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Master pastry chef Shane Smith shares three recipes for cosy evenings in cold weather

As the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, try these recipes from Shane Smith to warm your winter.

AS TIME FLIES by, remembering the correct month can be seen as a victory for some. It only seems like yesterday we were enjoying Summer strawberries and cream and popping an obligatory raspberry into the glass of bubbles. As the seasons change, so does its beautiful bounty.

This time of year really is a favourite of mine when it comes to baking. With the nights drawing in, a chill in the air, there is a natural calling to the kitchen to whip up some seasonal bakes.

For me, this time of year is all about comfort and comfort food. Nothing quite ticks that box like a cinnamon-spiced apple crumble with custard or baked creamed rice pudding with a dollop of blackberry jam.

The season is jam-packed with some of the most delicious sweet treat flavours, including cinnamon, apples, blackberries, figs, clementines and pears and here are three of my favourites bakes.

These are guaranteed to fill your home with the aroma of delicious spices and warm you up on those cold nights.

Happy baking!

Spiced blueberry crumble

Spiced blueberry crumble

Serves 8


250g self-raising flour

175g butter

175g brown sugar

1 egg


600g fresh blueberries

50g brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp mixed spice


Mix flour, butter and brown sugar with your fingertips until a sandy texture is reached.

Remove 250g of this mix and set aside for the topping.

To the remaining mixture add the egg and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

Line the base and sides of your 8” square baking dish with this dough and chill.

Once this is resting, in a pot combine the spices with 200g of the fresh blueberries, brown sugar and 150ml of water and cook until the blueberries break down.

Mix this compote with the remaining blueberries and chill.

Once everything is cold, spoon the blueberry compote into the lined dish and top with the remaining crumble and bake in the centre of a preheated oven at (180C / Fan 160C/ 350F/ Fan 4) for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Best served with a spoon of semi whipped cream.

Fig bran loaf(1)

Fig bran loaf

Makes 1 x 2 lb loaf


100g self-raising flour

300ml milk

275g chopped dried figs

150g caster sugar

100g bran flakes


Soak the wheat bran, caster sugar, milk and chopped figs for 30 minutes until a soft paste is reached.

Fold in the sieved flour and spoon the mix into a greased 2 lb bread tin and place in the centre of a preheated oven at (180C/ Fan 160C/ 350F/ Gas 4) and bake for 1 hour.

Allow it to cool before serving.

This is a heavy dense loaf so it keeps well wrapped in clingfilm or you can even freeze it!

Top Tip: Chop the dried figs as small as you can and this will ensure even distribution during baking.

Autumnal fruit pavlova

Winter fruit Pavlova

Serves 6


4 medium egg whites

240g caster sugar

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla extract


300ml whipped cream

500g seasonal mixed fruit (figs, blackberries, clementines)


Preheat your oven to 100C fan (120C / 250F / Gas 2)

Using room temperature egg whites in a clean dry bowl, whisk until they form stiff peaks, gradually add the sugar and whisk until thick and glossy.

Blend the white wine vinegar, vanilla and cornflour and add to the above meringue and mix again.

Spoon the meringue onto a lined baking tray and create a circle with a crater in the centre leaving the sides a little higher.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for one hour.

Turn the oven off and allow to cool completely inside.

Once cold, remove and place onto your serving dish.

Whip the cream and place this in the centre and top with chosen seasonal fruit.

Tip: If you would prefer a dryer meringue bake for a further 25 minutes before turning the oven off.

Shane Smith has nearly 22 years’ experience working in some of the world’s most celebrated pastry kitchens across the globe. Over these years he has received numerous awards from “Best Bakery Manager in Ireland” by Shelf life magazine to “The top 10 best pastry chefs in Ireland” by Food & Wine Magazine. Shane also has a regular cookery slot on RTÉ’s The Today Show. Check out more recipes on his Instagram or at

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