Baking – Bread, Cakes & Desserts

Pear Clafoutis

 Ingredients:

For the pastry: 250g plain flour, 125g butter chopped into small chunks, 1 egg, 1tsp caster sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 40ml cold water

For the Clafoutis: 220g sablee / flan pastry (I used flan), 8-12 small pears (depending on size), juice of 1 lemon, sugar syrup (made using water and sugar), 120ml milk, 120ml double cream, 1 vanilla pod (or 1tsp vanilla essence), 175g caster sugar, 4 large eggs, 20g plain flour

Preparation: 15 minutes pastry, 50 minutes clafoutis, 30 minutes baking

For the flan pastry (from Michel Roux pastry book)

1. Prepare the pastry by laying the flour out on a clean surface and creating a well in the centre.

2. Add the egg, butter, sugar and salt to the well and cream the ingredients together using your fingertips.

3. Draw the flour into the centre and mix with the butter mix to form a grainy texture than add in the water and mix until the dough begins to hold together.

4. Do not knead the dough as it should be handled very lightly. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 4-6 times until it is smooth, then wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Clafoutis

1. Peel the pears and brush with lemon juice to stop them going brown whilst you then half them and scoop out the core. Poach them in the sugar syrup for c.15 minutes or until tender. Adjust cooking time according to how hard your pears are. Leave them to cool in the syrup before draining. If you’re feeling creative you can keep one pear whole to place in the centre of your clafoutis (including the stalk).

2. In another pan, slowly heat the milk, cream, vanilla pod (halved), and 2/3 of the sugar. Whilst this comes to temperature take a mixing bowl or jug and whisk the eggs, remaining sugar and the flour. Once the milk mixture comes to the boil add it to the egg mix, stirring well and then then leave it to cool. This effectively is an egg custard.

3. Take your pastry from the fridge and roll it out to c. 4mm  thickness to fit an 18cm diameter tart tin. Chill for a further 5-10 minutes, then prick the base and blind bake at 190C for 15 minutes. I use beans for the blind baking. At the end of the 15 minutes take out the beans and allow the pastry to cook for a further 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

4. Now we can go back to our pears which should be drained and patted dry with kitchen roll if excessively wet. Cut the pear halves into two quarters and start laying the slices around the flan dish fanning outwards. Keep working all the way round then create an inner circle until the base is fully covered. If using a whole pear for the centre, place it in now. (I didn’t have one which looked pretty enough).

5. Remove the vanilla pod from the Clafoutis custard and pour evenly over the pears until it comes to within a couple of mm of the pastry rim.

6. Bake immediately in the centre of a hot oven at 190C for c. 30 minutes until cooked and golden. Remove and chill on a wire rack. Sprinkle some extra caster sugar over the top. Best served whilst still warm with, if you can find it, a side of crème fraîche.

Bon appetit!

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Chestnut & Chocolate Cake

 Ingredients: 250g dark chocolate, 250g butter, 250g peeled and cooked chestnuts, 250ml milk, 4 eggs, 125g caster sugar

Preparation: 25 mins + 30 mins cooking

1. Preheat the oven to 170C and prepare a 9″ cake tin.

2.  To prepare the chestnuts, cut a cross in the skin and boil in water for c. 10 mins. The cross helps you peel the chestnuts once cooked.

3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan over a gentle heat.

4. In another pan heat the cooked and peeled chestnuts in the milk and then mash.

5. Seperate the eggs and put the yolks and sugar together and stir into the melted chocolate and butter mix together with the milka nd chestnuts.

6. Whisk the egg whites until glossy and stiff and then fold gently into the chocolate mix. Transfer the mix into your baking tin and bake for c. 30 minutes or until firm.

7. Serve warm with a generous side of vanilla ice cream or single cream. It is however just as yummy cold and if you store it in the fridge will set into an interesting fudge like consistency.

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Pear & Rhubarb Flan

Ingredients: (For pastry) 250g plain flour, 125g softened butter chopped into small chunks, 1 egg, 1 tsp caster sugar, sprinkle fine salt, 40g cold water (For Flan) 2-3 stalks of rhubarb and 4 pears, water, 1 tbsp brown sugar, icing sugar and mint leave for decoration

Preparation: 25 mins + 35 cooking time

1. Firstly prepare the pastry by laying the flour out on a clean surface and creating a well in the centre.

2. Add the egg, butter, sugar and salt to the well and cream the ingredients together using your fingertips.

3. Draw the flour into the centre and mix with the butter mix to form a grainy texture than add in the water and mix until the dough begins to hold together.

