A bit late to the party, but can finally get around to sharing a picture of these delightful pancakes that my boyfriend arranged to be sent to me for Pancake Day. Despite lockdown, I loved the fact that we can still do nice things for each other (I sent pancakes to him in return).
I made this absolutely yummy pear and frangipane tart a little while ago. I’m not usually a fan of fruit-based puddings, but this was wonderfully sweet, with just the right amount of sharpness. It was the ideal Autumn/ Winter sweet treat. I froze some of mine to make it last longer.
Prep time: 30 mins
215g plain flour
170g unsalted butter (110g frozen for at least 3 hours and coarsely grated, and 60g softened)
¼ tsp salt
60g caster sugar
60g ground almonds
60g caster sugar
10g plain flour
1/16th tsp madagascan vanilla
20g plain flour (for dusting)
5g icing sugar
45ml cold water
2 medium eggs
2 large / 3 small ripe pears (approximately 275g, unpeeled weight)
You will also need:
18cm round tin
1 x greaseproof circle
1 x A4 baking paper
To make the pastry, coarsely grate 110g of frozen butter, and measure out 45ml of cold water. In a large bowl, rub together the plain flour and salt with the grated butter. One tablespoon at a time, add the water until the pastry comes together. Turn the pastry onto a clean surface and knead lightly until a dough forms. Flatten the dough into a disc, approximately 15cm in diameter, and wrap in cling film. Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge, or 10 minutes in the freezer.
While the pastry is chilling, make the frangipane. Beat together 60g of softened butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg, and when thoroughly incorporated, add the ground almonds and stir until just combined. Chill until needed.
To prepare the pears, peel them, then cut into quarters lengthwise. Remove the core from the pears and slice each pear quarter into 3 or 4 pieces, again, lengthwise. In a bowl, gently toss the pears with the sugar, plain flour and vanilla, until coated. Preheat the oven to 200°c/180°c fan/gas mark 6.
To prepare the tin, cut two long, 8cm wide strips from the A4 baking paper. Lightly grease the tin with butter, cross the strips one over the other and top with the greaseproof circle. To prepare the tart case, cut off 1⁄3 of the pastry and return to the fridge to keep cool. Lightly dust the surface with half of the plain flour, lightly knead, and roll out the remaining 2⁄3 of pastry to 3mm thick, and slightly larger than the tin you are using.
Transfer the pastry into the tin and gently press it into the base, ensuring the baking paper strips remain visible. Prick the base of the case all over with a fork. Trim the pastry case, leaving a 1cm overhang around the top of the tin. Stir the frangipane, and spoon into the pastry case, spreading to the edges using a small palette knife or the back of a spoon. Leaving any excess liquid in the bowl, lay the pear slices in a spiral on top of the frangipane, working from the edge into the middle.
To make the lattice, lightly dust the surface with the remaining plain flour as needed. Take the reserved pastry from Step 4 out of the fridge, knead lightly, roll out and trim down to a 20cm x 20cm square. Cut ten 2cm x 20cm strips. Evenly lay 5 strips of pastry parallel across the tart. Fold back every other strip. Place one long strip down the centre of the tart, perpendicular to the other strips. Unfold the pastry strips over this new strip.
Fold back the strips that are now running under the new strip and lay down a second strip, keeping the spacing the same between each. Unfold again and repeat until both sides of the tart are completed. Using a fork, press down firmly around the edges to form a bond between the lattice and the tart. Trim the edges around the tin.
Crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk briefly. Lightly egg wash the top of the tart and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Leave the tart to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then use the baking paper strips to help you remove the tart and transfer to a cooling rack. Dust with the icing sugar and enjoy warm or cold with ice-cream or custard.
This tart can be made with other fruits as well, so if pears are not your thing, feel free to experiment.
Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the time between Christmas and the end of 2020, and eating your body weight in sweet treats. I have- after all someone has to finish the Christmas goodies!
Here is a delicious Victoria Sponge I enjoyed earlier this week, courtesy of The Lounge, a local coffee shop. Lazy winter afternoons with cake and tea are my fave. And as you can see, I got a friend to enjoy it with me 😊
These almond frangipane mince pies were a real treat. Delightfully festive, with a twist on a traditional favourite, they taste great with a glass of mulled wine (or mulled wine tea).
However, what makes them extra- special is that the ingredients were supplied by vegan bakery Poster Bakes, in partnership with homelessness charity The Connection at St Martin’s. Proceeds from each £12 box sold helps feed people sleeping on London’s streets this Christmas. So it was a lovely way to help out those who need it.
The kit contained everything I needed to make these delicious festive treats. They are vegan-friendly and can fit straight through your letterbox. One of my favourite things to do each Christmas is a bit of festive baking. These filled the house with Christmassy aromas- instant Christmas feels!
Over the last few months, I missed going out to eat cake so much I decided to make it myself. I baked this delightful raspberry ripple- recipe and ingredients courtesy of BakedIn.
130g caster sugar
195g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g granulated sugar
130g icing sugar
2.5g freeze dried raspberries
4 medium eggs
195g cubed unsalted butter, at room temperature
You will need:
3 x greaseproof circles
2 x wooden skewers
3 x 18cm round tins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/ gas mark 4. Grease three round tins and line with the provided greaseproof circles. If you do not have three tins, you can bake in batches.
