A challenging but rewarding bake, this is a taste of summer in each mouthful: these macarons are sandwiched together with a Pimms ganache and small pieces of a sweetened cucumber and mint jelly: you really can’t have Pimms without the cucumber! Continue reading “Pimms macarons with Pimms ganache & minted cucumber jelly”
This is one of the easiest preserves to make and it tastes wonderful.I always make a large batch towards late summer once the chillies are ready in the greenhouse. It is a great way to use up a glut of ripe tomatoes, but this chilli jam works very well using tinned tomatoes. Continue reading “Chilli Jam”
At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I would claim these to be among the best brownies you can eat. I would be be so proud to serve these to anyone….if I don’t eat them first! Continue reading “Very easy cherry & chocolate brownies”
This is very much a quick, no-frills affair: utter simplicity and great flavour; what more is needed? The cake takes literally a couple of minutes to mix together, about 20 minutes baking and a few minutes to assemble the cooled sponges. Continue reading “Gluten-free Victoria Sandwich Cake”
As moreish as sweet biscotti unquestionably are, savoury biscotti are in a slightly higher league for me, but then more-ish savoury food is one of my weaknesses! Continue reading “Two flavours of savoury biscotti”
Mini pistachio shortbreads, topped them with fresh passion fruit curd and coated in white chocolate. Passionfruit and white chocolate go so well together that these are really not difficult to eat!
A gluten-free version:
I have also made these by replacing the plain flour in the recipe with gluten-free bread flour. I tend to use Dove’s plain flour.
The biscuits are very melt-in-the-mouth and, as should be the case with gluten-free bakes, you really shouldn’t be able to tell that they are gluten-free.
Other fruit curds:
For other curds (lemon, orange, strawberry, raspberry are other favourites of mine) replace the passion fruit juice with the juice of the fruit you want: puréed and strained in the case of raspberries and strawberries.
As a guideline I would use about 4 lemons or 3 oranges in the recipe below. Or 200g raspberries or strawberries. But add extra if you prefer.
Pistachio shortbreads with passionfruit & white chocolate (makes about 50 mini shortbreads)
- 140g plain flour
- 50g pistachios, ground very finely
- 95g vanilla caster sugar
- 140g unsalted butter, softened
- generous pinch of salt
- juice from 12 passion fruit
- 140g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 200g white chocolate
- 50g dark chocolate
Make the passionfruit curd:
(1) Strain the passionfruit juice into a jug or bowl, getting as much of the juice as you can.
(2) Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and the sugar together lightly and whisk in the passionfruit juice until everything is amalgamated.
(3) Melt the butter over a low heat in a small pan and pour in the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring over a low heat until the mixture has thickened. Leave to cool, pour into a couple of clean jars and refrigerate until needed. It will keep for a couple of weeks.
Make the shortbread:
(4) Mix the flour, sugar, salt and pistachios in a bowl. Add the butter and rub in just until it comes together to form a soft ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least half an hour.
(5) Roll out the dough to about the thickness of a pound coin: it is easiest rolling it out between two sheets of baking parchment. Cut out small circles of dough using a cutter and transfer to baking sheets lined with baking parchment. Prick each with a fork and chill while you preheat the oven to 160C(fan).
(6) Bake for 8-10 minutes until between pale and light golden. Leave for a few minutes on the baking tray and then transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool.
(7) Spoon or pipe a little of the curd onto the centre of each shortbread. Dip in the white chocolate and place back on the wire rack, chocolate-side up. This can be easier if you freeze the curd-topped shortbreads for about 30 minutes first.
(8) Drizzle over some melted dark or milk chocolate.
When I make patterned Swiss Rolls and other sponges there has to be flavour in the colours and patterns. For patterns, I tend to go for simplicity: usually spots or stripes, but occasionally I go for fancy shapes or lettering across the Swiss Roll. However, stripes are certainly my most common choice. Continue reading “Passion fruit & raspberry swiss roll with passion fruit ganache”
These simple mini drizzle cakes are very light and moist, with a rich orange flavour and just a hint of cardamom. The marmaladey orange zest on top, combined with the slightly soured cream, results in what I think is a very more-ish cake. This cake is great cut small to be served as petits fours or made more substantial as a cake to be served with tea. Continue reading “Orange & cardamom drizzle cakes”
This post, focusing on bread making, is part of my Baking tips page, along with tips for macarons, croissants, cake decorating ideas and pastry.
Post updated April 2017: recipe slightly tweaked and re-photographed.
