Peach and Lime Frangipane

Pastry

175g flour

30g almonds

40g icing sugar

125g butter, straight from the fridge and cubed

1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons tap water

Mix the first 4 ingredients in the processor, pulsing.  Keep pulsing as you add the egg/water until it starts to clump.  You might not need all of the liquid.  Gently press into a lump and wrap in clingfilm.  Keep in the fridge for 20 minutes or until you’re ready.

Roll your pastry and gently lift it using the rolling pin to help into your flan dish.  Ease it in and tidy up the edges.  If the pastry rips, just patch it up with some of the excess.  Remember that it will shrink as it cooks.  Don’t blind bake it.  Just stick it in the fridge till you’ve made the filling.

Filling

100g butter, melted but no longer too hot

100g golden caster sugar

120g ground almonds

2 eggs

zest and juice of a lime

2 level tablespoons self-raising flour

3 tablespoons raspberry or apricot jam

2-3 sliced peaches

Whoosh up all of the filling ingredients except for the jam and the peaches in the food processor.  Make sure it’s well blended.

Spread the jam carefully over the pastry base, then pour the filling mix evenly over the top.

Decorate with the peaches.

Bake for 20-35 minutes at 180 degrees.  When you start to smell it baking, check it, turn it round and if necessary, turn the oven down.  When the middle bounces back, it’s ready.  Do check, because all ovens are so different.  In mine, it only takes about 25 minutes at 170 degrees.

Glaze

3 tablespoons apricot jam

juice of one lime

As soon as the frangipane comes out of the oven, gently warm the glaze ingredients in a small pan until just melted.  Push through a tea-strainer into a mug, then brush evenly over the whole pie.

Serve at room temperature.

 

Strawberry Tiramisu

600g strawberries, quartered; 2 eggs; 100g golden caster sugar; 400g mascarpone;

100g Amaretto; 200g sponge fingers or madeira cake; 50g grated milk chocolate

You want an electric whisk for all of this, probably.  Whisk the two egg whites together until they form peaks.

Now, in a second large bowl, whisk the two egg yolks with the caster sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the mascarpone and beat well.  Now, fold in the egg whites.

Slice the madeira cake thinly, if that’s what you’re using.  Otherwise, sponge fingers at the ready.  Put a thin layer of either cakey thing at the bottom of your trifle dish or martini glasses.  Drizzle over a little Amaretto.  Cover with a layer of mascarpone cream, then sprinkle with the grated chocolate.  Add some strawberries.  Repeat the layers, finishing with strawberries.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Still pretty gorgeous the next day though too!

 

Beano-style Cakes

Beano-style fairy cakes with a halved glacé cherry on top – half the calories of a swirly, whirly buttercream-topped cupcake, probably.

To make about 15:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Crack and weigh 3 eggs.  Weigh out exactly the same amount of self-raising flour, golden caster sugar and soft butter.  Pop into a bowl with a teaspoonful or two of vanilla essence and a teaspoonful of baking powder.

Use a hand-whisk to beat thoroughly over about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the edges of the bowl so that you don’t miss any of the mixture.

Put into a couple of lined tins and bake at 180 degrees for 12-20 minutes.  When they smell of cake and are bouncy to the touch, they are ready.

Once they are completely cooled, ice with normal, thick water icing and top with a halved glacé cherry.

Victoria Butterfly Cakes

No time for cooking at the moment, so here is an old one from the Posterous days! I’m quite proud of the photos, as they were taken with my old camera.

Salutation Recipes

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For sweet little cakes, these are a bit inappropriately dressed, I know.  It seems that TK Maxx can tend towards the bawdy unless you shop carefully.  Exactly the same with their muffin cases as with their party dresses.

Anyway, it’s basically the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall method again.  For a low-calorie version, use mini-muffin cases and only eat one!

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Weigh 3 eggs.  Note down how much they weighed, then measure out the same amount of self-raising flour, golden caster sugar and either soft butter or sunflower spread.  Add about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Use a hand-whisk to mix it all up until it looks delicious, then divide into about 12 large muffin cases and about 10 smaller ones.

