A selection of Desserts

Tofu Limoncello Cheesecake

The strong flavour of the limoncello gives this cheesecake a delicious lemony taste.

Serves 6

200 g (7 oz) digestive biscuits, crushed
75 g (3 oz) butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon agar agar grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
250 ml (8 fl oz) limoncello liqueur
400 g (13 oz) firm tofu
400 g (13 oz) coconut cream
115 g (31/2 oz) caster sugar
Fresh berries or berry sauce, to serve

Make sure you use coconut cream, if you use milk this recipe will not set properly. The strong flavour of the limoncello gives this cheesecake a delicious lemony taste.

1. Mix together the crushed biscuits with the butter or margarine. Press the mixture into the base of a 20 cm (8 inch) round springform pan or cake tin with a removable base.
2. In a pan on a very low heat, dissolve the agar agar with the lemon juice and limoncello.
3. Put the tofu, coconut cream, sugar and agar agar mixture into a food processor and blend together.
4. Spoon the tofu mixture over the biscuit base and smooth the surface. Chill for 1 hour until set. Serve with fresh berries or a berry sauce.

Zilli Know-How
Agar agar is a vegetarian form of gelatine and is made from seaweed. it is used as a gelling agent. Agar agar is used mainly in Japanese cooking but it is becoming more popular in vegetarian cooking.

Tangelo & Polenta Cake

Serves 6-8
4 tangelos, zested(or small, sweet oranges)
450g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
550g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 vanilla bean, split
450g almond meal
225g instant polenta
1 tsp baking powder
Sea salt

PREPARATION: 20 MINUTES (plus cooling time)


Heat the oven to 165°C/329°F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 30cm diameter spring-form cake tin and line with baking paper. 

Juice two of the zested tangelos, then slice the remaining two.

Use the paddle of an electric beater to cream the butter and 450g of the sugar for about 5 minutes or until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is combined before adding the next.

Scrape in the seeds of the vanilla bean, and beat in the tangelo zest and one quarter of the tangelo juice.

Lastly, add the almond meal, polenta, baking powder and a pinch of sea salt. Once combined, pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining sugar with the sliced tangelos and the remaining tangelo juice in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until syrupy.

Pour the hot syrup over the cake while it is still in its tin, and allow to cool.

Cut into big wedges to serve.

Italian Summer Pudding

This tiramisu-type pud is normally made with coffee. I prefer this lighter version and the orange and strawberries make it a lovely summer pudding.

Serves 6
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
30 sponge fingers (preferably Pavesini biscuits available from most Italian delis)
6 eggs, separated
165 g (51/2 oz) caster sugar
3235 ml (11 fl oz) double cream
500 g (1 lb) mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
250 g (9 oz) strawberries, sliced

1. Mix together the orange juice and Grand Marnier. Dip half the sponge fingers quickly in the mixture, do not allow to soak, then lay on the bottom of a square flat dish.
2. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar. Remove from the heat and beat until pale, doubled in volume and creamy.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. In a large bowl, beat the cream until thick. Fold the mascarpone into the cream, then fold in the egg whites and vanilla extract. Finally, fold in the egg yolk mixture.
4. Spread some of the creamy mixture over the soaked sponge fingers in the dish then add a layer of strawberries. Dip the remaining sponge fingers in the orange juice mixture. Continue layering the sponge fingers, creamy mixture and strawberries, ending with sponge fingers. Cover with cling film and chill for 2 hours.
5. Remove the cling film and then completely cover the top of the summer pudding with icing sugar and serve.

Zilli Know-How
Pavesini biscuits are light, sweet biscuits which melt in the mouth. They are made with flour, sugar and fresh eggs with no added fat and are only 8 calories each.

Cappuccino Mousse with Banana

Coffee and banana - it doesn't get better than this. I call this cappuccino, as it looks like one. Serve in a coffee cup if you want to impress.

Serves 4
397 g can sweetened condensed milk
40 g butter
2 tsp espresso coffee
30 g cocoa powder, plus extra for sprinkling
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
450 ml double cream

1. In a saucepan, combine the condensed milk, butter and coffee and stir over a low heat for 1 minute. Stir in the cocoa and cook until the butted has melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the banana slices. Leave to cool.

3. In a bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and then fold into the coffee mixture. Spoon into coffee cups and refrigerate until set.

4. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.

Rhubarb and Lime Tart

I wasn't sure lime would work with rhubarb but it adds a zinginess to it which tingles the tastebuds.

Serves 8
For the Pastry Case

300 g (31/2 oz) plain flour
50 g (2 oz) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon caster sugar
125 g (4 oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
Dash of lime juice

For the Filling
125 g (4 oz) caster sugar
75 ml (3 fl oz) water
zest of 1 lime
1 cinnamon stick
900g (1 lb 14 oz) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces
Ice cream or custard, to serve

1. To make the pastry, combine the flours, salt and sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter until crumbs are formed. Add the sour cream and lime juice and keep mixing to form a dough (it won't be smooth but this is fine). Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 C/fan oven 180 C/Gas Mark 6. Grease a 25 cm (10 inch) round tart tin; trim the overhanging edges. Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork and cover with baking paper and baking beans. Cook for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove the paper and beans, then cook the pastry case for a further 5 minutes.

3. To make the filling, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the lime zest and cinnamon stick and bring to the boil. Add the rhubarb, bring back to the boil, then reduce to a medium heat. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until the rhubarb is just soft. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rhubarb and set on one side. Reduce the cooking liquid by half. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Remove the cinnamon stick.

5. Place the rhubarb in the cooked tart case and then pour over the syrup. Cook at 180 C/fan oven 160 C/ Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes. Serve with ice cream or custard.