Bakewell Tart

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Ingredients

250g ready made dessert shortcrust pastry (or make own)
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
250g cherry pie filling
85g softened butter
150g ground almonds
50g plain flour
50ml milk

Use a 23cm tart tin. Serves 8.



Method

1. Roll out pastry. When the dough is about 5cm larger than the tin, lift it up draped over the rolling pin and lay it across the tart tin. Press the dough into the corners of the tin using your fingers, don’t trim off the edges and prick with fork. Chill for 30 mins.

2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Fill the pastry case with a round of baking paper and add baking beans to weigh it down. Bake for 15 mins, then carefully remove the paper and beans and cook the pastry for 5 more minutes.

3. Reduce oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 1 min. Stir in the almonds and eggs. Then add the flour and milk until well incorporated.

4. Spread the cherry pie filling into the pastry case, then add the frangipane mixture and smooth the top using the back of a metal spoon. Bake for 45-50 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden, and the filling is golden and feels firm to the touch.

5. Cool the tart for 10 mins in the tin, then lift onto a serving plate.


Real Vanilla Cheesecake with Fruit Coulis

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Ingredients – Serves 8

150g digestive biscuits (or alternative eg ginger, oat)
50g butter, melted
600g light cream cheese
2 tbsp plain flour
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
200ml fresh soured cream
2tsp vanilla bean paste
200g fresh or frozen fruits (your choice)

Use 20cm round loose bottomed tin.


Method

1. Heat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Crush 150g biscuits to crumbs. Mix with 50g melted butter. Press into a 20cm springform tin and bake for 10-15 minutes, then cool.
2. Beat 600g cream cheese with 2 tbsp flour, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs with 200ml pot of fresh soured cream. Stir in vanilla paste and pour into the tin.
3. Bake for 40 minutes at 180C/gas 4 and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Cool in tin.
4. For the coulis, put your chosen fruit(s) in a pan with 70ml water and remaining 50g caster sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. When ready puree mixture through either a sieve or blender.
5. Remove cooled cheesecake from tin, slice and drizzle fruit coulis over the top.


Nectarine, Berry & Coriander Crumble Cake

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Ingredients – Serves 10

250g wholemeal flour
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp baking powder
150g butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 nectarine
200g fresh or frozen berries

Crumble Topping:

80g flour
40g butter
40g caster sugar
1 tsp whole coriander seeds

Use a 2lb loaf tin. Serves 8.


Method

1. Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 4. Sift the flour, ground coriander and baking powder together and stir in the sugar. Beat in the eggs.

2. Cut up the nectarine into small pieces and mix with the berries (defrost beforehand if using frozen).

3. Fold in the fruit mixture. Spoon the mixture into the tin.

4. For the crumble topping, mix together the flour, sugar, butter and crushed coriander seeds. Spread evenly over the cake mixture.

5. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.


Dulce de Leche Biscuits (Alfajores)

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Ingredients

150g flour, sifted
125g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
397g (1 tin) condensed milk

Makes 16 biscuits.


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.

2. Put butter and sugars into a mixing bowl and beat until evenly blended. Slowly add beaten egg to butter and sugar mix beating well between each addition.

4. Mix in the flour, baking powder and spices.

5. Divide dough in half, then cut each half into 16 equal pieces (32 pieces in total)

6. Roll into a ball and flatten each piece onto the baking parchment, place in oven for 15 minutes.

7. Leave cookies to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes, then carefully lift onto a cooling rack with a palette knife.

8. To make the dulce de leche (translation: milk candy), empty contents of tin into a large glass bowl. Cover with cling film and make a couple of large slits in the top. Place in microwave for approximately 12 minutes (you must stir condensed milk every 2 minutes with a whisk), until it turns a light brown colour. Leave to cool.

9. When ready it should be pliable. Divide into 16 equal pieces then spread over half a biscuit then sandwich together with another half.


