Churros with Chocolate

To be honest, the cream’s a bit much.  But apart from that, lovely!  So, first make the chocolate sauce:

Put 200g dark chocolate (broken into pieces), 100ml double cream, 100ml whole milk and 3 tablespoons of golden syrup into a pan.  Warm gently until all of the ingredients have melted, then pour the sauce into smallish cups and leave it to cool.

Meanwhile, make the churros.  Put 250ml water, 120g butter and a pinch of salt into a medium-sized pan.  Bring to the boil, then whisk in 130g strong white bread flour, half a teaspoon of baking powder and a few drops of vanilla essence.  It will become unfeasibly thick but try to keep beating it over a low heat for a few more seconds.  Take the pan off the heat and beat in an egg, and then a second egg.  It should look a bit less worrying now.  Cover the mixture and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes to a couple of hours.

When you are ready to cook, put sunflower oil into a large frying pan.  It should be 2-3cm deep.  Heat it to maximum.  Put the churros mix into a large piping bag with a star nozzle.  When the oil is very hot, squeeze in lots of chipolata-sized churros, snipping or cutting them each time from the nozzle.  Be careful!  Turn them after a couple of minutes to cook the other side.  Place a large colander over an even larger pan.  With a slotted spoon, fish out the churros and place them into the colander as they turn golden-brown.  Once you have them all in there, shake the colander carefully to remove the oil, then sprinkle over some golden caster sugar and give them another shake.

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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!

 

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.

Lime and Coconut Cakes

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I totally love Laura’s website and photos, so when I saw this recipe, I thought it would be a nice one with which to try out my four new dinky little loaf tins.

http://laurasmess.me/2012/08/03/lemon-coconut-cake-with-spiced-honey-syrup/

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right ingredients, and my cakes didn’t rise beautifully like Laura’s original, but they were really addictive and delicious, so I’m posting my flawed adaptation anyway.  They were the loveliest lime and coconut cakes I’ve ever eaten, but next time, I’ll certainly use coconut cream rather than coconut milk and see if that makes them more photogenic.

You’ll need five limes for this.

Beat together 200g golden caster sugar, the rind of 3 limes and 125g soft butter until soft and fluffy.

Measure out 250g self-raising flour and set aside.

Add a large egg to the butter/sugar mix and beat well, adding a tablespoon or so of the flour if the mixture curdles.  Add a second egg, and more flour if necessary.  Beat in 200g well-shaken coconut milk (or coconut cream).  Now, fold in the remaining flour and then the lime juice.

Pour into a lined 20cm cake tin, or 4 mini loaf tins, if you prefer.  For the larger cake, you’ll need 45 minutes to an hour at 180 degrees; for the littler ones, you might want to check after 20-25 minutes.  If they are springy, they’re done.

While the cakes are still warm, make your drizzle by warming the juice of a lime with the same amount of water and a dessertspoon of honey.  Simmer until you have half of the original amount, then poke a few holes in your sponge and drizzle the drizzle over your cakes.

When they are completely cool, you can cover them with lime icing (160g icing sugar and the juice of a lime) or raspberry jam and coconut.  I turned my cakes upside down before icing to hide my shame, but after tasting, you can see that I’m actually quite proud of these little wonders after all!

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Peach and Lime Cheesecake

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I know that you can get baked cheesecakes everywhere now, but I didn’t have my first one until I was sixteen, when I bought a slice from a small bakery in Eichstätt on a snowy morning and ate it straight from the paper bag.  It was a very messy business, but totally magical.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and prepare a 20cm springform tin by putting tinfoil over the base, popping over the ring, then pulling the tinfoil up the outside of the tin.  Sit the tin on top of a second bigger piece of tinfoil and pull it up so that it covers the whole of the outside of the tin.

Fill and boil your kettle.

Whoosh up 200g of digestives (or any other dry biscuits) in the processor.  Add 80g soft (but not necessarily melted) butter and process until it feels like wet sand.  Press evenly over the base of your tin.  Place the tin in the fridge while you make the filling.

Quarter and roughly peel a juicy, soft peach and pop it in your already cleaned processor with the juice of two limes.  Give it a really good blast, then add 150g sugar and whoosh again.

Now add 600g cream cheese (I used 400g Philadelphia and 200g mascarpone) and process until smooth, pushing down the mixture from the edges to ensure a good mix.  Now add 4 whole eggs and one egg yolk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Whoosh again for about 20 seconds, again pushing down the mixture from the edges halfway through.

Pour this into your springform tin.

Optional:  If you’d like a little zingy raspberry hit, take a tablespoon of raspberries and the juice of half a lime or lemon and process for a few seconds before swirling through your cheesecake.  It won’t look tidy and impressive as it does in the shops, though, so don’t be disappointed.

Put the tin into a large roasting tray and surround it with some boiling water.  Don’t make it so deep that it’s lethally turbulent as you transfer it to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, then check and turn 180 degrees.  I like it to brown a little, but if it’s going too far, cover with a very clean baking tray or tinfoil for a further 20 – 30 minutes.  When there’s still a tiny wobble, take it out of the oven, out of the bain marie and leave it to cool.  It will be much nicer on Day Two, so leave it be if you can.

Serve with roasted peaches (done in the same way as the nectarines:  https://salutationrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/baked-nectarines-with-mascarpone/)

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Mum’s Apple Pie

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I love Mum’s apple pie.  There’s nothing fancy about it.  It’s just delicious.

You need 3-4 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced.  Put them in a pan and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon.  Sprinkle over some sugar, normally about 2 tablespoons, and 2 tablespoons of water.  Stew until the apple is soft but not mushy.  Allow to cool.

With your fingertips, nip together 8.5 oz of self-raising flour with 5 oz butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Carefully add just enough cold water for it to bind together without becoming sticky.  As soon as it comes together, pop it into a plastic bag in the fridge for half an hour.

Take a 7-8″ pie tin.  Cut your pastry in half and roll out on a floured surface the first of your circles.  Place on the bottom of your tin.  Dot around the edge with water, egg or milk.  This is your glue.  Now pour in the apples.  Roll out your lid and place on top, gently pressing the edges to seal.  Trim the edges, pop a couple of small slits in the top with a sharp knife, brush all over the top with a little egg or milk, then place in the oven (190 degrees) for about 25-30 minutes.  As soon as it comes out, sprinkle with some sugar.

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