Category Archives: Baking

Cherry Bakewell Tart

Fresh cherries and a cherry bakewell tart in May?
I wouldn’t normally buy fresh cherries so early in the season but for all the wrong reasons I found myself picking out the bright red ones this morning and not caring about all the air miles involved in getting them to this country.
It was with a touch of sadness that I was thinking about a family on the other side of the world.  I don’t know the family involved but as a blogger I have come across the Baby Boy Bakery blog many times.  It is a blog which celebrates the life of a young family and is full of beautiful pictures of a young boy with the most beautiful red hair.  To learn that this beautiful young child was taken so tragically and so early from his family is just heart breaking.  People from all over the world have shown their support by posting images of red balloons and one of the most poignant of these images is of a little boy floating away with a  bunch of red balloons attached to his hand.  I must’ve had this image in my mind when I was shopping in our local Farm Shop because as I looked at a display of bright red cherries all I could see was that they looked like bright red balloons.  So there I was buying my fruit and veg, looking at a pile of cherries and crying for a little boy that I never knew.  Crying for what his parents must be going through.  Crying for all the times I’ve been annoyed with my children over silly little things.  Crying for all the times I should have given my children a hug but didn’t because I had something else more important to do.  Just crying because no parent should ever have to go through the loss of their own child.  When I got home I made a quick picture with the cherries and photographed it.  It is now up on my fridge to remind me of how precious life is.  When my daughter saw the picture she was slightly bemused as to why I had a bunch of cherries on some blue card.  “Don’t you think they look like red balloons” I asked.  “No, they just look like cherries” was the response.
Maybe they do just look like cherries but to me they mean so much more.

Cherry Bakewell Tart 3

Cherry Bakewell Tart

Yield: 8 portions

Cherry Bakewell Tart

Ingredients

  • Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe
  • 250g fresh cherries, stones removed
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 2 tblsp icing sugar
  • Juice from ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Prepare a batch of sweet shortcrust pastry by following the link above or use ready made pastry.
  3. Roll out the pastry and line a 20cm round flan case.
  4. Bake blind for 10 - 15 minutes
  5. Remove baking parchment and baking beans and return the pastry case to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F).
  7. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  8. Add the eggs one at a time beating until well incorporated.
  9. Fold in the ground almonds.
  10. Place the cherries in the pastry case and then spoon the almond mixture over the top, spreading out evenly.
  11. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top.
  12. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the filling is firm and golden brown.
  13. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle over the top of the tart.
  14. Serve hot or cold.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/05/09/cherry-bakewell-tart/

Red Balloons for Ryan

Red Balloons for Ryan

I am submitting this post to A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week link up
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and over to Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday link up.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

 

Happy New Year and all the best for 2014 !

I am not one for making New Year resolutions but I have set myself a goal to try and be more organised this year.  Ever since having the kids I have struggled to get my life as organised as it was pre children.  My husband is always telling me to write things down – so this year I will heed his advice and make lists, lists and more lists.  Eight days into January and how am I doing with my newly organised life?  Well not so great to be honest.  After getting the kids up early on Monday and ready for school I found out at the last minute that I had written down the wrong date on my calendar and they were only due back to school on the Tuesday.  Yesterday I went off to school with a list of things that I needed to ask at the school office but left the list in the car and promptly forgot half of what was on the list.  Today I set off for town with my list of things to be done but had to turn back halfway as all routes into town were gridlocked due to flooding.  Not really my fault but I got home feeling slightly deflated and very unorganised.  A quick cup of coffee and a clear out of my kitchen cupboards left me feeling slightly more in control.  I have now made a list of all the dribs and drabs left over from Christmas which need using up.  All I need to do now is remember where the list is…

Well ok so the first thing on the list was a half packet of salted peanuts.  Yes, I could have quite easily eaten them and nobody would have been any the wiser but I thought I would make something a bit more interesting to use them up.  These chocolate peanut butter bars are so quick and easy and make a perfect tea time treat.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 16 small squares

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients

  • 60g butter
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 2 tblsp golden syrup
  • 4 tblsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 175g Digestive biscuits
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 45g salted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease a 22cm square tin.
  2. Place butter, sugar, syrup and peanut butter into a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted, stirring well to combine.
  3. Crush the biscuits until you have fine crumbs and then add to your melted butter mixture.
  4. Using the back of a spoon, press your biscuit mixture firmly down into your tin.
  5. Gently melt your chocolate and pour over the biscuit mixture, spreading out evenly.
  6. Roughly chop your salted peanuts and sprinkle over the chocolate.
  7. Refrigerate until set.
  8. Cut into 16 squares.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/01/08/chocolate-peanut-butter-bars/

Pop over to A Mummy Too for lots of ideas posted on Recipe of the Week

recipe-of-the-week

Italian Almond Tart

Most of us will have heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but may not think of it in terms of food.  Well, this Italian Almond Tart makes me think of exactly that.  It is nothing much to look at – it is all very beige and there is no lovely sauce or chocolate dripping down the sides to make us drool.  A real plain Jane!  Until, that is you cut into it and serve yourself a deliciously moist and fragrant slice to go with your afternoon tea.  It is so good that I made one the very next day for my hubby to take into work and everybody loved it.  I made my own almond paste and I would highly recommend that you try this at least once.  It is so easy to make, it’s fresh and full of flavour and will make all the difference to your tart.  Your choice of jam will also play a big part in how your finished tart tastes.  For my first attempt I used a cherry jam which had whole cherries in it.  It was quite sweet and I wasn’t overly enthused by the chunks of cherry.  For my second attempt I used a smooth Christmas spice fruit jam and I thought this was much better.

