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Category Archives: Jams, Marmalades, Conserves and Chutneys

Whole Lemon Cake with Mascarpone and Lemon Curd

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This is a lovely cake, fragrant with lemon and lemon curd. It’s really easy too! It’s based on a Mary Berry recipe, see here.

The cake is a one bowl cake – everything in the food processor. My kind of cake. Cooking a whole lemon and using this in the cake gives the cake that intense lemon flavour. It’s pretty versatile – I made it as a single layer first off, and then as I was taking it to lunch at friends I decided the cake needed jazzing up, so I quickly sliced it in half and filled the middle with more lemon mascarpone filling. Either version is great as you can see from the photos!

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Ingredients
1 medium lemon
140g softened butter
140g caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
2 free-range eggs

Icing (the icing also uses some of the whole lemon from above)
50g soft butter
175g icing sugar
250g mascarpone

For the lemon curd (You could also use bought lemon curd – but home-made is easy!)

100g unsalted butter it into small chunks
220g caster sugar
125 ml lemon juice
2 free-range eggs lightly beaten
Method

Put the lemon in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until very soft and tender. Drain, cut the lemons in half and remove any pips.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C , 160 degrees fan forced. Grease and line with baking paper a medium sized cake tin – 20cm or 21 cm works well.

Place the lemon in a food processor and process until pulverised, but with some chunky bits left. Transfer the lemon mixture in a small bowl.

Put all the remaining cake ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in just over half of the lemon pulp. Keep the rest of the lemon mixture for the icing.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then turn the cake out, remove the baking paper and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, put the butter and icing sugar in the food processor and blitz  until smooth and creamy. Add the mascarpone, blend again and then add the remaining lemon mixture and pulse until the icing is just mixed.

To make the lemon curd, put the butter, caster sugar and lemon juice in a bowl over simmering water (bain-marie) making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk for 5 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the beaten eggs.  Put back onto the heat, and whisk or stir with a wooden spoon until the lemon curd has noticeably thickened – hard to say how long, at least 10 minutes. Remove from heat when thickened. To store lemon curd before using, place cling film on the surface of the curd to stop a skin forming.  Store in the fridge.

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To assemble the cake: Carefully cut the cake in half.  Spread half the lemon mascarpone icing  on the bottom cake layer, then place the top cake layer on top. Ice the top of the cake with the remaining icing. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of lemon curd (or more if you really like lemon curd) over the mascarpone icing, gently swirling the lemon curd into the icing.

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Boozy Fruit or Hoarder’s Jam

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Hoarder’s Jam? I love this name and I dedicate this post to those friends and family, who are Hoarders. You know who you are…

This is not a jam – and I wonder why this delightful concoction ever got called jam! It’s boozy, fruity and a great way to preserve summer fruits. It’s less of a recipe than some simple instructions on how to combine fruit, sugar, spices and alcohol. The instructions are adapted from ‘The Women’s Weekly Made from Scratch”, a very handy source of some good recipes.

Lovely summer fruit like plums, peaches and apricots can be preserved, and the bonus is the fruity preserving alcohol is a great tipple or the basis of a champagne cocktail.

Ingredients 

Any mixture of stone fruit to make up 6 pieces:

Plums, apricots, peaches

250 g caster sugar

1 long piece of orange rind

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

330 ml alcohol: brandy, rum or gin

Method

Cut the plums  and apricots in halves, the peaches in quarters. Place the fruit and the sugar in china or glass bowl and leave for 1 hour.

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Transfer the fruit and sugar mixture to 1 litre glass jar with a strong lid. Place the orange rind and vanilla bean in the jar. Pour the alcohol into the jar. The fruit should be covered; top up with a little more alcohol to make sure all the fruit is covered. If the fruit won’t stay submerged, fill a small ziplock bag with a little water, seal and place on top of the liquid to keep the fruit under the liquid.

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Make sure you note the date of preserving on the jar. Keep in a dark cool pace for a minimum of 2 weeks or up to 3 months.

You can turn the jar occasionally, or VERY gently shake the jar. This is to help the sugar dissolve. After 1 week, the colour of the liquid begins to deepen, and a lot of the sugar is dissolved, with a residue still sitting on the bottom of the jar.

After 2 weeks the liquid in the jar has turned a deep ruby colour and all the sugar is dissolved.

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I opened the jar after 2 weeks and used the fruit to make my deconstructed crumble, recipe below and also here in an earlier post.