4. Do not knead the dough as it should be handled very lightly. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 4-6 times until it is smooth, then wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge until ready to use.

5. Chop the rhubarb stalks and peel and slice the pears.

6. In a pan, add 1cm of water and bring to the boil with the tbsp of brown sugar. Add in the fruit and gently poach for 5 mins until nicely softened.

7. Leave to cool and absorb any remaining liquid. You don’t want the fruit to be dry but equally you don’t want it too wet as it will make the pastry soggy.

8. Take your pastry and roll out to fit a 9″ flan tin saving 1/10 of the dough to create the lattice work to top the flan. Gordon Ramsey has a technique to start the rolling where you use the rolling pin to first press the dough flat and make it more even before you then roll it to size. This is a great way to avoid breaking the dough by over touching / rolling it.

9. Lay the fruit mix onto the pastry and spread evenly.

10. Roll the remaing pastry and using the pastry cutter create the lattice work to top the flan.

11. Bake in the centre of a hot oven at 190C for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry looks golden in colour.

12. Leave to cool and then sprinkle with icing sugar and top with a mint leaf to serve.

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Apple, Cinnamon and Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients: 50g softened butter, 50g caster sugar, 300ml milk, 50g bran, 1 egg, 50g chopped fresh apple, 25g cranberries, peel from 1 orange, 1tsp cinnamon, 100g flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, pinch of salt

Preparation: 15 mins + 25 cooking

1. In a small bowl, soak the bran in milk for 10 mins whilst you procede with the rest of the recipe.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until nicely soft and fluffy.

3. Beat in the egg together with the apple, cranberries, orange peel and cinnamon.

4. Add in the bran and milk and beat once more.

5. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until your mixture is well combined.

6. Spoon your mixture into 6-8 muffin cases. I recommend a silicone tray as they come out easily once cooked.

7. Bake for 25 minutes at 200C or until golden.

8. Eat warm as they are definitely more delicious.

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Claire’s Creme Caramel

Ingredients: 4 egg yolks, 115g brown sugar, 150ml water, 568ml (1 pint) milk, 1 tsp of vanilla essence

Preparation: 20 mins + 1 1/2 hours baking + Chilling

1. The first step to making the creme caramel is the caramel layer which lines the bowl. Place the water and 100g sugar in a pan and bring to the boil stirring to ensure that the sugar fully dissolves. Keep boiling until the mixture reduces down and turns a deep golden colour. Pour into your serving bowl and make sure you cover all of the base.

2. In a seperate mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks, the remaining sugar and the vanilla essence.

3. Heat the milk (in the microwave) and combine with the egg mix.

4. Pour over the caramel mix and stand the serving dish in a roasting tin half full of water so that once placed in the oven the creme caramel bakes in water.

5. Bake at 170C for c. 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until set. Cooking times may vary oven to oven.

6. Once baked leave to cool before placing in the fridge to set.

7. Once cold turn out of the serving dish so that the caramel runs over the rest of the dessert.

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Peach & Rhubarb meringue roulade

  Ingredients: 4 Egg whites, 6oz / 170g caster sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, chopped almonds to decorate, additional sugar to sprinkle, 125ml single cream (whipped) + fruit of your choice (Berries, peaches, rhubarb).

Preparation: 15 mins + 20 mins cooking + cooling time + 10 mins decorating

1. Whisk the egg whites with c. 1/4 of the sugar until stiff and glossy.

2. Gently fold in the remaining sugar using a metal spoon.

3. Spoon the mix onto a flat baking tray prepared with greaseproof paper and sprinkle with the cinnamon and a tsp of additional sugar.

4. Bake in the centre of a hot oven at 190C for c. 20 minutes or until slightly golden and firm.

5. Once slightly cooled peel the meringue off the greaseproof paper and leave to cool completely.

6. For the filling, I layered on my rhubarb which I had cooked earlier (Simmer in a splash of water with brown sugar for c. 5 minutes until nicely softened).

