Category Pastries

The effect of different oven temperatures in baking

While baking is one of the most rewarding aspects of cookery, it can, nonetheless, be frustrating – especially when things do not work. Now things not working can occur when trying out a new recipe for the first time, error with the techniques or even when baking a reliable favourite that has never yet failed……..and […]

Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart

This is a very simple tart that is great eaten either hot or cold and is, for me, tart that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. It can be assembled in minutes so that is is merely a matter of baking the tart. It is even easier using bought pastry, but if […]

Re-visiting croissants & climbing back on the baking horse!

This post is a somewhat cathartic reflection on dusting oneself down following a knock-back and “getting back on the horse”. I recently had something of a baking knock-back: well maybe that is a touch melodramatic, (and after all nobody died and the world is still turning!), but more on that knock-back shortly. Now I have […]

Pork, apple & apricot pie: a left-overs feast!

This thrifty pie, made with a simple mustard-flavoured hot watercrust pastry, is packed with pork, stuffing, juicy apricots, sharp apple, a few pickled vegetables and roasted onions: left-overs from a roast dinner and store-cupboard ingredients. This is the inaugural bake using a new pie tin from John Lewis (the Silverwood Bakeware range). This excellent tin is so adaptable […]

Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps

These biscuits, which are a cross between brandy snaps and florentines, are incredibly easy and quick to make, with a batch made and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. The snaps are perfect eaten just as they are, or served with coffee or tea after a meal. They also make excellent edible gifts. About […]

Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries

These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Measurements not essential here! For pastries such as these, whether sweet or savoury, I confess that I do not measure out the filling ingredients; I just sprinkle over enough to give a light covering […]

Sfogliatella pastries with a honey, orange & pistachio filling

This is my first attempt at these rather challenging Italian pastries – pastries I had never heard of until I tried one very recently and was immediately smitten. It goes without saying that I had to have a go at making these. Sfogliatella means small, thin leaves – and that is precisely what you have […]

Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping

I usually prefer to make mince pies using shortbread dough rather than pastry: it makes them more special than a standard pastry mince pie and it is really no harder to make. Besides, Christmas would not be Christmas without shortbread! And whenever I have made these mince pies, they have gone very quickly. These are also easy […]

Herby sausage rolls

A return to sausage rolls: one of my favourite savoury bites, both to make and to eat. Seriously, a good sausage roll should bring a smile to one’s face and have a very moreish quality: one should never be enough! A far cry from those mass-produced affairs you can buy from high street chain bakeries that […]

Tarte tatin

After a very inspiring run of many years, bringing so many food bloggers together, the Secret Recipe Club is sadly coming to an end. I gate-crashed this wonderful party very late in the game (just a few months ago), but it has been an exciting part of each month: I have discovered new blogs and have cooked my way through […]

Salted Honey Tart

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was allocated Emily’s delightful Life on Food blog. I love Emily’s enjoyment of creating meals from scratch: it’s a great approach to food and I share her feelings on how rewarding it is to do this. I also love the idea of Emily’s annual trips to Disneyland: I […]

Beef & ale Cornish pasties

Having not made pasties in a long while, I felt it time to make a batch. With this recipe I made a few tweaks to the classic pasty for personal preference: the pastry: I have gone for rough-puff pastry, but this time with the inclusion of a little lard as part of the fat content […]

Spiced lamb & pistachio rolls with spiced pastry

I am such a fan of sausage rolls; with a well-flavoured filling and light, melt-in-the-mouth pastry, they never fail to give me a feeling of total satisfaction when eating them! Sadly sausage rolls are much-abused in my opinion, especially most of the commercial ones which are often little more than cheap meat and dry, tasteless pastry. Ever since […]

Quick and very easy peach Danish pastries

These are very simple and utterly delicious Danish pastries, made using a short-cut croissant dough, a dough that takes just 20-30 minutes to make, plus time for the made-up dough to chill before using. Seriously, this particular croissant dough is quite fool-proof. And for even more speed, rather than make a custard to fill the pastries, I […]

Easy bitter orange pains au chocolat

England and France unite in this English breakfast variation on pains au chocolat, with the addition of a bitter orange kick from a little marmalade inside the pastries, as well as being used to glaze them. These are quite easy to make (thanks to a short-cut croissant dough, which lends itself very well here) and are wonderful […]

The simplest asparagus & chicken tart

This is a very simple tart using what is the last of this year’s allotment asparagus, the rest of some chicken breasts I had gently poached for another dish and some general left-over bits and pieces. I always have a stash of all-butter puff pastry in the freezer for quick bakes such as these and […]

Asparagus wrapped in phyllo dough: Secret Recipe Club

I recently joined the Secret Recipe Club – a group of food bloggers, each of whom is secretly assigned a food blog each month from another member of the group, from which you make and post about a recipe of your own choice. Nobody knows who you are assigned to and you have no idea who is perusing your blog […]