Refrigerate after opening, although I’m inclined to believe the fruit is well and truly pickled and should survive quite well for a few days in the cupboard. I’ll give you an update on that one!

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Crumble

Ingredients

100 gms plain flour
75 gms  butter at room temperature
Pinch of salt
50 gms dark brown sugar
25 gms golden syrup
50 gms rolled oats
20 gms chopped macadamias and almonds or any nuts you like

Method

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar into a bowl, and rub the butter into the other ingredients until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.
Place mixture into the bowl of a food processor, add golden syrup, oats and chopped nuts, and pulse gently to combine.
Turn out the crumble mixture onto the lined baking tray, spread the mixture evenly and bake the crumble for 15-20 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time, until the crumble is toasted.
Remove from oven, and when cool, break up any large pieces. It’s important to have a combination of small and large crumble pieces. The crumble is ready to use, or store in an airtight container, or it also freezes well.

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Christmas Brioche

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I am still cooking from James Morton’s book Brilliant Bread. James is the most common sense baker around and his recipes really work. This time, I tried his Super-Fast Brioche and it was pretty fast. From mixing to eating in half a day.

I tweaked the recipe a bit and made a lovely Christmas version with sour cherries and cranberries. And as the dough is a bit tricky to use as it’s really sticky, I put the first prove in the fridge to make the dough firm up and make it easier to handle. You can also make a normal brioche loaf without the fruit and spices.

The texture was incredibly light and airy, somewhere between cake and bread. Which make sense of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat brioche” – not cake as the popular saying goes – Qu’ils mangent de la brioche“. And I used my wonderful sourdough starter, going strong after 6 months! I cannot recommend highly enough using sourdough starter in bread recipes where instant yeast is also used.

Here is James’ recipe, with my tweaks:

Ingredients

100g white sourdough starter (1-2 days after feeding) see here for how to make a sourdough starter

170g plain flour 30g strong white flour

One 7g sachet instant yeast

40g caster sugar ( I used 40g, double the sugar that James has in his recipe for a slightly sweeter brioche)

3 free-range eggs

5g salt

125g butter, softened and cubed

A handful of sour cherries

A handful of dried cranberries

I/4 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg

1 more free-range egg, for glazing at the end

Method

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C,  200 degrees C fan-forced and very heavily grease (with butter) and line a loaf tin.

Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat together all dough ingredients except the butter.  (I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook.) Keep beating very vigorously – probably around 5-10 minutes – and you can see the dough become more elastic and stringy. If you are very competent with dough handling, you can attempt some stretches and folds. Beat in the butter until fully incorporated and the dough is totally smooth, another 5 minutes. You will notice the dough change – it will become firmer. Using hands or a dough scraper, fold the dough over into the middle of your bowl, tightening it.

Cover and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Using your hands or a dough scraper again, fold the sides of the dough into the middle, working your way all around the bowl several times. You will see the dough tightening – you want to help it hold its shape at the end.

Cover and prove the dough for at least 2 hours in the fridge.  Remove from the fridge and get ready to shape.  The dough should have firmed up enough to shape it into a   loaf to go into the tin, for a regular brioche, or roll it and fill with fruit and spices and then shape for a Christmas version.

For regular brioche, fold the dough into a loaf shape and put into the buttered tin. Be careful with handling – it’s still a fragile dough, even after being in the fridge.

For Christmas brioche, put your chilled proved dough onto a floured board and gently stretch to a rectangle. Don’t go too thin – just stretch the dough large enough to be able to fold it over a couple of times with the filling. Scatter the cherries and cranberries and spices onto the dough then fold over 1/3 from the top, and then fold the dough over onto the remaining 1/3 of the dough. Carefully transfer to the very well buttered tin.

Prove for a final 1 hour. The dough should be light and fragile, but springy on top when prodded. Eggwash the top of the loaf, and turn the oven down to 200 degrees C, 180 degrees C fan-forced, and bake for 40 minutes until dark brown on top.

When cooked, cool in the tin for for a few minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. It should be OK, but you may need to ease the brioche out of the tin, as this dough can sometimes stick. Fingers crossed!

Let cool completely before eating. I served my brioche plain with butter, and with Christmas jam* and natural yoghurt.IMG_9358

When the brioche was a couple of days old, I toasted it and served it with vanilla butter (unsalted butter whipped with icing sugar and vanilla paste) and Christmas jam*.

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*Christmas jam is made with fresh or frozen cherries and cranberries, and sugar and water as in normal jam recipes.