7. whip the fresh cream until nice and firm and spread evenly across the meringue. I also used a little bit of mascarpone in my roulade so you can play with different creams and yoghurts to achieve the taste you want.

8 .Lastly I spread thinly sliced peach across the cream.

9. Now for the tricky bit…rolling! I think I over estimated my filling so as I started to roll a fair bit shot out of both ends but with a bit of patience I managed to complete my roll, plate up and pop my roulade in the fridge to chill and set.

10. Before serving, sprinkle with the chopped almonds.

11. Serve sliced.

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Pimm’s infused Rhubarb & Lemon Jellies

Ingredients: 6 stalks of rhubarb, c.150ml water, c.1ooml of Pimm’s, 2 tbsp dark brown demerera sugar, 1/2 pack 135g lemon jelly, juice from 1 fresh lemon

Preparation: 15 mins + chilling time

1. Remove the leaves and wash and chop the rhubarb into large chunks. Place in a large pan with the sugar and water and bring to the boil.

2. Simmer for a couple of minutes until soft and then remove from the heat.

3. Add in the chunks of jelly and stir until completely dissolved.

4. Lastly stir in the Pimm’s and fresh lemon juice and decant into glasses or 1 large dessert dish.

5. Chill in the fridge until the jelly is completely set.

6. Serve au naturel or if you prefer topped with some whipped cream, mascarpone or creme fraiche and a fresh mint leaf.

These make a really refreshing summer dessert with just the right combination of sweet and sour.

Enjoy!

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Wholemeal bread with fresh oregano and chopped black olives

Ingredients: 175g Wholemeal flour, 175g of Manitoba flour or flour for rustic bread (I used the latter), 25g cube fresh yeast, 250g – 270g water, 10g salt, 3g soft brown sugar, 3-4 sprigs of oregano, 15 black olives (Chopped)

Preparation: 20 mins + 2 hours lievitation and 25 mins cooking

  1. In a large mixing bowl, weigh out the flour and sugar. Add in the chopped oregano leaves and olives.
  2. In a seperate jug weigh out 250g water and stir in the yeast until fully dissolved. Extra water can be added later as needed.
  3. Stir the water-yeast mix into the flour, stirring continuously until well combined and lastly add in the salt. (The salt can restrict the yeast so I always add it last).
  4. Now take over with your hands. If your mixture still looks or feels too dry add in a little extra water and mould until you have one big ball of dough. (Differences between flours can mean that extra water is needed).
  5. Once combined turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Whilst kneading, flour your hands rather than adding too much to the board so as to avoid drying your dough out too much. (if using dried yeast sachet you may need to knead for longer to activate the yeast).
  6. Once nicely smooth, place on a baking tray and cover with clingfilm or a tea towel and leave to rise for c. 2 hours in a warm place.
  7. Bake in the centre of a hot oven at 240C for 5 mins and then at 210C for a further 20 mins.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy with friends!

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Jubilee Apple and Peach Tart

Ingredients: 1 pack ready to use puff pastry, 2 apples, 2 peaches, 25g sliced almonds, 1-2 tbsp brown sugar, 50g water (marmalade – optional), mint leaves and icing sugar for decoration

Preparation: 15 mins + 25 mins cooking

1. Preheat oven to 200C and prepare a round baking tray with baking paper (you should find your pastry comes with some)

2. Place your pastry in the tray and if you want a more robust base to your tart spread a thin layer of marmalade. Otherwise keep it simple with just the fruit.

3. Finely slice the apples and cover the base of the pastry in a round pattern.

4. Next do the same with the peaches and place the slices in the gaps between the apples. The colour of the peach skin provides a great contrast with the apple.

5. In a  small pan heat the water and sugar to provide a glaze to pour over the fruit before placing the tart in the oven. Boil for c. 5-10 mins until the liquid reduces by half and your mixture is thick and sugary.

6. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the fruit. If you feel you don’t have enough simply repeat the process to create some more being careful not to flood the pastry. Top by sprinkling the sliced almonds over the top of the tart.

7. Bake for c. 25 mins in centre of hot oven.

8. Leave to cool slightly before eating. Serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar and some small mint leaves.

