Showing posts with label shortcrust pastry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shortcrust pastry. Show all posts

Monday, 25 August 2014

Almond and cherry slices




Mr CC has been muttering of late that I don’t make his favourite sort of cakes.  The poor thing is practically malnourished due to my neglect! When I asked him what were his favourite sort of cakes he replied: anything that Mr Kipling makes.  Now don’t get me wrong; I am not (ok, I try not to be) a cake snob and will happily enjoy a Mr Kipling cake if there’s one on offer…but the thought of choosing one over a nice home baked treat is something I struggle with; if Mr CC heard my dramatic in-take of breath at his comment he didn’t let on. 


Mr CC mentioned, in particular, almond slices so I pondered how to take the essence of a Mr Kipling almond slice and pimp it up a bit.  I decided on adding a pastry base, chopped cherries and some thick white icing.  It then dawned on me that what I had actually created was the lovechild of a Mr Kipling almond slice and
bakewell tart…and it tasted as good as you’d expect!


If you’re pushed for time you can forget the pastry and simply bake the filling; the result will be a very pleasing almond sponge.  The cherries work so well with almond.  Whilst I still can’t manage half a glace cherry on top of a cake, chopped into small pieces I rather like the fruity –almost jammy - chewy little pop they bring to proceedings.  The cake will keep for days - anything with almonds seems to get better day after day as the nut oil is released.

This basic recipe has some alternative options available – omit the cherries and replace with fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries; you could also add a layer of jam between pastry and filling.


Ingredients
For the pastry:
175g plain flour
85g unsalted butter – straight from the fridge
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

For the filling:
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
150g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
50g ground almonds
100g glace cherries, chopped quite small
1 tablespoon milk
A couple of handfuls of flaked almonds

For the icing:
100g icing sugar
Enough warm water to make a thick, glossy icing - add it a teaspoon at a time

Method
Start by making the pastry: place the flour and butter in the food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs.

Add the sugar and blitz briefly.

While the machine is still running pour in the egg yolk and water.

Stop the processor when small clumps of pastry start to form.

Tip the clumps out onto a sheet of clingfilm and, using your hands, bring together into a ball of pastry.

If you wish to make the pastry by hand rub the butter into the flour until you have crumbs.  Stir in the sugar, egg and water and, bring together to a ball of dough.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm – this saves having to add any extra flour and changing the make up of the pastry.

Line a 30cm x 20cm traybake tin with the pastry.  I like to use a disposable foil traybake tin as I find it easier to get the cooked traybake out! 

Use any spare pastry to patch the tin – it’s good natured and will patch easily.

Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Note that the pastry is rested after rolling – not before).

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Cover the chilled pastry with non-stick foil or baking paper and weigh down with baking beans.

Bake for 10 minutes before removing the paper and beans and cooking for a further 10 minutes or until golden.

Put to one side to cool while you make the filling.

Now make the filling: beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and whippy.

Beat in the eggs.

Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Fold in the ground almonds and chopped cherries.

Stir in the milk to slacken the mixture.

Spoon into the pastry case and flatten well to ensure there are no air pockets.

Level the surface and scatter over the flaked almonds.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the almond sponge comes out clean.

Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool make the icing: add warm water, a teaspoon at a time, to the icing sugar and mix until you have a thick, white, glossy icing.

Use a spoon to drizzle over the almond sponge.

Leave to set.

Cut into generous finger-shaped slices – I got 18 fingers.

Eat on its own with a big cup of tea.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.

Eat.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pine nut and honey tart




A lot of my baking recently has been selected based on the limited time I had available and how low faff the recipe was.  Rather gloriously, this weekend I was able to accommodate a bit of faff, which was fortuitous as I had a hankering for pastry.  I’ve adapted this recipe from the BBC Good Foodwebsite and used dates and sultanas instead of glace fruit.  I still find glace fruit hard to love and had a box of dates a friend had bought me back from Oman (thanks, Jasmin!) so the stars seemed in alignment to make this happy substitution.