Put them all in the oven.  Check them as soon as the oven starts wafting out lovely smells, usually after about 8 minutes.  Quickly…

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Nutmeg Scones with a Sugar Crust

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It would never have occurred to me to put nutmeg into a scone if Alex from The Angel’s Share Bakery in Richmond (North Yorkshire) hadn’t told me that she did it.  And she bakes the most delicious scones, pies, quiches and cakes that you can imagine.  She has a magical touch with everything she bakes.  This isn’t her recipe – I didn’t have the nerve to ask for it – but the children have begged me to make scones like this all the time from now on, so they must be good.

If you’re on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales or County Durham, do pop along to The Angel’s Share Bakery (http://theangelssharebakery.com/ or http://www.richmondstation.com/angels-share.asp) to pick up a luxury picnic; it’s just lovely, and there are plenty of picturesque spots within a few minutes’ walk where you can sit to enjoy your treats.

1lb self-raising flour

1 teaspoonful baking powder and a good grinding of nutmeg

4oz butter

Rub the butter into the flour, nutmeg and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add 4oz golden caster sugar and 2oz sultanas/raisins.

Crack a large egg into a measuring jug, then make this up to 9 fl.oz with a teaspoonful of vanilla extract and cold water.  Whisk together.

Stir little by little with a knife into the dry mixture (you probably won’t need all of the liquid), then finish off with your cold hand.  When it all comes together, lightly flatten it on the work surface with your hand until it’s about an inch thick.  Use a round cutter to make about 10 scones.

I’d really recommend that you buy one of those non-stick black baking sheets to cover your baking tray:  it saves all of that greasing and flouring.

Spread a heaped tablespoonful of golden caster sugar over a flat plate, and sprinkle over some more nutmeg.  Brush the tops of your scones with milk, then dunk them upside down – one at a time – onto the sugar, so that they have a crusty top.  Place onto a prepared baking tray.

Cook in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 25 minutes, but know your oven – in mine, they cooked in 10 minutes at 190 degrees.  Take them out as soon as they start to smell delicious.  They will brown more quickly with their sugary tops.

I’m sure you know what to do with scones.  I had the first one with butter and the second and third with raspberry jam and clotted cream.

Apple and Almond Cake

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This cake is wet rather than moist, almost mousse-like.  Provided that you usually have some stewed apple hiding in your freezer, this is a very quick cake to make.  The apples should be stewed with a little sugar and some lemon juice, so that they are still quite tart; if they are too sweet, just add some extra lemon juice to the mix.  As Nigella says, this cake tastes buttery even though there is no butter in it.

Adapted very slightly from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Feast.’ (Damp Apple and Almond Cake)

Grease and line a 25cm springform tin.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

In a biggish food processor, whoosh together 300g stewed apples, 325g ground almonds, 275g golden caster sugar, 8 large eggs, the juice and zest of 2 lemons (less if your apples are very tart) and a good grinding of nutmeg.  Scrape down the sides and whoosh again until smooth.  The mixture should be quite runny.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until the wobble has subsided and the cake is well-risen and golden.  It will sink again to horizontal as it cools.

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar.

Viennese Whirls

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This is another of Mum’s delights, a melt-in-the-mouth biscuit with buttercream and jam.  I don’t know whether she first found the recipe at Acklington W.I. or in the Bero cookbook, but these Viennese Whirls remind me so much of the days when life was like a Milly-Molly-Mandy story.

8 oz butter or a margarine/butter mixture
8 oz plain flour
2 oz icing sugar
Few drops vanilla essence

Beat the icing sugar and butter, then beat in the flour gradually.  
Finally add the vanilla essence. Pipe onto baking trays; no need to 
grease.
Bake at 185 degrees (or 165 degrees in a fan oven) for 10-20 minutes.

These can be stored in an airtight tin ready to sandwich together 
when ready with buttercream and jam.  Sprinkle with icing sugar.