oil cheesecake cream.
Nicola Lamb’s dark chocolate and olive oil cheesecake cream.

This is a chance really to show off dramatic flavours, so use a good, fruity olive oil and the best-quality dark chocolate you can get hold of.

Prep 12 min
Cook 3 min
Serves 4

60g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
40ml fruity olive oil, plus extra to finish
80g cream cheese
125g double cream

80g biscuits – I like amaretto or ginger nuts
Flaky salt, to finish

Gently melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a bain-marie (don’t let it get too hot), then whisk in the oil and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese with a hand whisk for about 20 seconds, until smooth, then pour in the double cream and whisk to very stiff peaks.

Fold the chocolate mixture with the cream cheese in three batches, then chill in the fridge for five minutes.

Crush the biscuits and divide between plates or bowls. With the help of a hot spoon, scoop some of the chocolate mixture on top of the crumbs, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a little flaky salt, and serve.


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