Normally, when a recipe gives the option of soaking fruit in either rum or orange juice I will ALWAYS pick rum.  But I fancied a change this time so surprised myself by opting for orange juice.  It did a nice job of plumping up the fruit and added a fruitiness to proceedings.



The filling is reasonably runny pre-baking so, although you mix the fruit into it do not be disheartened when you cut into the tart and see the fruit has settled at the bottom.  This is what’s meant to happen.




Fruit aside, the tart filling is virtually identical to a bakewell tart.  If you’re fed up with jam or berries in your bakewell this recipe provides a nice variation.  The pine nut and honey topping also makes a tasty change.  I don’t use pine nuts very often in my baking but they work very well and take on a lovely toasted flavour.




The flavours in this tart are gentle and harmonious.  There are many different influences in this recipe and I struggled to think how to describe it.  If you like bakewell tarts, baklava, Eccles cakes, marzipan and sticky toffee pudding you will love it!





Ingredients

For the pastry:
175g plain flour
85g unsalted butter – cold
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

For the filling:
100g raisins
40g sultanas
100g dates – chopped so they are a similar size to the raisins and sultanas
3 tablespoons or either rum or orange juice
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
50g plain flour
175g ground almonds
5 eggs
85g pine nuts
2 tablespoons clear honey
 To serve: thick cream


Method

Start by making the pastry: place the flour and butter in the food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs. 

Add the sugar and blitz briefly.

While the machine is still running tip in the egg yolk and the water.

Stop the processor when clumps are starting to form.

Tip the clumps out onto a sheet of clingfilm and, using your hands, bring them together to form a ball of pastry.  Handle only enough to achieve this – you don’t want to overhandle the pastry and make it tough.

If you wish to make the pastry by hand rub the butter into the flour until you have breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar, egg and water and, using your hands, bring together to a ball of dough.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm so it is large enough to line a 23cm round loose bottomed tart tin.  Don’t expect lots of spare pastry overhanging the tin – this recipe makes just enough!

Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the pastry is chilling, start the filling: place the raisins, sultanas and dates in a bowl and add the orange juice or rum. 

Stir so all the fruit is covered with liquid and leave to soak, stirring occasionally if you happen to pass by.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Cover the chilled pastry with baking paper or non-stick foil and weigh down with baking beans.

Bake for 10 minutes, before removing the paper and beans and baking for a further 5 minutes or until the pastry is just starting to turn golden.

Remove from the oven and put to one side while you make the filling.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Now make the tart filling: beat together the butter, sugar, flour, almonds and eggs.

Stir in the soaked fruit, including any liquid left in the bowl.

Spoon into the pastry case and level the surface.  It will look full but don't worry - it doesn't rise much on baking.

Scatter the pine nuts over the top.

Drizzle over the honey.

Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the filling comes out clean.

If your tart browns too quickly (I’d check after 40 minutes) cover it loosely with foil and continue baking.

Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack and de-tin for serving.

Serve at room temperature with thick cream.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Eat.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Baileys custard tart




It is the CCD’s (Caked Crusader’s Da) birthday and, as I’ve noted before, he is rather partial to a custard tart.  He’s also fond of booze.  So why not combine the two?  You'll see in the picture below that a bit of pastry got knocked off in transit. Mr CC tried to advise me to be more careful and started explaining about G force and roundabouts but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me (I've never been scientific); all I remember from his teachings is that Formula 1 drivers have thick necks.



In case you’re in any doubt let me confirm: Baileys custard tastes awesome!  It smelled lovely cooking and tasted just as good.  It’s not overpowering but adds some ‘oomph’ to the custard in a more gutsy way than vanilla does.  You could vary the amount of Baileys you add: as long as the cream + Baileys = 500ml I think you’d be alright, as Baileys is very creamy.




I noticed that the filling cooked quicker than a standard vanilla custard tart and must therefore assume that the Baileys was responsible for this as it was the only difference to my standard recipe.



Don’t nine egg yolks look glorious?




