I was talking to a friend the other day about cooking and she commented that I hadn’t done many recipes for dessert lately. I realised, since my husband had been diagnosed with Diabetes, I had stopped doing some of my favourite puddings as there is no fun cooking them for one person. We do still eat sweet things and I have adapted quite a few favourites like fruit salad and apple crumble, but you can’t beat a good sugar rush at the end of a meal, can you?

With that in mind I decided it was time to produce a few recipes for those people who are not watching their weight, diabetic or worried about their teeth. The Banoffee Pie is very quick and easy and always a firm favourite with children and adults alike, but my favourite is always Lemon Meringue Pie.

Buen Apetito

Apple Charlotte

Slices of stale white bread
900g cooking apples
Juice and rind of half 1 lemon
85g butter
30g margarine (or butter)
60g brown sugar

Peel, core and slice the apples and stew apples with water, sugar, lemon juice and rind in a little water with the sugar. Line the bottom and sides of a casserole dish (1.75 litre) by cutting the bread to shape and spread with butter. Make sure there aren’t any gaps in the lining.

Pour in the apple purée and cover with more bread and butter to form a tight lid. Cover with a piece of greased cooking parchment and weigh down with a plate. Bake in the oven until the bread is crisp and brown (around 45 minutes). Turn out on to a serving plate.

Banoffee Pie

250g digestive biscuits
100g butter
400g dulce de leche (caramel)
2 bananas
300ml whipping cream
2 tbsp grated plain chocolate

Melt the butter gently in a small pan or microwave. Peel and slice the bananas. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Place the biscuits into a strong food bag and crush with a rolling pin. Alternatively put in a food processor and pulse until finely crumbed.

Transfer crumbs to a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter. Place the crumb mixture into a lightly greased 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and press down with your fingers around the edges and along the sides. Place in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. Spoon the dulce de leche over the biscuit crumb base. Cover the caramel with a layer of sliced bananas. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the layer of bananas and grate over the chocolate. Serve immediately or chill for around 30 minutes more in the fridge.

Jam Roly Poly

250g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
125g shredded suet
4 tablespoons of raspberry jam (warmed)
1 egg (beaten)
Caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6, 200º. Start by sifting the flour into a bowl with the salt. Add the suet and enough water to create a soft, but not too sticky dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20 x 30cm rectangle. Brush the rolled out dough with the warmed raspberry jam leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Brush the border with milk and fold over all around. Roll the rectangle towards you from the short side, but not too tightly. Place on a greased baking sheet with the seal side downwards. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with caster sugar.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden. Before serving, sprinkle with a little more caster sugar and serve cut into generous slices with custard.

Steamed Treacle Sponge Pudding

3 tablespoons of golden syrup
175g self-raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon of baking powder
175g softened butter
3 large eggs
175g soft light brown sugar

You will need a 1.2 litre basin well buttered, some foil, greaseproof paper, string and a steamer or large pan.

After buttering the basin, add 3 tablespoons of golden syrup to the bottom. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking powder. Add the softened butter, sugar, and eggs. Whisk together with an electric hand whisk for around 2 minutes until it is well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the basin and smooth the top out with a large spoon.

Lay some greaseproof paper onto the work surface and the same size of foil on top of it. Be careful to ensure that you have it large enough to cover the top of the basin, with extra to wrap around the sides. Form a pleat in both the paper and the foil together and place over the top of the basin with the foil uppermost. Carefully smooth the foil and paper down around the basin and tie in place with some string. Form a “handle” of string over the top of the basin to enable you to lift the basin in and out of the steamer.

Steam the pudding for 2 hours making sure to check the water level every 30 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t boil dry.

Once cooking is complete, lift out the pudding and remove the foil and paper. Loosen the pudding all round using a palette knife. Place a large plate on top of the pudding and invert. Shake gently if necessary to release the pudding. Lift off the basin with a cloth. Pour over another 3 tablespoons of warm golden syrup. Enjoy with custard or cream.

Lemon Meringue Pie

110g plain flour
Pinch of salt
25g butter
25g lard
Juice and grated zest from two large lemons
3 level tablespoons of cornflour
225g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
40g butter

Make the pastry first by sieving the flour into a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Cut the butter and lard into small cubes and add to the flour. Rub the ingredients together to form a crumble-like mixture. Sprinkle over a little cold water and begin mixing with a palette knife. Add a little more water until the dough forms a ball and the bowl is left clean. Wrap the pastry in cling film, or place in a food bag and leave in the fridge for around 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5, 190º. Roll out the pastry into a circle large enough to fit a 24cm pie dish. Place the pastry in the dish and press down well to ensure no air is trapped underneath. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake blind in the oven for around 20-25 minutes. After cooking reduce the oven temperature to Gas 2, 150º.

To make the filling, place 275ml of cold water into a measuring jug. Put the cornflour and 50g of the golden caster sugar into a bowl. Add a small amount of the water to the cornflour and sugar and mix to a smooth paste. Pour the remaining water into a small saucepan and add the lemon zest. Bring to the boil and then gradually add to the cornflour and sugar mixture. Mix until it forms a smooth sauce. Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring back to the boil, stirring all of the time. Reduce the heat and simmer for one minute. Remove from the heat. Separate the eggs and beat the egg yolks into the warm mixture with the lemon juice and butter. Ensure everything is well combined and then pour into the cool pastry case, distributing evenly and smoothly with a spoon.

Finally, make the meringue topping. In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg whites with an electic mixer until they form stiff peaks. Add the remaining 175g of golden caster sugar in four batches while continuing to whisk each one in. Using a palette knife, spread the meringue mixture over the surface of the pie ensuring it reaches all of the edges. Use a fork to form some peaks in the meringue across the surface. Bake in the oven on the centre shelf for 45 minutes, or until the meringue begins to turn a light brown. When cooked, allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving, or enjoy cold.