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Blood Orange Friands

 

 

Here's another recipe for friands, those delicious little cakes made with eggs whites only and ground almonds, very similar to the French financier.

This version features wonderful blood oranges, now available in Sydney, one of the joys of a beautiful bright winter! It's 21 degrees C on this sunny July day!

The recipe is really so versatile, you can add lots of different fruit to the basic recipe. Cherries, pears, raspberries and blueberries work well.

Ingredients

6 egg whites, beaten lightly

75g plain flour

240g icing sugar, sifted

125g almond meal

150g melted butter, cooled

Grated zest and juice of a blood orange

10 tablespoons icing sugar or enough to make a thick glaze.

Optional – some salted pistachio praline to decorate*

Slices of blood orange

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Lightly grease 12 friand molds.

Beat the egg whites until frothy with fork in a large mixing bowl.

Sift the flour and icing sugar into the bowl, stir in almond meal and then add the melted butter. Stir in the zest of the blood orange, and the juice of one half of the blood orange.

Spoon the mixture (approximately ¼ cup) into each of the molds.

Bake in preheated oven for 20  minutes until cooked through and golden brown or until a skewer is inserted into centre comes out clean. Sometimes the friands need a few more minutes in the oven to be nice and brown.

To make the glaze, mix the juice of the other half of the blood orange with the icing sugar. You may need to add more or less juice or more or less icing sugar to get the glaze to the right consistency to ice the friands.
Ice the friands with just enough glaze to coat the tops and perhaps to run down the sides a little.

*To make the salted pistachio praline, dissolve a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Don't stir, or the sugar will crystallize. Once the dissolved sugar has turned to a deep toffee colour, pour the praline over a handful of salted pistachios on some baking paper. Once hard, bash the praline into fragments.

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Fig and Frangipane Tart

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I made this tart a couple of weeks ago when figs were plentiful, cheap and very luscious. Even now, on April 1st, they can still be got at farmers’ markets, the very last of the bounty of a long Indian summer.

Figs and frangipane go well together, the lovely almond cream complementing the juicy sweetness of the figs. A few posts go I made fig and frangipane muffins – here is the link – and this is the same combination in a more refined tart form.

The shortcrust pastry is based on the great Maggie Beer’s recipe using sour cream.

Ingredients

For the shortcrust pastry base:

200gm chilled unsalted butter

250gm plain flour

1 tsp caster sugar

135gm sour cream

For the Frangipane:

100gm butter

100gm caster sugar

100gm ground almonds

1 free-range egg

10 fresh figs, quartered

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, (180 degrees C non fan forced).

Butter a 23cm (9 inch) fluted flan tin with a removable bottom.

To make the pastry, pulse butter, flour and caster sugar in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Using your hands, shape pastry into a ball. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
 Roll the pastry out and place into the buttered flan tin.

To make the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar in a food processor or you can use an electric mixer. Add the ground almonds and egg and mix well.

Spoon the frangipane over the tart base.  You may not need all the mixture – the idea is to have a base on which to sit the figs. Arrange the fig quarters in a circular pattern over the frangipane. You needn’t be too precise. The figs should be sitting on top of the frangipane. If they sink in, you probably have too much frangipane and may need to take some out.

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Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the frangipane is set and the pastry looks cooked round the edges. Don’t overcook so that the pastry edge burns.

Remove from the oven, and after 10 minutes, when the tart has cooled slightly, carefully remove the outer ring of the flan tin.

Serve at room temperature on its own, or with cream or yoghurt.

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Jamie Oliver Figgy Banana Bread

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Another lovely recipe from Jamie Oliver’s healthy cookbook Everyday Super Food. It’s a banana bread that is very flavoursome and sweet with remarkably, no sugar! The sweetness comes from the bananas, dried figs and apple. This quirky writer has a sweet tooth, and this recipe really satisfies me.

Reading and cooking recipes from Jamie’s book I’m appreciating that cooking with healthy eating in mind doesn’t mean cutting down on deliciousness. Jamie’s Smoothie Pancakes full of blueberries that I cooked recently, are luscious, sweet and satisfying.

Ingredients

250g dried figs

75ml cold pressed rapeseed oil

125g natural yoghurt

1 tbs vanilla extract

4 ripe bananas

2 large free-range eggs

150g wholemeal self-raising flour

1 heaped tsp baking powder

100g ground almonds

1 tbs poppy seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 apple

50g whole almonds (skin on)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 25cm baking tin with with scrunched sheet of wet greaseproof paper. (You could bake the mixture in a large loaf tin for the more conventional banana bread look. I like the cake tin idea as the bread is so sweet and so rather cake-like.)