Seeing as this was a custard tart for a special occasion I went all out and whipped up some more cream (because let’s face it, what this lacked was cream!) with more Baileys (ditto!) for a flavoursome and decorative addition.




Happy birthday CCD!


Ingredients

For the shortcrust pastry:
175g plain flour
120g unsalted butter, cold
3 tablespoons icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To glaze: 1 egg yolk, beaten

For the filling:
9 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
350ml whipping cream
150ml Baileys

Optional to decorate:
300ml whipping cream
50ml Baileys




Method

Start by making the pastry: put the flour, butter and icing sugar into the food processor and blitz until you get fine breadcrumbs.

Add the egg yolks and vanilla and blitz until the pastry just starts to come together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball of dough, handling no more than is absolutely necessary.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes so it is firmer to work with when you roll it out.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Have to hand a 20cm round deep ring, or use a foil disposal pie tin (I did and makes leakage less of a worry). Whatever ring or tin you use, try to find a deep one (ideally 3.5cm) as this will give a lovely deep tart and a luscious thick layer of baked custard.

Roll out the pastry between two sheets of clingfilm and use to line the flan ring/pie tin.
Don’t worry if you have some tears, the pastry is good-natured and patches easily.

Let the pastry overhang the edges. Take some of the surplus pastry off and put to one side – you may need this for patching later on.

Chill the pastry for a further 30 minutes once the tin is lined to minimise shrinkage when baked.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line the chilled pastry with a sheet of baking paper and cover with baking beans.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Beat the egg yolk and when the 10 minutes is up, remove the pastry from the oven and remove the paper and beads. Have a look at the pastry and use the spare that you put to one side to patch any little holes or cracks that you can see. When happy, brush all of the egg yolk over the interior of the pastry case and return to the oven for 5 minutes. This seals the pastry so that it won’t go soggy when you add the custard.

Remove the pastry from the oven and leave to cool. When it is cool enough to handle trim the excess pastry away using a serrated knife. Leave the pastry in the ring/tin.

Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/300°F/Gas mark 2.

From now on it’s all easy! Make the custard by whisking together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the cream and Baileys and whisk again.

Pour through a sieve into a heavy saucepan. Don’t skip this stage as there’s lots of eggy bits that will get caught by the sieve and would make the custard lumpy in texture if not removed.

Heat the custard over a low heat stirring all the time. When it gets to 37°C remove it from the heat.

Pouring through a sieve, pour as much of the custard into the pastry case as possible. I got all of mine in but it will depend on how deep your ring/tin is. If you’re not confident that you’ll get the tart into the oven without spilling the custard, put the tray (with the tart case on it) onto the oven shelf and then pour the custard in. I would’ve done this but when I pull my oven shelf out it dips slightly so I could not have got all the custard in.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the custard looks set but still wobbles slightly when the tray is moved. NB. This is less time than I would normally recommend for a custard tart but the Baileys seemed to speed up the cooking process.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Shortly before serving whip up the cream and Baileys and pipe onto the top for some extra decadence.

Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

Eat.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Raspberry bakewell tart




 Two weeks ago I made the best jammy dodger biscuits I have ever tasted (modest, I know) using raspberry caramel.  What to do with the leftover caramel has occupied my brain probably more than it should so I was pleased when I decided on incorporating it into a raspberry bakewell tart.


I used the caramel in place of the jam layer that sits between pastry and frangipane and it behaved well –not making the pastry soggy and adding such sweet jamminess to the tart that I wonder if I could ever go back to jam. (Note to self: yes you will go back to jam because that only requires unscrewing a jar, whereas the raspberry caramel gave you anxious, tense moments peering into a pan of boiling sugar.
  Stop being pretentious.)

I added raspberries to the frangipane to add a hit of freshness and acidity and I think it ended up looking rather splendid (again, note my modesty!)  Perhaps it isn’t the most Easter-looking bake but I really fancied something bakewell themed.

You could serve this at room temperature with cream or warm for dessert with ice cream.  Every time I say about serving dessert warm with ice cream you should picture Mr CC in the background shouting, ‘or custard.  Custard would work.’  He likes custard.  A lot.