I have seen this sort of sweet dessert with sponge and various goodies such as mousse inside an egg shell, although often it is served in the actual egg shell. However, I wanted the whole thing to be edible so I decided to make a light dessert in a crisp white chocolate shell. Continue reading “Mango and lime “egg cup” desserts”
A batch of croissants, made traditionally, can take the best part of a weekend with all the resting and chilling in between the turns and at other stages.
Don’t get me wrong, making croissants the traditional way is one of the top baking pleasures for me, but there are certainly times when effective shortcuts are called for. And this shortcut is certainly effective in that it gives excellent results and is easier to achieve than traditional croissants. Continue reading “The quickest & easiest croissants: 20-minute lamination!”
This incredibly indulgent treat is my take on a marvellous cake I ate at a patisserie on holiday ages ago and as soon as I got home I set out to try to recreate its flavours and textures. Continue reading “Coffee, pecan & salted caramel truffle torte”
The classic Pissaladière is true celebration of the simplest of ingredients that give the most impressive of flavours. A thin bread base with a topping of slightly sweet confit shallots, salty anchovies and juicy olives (green, black, stuffed or a mixture!). It makes for the most wonderful light meal. Continue reading “Croissaladière (anchovies, olives, confit shallots on croissant dough)”
These simple flatbreads are wonderful with a full-on dip to dunk into with gusto. My dip of choice here is baba ghanoush, a wonderfully smoky aubergine dip. Continue reading “Simple caraway & cumin flatbreads with baba ghanoush”
This is a very refreshing cordial, made using the some of the rhubarb and the first of the year’s strawberry pickings from the allotment. Just dilute it with ice cold water or, better still, sparkling water: 1 part cordial to 4 or 5 parts water. Continue reading “Rhubarb & strawberry cordial”
A very simple and insanely good chocolate dessert, this is my variation of the inspirational Elizabeth David, whose books, many decades later, are never less than an joy to read. Essentially this is a top-notch chocolate mousse that is indulgent yet light textured; this might well be a retro dessert but, quite frankly, when something is this good it matters not one jot! Continue reading “St Émilion au Chocolat”
A very simple canapé: small discs of puff pastry, topped with crab meat that has been mixed with a little fresh mayonnaise, a spritz of lemon juice, some chopped chives and just a little grated Gruyère cheese. Continue reading “Crab Canapés”
This is, I think, a very special bread, with a deep savoury flavour punctuated by bursts of juicy raisins amid the crunch of walnuts. I was given tasters of this bread at a local bakery the other day and immediately fell in love with it (although I was less in love with the price!), so I couldn’t wait to try to recreate this bread at home. Continue reading “Walnut & raisin sourdough”
These full-flavoured loaves have been very much a firm favourite in our house for many years and while it is great as a non-sourdough bread, the sourdough version is seriously terrific. Of all the flavoured breads I make, this is one I make more than any other. Continue reading “Pear, walnut & Gorgonzola sourdough”
This is my take on those wonderful chocolate teacakes you can buy. Continue reading “Chocolate Teacakes”
I have tried for some time to make a baguette that is a few levels up from just a shaped piece of dough – whether that happens to be a typically yeasted dough or a sourdough. This approach gives the most tremendous results in terms of flavour and structure. Continue reading “Perfecting Baguettes”
This is my first foray in many years into the somewhat guilt-inducing world of the doughnut. But given they are such a rare treat, the guilt simply vanishes: it has to! Continue reading “Jam Doughnuts”
Insanely simple and quick to make, these are so addictive to eat just as they are or with a glass of wine. Continue reading “Parmesan and ham tuiles”
These are not quite those wonderful fancies using fondant icing (although fondant icing does work well here) but my take using a ganache coating and a little coffee glaze for richness, an additional coffee hit and a shiny finish. Continue reading “Walnut & Mocha Fancies”
I love the combination of limes and passion fruit: they are two of my favourite flavours for a drizzle cake, complementing each other beautifully, with each flavour able to stand up to the other. Continue reading “Lime & Passion Fruit Drizzle Cake”
A classic for a reason, a Victoria sandwich cake is a simple yet satisfying treat at any time. And it is a great example of simplicity at its very best. Continue reading “Lemon & vanilla Victoria sandwich”
This is my take on a standard focaccia, going for a higher water content than many recipes, handling the dough differently and letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight for its first prove (bulk fermentation) to really develop its flavour. Continue reading “Focaccia: higher hydration, no knead”
It’s an exciting time of the year in the late summer with preserves-a-plenty to be planned over the coming weeks. With an abundance of vegetable and fruit on the allotment preserving is a key part of the growing year. Continue reading “Pickled shallots – a preserve of great beauty!”