 

 

Strawberry Jam Crostata

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Quirky Niece No 1 gave me a really easy recipe for Crostata, or Italian jam tart. She acquired the recipe on a recent trip to Italy. She tells a lovely story, below in this post, of her time in Italy with Companion to Quirky Niece.

“So, as part of our spontaneous European holiday, we decided to hire a car and drive around Tuscany for 5 days. After a hairy hour or so battling peak-hour Florence traffic due to a GPS mayhap, we finally found ourselves out in the countryside and at our first airbnb accommodation, a sprawling country house on an agriturismo near Montepulciano. In the warm summer evenings we sat on the balcony, looking out at the glittering lights of the ancient city, and every morning, we ate a sumptuous breakfast prepared by our beautiful hosts, which included fresh cheeses, sliced meats and a wonderful jam tart. We could never finish it, so we took it with us on our adventures, only to find another one freshly baked the next day! On our final day, I asked our friendly host which baker she bought it from. Highly amused, she responded that she was a terrible cook, but this was her special foolproof recipe. In an instant, she quickly set her baby down and wrote up the ingredients on a post-it. And now, it has become my go-to entertaining recipe as well!  I use all kinds of jam, so long as they have delicious chunks of fruit, and I remember our host’s exhortations to prick the base thoroughly with a fork before spooning in the jam.”
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I made the crostata recently using this recipe. I made a quick strawberry jam for the filling, but any good quality store bought jam would do. In hindsight, my pastry was too thick – I would use a larger baking mold next time, for a more manageable pastry base.
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Ingredients

300g plain flour
½ sachet of baking powder (1 sachet = 11g)
150g sugar
100g butter
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks

Quantity of any good jam for the filling ( I used strawberry here)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a tart mold with baking paper or you could simply grease a baking tray if you want a true rustic crostata.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a food processor and pulse till the mixture just comes together.

Make a well  in the centre  and add the butter and egg and egg yolks and mix in gently until combined but not overworked.

Roll out the dough roughly  – remember this is not a precise tart – and line the tart mold. Or gently shape the dough into a round with a pastry rim on the baking tray. And prick the base – something I forgot to do this time!

Fill the tart with the jam and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the jam bubbling.

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Lemon Curd Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Another one bowl cake  – I love them as they  are SO easy! This cake has a good dollop of my home-made lemon curd in the cake, and spoonful or two also in the cream cheese frosting.

The 2 tone colour combo was a bit of an experiment. I recently acquired a 3 cake mold set complete with plastic divider so you can make a layered cake with different colours. I only made one layer, and tried just two colours. Below is the picture from the box the molds came in.

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Not so sure of the success of the colour combo idea, maybe it needs practice. So the following recipe is for the cake alone –  if you want to try different colours, have a go!

The recipe makes 1 big cake or 2 smaller, flatter ones.

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Ingredients

Cake

225g softened butter

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

200g golden caster sugar (ordinary is fine too)

4 large free-range eggs

1/4 cup lemon curd* (bought is fine)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or/160 degrees C  fan forced. Grease 1 large cake tin (23cm/9″) or 2 smaller tins (18cm/7”). Place all the ingredients except the lemon curd in a food processor or stand mixer until well combined and smooth.Gently stir in the lemon curd.

Spoon the mixture into 1 or 2 cake tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin(s) for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin(s) and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

These quantities are for the frosting for the top of the cake. Double if you want to fill the centre of 2 cakes.

100g softened butter

200g icing sugar

50g cream cheese

1 tbls lemon curd*(bought is fine)

Method

Cream the butter and icing sugar until soft and well combined. Beat in the cream cheese and lemon curd, being careful not to overbeat, but make sure there are no lumps.

To Assemble

For 1 cake, ice the top of the cake with the frosting using a palette knife. Be liberal!  Drizzle the top with extra lemon curd. For 2 cakes, fill the centre of the cakes with frosting. Alternatively, you could fill with whipped cream.

*Lemon Curd

Ingredients

Juice of 2 lemons

4 tbls sugar

2 tbls butter

2 egg yolks, beaten lightly

Method

Place all the ingredients in a double boiler or bain marie. Cook over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and place in sterilized jars. Refrigerate before using.

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Cream Horns

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I love cream horns – an old fashioned treat, full of cream and a smattering of jam.

I wanted to recreate these retro treats, making them a little smaller than the original. I filled them with whipped cream and my homemade berry jam.

