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Sweets On A Shoestring

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Cooking to impress can be a daunting experience, and with certain celebrity chefs urging us to try all sorts of far-fetched and elaborate creations, it can seem downright hopeless. This Morning’s Phil Vickery explains why good food needn’t be difficult to make, and how you can make puddings that trump the pros by using basic off-the-shelf products.

The husband of TV presenter Fern Britton, Vickery is one of an elite circle of chefs to have bagged a Michelin star four years in a row, so it seemed only right to test his theory.

These recipes might not be the healthiest, but then they are desserts - and they’re inexpensive to make.

“As long as people are getting value for money, they’re happy.”

Here are some of Phil’s recipes to try out:

Cheat’s chocolate banoffee pie (Serves 12)

Preparation time: 1 hour

For the base:

85g butter, melted
250g dark chocolate digestive biscuits, finely crushed

For the filling:

200g dark chocolate, melted
397g can Carnation Caramel
For the topping:

4 bananas
300ml carton double cream, lightly whipped Cocoa powder to dust
Add the melted butter to the crushed biscuits and blend well. Press the mixture into the base and part way up the sides of an 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin, then chill well.

Make the filling: Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave then mix in the Carnation Caramel. Beat until smooth. Spread the filling over the biscuit base and chill for about 1 hour, until firm.

To serve, slice the bananas, fold half of them into the whipped cream and spoon over the base. Decorate with the remaining bananas and dust liberally with cocoa powder.

Lemon posset (Serves 4-6)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Chilling time: Approximately 1 hour

For the posset:

397g can Carnation Condensed Milk
150ml double cream
Finely grated zest and juice of 4 large unwaxed lemons (about 150ml)

For garnish:

1tbsp chopped mint leaves
1tsp granulated sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
Whisk the condensed milk and cream together until thick and very light; 4 or 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and zest and whip for a few seconds only as the mixture will thicken very quickly.

Spoon the lemon cream into ramekins, or a large trifle bowl and then chill for at least an hour, or overnight.

To serve, muddle the mint leaves with the sugar and lemon juice and sprinkle a little onto the lemon cream.

Most creamy mousses need some sort of setting agent, gelatine being the most popular. Here, the reaction between the acid from the fruit, the condensed milk and the cream, make a great setting combination.

Serving suggestion:
Try this with fresh raspberries and a crisp shortbread biscuit.

Raspberry and white chocolate chunk cookies (Makes 20-30 cookies)

Ingredients:

225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
170g tube Carnation Condensed Milk
350g self-raising flour
150g white chocolate, chopped
175g punnet raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius / Gas Mark 4.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, until pale and then stir in the condensed milk. Sift in the flour and then work into a soft dough with your hands. Mix in the chocolate.

Take a small handful of dough and flatten with your fingers. Place 2-3 raspberries into the centre of the cookie and fold over the sides of the dough to encase the raspberries. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Place onto parchment lined baking trays, spacing well apart and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown at the edges, but still a little soft.

Leave to cool slightly and set before transferring to a cooling rack.

The dough without the raspberries will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or for about 1 month in the freezer - freeze in small slightly flattened chunks and bake as required.