Ingredients
For the almond shortcrust pastry:
170g plain flour
60g ground almonds
110g unsalted butter, cold
50g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
For the frangipane:
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar, plus an extra teaspoon for sprinkling
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g plain flour
Handful of flaked almonds for scattering on top
For the raspberry:
6-8 tablespoons raspberry jam or raspberry caramel
200g fresh raspberries
To serve: thick cream; I chose clotted.  If you serve the tart warm then custard or ice cream

Method
Make the pastry: Place the flour and ground almonds in a food processor and briefly pulse until they are combined.
Add the butter, diced into small cubes, and blitz until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can use the rubbing in method.
Add the sugar and blitz briefly.
Add the 2 egg yolks and water and pulse the processor until the dough just starts to come together.
Tip the dough out onto a sheet of clingfilm and bring together into a soft ball.
Flatten the ball into a disc shape (this will make rolling out easier) and wrap in the clingfilm.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Roll the chilled pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm and use to line a 23cm loose bottomed round flan tin. No need to grease the tin as the pastry is buttery enough not to stick. It is very important that your pastry has no holes in it so patch carefully if need be! Don’t trim the pastry yet – leave the excess hanging over the side.
Line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and weigh down with some baking beans.
Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Leave the pastry case to cool and, when cool, trim off the excess pastry.  I use a serrated bread knife as I find it doesn’t tear at the pastry and I have more control. (NB. For this tart I left the pastry untrimmed as it gave a nice rustic finish).
Now make the frangipane filling: Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until whippy and combined.
Spoon the raspberry jam or caramel into the bottom of the pastry case - there should be just enough to cover the base; any more than this and the tart will be too sloppy.
Spoon the frangipane onto the raspberry jam/caramel and spread ensuring that it forms a seal with the pastry so no puree will bubble up during cooking.
Arrange the raspberries on top of the frangipane.
Scatter over a handful of flaked almonds, then finally sprinkle over a teaspoon of sugar.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the frangipane comes out clean.
Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack – only remove from the tin just before serving.
Serve either warm with ice cream or custard, or at room temperature with cream.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

Eat.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Blueberry cream cheese tart

 


This is what happens when you spend too much time thinking about what to bake!  I planned to make a blueberry tart or pie – nice and simple...but then I saw blueberry cream cheese tarts and my attention was well and truly grabbed.




My ‘baking with cream cheese’ vista has expanded recently as, after years of claiming he didn’t like it, the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) has discovered that he does.  Just thinking of all those years he’s erroneously denied himself cheesecake makes me want to weep.  If we were in a Doctor Seuss book he would be the unnamed character and I would be Sam I Am...and the tart would be green eggs and ham...which doesn’t sound quite so good for a baking site!




Anyway, back to the tart!  I loved making this one – the pastry looked like it was going to be a nightmare but then behaved impeccably; the filling looked scant but, when I dropped the blueberries in, filled the pastry case.  Blueberries never disappoint!




The cream cheese filling has a lovely acidity to it due to the addition of soured cream.  It works well against the juicy blueberries and the crumbly, biscuit pastry.  Surprisingly, the overall effect is light and easy to eat – it’s not like a heavy slice of cheesecake.  It tasted really fresh as the blueberries soften but don’t turn mushy and pop deliciously in your mouth.




I served it as a dessert with pouring cream (Mr CC thinks it’s not a dessert unless there’s pouring cream or custard on offer) but it would work just as well as a tea-time treat.  And it keeps for several days in the fridge so there’s no excuse not to make one and eat it all by yourself!




Ingredients

For the pastry:
175g plain flour
85g unsalted butter, cold
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

For the filling:
115g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
60g soured cream
3 eggs
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
70g caster sugar
450g blueberries – washed and dried


Method

Start by making the pastry: place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.