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Cinnamon and Cranberry Heart-shaped biscuits

Ingredients: 125g butter, 225g flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, pinch salt, 100g, caster sugar, 1 egg, (maybe milk or water to mix)

Preparation: 15 mins + 30 mins chilling + 15 mins prep + 15 mins baking

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and then add in the butter.
  2. Take a knife and cut in the butter before rubbing in with your fingertips till the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar and then add the egg (beaten) and combine into a stiff dough. (If too dry add a tiny splash of milk or water).
  4. Knead on a lightly floured surface and then place into a polythene / freezer bag and place in the fridge to chill for 30 mins.
  5. Once chilled take out and roll out to your preferred thickness (c. 5mm-10mm) and cut your biscuits. I used a heart shaped cutter but you can use more standard circular or other shapes.
  6. Place on a baking tray with baking paper and cook at 180C for 12-15 mins or until nicely golden. Times may vary depending on the thickness of your biscuits so allow a couple of extra minutes for very thick biscuits.
  7. Once cooked, leave to cool and then enjoy!
  8. Store in an airtight container to preserve the biscuits longer.

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Chocolate Easter Cake

Ingredients: 175g softened butter, 175g soft brown sugar, 150g plain flour, 1 heaped tsp of baking powder, 3 large eggs (room temperature), 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 3 tbsp cocoa powder. For the icing: 100g softened butter, 100g icing sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp milk and mini eggs or similar for decoration.

Preparation: 20 mins + 20 mins cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare 2 round cake tins (c. 18cm) or if you prefer 1 large tin (c. 20cm as per above picture). I favour silicone baking tins as the cake never sticks.
  2. In a large mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon cream the butter and sugar together until soft and slightly fluffy.
  3. Beat in 1 egg at a time and finally the milk and vanilla essence.
  4. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and mix well until smooth and the cocoa is well mixed in.
  5. Spoon into your baking tins and place in the center of the oven for c. 20 mins. To check if fully cooked insert a skewer or cocktail stick into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
  6. Leave to cool in the tins before eventually turning out onto a wire rack.
  7. Once cool, prepare the icing by creaming the sugar before stirring in the icing sugar. Heat the milk gently in the microwave (or in a pan) and stir in the cocoa powder. Add this mix to the butter and icing sugar and cream together. Add in extra icing sugar if your mix is too runny as you don’t want it running off the cake.
  8. Top of with decorations of your choice; mini eggs, chocolate shavings, cocoa powder etc

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Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients: 450g Manitoba flour (or strong white bread flour), 50g Caster sugar, 250g whole milk, 30g unsalted butter, 25g cube of fresh yeast (and small amount of water to mix) or 7g sachet dried yeast, zest of 1 orange, 120g raisins, 1 large egg, 2-3 tsps mixed spices incl. cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch of salt. For the cross 50g Plain 0 /00 flour and water,  2 tbsps golden syrup or honey, oil for greasing

Preparation: 30-40 mins + 2 hrs Lievitation and 25-30 mins cooking

1. Prepare a clean worksurface with a dusting of flour for kneading.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the manitoba flour, spices and sugar (If using dried yeast, add at this stage).
3. Heat the milk and butter in a pan (or microwave in a bowl) until melted and combine in a second bowl with the raisins and orange zest, then leave to cool before beating in the egg. In a small glass prepare your live yeast with a small amount of water.
4. Combine the liquid yeast mix and the fruit mix to the flour and mix together to form a dough. Finally add in a pinch of salt as the dough is starting to stick together. (It’s important to leave the salt for last as it acts against the yeast).

5. Tip your dough mix out onto your work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Roll into one big ball and put it back in the original mixing bowl to rise for an hour. Use the oil to lightly coat the bowl before putting the dough in so that it doesn’t stick and then cover with cling film whilst it rises.

6. Your dough should double in size during the hour. Once risen tip back out onto your floured work surface and flatten your dough to knock some air out. Divide into 9-12 pieces depending on the size of hot cross bun you’d like and roll each one into a ball.

7. Prepare a baking tray with some oven paper and place your buns on top c. 3cm apart.

8. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for a further 40 minutes.