2. Using a wooden spoon, beat together 195g of butter and the caster sugar, until light and fluffy. Add 4 eggs, and the flour and baking powder, and beat until the mixture is smooth.
3. Divide the mixture evenly between the three prepared tins, and smooth with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until golden and well risen. Test the cakes with one of the provided skewers, if the skewer comes out clean, the cakes are done. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
4. While the cakes are baking, make the jam. Put 120g of raspberries, the granulated sugar and 70 ml of water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for around 20-25 minutes. When the jam has thickened slightly, remove from the heat and push the jam through a sieve with the back of spoon. Discard the seeds and pulp from the sieve. Leave the remaining jam syrup to one side to cool completely.
5. Whilst the cake is cooling, make the icing. Briefly beat the mascarpone in a bowl, then gradually add the icing sugar and mix until well combined.
6. Once the cake layers are cool, assemble the cake. Position one of the sponges onto a plate, and spread 2 heaped tbsp of mascarpone icing onto the sponge. Dollop a third of the jam syrup over the icing, and, using the second provided skewer, swirl the jam into the icing. Put the second sponge on top and repeat.
7. Put the final sponge on top and spread a generous amount of icing over the top of the cake. Scrape a thin layer of icing around the sides of the cake with a flat knife. Dollop the jam syrup over the top of the cake and swirl carefully to achieve a distinctive ripple effect.
8. To finish, decorate with the freeze dried raspberries.
MY TOP TIP
Ripple the jam syrup and the icing very gently so the two components remain distinct, with the colours just marbled.
My raspberry ripple turned out deliciously light and fluffy. I shall be making this one again.
It’s lockdown in November and I think we’re all in need of a little bit of comfort. Throwback to sunny days when we could visit coffee shops and eat cake- this picture of a raspberry and cream cake I tried in September has definitely brightened up my day.
Okay not going to lie, I’ve never really given much thought to pretzels. I predominantly thought they were a savoury snack. So when I received my latest baking box from BakedIn, I was intrigued to find that this month’s bake was going to be soft-baked pretzels. Not only that, but these were sweet, covered in cinnamon and designed to be dipped into melted chocolate.
Pretzels were so fun to make- I would never have baked something like this usually, but they were easier than I thought they would be.
I ate mine fresh out of the oven- they were delicious and made me feel like I was in continental Europe (or the States). Great for when you can’t travel!
If you want to try baking pretzels yourself, check out the recipe below ( courtesy of BakedIn).
570g strong white bread flour
30g caster sugar
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
65g caster sugar
70g dark chocolate chips
120g unsalted butter
1. Melt 70g of butter in a small pan and add 350ml of milk. On a low heat, warm the mixture until it is just past lukewarm (if you have a thermometer this is about 40oC). Test the milk with your finger; it should be a comfortable temperature. If it is too hot to hold your finger in for a few seconds, leave the milk to cool slightly. If the milk is too hot, it will prevent the dough from rising.
2. Empty the strong white bread flour into a large bowl, reserving 1 tbsp of flour for dusting. Add the caster sugar, salt and yeast and mix until well combined. Make a well in the flour mixture, then pour in the warmed milk and butter.
3. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle the reserved flour onto a clean work surface and tip the dough onto it. Grease the inside of a large, clean bowl with 5g (1 tsp) of butter. Set this bowl to one side. Knead the dough by stretching it away from you with the heel or knuckles of one hand and folding it back over the top towards you. Continue to knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Shape the dough into a ball, and put it in the greased bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. Empty the dough onto a clean surface and knead a couple of times to knock the air out. Put the dough on a chopping board, and use a large knife to cut it into 16 equal pieces (cut the dough into quarters and then cut each quarter into 4). Roll each piece into a long rope, approximately 50cm long.
5. To shape the pretzel, curve the rope of dough into an upside down ‘U’, then twist the ends together twice, by wrapping the left end over the right end each time. Bring the twisted ends up towards the top and press firmly onto the top curve of the pretzel to secure the ends. Repeat for all 16 pretzels.
Note: Shape all 16 pretzels. Chill in the fridge any you wish to bake later, and continue from step 6.
6. Line the baking tray(s) with the provided baking paper and preheat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan/gas mark 6.
Add boiling water (10cm deep) to a pan. Carefully add the bicarbonate of soda (reserving some if you are not baking all the pretzels at once), and simmer. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, put one pretzel at a time into the water. Soak each pretzel for 10 seconds per side, drain the water from the pretzel and put onto the prepared baking tray(s). Bake, in as many batches as necessary, for 10-15 minutes until golden.
7. While the pretzels are baking, put the cinnamon and sugar into a medium sized bowl and ensure it is thoroughly mixed. As soon as the pretzels come out of the oven, brush with 45g of melted butter. Let the buttered pretzels cool for a couple of minutes. Leaving some pretzels plain if you wish (to dip in the chocolate sauce), toss the rest in the bowl of cinnamon and sugar, coating the front and back of each pretzel.
8. To make the chocolate dipping sauce, put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and warm 35ml of milk in a small saucepan until just below boiling. Pour the milk over the chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute, then stir to combine until it is smooth and the chocolate has melted. The dipping sauce thickens as it cools, so make it right before you’re ready to tuck in.