Using bought puff pastry and some cone shaped molds, it was really easy! While I agree that making your own puff pastry can be time consuming, I would encourage everyone to make their own jam. I made a quick jam in the time it took to shape and bake the horns, 20 minutes or so. That’s fast, and the beautiful mixed berry jam is so worth it!

And because I love the idea of a “cornucopia” – horn of plenty – I made a large puff pastry horn as well, filling it with berries. A pretty centre piece and you can eat the contents.

The recipe below makes 6 small horns.

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Ingredients

2 sheets of puff pastry partially thawed

Milk for brushing

Caster sugar for dusting

325 mls pure cream

1 quantity mixed berry jam (see recipe below*)

Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C fanforced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the sheets of puff pastry into 2cm wide strips. Spray the molds with non stick spray. Wind the strips of pastry around the mold, starting from the tip. Make sure there is a little overlap with each turn so that the mold is completely covered. It’s really easy to do, especially when the pastry is still cold. Try to get all the joints on the one side, but don’t worry too much, these horns are meant to look little rustic!

Place the horns join side down on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush with a little milk. Scatter the horns with a little caster sugar. This gives the horns a nice sugary crunch.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until the horns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool before gently sliding the horns from the molds.

Whip the cream until soft peak stage, but not stiff.

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Filling the horns

Spoon or pipe the cream into each horn. Carefully add a teaspoon of berry jam to the cream horn, swirling into the cream or just leaving as is.

Serve with mixed fresh berries and more jam and cream for that extra lusciousness…

*Mixed Berry Jam

Ingredients

250g mixed berries – I used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

150g sugar

Juice of a lemon

Method

Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with the sugar. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, boil on a moderate heat until setting point is reached. Mush the berries, if still whole, into a jam like consistency. Take off the stove and allow to cool.

If you want to make the Cornucopia, that’s easy too. Make a cone shape, whatever size you like, using cardboard covered with baking paper. Wind strips of Pampas puff pastry around the mold until completely covered.

Bake on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes in a 200 degree C oven. Cool before removing the mold.

Fill with fruit, flowers or anything else that signifies abundance.

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Strawberry Ripple Cake

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This is a version of a recipe I found while “recipe surfing”. I was looking for something to something to do with strawberries, which are plentiful and cheap in spring in Sydney. The cake has ripples of home made strawberry jam through the cake, creating a tangy – and pretty effect. The addition of lot of sour cream in the mixture is great – lovely flavour, and I hope may give the cake some longevity. That may be hard to prove, as the cake tasters I made it for today have done a thorough job!

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Ingredients

150g unsalted or salt reduced butter, at room temperature

215g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2  large free-range eggs

300g  self-raising flour

300g  sour cream

1/2 cup strawberry jam (preferably home-made, see recipe below)*

Icing

200g icing sugar mixture

15g butter, at room temperature, chopped

1 1/2-2 tablespoons hot water

1-2 drops red food colouring

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

The cake looks nice in a decorative mold like a rum baba tin, which I used, or a bundt tin. Otherwise use a large cake tin. Grease the mold or tin with butter or non stick spray.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor until pale and thoroughly amalgamated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and sour cream, alternately, using a metal spoon. Tricky but not impossible in a food processor!

Pour half the mixture into the prepared mold or tin. Spoon over half the jam. Using a skewer, ripple the jam through the mixture.  Spoon the rest of the cake mixture in to the mold or tin, add the remaining jam and ripple again.

Bake for 40-50  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  The cake will take longer in a deep mold, it will take a shorter time in a conventional tin. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Icing

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Put the butter into a cup, pour over the hot water, and stir until the butter is dissolved. Mix into the icing sugar. Stir in the food colouring. Icing is not an exact science, so carefully add more icing sugar or a little water as needed, to get the icing to the right consistency. You can ice with a knife or just spoon over the cake and let the icing drip down the sides. Set aside until set.

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*Home-made strawberry jam

This is an adaptation of my strawberry conserve recipe found on this blog. The difference is much smaller quantities and I mushed the strawberries so that they would ripple nicely through the cake.

Take 200g strawberries and cover with 100g sugar in a bowl (non metallic). Leave for at least 2 hours. The strawberries will have started to give up their juices. Place into a saucepan with the juice of a lemon. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, boil on a moderate heat until setting point is reached. Mush the strawberries, if still whole, into a jam like consistency. Take off the stove and allow to cool.

For more on jam making, click here

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