9. Preheat your oven to 200C and then prepare the crosses.

10. Mix the 50g plain flour with c. 5tbsps of cold water to form a thich paste and using an icing nozzle or food bag with the end snipped, pipe your crosses on to the top of each bun.

11. Bake for 20-30 mins or until golden.

12. Take a 2 tbsp of golden syrup or honey and microwave in a cup to act as glaze for your buns. use a pastry brush (or small spoon) to cover the top of your buns.

13. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Tiramisu

Ingredients: 250g mascarpone, 4 eggs (separated), 100g castor sugar, 100g dark chocolate 60- 70% cocoa, savoiardi biscuits, freshly, made espresso (2-4 cups), Liqueur (optional)

Preparation: 15 mins prep + 2 hours chilling = 2 hrs 15 mins

Tip: For an alternative consistency try using a soft sponge finger. For a summer version add mixed berries and substitute the coffee with prosecco or a light liqueur.

1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar, add in the mascarpone and continue whisking until nice and creamy.

2. Next whisk the egg whites until fluffy.

3. Dip the savoiardi biscuits into the espresso and turn to coat both sides. You need just enough coffee to flavour without the biscuits becoming soggy.

4. Place the coffee soaked biscuits in a large dessert dish or in individual cups and cover the bottom .

Tip: You can sprinkle a little liquor over the biscuits eg. kahlua, port, sherry

5. Gently stir the egg white into the mascarpone mix.

6. Roughly break the chocolate into small shavings and chunks, saving one piece to grate over the top.

7. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks over the biscuit layer. Pour over the mascarpone
mix and top with finely grated chocolate.

8. Leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

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Pannacotta

Ingredients: 800ml single cream, 200ml milk, 100g sugar, 1 vanilla stick, 3 sheets of gelatine

Preparation: 20 mins prep + 2 hours chilling = 2 hrs 20 mins

1. Put the gelatine sheets in cold water to soften for 10-15 minutes. Don’t touch them too much.

2. In a medium sized pan add the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla sticks and bring to the boil.

3. Add in the gelatine strips and continue to simmer until the mix starts to solidify.

4. Pour into moulds or cups and place in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

5. Serve with a fruit coulis (mango, raspberry, pineapple), fresh berries, strawberry and mint leaves, chocolate sauce or any other combination that takes your fancy!

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Easy Easter Chocolate Crunchies

Ingredients: 120g bran flakes, 50g dark chocolate 70% cacao, 25g butter, 25g / 1 heaped tbsp golden syrup or honey, 1tbsp of icing sugar

Preparation: 5 mins + 10 mins decorating

1. Place butter, chocolate chunks and syrup / honey into a large bowl and microwave at a low heat for batches of 30 seconds until melted.

2. Stir in the bran flakes and icing sugar (to sweeten) and combine well until all the flakes are covered with chocolate.

3. Take a mixture of large / small cake cases and spoon your mix into them. It should make c. 8 large cake cases + 10 smaller cake cases.

4. Decorate each crunchie with 1 mini egg.

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Forest fruit Pavlova

Ingredients: 4 egg whites (room temperature, 175g caster sugar, 1 tsp /  5ml white wine vinegar, 1 tsp / 5ml corn flour), whipping cream, mixed berries (fresh or frozen), icing sugar

Preparation:10 mins prep + c. 1 hour cooking + min 2 hours resting before adding cream and fruit

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C degrees and prepare a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until thick and glossy looking. The test is that if you can turn the bowl upside down and the mixture stays put then it is ready.
  3. Mix the vinegar and corn flour together and add in to the egg mix along with half of the sugar and whisk together.
  4. Using a metal spoon gently fold in the rest of the sugar being careful not to beat out any air.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the centre of the baking tray so it forms a round and place in the oven.
  6. Allow to cook for 10 mins at 140C and then  reduce temperature to 120C for the remaining 50 minutes. Once cooked (slightly golden) turn off the oven and leave to rest inside without opening the door for a further half hour.
  7. Remove and allow to cool for a further couple of hours before adding the topping.
  8. Whip a generous portion of cream to cover the top of the meringue leaving a border of c. 5cms around the edge.
  9. Heap your fruit on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Tip: You can use any fruit in season. Other great combinations include strawberries and kiwis, poached rhubarb and ginger, mandarin and almonds.

