The hot meringue/cold ice cream combination of baked Alaska is a winner, but they can be fiddly to put together at the last minute. Here I have simplified the whole process into a flat slice, so it takes only a few minutes to whip up the meringue and grill the top. If you want to finish the whole thing ahead of time, just gently cover the slice – trying to keep the wrap off the meringue – and freeze for up to three days. Let sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving.
Recipe Category: Fiona Smith Issue 187
These zingy fish kebabs are perfect for a summer meal. The original recipe came from issue 8, and it’s hard to believe we were lacking in so many essential ingredients for a Thai recipe back in 1988 – pasta bows were used instead of rice noodles, bay leaves stood in for kaffir lime leaves, and there was no fish sauce! If you can remember to soak the bamboo skewers overnight they last well on the barbecue.
This recipe has multiple elements, but everything can be made ahead of time and just heated when needed. It can take a few goes to get your pan at just the right temperature and also to figure out the perfect amount of batter to pour in, but this recipe makes enough crêpes that if you muck up the first few, you will still have enough for the dish.
These brûlées look really pretty topped with black and white sesame seeds, and the sesame flavour is delicious. You can buy both toasted and untoasted black sesame seeds, so if yours are already toasted, just toast all the white seeds together in the oven and take one tablespoon from those to add to the black for the topping, rather than setting it aside pre-toasting.
Finally, you can burn your desserts without judgment! The recipes that follow are based on classic techniques that involve fire, smoke or high heat. The nectarine dish is smoky, fruity, with just a hint of sweetness, while the barbecued bananas are super-easy and tasty, as well as being vegan and dairy-free.
The sesame brûlée is inspired by sesame ice cream, which I’m a big fan of, and the baked Alaska slice is a simplified version of the retro favourite. Finally, no fiery dessert feature would be complete without a bit of flambé, which is where the buckwheat crêpes Suzette come in. Enjoy!
Smoked fruit should be delicate, so I smoke these nectarines for 10 minutes only and really try to manage the heat, which I find easier over my gas hob. But this means you need to close the foil tightly to avoid a smoke-smelly house. Activated charcoal is very on trend right now, having made its way into ice cream, lattes, cocktails and even burger buns.
It imparts a subtle smoky flavour and a striking black hue to food to which it’s added, and I love the way the black wafers contrast with the white mousse in this recipe. You can get activated charcoal from pharmacies and health or wholefood stores.