The recipe for this Italian almond tart was chosen by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, for the Bake Along challenge which she runs with  Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings.  The original recipe is from Williams-Sonoma and was chosen because it had so many good reviews.  A very good choice Zoe and one that I will be making again and again.

For those of you who are interested in how I decorated the tart – yes I did stand and pick out all the whole slices of almonds from a pack and yes it did take me a long time to place them all so neatly round the entire tart and yes I am completely mad!  I also made a rose from some of the left over almond paste.  I only placed it on the tart 10 minutes before the tart was due to come out the oven to crisp it up a bit and give it some colour.

I hope you give this one a go.

Italian Almond Tart 5

Italian Almond Tart

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Italian Almond Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 x 9½ inch (19cm) sweet shortcrust pastry case which has been baked blind recipe.
  • 115g butter, at room temperature
  • 225g almond paste, cut into 1 inch cubes recipe
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • 300g raspberry, plum or cherry jam
  • 50g sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the butter until smooth.
  3. Add the almond paste and beat until smooth.
  4. While continuing to beat, sprinkle in the sugar.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Stir in the flour and set to one side.
  7. Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the baked pastry case.
  8. Spoon the almond paste mixture over the top of the jam and spread out evenly.
  9. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds
  10. Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to the touch, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely.
  11. Serve at room temperature.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/12/02/italian-almond-tart/

Italian Almond Tart5

Bake Along

 

Homemade Almond Paste

It’s been a couple of months now since I last participated in the Bake Along challenge so I was keen to try this month’s challenge which is an Italian Almond Tart.  One of the main ingredients called for is Almond Paste which I have never come across here in the UK.  A quick search on Google revealed quite a heated debate amongst the baking fraternity. It would appear that Almond Paste means something different depending on which country you come from.  What I did learn is that Marzipan (as we know it in the UK) is not the same as Almond Paste.  Almond Paste generally has equal quantities of ground almonds to sugar whereas Marzipan has a much higher ratio of sugar to almonds.  I did have a look at a couple of brands of Marzipan and the quantity of almonds was only 25%.  I also didn’t recognise a lot of the other ingredients which is never a good thing.  Having established the ratio of sugar to almonds, the next deciding factor is what binding agent to use.  This is where you see the difference between the different countries.  I found recipes which used egg white, egg yolk, whole egg, water, sugar syrup, honey and some even had alcohol in them.  I opted for the whole egg but only because I didn’t want to have to deal with the problem of a stray yolk or 1 egg white to use up.  I also added Cointreau but to be honest I couldn’t taste it in the finished product.  The end result was delicious and made for a perfect Almond Tart.  It is really quick and so easy to make and freezes beautifully.  No excuses… you have to try and make your own homemade almond paste.  You won’t regret it.

Almond Paste1

Almond Paste

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 500g

Almond Paste

Ingredients

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tblsp Cointreau (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sieve the caster sugar and the ground almonds into a mixing bowl.
  2. Give the egg and the Cointreau (if using) a quick mix to combine.
  3. Add the egg to the sugar and almond mixture.
  4. Mix together until a stiff paste is formed.
  5. Use immediately or wrap in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Almond paste may be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. Bring back to room temperature before using.

http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/11/26/homemade-almond-paste/

Chocolate Oat Cookies

This week has not been without its fair share of kitchen disasters.  I have been trying to perfect a chocolate mousse terrine and gave up after my third attempt – never wanting to see another chocolate mousse again.  I also tried my hand at deep fried cauliflower.  Why? When I don’t like deep fried food and I don’t like cauliflower.  I was not converted!  By the end of the week I was looking for familiarity.  Something that I knew would work.  Something comforting.  A good old fashioned oat cookie, crispy and perfect for dunking was my answer.  These oat cookies were part of my Mum’s baking repertoire when we were growing up.  We used to know them as Gypsy Creams and I was always intrigued as to where the name originated from but have never managed to find out.  My Mum used to sandwich them together with a buttercream icing but I generally leave them plain as they last longer in the tin.  For this batch I sandwiched them together with some leftover Mars Bar sauce (which, by the way is perfect over  vanilla ice cream).

Right – time for a cup of tea and a….

Chocolate Oat Cookies1

Chocolate Oat Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 30 single cookies

Chocolate Oat Cookies

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • ½ tblsp golden syrup
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ cups porridge oats
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Chocolate filling:
  • 1 standard size Mars Bar
  • 80ml single cream
  • 20g dark chocolate (about 3 squares)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Melt the butter and syrup in a pan over a medium heat.
  3. Mix all the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the butter and syrup mixture.
  4. Mix well to combine.
  5. Using your hands, roll the mixture into small balls about the size of a walnut. (You do need to work it together a bit - as if you are using a stress ball).
  6. Place on a baking tray and flatten with a fork. Reshape if necessary. (These biscuits do not spread much so flatten as much as possible).
  7. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes. They will still be soft when you take them out the oven but will firm up once cool.
  8. Sandwich together with butter icing, chocolate filling or leave as is.
  9. For the chocolate filling:
  10. Chop the Mars Bar into small pieces and melt over a medium heat together with the cream and dark chocolate.
  11. Mix to a glossy sauce and then refrigerate until it is thick enough to spread on the cookies.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/11/22/chocolate-oat-cookies/

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY. This month the theme is cooking with oats and is hosted by Vivian of Vivian Pang’s Kitchen.

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I am also linking up to this month’s Alphabakes challenge which is shares by The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes.  This month’s letter is ‘O’ and is hosted by Caroline Makes …

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