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Mincemeat Pies

Ingredients; 1x batch of rough puff pastry (see recipes in baking section) or 1 x pack of shop bought puff pastry, 2 jars of Mincemeat

Preparation; 30 mins + 15 mins cooking

  • Roll out your pastry if using homemade to circa 5mm thickness or open your packet of pastry.
  • Using a round cake cutter or glass cut out your individual mincemeat pie bases and place into a greased  pie tin.
  • Place one heaped teaspoon of mincemeat inside each pie.
  • Cover with a complete round of pastry or alternatively with your preferred shape as per the stars above.
  • Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden.
  • Turn out onto a cooling rack and then store in an airtight container.
  • Sprinkle with a little icing sugar.
  • Enjoy hot with brandy butter or cream!

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Christmas Spicy biscuits

Ingredients: 225g Plain flour, 1 tsp Baking powder, 150g Butter, 100g castor sugar, 15g soft brown sugar, 15g oatbran, good shake of cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa powder, pinch of salt, 1 beaten egg, splash milk

Preparation:

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, spices into a bowl and add in butter.
  • Rub into fine mix and then stir in both sugars and the oat bran
  • Add in the beaten egg and mix into stiff dough adding ina  splash of milk if your dough is too dry.
  • Roll into a ball, clingfilm and leave to chill in the oven for 30 mins before using.
  • Once chilled roll out and cut 30 + biscuits using the shape and size cutter of your choice.
  • Bake on a flat baking tray prepared with baking paper or greased. Bake in the centre of a hot oven 180 degrees for c. 12-15 mins till golden.
  • Cool for 3-4 mins before transferring to a wire rack. Once fully cold store in an airtight container.

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Home-made Rough Puff Pastry

Ingredients: 500 g Plain Flour, 500g butter, very cold and cut into small cubes, 1 tsp salt, 250 ml of ice cold water

Preparation

  • Pour the flour onto a cold work surface (marble or similar) and create a well in which to put the salt and butter cubes.
  • With your fingertips start to combine the ingredient, in much the same way as making a crumble mix, until the butter starts to resemble smaller flakes.
  • Gradually add in the water and combine into a rough dough. Do not over work it at this stage. Roll into a ball and then clingfilm and leave in the fridge to rest for 20-30 mins.
  • Once rested, roll the dough out to c. 40cm x 20cm and then fold it into three.
  • Rotate 90 degrees, re-roll and re-fold and then clingfilm once again and pop back into the fridge for 30 mins.
  • Repeat this process once more giving you a total of four sets of folding.
  • Your pastry is then ready to use. Chill for a minimum of 30 mins before using or store in fridge for up to 3 days before using.

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Titta’s Famous Chocolate Torte

Ingredients: 200g Dark Chocolate, 100g butter, 100g castor sugar, 4 eggs

Preparation

  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
  • Take your eggs and seperate the yolks and whites.
  • Mix the egg yolks in with the sugar.
  • Whip the egg whites with an electric whisk until light and fluffy and sticks to the bowl.
  • Combine the choco-butter mix with the egg yolk and sugar mix and whip together for c. 30 seconds.
  • Gently stir in the whipped egg whites being careful not to beat the air out of the mix.
  • Pour the final mixture into a baking tray (circular or rectangle) prepared with baking paper.
  • Bake in the centre of a hot oven, preheated to 180 degrees, for c. 25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.
  • Enjoy with friends or family.

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Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients: 50g butter, 50g caster sugar, 1 egg, 300ml milk, 50g oatbran, 50g dark chocolate (70% cacao), 100g wholemeal flour, 1tbsp of baking powder (c. 15ml), pinch of salt

Fruit Muffins

As above but switch the chocolate for 50g of fresh blueberries, raspberries or cranberries.

Preparation

  • Start by soaking the bran in the milk for circa 10 minutes or until the milk has been soaked up.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy and then beat in the egg and the bran and milk mixture.
  • Add in the chocolate in roughly broken chunks.
  • With a metal spoon gently stir in the flour, salt and baking powder.
  • If making fruit muffins, add in the fruit at this stage and gently stir into the mixture.
  • Pour or spoon the mixture into 6 muffin cases or alternately I would advise using a silicon muffin tray as completely non stick.
  • Bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 200C for c. 25 mins. Use a cocktail stick to check if fully cooked in the centre. If it comes out clean then your muffins are ready to eat.
  • Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and serve!

