It can be hard to embrace the colder months. There's a biting chill that carves right through you and even woollen socks struggle to warm your toes. The sun shuts up shop at a ridiculously early hour and after dark, everything feels annoyingly damp.
The only thing that can beat that soggy, icy feeling is a warm dessert. Cobblers, strudels, puddings and pies. Tarts and hot fudge and pastries, oh my!
You know it's true. It's not called comfort food for nothing. A sweet ending to a meal brings cosy warmth to your woollen sock-clad toes. It fires up the happy hormones and life feels better with every spoonful.
It's best not to fight it. If we can't embrace the colder months, we can definitely embrace warmer desserts.
Dunking warm, sugary sticks into thick, hot dark chocolate is surely the remedy for life itself?
We’ve taken inspiration from the classic French breakfast – rich hot chocolate served with flaky croissants – and made it ‘hotter’ with scorched Swiss meringue, which sweetens and enriches the hot chocolate with a luscious voluminosity, plus biscuit crumbs for crunch. #DessertDate
Dig into sweet, citrusy custard-like Balearic pudding and the night is suddenly toasty.
This is a quirky take on a classic sticky date pudding. Portobello mushrooms are blended into the dates to create a richer pudding that's moister than the winter night air.
Serving the cake warm is a must, with a dollop of cream or good-quality ice cream. The burnt sugar figs add a classy and delicious touch, but pears or banana would also be lovely if figs aren’t in season.
Many puddings are surrounded by legends and this is one of them. It is said that the sticky toffee pudding was invented in the 1960s by Francis Coulson of the Sharrow Bay Hotel by the majestic Ullswater in the Lake District. He called it an ‘icky sticky toffee sponge’.
Swap your dates for figs and prunes to really make sticky toffee sing. A garam masala hit further spices this pudding up for winter.
Could there be a finer winter dessert than berry and rhubarb crumble? So easy, so complex, so everything.
Okay, the only thing to rival the rhubarb crumble is this apple version. Serve it steaming hot out of the oven and with a bit of luck you'll burn your tongue. Strange comfort on a freezing night.
If a golden syrup pudding drowning in hot vanilla custard doesn't warm you from hands to heart, nothing will.
Why wait for the evening chill when you could be eating warm apple and rhubarb pie in the AM? Get a jump on the cold!
This little chocolate self-saucing pud practically makes itself. Take it next level by adding a pinch of chilli into the mix.
This classic is best made in a large dish, but individual puddings can be more fun. If you decide to make small puddings, divide the mixture between 4 x 500 ml ovenproof dishes and cook for 25–30 mins. Leave plenty of room to top up with the coffee, as this becomes your sauce.
Chocolate nirvana here we come! It’s everything you expect from a chocolate pud and a whole lot more.
Technically you're supposed to serve strudel cooled, but please don't let that stop you from smashing into it straight out of the oven and floating it in a custard pond.
This strudel is all about sweet, wintery flavours, with apples, dried figs, walnuts, almonds, raisins, cinnamon, fennel seeds and lemon zest. The olive oil pastry is easy to make and easy to roll out.
Basically, all you need to know about this pear cobbler is that it has an extremely high pastry-to-filling ratio. Which is just the way we like it.
These toffee apple fritters are served warm, but dunked quickly into iced water to set the caramel before eating. Which means you get a crunchy caramel outer and a cosy apple centre.
There is much debate about the merits of hot pineapple but I remain firmly in the positive camp. These are a grown-up version of pineapple fritters that I used to eat on the beach, a treat after fish ’n’ chips.
Warm your cockles with a liberal sloshing of hot fudge sauce over espresso profiteroles. Ah, that's better.
[node_list title="Dessert fires" uuid="68702df1-2f07-4218-8e83-8db5c758b7f9,17f33b49-a964-43ea-a031-d8091806957b,d78f82fd-090b-4454-be8f-a2b0ef072bde,dda91503-1a78-47fc-96bb-3c273e66831a,d0c9c2d6-e3d7-4e95-b6c4-12cec22801e8,c00efc98-673b-4f41-9e32-ec596f40b739,3af43f82-d18c-4c31-b0af-0d0b661f1d36,5990c26a-edfb-4cdb-8d09-b77f13439c9a,24e9696e-53d9-4e71-98dd-59a8e584d466,0a73baa9-db46-4