Sweet Potato Pie

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(Photo: robertdwaller @ Flickr)

Ingredients

500g sweet potato
125g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
125ml milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
250g ready made dessert shortcrust pastry (or make own)
Whipping cream (optional)

Use a 23cm tart tin. Serves 8.

Method

1. Roll out pastry. When the dough is about 5cm larger than the tin, lift it up draped over the rolling pin and lay it across the tart tin. Press the dough into the corners of the tin using your fingers, don’t trim off the edges and prick with fork. Chill for 30 mins.

2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Fill the pastry case with a round of baking paper and add baking beans to weigh it down. Bake for 15 mins (on lower oven shelf), then carefully remove the paper and beans and cook the pastry for 5 more minutes.

3. Chop up sweet potatoes in large chunks, then boil until tender.

4. Turn down oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Then break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into prepared pastry base.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools. Serve with whipping cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients

100g butter
100g caster sugar
150g wholemeal flour
100g plain chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 egg, beaten

Yields approximately 15 cookies.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.

2. Put butter and sugars into a mixing bowl and beat until evenly blended. Slowly add beaten egg to butter and sugar mix beating well between each addition.

4. Mix in the flour then stir in the chocolate pieces.

5. Spoon large teaspoons of mixture onto the prepared baking trays leaving room for the cookies to spread.

6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Watch carefully as these can go from golden to brown very quickly.

7. Leave cookies to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes (but not too long or they stick) then carefully lift onto a cooling rack with a palette knife.


Note: This mixture left raw can be mixed into semi-soft vanilla ice cream to make cookie dough ice cream.

(Photo: songchilde @ Flickr)

Gooseberry Frangipane Tart

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(Photo: bethyb @ Flickr)

Ingredients

250g ready made dessert shortcrust pastry (or make own)
130g caster sugar
2 eggs
250g gooseberries
85g softened butter
175g ground almonds
1/2tsp vanilla paste (optional)

Use a 23cm tart tin. Serves 8.

Method

1. Roll out pastry. When the dough is about 5cm larger than the tin, lift it up draped over the rolling pin and lay it across the tart tin. Press the dough into the corners of the tin using your fingers, don’t trim off the edges and prick with fork. Chill for 30 mins.

2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Fill the pastry case with a round of baking paper and add baking beans to weigh it down. Bake for 15 mins, then carefully remove the paper and beans and cook the pastry for 5 more minutes.

3. For the gooseberry filling, place gooseberries in a saucepan with 30g caster sugar. Gently heat until slightly caramelized and golden brown.

4. Reduce oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Beat together the butter and remaining sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 1 min. Stir in the almonds, eggs and vanilla paste.

5. Spread the gooseberries into the pastry case, then add the frangipane mixture and smooth the top using the back of a metal spoon. Bake for 45-50 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden, and the filling is golden and feels firm to the touch.

3. Cool the tart for 10 mins in the tin, then lift onto a serving plate.

(Nearly) Fatfree Banana Bread

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Ingredients

200g plain or wholemeal flour
100g caster sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1tsp granulated sugar (optional)

Use a 2lb loaf tin. Serves 8.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 C/Gas mark 4.

2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon. Add eggs and bananas; stir just until combined. Pour mixture into loaf tin. Sprinkle on top with granulated sugar to give a crunchy top.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into centre of loaf comes out clean. Turn out onto wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.

Gingerbread Men

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Ingredients

110g butter
175g caster sugar
4tbsp golden syrup
350g wholemeal flour
1 egg
1tsp (level) bicarbonate of soda
2tsp ground ginger

Yields approximately 24 men.


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Line 3 baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.

2. Measure the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips so the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add golden syrup and egg, mix until it forms a dough, then knead lightly at the end.

4. Divide the dough into two and roll out one half on lightly floured surface. When it is approximately half a centimetre (5mm) thick use your cutter to form the shape, then place on baking sheet.

5. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, when ready take out and place men on cooling rack.


Optional Decorations:


(Photo: Polka-Dot Zebra @ Flickr)


(Photo: dididumm @ Flickr)