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As the leaves change colour and the days draw shorter, Chef Patron Simon and Head Chef Antony have introduced our new restaurant menu, celebrating flavours and techniques which are perfect for the time of year, all using the very best ingredients.

Ah, Creme Catalan. Such a simple, yet perfect combination of flavours and textures. Everyone seems to love shattering the topping and breaking into the delicate orange-scented delights below. I’ve always loved Crème brûlée but when I first visited Spain I had this and thought the orange zest in the Spanish version made a great thing even better. Our customers have always agreed and this has been our most popular dessert over the years.

Creme Catalan by chef Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro Tapas

Creme Catalan (Crema Catalana)

Serves 4
Ingredients

  • 5 medium egg yolks
  • 375g double cream
  • 200g full fat milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • Extra caster sugar to finish

Method

Add the vanilla seeds and orange zest to the cream and in a pan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Mix together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl. Add the milk in stages and stir to combine.

Pour mixture into 4 wide moulds or ramekins and cook in a bain-marie at 100°C until set. Refrigerate for 2 hours until chilled.

Sprinkle each with a fine, even layer of caster sugar and gently flame with a blowtorch* until golden, taking care not to burn the sugar. Return to the fridge for 5 min to set.

* If you don’t have a blowtorch you can always use a grill for the final stage, although it’s harder to get as crisp and glassy a finish on the sugar.

Shattered Creme Catalan by chef Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro Tapas

I used to make sabayon as a special in our old restaurant in Yorkshire: it was always popular with customers and sold out in a flash. Sabayons are great because they’re quick and easy desserts to make and you can can tailor them to whatever is in season. As a result they’re a bit of a chef’s secret weapon!

The start of September is one of my favourite times of the year: we’re spoiled with an abundance of great produce both in the shops and the hedgerows. This recipe takes advantage of the late summer / autumn fruits which you can easily buy right now. It’s also a great way of using up a little left-over white wine or fizz in the bottom of a bottle.

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Autumn fruit sabayon

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the fruit

  • 2 tangerines
  • 4 figs
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 2 pears
  • 1 punnet blueberries

For the sabayon

  • 4 medium egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150ml white wine (dry is preferred, but this is a good way to use up any white or sparkling wine)
  • 150ml lightly whipped double cream
  • Spring of mint and icing sugar to garnish

Method

Wash and prepare fruit. Quarter the figs, halve the pears and segment the tangerines. Place to one side at room temperature.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and white wine in a metal bowl over a pan of boiling water until the mixture thickens to ribbon stage.

Remove from heat and whisk until cool. Fold in whipped cream, taking care not to over-whisk or the mix will revert to liquid. (Cook’s note: this mix will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days)

Place fruit in serving dish and gently top with the sabayon. Garnish with a sprig of mint, dust with icing sugar (optional) and serve.

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