Spiced prawn and crab spring rolls

This is my version of spring rolls, using some left-over filo pastry I had made for another bake and ingredients that I adore to eat. The rolls are very easy to make and a large batch can be made up and frozen until you want to cook them. The filling carries a hefty wallop of […]

Easy ham, cheese & mustard croissant whirls

Although an unembellished home-made croissant is a truly wonderful thing to eat, savoury variations excite me hugely! This version, using cheese, ham and mustard as the key flavours, is my favourite savoury one by far : simple flavours that make these light, crisp pastries ridiculously addictive to eat, whether served cold or warm. Ham and cheese! Black Forest ham […]

Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)

Inspired by a passion fruit pannacotta I had a few months ago, these are very simple fragrant tarts that I made for a friend’s birthday: the tarts have a full-on passion fruit flavour, a kick of rum-soaked peaches and the richness of white chocolate in the background. Ideal for a party, buffet or any occasion when you […]

Lemongrass custard tarts

Hot-smoked salmon & horseradish tart (low-fat)

This is a very simple, low-fat tart using hot-smoked salmon: one of my favourite ways of eating salmon! With its rich, deep, smoky flavour a little goes a long way: about 200g of the salmon will make this tart, with generous chunks of salmon in each bite. Very little is needed in the filling with […]

Warm crab choux bites

This is my version of a canapé I had in a restaurant ages ago. These are simple, but highly effective little savoury bites: light choux pastry, flavoured subtly with cheese and mustard, and filled with a simple fresh white crab meat sauce. I use mayonnaise in the filling so that as the choux heat up, […]

Mini ginger Kouign-Amann

If you have never heard of, or eaten Kouign-Amann pastries before, think crisp bites of buttery, caramelised croissant…..wonderful as an occasional treat! I have posted about the fabulous Kouign-Amann pastries before and from time to time I like to make variations. Given that it is hard to buy good Kouign-Amann in the UK (mind you, even indifferent […]

The simplest cheese, caraway & walnut biscuits

These are very simple and tasty savoury biscuits that are an ideal vehicle for a gutsy dip, eaten with a cheese and chutney, or munched on just as they are. You can use any cheese, but a cheese that packs a punch flavour-wise is perfect. Favourites of mine include Parmesan, mature Cheddar, Stilton and Comté […]

Baking Heaven Magazine

Baking Heaven Magazine is a terrific baking magazine: each issue has such a wide range of stunning recipes and baking tips from a variety of inspiring bakers. Perfect to thumb through and drool at the pictures, but I defy you not to get out the scales and get baking! It was, therefore, an honour to […]

Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas

I love focusing on flavour in my bakes; flavour is by far the key consideration when I am baking, whether I am recreating a favourite bake or working on a new idea. And excellent quality ingredients are always my priority. I was very fortunate to have received some spices from Absolute Spice and I cannot stop using them! In fact […]

Mustard & caramelised onion sausage rolls

A slight variation on one of my favourite savoury bakes, sausage rolls. See earlier post for the main recipe: The very best sausage rolls…. I used a quick mustard rough-puff pastry here, going for just 2 “turns”: for this, increase the mustard powder in the dough to 4 teaspoons, which will give a nice kick among the […]

Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries

Introduction The differences between rough-puff and puff pastries Types of turn: book & envelope Flavour additions to the pastry Top tips for laminated pastry Recipe for rough-puff pastry (with photographs of each stage) Introduction I have always been excited by laminated pastries ie) rich, buttery and light pastries with many wafer-thin layers; the process of […]

Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry

Updated April 2016: variation using fennel powder in the pastry and the filling. Rather than go for full-on chorizo sausages encased in pastry I added some finely chopped chorizo to the sausagemeat filling that I always use for my sausage rolls. Now I love chorizo, but not in hefty quantities you would have if you just […]

Earl Grey scones with raspberry curd

In this post I have given two recipes: one for the scones and another for the raspberry curd. A little bit of Afternoon Tea in each bite, these light scones are easy to make and even easier to eat! Eaten with clotted cream and a good fruit curd these scones will, I am sure, not […]

Spiced smoked haddock scones

Try to imagine me screaming from the rooftops that you absolutely must try this recipe: I am so proud of it and I really do think they need making and devouring. This is my twist on scotch eggs, but varied somewhat to incorporate a kedgeree flavour: spiced haddock is wrapped around soft-boiled quail eggs, before being […]

Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries

This is a variation on the Kouign-Amann (roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn”) I posted ages ago. This time I went for apple and cinnamon flavour which works so well with the caramelised sugar, giving a kind of tarte tatin – but a touch more indulgent! I have made the apple and cinnamon Kouign-Amann before, using a little bit […]

Mince pies with pistachio Viennese biscuit topping

I do like to take a humble mince pie to a level that is so much more than what commercially is usually just indifferent pastry with a fairly non-descript filling. So I often vary things a little so that the mince pie is that bit more special. I first had a mince pie with a […]