Add the egg and pulse again then – only if it’s needed to bring the crumbs together – add the water. [NB. If you don’t have a food processor rub the butter into the flour until you have crumbs, stir in the sugar, then the egg then the water]

At this point, you will have claggy clumps – not a uniform ball of pastry.

Tip the clumps out onto a work top and bring together into a ball using your hands.  Only handle the pastry as much as is necessary to form a ball.

Roll out the pastry between two sheets of clingfilm until it is large enough to line a 25cm loose bottomed flan tin.  Don’t grease the tin – the pastry is buttery enough not to stick.

If the pastry tears, patch it carefully as you don’t want any holes for the filling to leak out of.

You will have just enough pastry to line the tin and patch – don’t expect any leftovers!

Prick the bottom of the pastry case several times with a fork – this will stop the pastry rising during baking.

Place the pastry case in the fridge for approx 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.

Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until pale golden.

Put to one side while you make the filling.

Lower the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Now make the filling: Beat together the cream cheese, soured cream, eggs, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar until thick and well combined.  It’s easiest to use the whisk rather than paddle attachment.

Pour into the pastry case and then scatter the blueberries over the top – some will disappear into the liquid, others will remain visible.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheesecake element is set, but retains a bit of a wobble.  It will continue to set during cooling.

When completely cool, refrigerate until you wish to serve.

Serve either as dessert with pouring cream, or on its own as a tea-time treat.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Eat.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Peach and spiced ricotta tart





I think this tart looks a lot more complicated, and a lot more work than it actually is.  The roasted, lightly caramelised peaches sitting on a pillow of gently spiced ricotta work so well with the sweet, buttery vanilla pastry.  But honestly – if you can line a pastry case, the rest is plain sailing.




You’re probably meant to use fresh peaches or nectarines for this recipe but if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you will know just how much I love tinned peaches.  How tinning a peach makes it better (both flavour and texture) I do not know...but it does.  So I used tinned peaches.  Using tinned peaches at the height of soft fruit season...I must be a contrarian baker!




When I trimmed the pastry I, of course, tasted the off cuts and was surprised how sweet it was.  It made sense when I tasted the ricotta filling which is not that sweet at all.  It’s all about balance.




I’m not sure roasting the tinned peaches was strictly necessary but I did it anyway and they did look and feel softer afterwards but they didn’t caramelise as much as I’d hoped.




This is the sort of tart you’d see in a lovely deli shop window; it’s not fine or delicate patisserie but it looks inviting and wholesome.  I was particularly proud of this one.  And I really need to reiterate – it’s easy to make!



Ingredients

For the pastry:
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
185g plain flour

For the peaches:
3-4 peaches or nectarines, peeled and cut into half – stone removed.  I used tinned peaches...because I love them!  My peaches were small so I used 4
1 tablespoon brown sugar
20ml water

For the ricotta filling:
450g ricotta
40g caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
1 tablespoon brown sugar, for sprinkling on top


Method

Make the pastry – this is an unusual method but results in a rich, buttery pastry easier to work with than you might imagine: beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the egg yolk, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.

Add the flour and mix until the pastry just starts to clump.

Tip out onto a sheet of clingfilm and bring together into a ball.

Flatten into a fat disc and wrap in clingfilm.

Refrigerate for one hour.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm until it is 3-5mm thick.

Line a 23cm loose bottomed flan tin with the pastry.

Refrigerate for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper or non stick foil and hold in place with baking beans.

Bake for 15 minutes, before removing the paper and beans and baking for a further 5 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool before trimming any overhanging pastry away.

Now roast the peaches: place the halves in a roasting tin.

Sprinkle the sugar over the peaches and pour the water into the bottom of the tin.

Roast for approximately 12 minutes or until they are soft and golden.

Leave to cool before cutting into wedges.

Now make the ricotta filling: beat together all the ingredients until well combined.

Spoon into the pastry case and arrange the peaches on top.

Sprinkle over the brown sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the ricotta is golden and firm to the touch.  Mine took longer – nearer 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes before removing from the tin.

Serve either warm, from the oven, or leave to cool completely.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Eat.