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Dark and Decadent Desserts: Embracing the Sweet Side of Horror

Just in time for the darker seasons, Joe Alderson shows how you can use in-season ingredients to make some devilishly delicious sweet treats.

Photo by Kateryna Moskalova / Unsplash

By Joe Alderson, Electrical and Electronic Engineering

THE CROFT / Just in time for the darker seasons, Joe Alderson shows how you can use in-season ingredients to make some devilishly delicious sweet treats.

Along with the spooky festivities that occur at this time of year comes harvest season: plenty of seasonal produce is picked and prepared and there are lots of fruits and vegetables that you can discover in abundance in nature for yourself! 

One of the most common in the English countryside is blackberries, which are almost anywhere you look along hedgerows and paths. They are the perfect ingredient to give your recipes a sense of indulgent allure this Halloween.

As seen in these recipes, a blackberry coulis adds a haunting and blood-like effect to a classic dessert (with a moreish Halloween twist), and turns a popular cocktail into a mysterious potion – perfect for a creepy dinner party or date.


Blackberry Coulis

Joe Alderson


• 250g blackberries

• 25g golden castor sugar 


  1. Put the blackberries and sugar into a small pan with 100ml/31⁄2fl oz water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes until the fruit is soft. Remove and cool briefly.
  2. Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor, and whizz to a purée, then strain through a sieve, rubbing it through with the back of a ladle or spoon. Serve warm or chilled. Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Toffee-Apple Crumble

Joe Alderson


For the filling:

• 150ml double cream

• 90g salted butter, plus a little to grease

• 90g soft dark brown sugar

• 4 green apples peeled and sliced into wedges

For the crumble topping:

• 300g white flour

• 125g salted butter, cold and cubed

• 50g soft dark brown sugar

• 1tsp cinnamon

• Handful of walnuts (optional)


Making the filling:

  1. Put the cream, butter, and sugar in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. 
  2. Stir until the butter has melted, then continue to heat until you have a thickness resembling thick gravy. It might take up to 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl to cool, leaving a quarter of the mixture in the pan.
  3. Place the apples in the pan you were using for the sauce.
  4. Cook the apples over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly until just soft, then tip into a greased oven dish.
  5. Pour in the rest of the toffee sauce.

Making the topping:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan, 400F).
  2. Rub the flour and butter together into a breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts, then sprinkle on top of the apples - don't press down.


  1. Put the whole crumble in the oven for 25 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling.
  2. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving - it will be HOT!

Midnight Mojito

Joe Alderson

Ingredients (makes 1):

• Juice of 1 lime

• 1tsp granulated sugar

• small handful of mint leaves, plus extra sprig to serve

• 50ml white rum

• 25ml blackberry coulis

• soda water, to taste


  1. Muddle the lime juice, sugar, and mint leaves in a small jug, crushing the mint as you go – you can use the end of a rolling pin for this.
  2. Pour the blackberry coulis into a tall glass, then add the muddled mixture and a handful of ice.
  3. Pour over the rum, stirring with a long-handled spoon. Top up with soda water, pour a little blackberry coulis on top, and garnish with mint to serve.

Featured Image: Kateryna Moskalova via Unsplash

Which dessert will you be making this winter?