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Semolina Bread by Edoardo Ruggiero, La Brioschina, Milan

Ingredienti: 1st Dough Mix: 250g Manitoba Flour, 10g Beer Yeast, 150g Water

2nd Dough Mix: Take first dough mix and add in…250g Semolina Flour, 7g salt, 3g malt flour, 137g water

Preparation

  • All the ingredients are in grams as it is easier to measure.
  • Make the first dough mix by mixing the manitoba flour, yeast and water in a bowl. Once mixed turn out onto a floured board and knead for a couple of minutes. When you role the dough out try not to add in too much exta flour as it dries the mix out. If its sticking, flour your hands and not the dough. . Leave to rise for 2 hours.
  • Weigh out the next round of ingredients and place in bowl togther with the first dough. Combine together and then repeat the kneading as above. Divide mix into 2 -4 loaves and leave to rise for 2 hours.
  • Bake in the centre of a hot oven 190° for 12 minutes with valve closed and then 3 minutes with valve open. If you don’t have an oven with a valve then simply open the door for 10 seconds after the first 12 minutes to let any moisture out of the oven.

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Classic Focaccia

Ingredients: 500g Manitoba flour, 40g beer yeast, 275g water, 15g salt, 20 -30g olive oil, rock salt

For variations add in chopped sage or black olives or sprinkle with rosemary or chopped onions.

Preparation:

  • Pour the flour onto a clean work surface and create a well in the centre.
  • Mix the water and yeast and pour into the well and with a circular motion start mixing the yeast mixture into the flour.
  • Add in the oil olive and lastly the salt (important to leave salt to last as impedes the action of the yeast). Combine together to complete the dough and knead for a couple of minutes then leave to rise for an hour.
  • Roll out the dough and place in a rectangular baking tray and leave to rise for a further 45 minutes. Before baking prod with your finger to give it the typical focaccia form and sprinkle with some rock salt.
  • Place in a heated oven at 240C per circa 8 to 10 minutes

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Apple Strudel

Ingredients:

For the pastry:500g flour250g butter250g caster sugarLemon rind2tbsp milk2 eggs½ sachet of dried yeast c. 5-10gPinch of salt1tsp vanilla essence  For the filling;600g apples50g sugar50g bread crumbs toasted in butter40g sultanas20g pine nuts2tbsp of rum1tsp of cinnamon and vanilla essenceLemon peelIcing sugar

Preparation:

500g of pastry (1/2 portion of above quantities).

  • To make the pastry: Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla essence and lemon peel in a bowl until the mixture is smoth. Add the eggs and milk and stir in the flour and yeast. Leave to rest for an hour then roll and use.
  • Peel the apples, slice and mix with the sugar, pine nuts, sultanas, bread crumbs, rum, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon peel.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Roll out the pasta to circa 40 x 26 cm and place on oven paper
  • Spoon on the apple mixture and spread evenly
  • Close the strudel using the eggs (whisked) to seal shut the pastry and coat the top.
  • Cook in the centre of a hot oven for 35 minutes and serve with icing sugar sprinkled on top.

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Apricot Canederli

Ingredients: 300g Ricotta, 80g butter, 20g sugar and 9g vanilla sugar, pinch salt, 2 eggs, 100g flour, 8 apricots

Preparation:

  • Put the ricotta in gauze and let it drip dry for 20 minutes.
  • Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt together until light and fluffy and then add in the eggs, ricotta and flour. Once mixed leave to rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Wash and dry the apricots and then without opening fully slice and remove the stone.
  • Roll out the ricotta mix and cut into rectangles large enough to cover the whole apricots.
  • Place the apricots in the centre of each rectangle and wrap and seal well.
  • Cook the canederli in simmering, lightly salted, water for 15 minutes.
  • To serve, melt a good helping of butter in a pan and toss the canederli in it.
  • Roll in brown sugar and cinnamon and serve hot with vanilla custard.

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