Tag Archives: food

Apple Tart

Standard

This is an apple tart just like my Mum makes. Apples with a hint of cloves enclosed in a shortcrust pastry and dished up with custard or vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Ingredients:

For the Pastry

255 g / 9 oz  plain flour

2 tbspn  icing sugar

pinch of salt

140 g  /  5 oz hard margarine or butter

6 tbspn cold water

For the filling

3 large cooking apples  { or 4-6 regular sized baking apples of your choice } peeled, cored and quartered.

If using cooking apples then stew and cool first otherwise leave to soften during the baking process

sugar to taste

1 tspn Cinnamon

3-4 whole cloves

Utensils

1 sieve, mixing bowl. 9 ” tart dish,  peeler/ slicer,  wooden spoon, knife, measuring spoons and a wire rack for cooling

Method

*Preheat the oven to  200°C / 400°F / / Gas mark 6

Sieve the flour, icing sugar and pinch of salt into the bowl from a height so as much air as possible is incorporated

Cut the margarine / butter into the flour and then with your fingertips rub into the flour lifting and letting it drop  from a height again adding more air which will make the pastry light. Do this part as quickly as possible to avoid melting.

Add the cold water a little at a time and using a knife to slowly mix together and then use your hand to firm up the mixture. The dough should now be a consistency for rolling.

At this point to make the dough more stretchy and easy to roll, place in a polythene bag and leave into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into two halve. Take one half and roll our so it is big enough to fit the 9”  dish. Trim the edges with a knife.

Cover the pastry with the apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Place the cloves inbetween the apples too.

Roll out the second half of pastry. Moisten around the edge of the bottom layer and place the second pice on top.

Press down on the pastry edges making sure it’s sealed. Trim any excess pastry with a knife in a downward motion and flute the edges with a pinching action.

Cut a small slit in the centre of the tart to allow steam to escape whilst cooking.

Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is a golden brown. Dust with caster sugar or icing sugar to serve.

^_^   Enjoy!

Basic Pancakes

Standard

Prep work

A well over-due recipe on pancakes! Not that it has to be a special pancake day to enjoy them. I do mine the Irish/English way so they are thin and crepe -like but not as lacy in appearance and then served with the usual traditional toppings. Personally, I love mine with lemon & sugar…..So, how do you eat yours?

Ingredients:

110g / 4oz / 3/4 cup of plain flour

2 free- range eggs

200ml /7  fl oz milk mixed with 75 ml / 3 fl oz water

50g / 2 oz butter

Utensils:

A Sieve,spatula,whisk/fork,ladle,mixing bowl,small bowl, frying pan, palette knife or pan slice.

For keeping the pancakes warm as you make them –  A pot of simmering water covered by a  plate and some sheets of greaseproof paper should do the job.

Method:

Sift the flour into the mixing bowl. Hold the sieve high as you do this to let the flour get an airing.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the 2 eggs into it. Whisk the eggs and flour together adding  the milk /water mixture gradually as you do so.

Whisk until all lumps are well blended and use the spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl ensuring all bits of flour are encorporated into the batter. Whisk some more until the mixture is completely smooth.

Now melt the butter in the pan and spoon 2 tbspn of it into the batter mixture, whisking it well again.

Pour the rest of the melted butter into the small bowl as this will then be used to lubricate the pan as you make each pancake.

Next get the frying pan really hot and then turn the heat down to approx medium just before you begin. Now use the ladle (or spoon the mixture into the ladle) to scoop and pour your batter mix easily onto the pan in one go. Usually the first pancake is a ‘test one’ to judge how much batter mix to use per pancake, it also depends on your pan size. I find approx 3 1/2 tbspns of the batter into the ladle covers a 9 inch frying pan – but this can be easily judged by trial and error. No need for exact measurements.

Don’t forget to keep whisking the batter in between pancakes too!

As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tilt it around until the base is evenly coated with the batter mixture. It should only take about 2 minutes or so to cook. Lift the edge to check for a golden colour and once this is reached it’s time to flip!

The other side will need approx 1 minute or less, then slide it out of the pan onto the plate. I like to sprinkle with caster sugar and the lemon juice straight away.

Stack the pancakes as you make them on the plate placed over the pot of simmering water and between sheets of greaseproof paper (to avoid sticking)

To serve, fold in half or into triangles or just simply rolled up.

Serve sprinkled with a little bit more sugar (& lemon –  if desired!) & try some honey too for more added flavour!☺

Mince Pies

Standard

Christmas in California prompted the start of what has become my ‘Baking Buzz’  for 2011. Americans don’t eat mince pies (!) I know. I couldn’t believe it either. Imagine with all the Irish & British living over here, you think it would have caught on by now! I think I need to start a trend. Mince pies are a necessity (for me) during the holidays & rightly so – what on earth would Santa think come Christmas Eve?! Served on their own or with cream/custard/ice-cream they really are simply scrumptious.

I was home two weeks before Crimbo so stocked up on a few jars of ‘Chivers Mincemeat’ (which is basically a fruit preserve (v) for those who have never heard/seen or tasted it. You can make this yourself  but at home you can get in in jars for handiness!) and brought them back bubble-wrapped safely in my luggage. They did cause suspicion mind and one jar was unwrapped and inspected at customs along with my Lyons tea stash. Blank faces then approved my sneaky food supplies, (phew!) they had already moved on to a Swedish lady with a huge salami (now that’s definitely meat).

And so the recipe goes

Serves 12

Ingredients:

100g / 3 1/2 oz  butter – plus a tiny bit extra for greasing.

200g / 7 oz plain flour – plus extra for dusting

25g / 1 oz icing sugar – plus extra for dusting

1 egg yolk

2-3 tablespoons of milk – plus extra for glazing

300g / 10 1/2 oz mincemeat

Utensils:

A Tartlet tin (mine was a 12-hole one) , two fluted cutters  (3 inch & 2 1/2 inch), a pastry brush & rolling pin

*Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4   & grease your tin well with the ‘extra’ butter*

Method:

Sift the flour into a bowl & then using you fingertips, rub in the remaining butter until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar & egg yolk. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface & knead lightly until smooth.

Roll your dough into a smooth ball & roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use the bigger (3 inch) cutter to to cut out 12 rounds (flouring the cutters in between each round) and line the tartlet  tin making little cases.

Half-fill each ‘case’ with mincemeat. Cut out a further 12 rounds from the  remaining dough using the smaller (2 1/2 inch) cutter to make lids for your pies. Using the pastry brush, glaze each lid before placing on top of each pie.

Bake in  the preheated oven for 15-20 mins until the pastry is a golden colour (times may vary depending on your oven )

Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack. Don’t forget to dust with the ‘extra’ icing sugar before serving.

Christmas 2010