Chocolate & salted caramel éclairs

Salted caramel and chocolate éclairs: nothing too extreme flavour-wise, but two flavours that are nonetheless stunning together. A white chocolate crème pâtissière and a little salted caramel make a lovely filling here but you can, of course, use whipped cream. And while a topping of dark chocolate would be excellent to use, I prefer a sticky, rich chocolatey […]

Spiced cranberry & orange baklava

A Christmas-inspired baklava that is simple and very tasty. Ok, it doesn’t skimp on the calories but this is, after all, an indulgent treat rather than a staple bake! This version is not as sickly sweet as some baklavas can be: sweet, yes, but not to the level that you need to ring the dentist after a couple […]

Stilton, pear & piccalilli pork pies

This one of my favourite pork pies and it goes down especially well at Christmas: pear, Stilton and piccalilli are so good for each other anyhow as part of a cheese board or light snack, and they work particularly wonderfully in a pie with a crisp, melt-in-the-mouth pastry. A pork pie confession! Growing up near […]

Blackcurrant & raspberry éclairs

It is never less than a joy to eat a crisp éclair that is filled with a well-flavoured centre and topped with a sticky icing! While chocolate éclairs should never be turned down, fruity éclairs are delightful to eat. Using fruit from the freezer, I decided to make a batch of blackcurrant and raspberry éclairs: they are filled with a […]

Spiced smoked cod & fennel tart

This is a lightly spiced tart with rich, smoky cod and the subtle aniseed flavour of fennel. It is very much a comfort-eat and makes a satisfying light meal served warm or cold. About this recipe This is a variation on my kedgeree-style tart that I was so proud to have been selected by BBC […]

Treacle tart with a hint of orange

For me, a treacle tart is the epitome of comfort food, especially with the nights drawing in and the temperature outside dropping of an evening! This rich, sticky tart has just a hint of orange in both the pastry and the filling, and is a version of a recipe I have been making for decades. It has a […]

Coronation chicken vol-au-vents

While vol-au-vents are wonderfully retro, using Coronation Chicken as a filling makes them even more so! But Coronation Chicken is such a great thing to eat…… I had made a large amount of puff pastry and then used some of it to make many vol-au-vent cases for this and other fillings: the technique for making vol-au-vent cases […]

Spiced smoked haddock vol-au-vents

Vol-au-vents never fail to excite me when I eat them!  For me they have always been absolute must as part of a buffet. I am such a fan of them that at my Civil Partnership, one of the food centrepieces involved vol-au-vents, with many different fillings. I have been making these kedgeree-style vol-au vents for years and they […]

chicken, tarragon & roasted onion pithivier: a feast using left-overs!

Essentially a posh “roast dinner in a pie”, this is made using left-over roast chicken flavoured with an instant tarragon sauce and filled with other extras from a roast dinner made the day before. The roasted onions add a lovely sweetness and the stuffing, with added pistachios and dried apricots, adds both flavour and texture. […]

Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour

I made a savoury version of these deep-fried choux pastry doughnuts a while ago (here) but this time I felt like going down the sweet route. I always have jars of dried cherries, some macerating in Amaretto and some in other liqueurs, and there is always chocolate to be found around the kitchen(!!), so a […]

Roasted cauliflower cheese tart

If you love cauliflower cheese you really must make this tart! I have been making this particular tart for well over a decade, inspired initially by a savoury crumble I ate at a restaurant. Essentially this tart is a wholemeal pastry case filled with cauliflower cheese and topped with a savoury crumble. Perhaps the topping makes this […]

Salmon & mushroom coulibiac

A very firm nod towards the classic dish of a few decades ago, this is an easy bake to throw together and is excellent served for a special occasion. Wonderful served warm with a salad or steamed vegetables, it is also excellent served cold; I must confess, I often make this for picnics. At the […]

Chouxnuts 1: cheese & chives flavour

What with cronuts, maclairs and other arguably gimmicky – but oh-so-delicious – food hybrids, I fancied seeing what would happen if I deep-fried choux pastry. I had never deep-fried choux pastry before but deep-frying here gives amazing results: these chouxnuts, as they are now known in my house, really do give a terrific doughnut effect. As […]

Easy orange & rhubarb Danish pastries

These very easy Danish pastries, using quick croissant dough, are an excellent approximation to Danish pastries that are made with traditional croissant dough. Although this version is something of a short-cut, with little hands-on time, they are light, flaky and taste excellent. Many shortcuts use bought puff pastry, but using an easy homemade croissant dough such as this gives […]

Smoked mackerel pastry rolls

This is a recipe I am very proud of: I had some food left over smoked mackerel to use up and had that “I wonder if this will work…” moment. Luckily, it does work and I cannot recommend highly enough trying out this bake! It is essentially a twist on sausage rolls, one of my all-time favourite savoury bites, […]

Lemongrass & ginger Cannelés

  Cannelés (or canelés!) have somehow escaped my foodie radar; the first time I ate one – a traditional vanilla flavour – was just a few weeks ago, served with an Afternoon Tea. However, I was so taken by them that I couldn’t wait to make a batch, and have since made several batches of […]

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