Showing posts from January, 2016

Tangy Orange Tart

I think this is the first orange tart I've ever made. I bought some oranges and lemons that were on offer in a local market, and decided to make a tart rather than a cake. It's easy to make, but a bit different. I recently watched Mary Berry making some candied peel with orange zest, so decided to have a go at making some to decorate the top of the tart. The pastry is a sweet shortcrust, and I used icing sugar instead of caster sugar as the sweetener. preheat oven 200c/gas6  You need a 23cm fluted tart tin You can make the pastry in a processor or by hand, but I was lazy and used the processor. Put 225g plain flour, pinch salt, 125g butter and 2 tbspn icing sugar in a processor and blitz till crumbs. Beat 1 egg yolk with 2 tbspn cold water and add to the mixture and pulse till you nearly get a dough. Knead together then wrap in cling film and chill. For the filling - put the juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange, with the zest of 2 oranges, 75g butter, 225g granulated sugar a

Apple and Spice Yoghurt Cake

I love spicy cakes, so I've been trying a few recipes and liked this one the best. The recipe uses 'speculoos' or 'speculaas' biscuits, the spicy biscuits the Dutch eat on St Nicholas Day, December 6th. These were easy to find in France, but not here. I used 'Biscoff' brand, which have almost the same taste [and you can also get in a jar and is delicious as a cake filling]. Aldi and Lidl both have spicy biscuits which would work just as well. You also need some apples and vanilla yoghurt. Preheat oven 200C/gas6  Grease a 20cm square cake tin. Using a food processor [or a plastic bag and a rolling pin!] blitz 50g of biscuits into fine crumbs. In a bowl break 2 eggs and whisk, then add 2 tbspn of runny honey and beat. Stir in 1 small pot of vanilla yoghurt and the biscuit crumbs. Add 200g of plain flour to which you've added a tspn of baking powder. Mix together then add 3 tbspn of vegetable oil and mix well. Peel and core 2 eating apples and chop in

Portuguese Custard Tarts - Pastel ne Nata

I had one more lot of butter puff pastry left over from Christmas, and I've been wanting to make these tarts for ages, as I love custard tarts in any form. I don't think this is exactly like the famous ones, but they're made to a secret recipe! The tarts were first made by Catholic monks in the 18th century. Large amounts of egg whites were used to starch clothes, so the yolks left over were used to make cakes and pastries. Preheat oven 200C/gas6 These are easy to make - you need 250g of puff pastry which you roll out. Lightly grease a muffin tin, cut out 12 small circles and  and line the tin with these. Put the tin in the fridge for about 20 mins. For the filling - beat 4 egg yolks with 100g caster sugar till thick and white. Add 1 tspn of flour and the zest of a lemon, then mix in 25cl of crème fraiche. Pout into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a gentle heat, stirring all the time. As soon as it comes to the boil, take it off the heat and allow to cool. P

Galette des Rois with Hazelnuts

It's a bit late for Epiphany when this gateau should be eaten, but I found this recipe in a magazine so decided to make it. I liked the idea of using hazelnuts instead of ground almonds, as in the traditional one. I'm sure you know about this gateau, and that in France it has a china figure in it, and whoever finds this figure or fève gets to wear the crown and be the King. Sadly, in our move back from France, my collection of fèves got lost! 500g butter puff pastry divided into 2 200g ground hazelnuts [ I found them ready ground in Waitrose, but you can grind your own] 100g caster sugar 1 tspn vanilla extract 3 eggs 75g butter at room temperature Preheat oven 180C/gas6 Beat the butter and ground hazelnuts together to make a soft paste. Add 2 of the eggs and the vanilla. Cut each of the pieces of puff pastry into a circle and place one on a piece of baking parchment on a baking sheet. Spread the hazelnut mixture over the pastry lea

A Duo of Cookies

I made a couple of batches of cookies recently, so thought I'd post the recipes here. They're both very easy and quick to make. The first one is for Chocolate-chip and Oats cookies, and the second one is for Ginger and Chocolate cookies. For the Choc-chip and Oats ones  - Preheat oven 180C/gas4  Mixture makes enough cookies to cover 3 baking sheets, but I did it in 2 batches, as I only have 2 baking sheets. Beat together 125g butter, 100g soft brown sugar, 110g caster sugar and 1/2 tspn vanilla extract till pale and thick, using an electric hand beater, then beat in 1 egg. Fold in 110g oats [not the jumbo ones]. sieve 150g plain flour with 1/2 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn bicarb. together and fold into mixture. Finally fold in 175g dark chocolate which has been chopped [not too small] and 150g peeled and chopped hazelnuts [you could toast them first]. Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop, put balls of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving a space between each

Sweet Potato Cake

I keep buying sweet potatoes and  forgetting about them, so decided to use them up in a cake. I had a look online, but thought most were too fussy for me. This one came from the book I've mentioned before, 'Cakes Mom Used to Make'.  It doesn't have an author, as it's recipes from different people. It makes a big 3-layer cake, but as I was making it for a largish family get together, this was fine. The nuisance part was that you needed 3 x 23cm cake tins. I have 2, so borrowed the other one from my neighbour. Preheat oven 200C/gas6 Prick 2 medium or 1 large sweet potato [about 350g], put on a baking tray and bake for about an hour till they're soft. Take them out and cool for a bit. When they're cool, you can peel and chop them and purée in a blender.  Turn the oven down to 180C/gas4. Grease the 3 cake tins and line the bottoms. Sift together 320g plain flour with 90g of cornflour, then add 3 tspn baking powder, 11/2 tspn cinnamon, 1/2 tspn nutmeg and