Autumn is brimming with delicious seasonal berries. Try these recipes for blueberries and raspberries.

Blueberry, orange and polenta cake (serves 8 – 10)
This moist Italian inspired cake, bejeweled with blueberries, is more pudding than cake, especially when served with a spoonful of mascarpone flavoured with your favourite orange liqueur.

Ingredients
125g (41/2 oz) butter, at room temperature
125g (41/2 oz) caster sugar
1 orange, grated rind and 3 tablespoons of the juice (about ½ an orange)
75g (3oz) polenta
75g (3oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g (2oz) ground almonds
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon orange flower water, optional
150g (5oz) blueberries

To finish:
75g (3oz) caster sugar
1 orange, grated rind of half and 5 tablespoons of the juice
Few pistachios, sliced
250g (9oz) mascarpone soft cheese
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
Extra blueberries to decorate

 

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan assisted), Gas Mark 3. Grease and base line a 23cm (9inch) springform tin.  Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl or food processor then add the orange rind and beat together until light and fluffy.
  • Mix the polenta, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a bowl.  Gradually mix alternate spoonfuls of beaten egg and the polenta mix into the creamed butter and sugar and beat well after each addition until smooth once more.
  • Stir in 3 tablespoons orange juice and the orange flour water, if using. Spoon into the lined tin and sprinkle the blueberries over the top.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes until the cake is well risen, cracked slightly on top and a skewer comes out cleanly when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  • Mix 50g (2oz) of the remaining sugar with 3 tablespoons of orange juice together in a bowl. Remove the cake from the tin and put on to a cooling rack, peeling away the lining paper and set the rack over a plate. Skewer the top of the cake then drizzle over the orange syrup and sprinkle with the pistachios. Leave to cool.
  • When ready to serve, mix the mascarpone with the grated rind of ½ an orange rind and the rest of the sugar then gradually mix in 2 tablespoons of orange juice and the liqueur.
  • Transfer the cake to a board, top with extra blueberries then cut into thin slices. Serve with spoonfuls of the mascarpone mix.

 

Baked raspberry and chocolate puddings with rich dark chocolate sauce (serves 4)
Make these rich dark chocolate puddings earlier in the day then just cook for 10 minutes while you clear the table. Serve with a drizzle of warm cinnamon spiced chocolate sauce and complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients
Puddings
Little butter for greasing
65g (21/2oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
40g (11/2oz) butter, diced
2 medium eggs
50g (2oz) caster sugar
40g (11/2oz) plain flour
2 teaspoons cocoa
100g (4oz) raspberries, plus a few extra to decorate

Sauce
100g (4oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
25g (1oz) caster sugar
125ml (4fl oz) milk
Large pinch ground cinnamon
Few drops vanilla essence
Vanilla ice cream to serve

 

Method

  • First make the puddings. Brush the inside of 4, 7.5cm (3 inch) diameter, 2.5cm (1inch) deep individual Yorkshire pudding tins or foil dishes with a little butter then line the base of each tin with a circle of non-stick baking paper.  Add the chocolate and butter to a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring until both have melted then take off the heat.
  • Add the eggs and sugar to a bowl and whisk together for a minute or two until frothy. Gradually whisk in the melted chocolate and butter mix then the flour and cocoa until smooth.
  • Divide between the buttered dishes then scatter the raspberries over the top. Chill for 1-2 hours, or longer if it suits you better until ready to cook.  Add all the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring until smooth then take off the heat. Cool then cover and transfer to the fridge.
  • When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted), Gas Mark 4. Put the puddings on to a baking sheet then cook for 10 minutes or until  just set in the centre. Take out of the oven, leave to cool for a minute or two then loosen and remove from the tins. Peel away the lining paper and transfer to serving dishes.
  • Decorate with extra raspberries, warm the sauce through then drizzle over the puddings and serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

 

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