Place 200g of the figs in food processor with the oil, yoghurt, vanilla extract, peeled and roughly chopped bananas and eggs. Blitz until smooth.

Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, poppy seeds and turmeric and pulse until only just combined. Coarsely grate and then stir in the apple.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Tear or chop the remaining 50g figs into pieces. Scatter over the mixture, pushing them in slightly. Chop the almonds and scatter over. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until until a skewer inserted into the bread comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve as is, or with any combination of yoghurt, honey and home-made nut butter. I made brazil nut butter to serve with my banana bread.

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Nut butter

To make 1 jar:

Place 200g of any unsalted nuts in a preheated 180 degrees C oven on a baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 5 minutes. Tip the nuts into the food processor with a small pinch of sea salt and blitz. The blitzing takes a while for the nuts to be finely ground and then to turn into nut butter. Stop blitzing occasionally and scrape down the the sides of the processor. When the nut butter is the consistency you personally like – from crunchy through to super smooth – store in a jar.

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Pear and Almond Cake

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This is just another version of my frangipane cake* – a cake made with a frangipane base of butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds. I love this cake and make it often – it’s a food processor cake and very simple.

I used pears as the fruit flavour. At the end of winter in Sydney pears are juicy and plentiful and create a really moist cake.

Ingredients
2 pears
150g butter
150g sugar
3 free range eggs
I teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon almond essence
100g – 125g ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
A handful of flaked almonds to scatter on top of the cake

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Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced.

Peel the pears and poach whole in a sugar syrup in a saucepan until they are just soft. The sugar syrup is enough water to cover the pears with 1/2 cup sugar.

Remove the pears from the syrup and cool. Discard the syrup or you could reduce and use as a sauce for the pears.

Combine butter and sugar in a food processor, with vanilla extract or paste and almond essence. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Fold in ground almonds, plain flour, baking powder and salt.

Put mixture into a greased flan dish, or cake tin lined with baking paper.

Cut the pears into neat slices and place on top of the mixture. Scatter the flaked almonds on top.

Bake for 45 minutes  – 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.

Cool in the tin. You could serve direct from the flan dish if using, or turn out out carefully from the cake tin as I did.

*See also my Apricot Almond Cake, Frangipane Tart and  Cherry Frangipane Tart

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Paul Hollywood’s Danish Pastries

IMG_4134I’m on a long holiday at the moment which has given me the time for lots of experimental cooking.

I love pastry so learning how to make laminated pastry seemed appropriate. It’s a lengthy but not difficult process – you just need some uninterrupted time and lots of patience!

I followed the recipes from the god of baking Paul Hollywood, from his book How to Bake: http://paulhollywood.com/books/

I can thoroughly recommend his step by step guide to making Danish pastry dough complete with excellent pictures as well as his individual recipes.

I made the basic dough and then created Pain aux Raisins, Almond Pastries and Berry Danishes as three sweet and delicious pastry morsels. I have also included the recipes for crème pâtissière and frangipane, typical pastry fillings.

IMG_3937Danish Pastry Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

10g salt

80g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

2 medium eggs

90ml cool water

125ml tepid full-fat milk

250g chilled unsalted butter

Method

Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes.

Tip the flour out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out your chilled dough to a rectangle, about 50 x 20cm and about 1cm thick. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 33 x 19cm, by bashing it with a rolling pin. Lay the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of it. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.

Fold the exposed dough at the top down one-third of the butter. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of the dough up. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for an hour to harden butter.

Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured surface with the short end towards you. Now roll it out to a rectangle, about 50 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge between turns.

The dough now needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly. It is then ready to use.

I divided the dough into three, using a third for each pastry type.

IMG_4028Pain Aux Raisins

Ingredients

1/3 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity crème pâtissière

80g raisins

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 medium free range egg, beaten

Method

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle, about 7mm thick. Turn it 90°, if necessary, so a long edge is facing you. Smear half the crème pâtissière over the dough, leaving a clear 5cm margin along the near edge. Sprinkle half the raisins and cinnamon over the crème. Roll the dough towards you into a sausage, keeping it as tight as possible – give a gentle tug each time you roll to tighten the dough and give it a little tension. When you reach the end, roll the sausage back and forth a few times to seal the join.

Cut the roll into 3cm slices. Lay cut side up and apart on the baking trays and put each inside a clean plastic bag. Leave to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24 degrees C) until at least doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200 degrees C. Brush the risen pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and drizzles with lemon icing. I left them plain this time.

IMG_4060Almond Pastries

Ingredients

1/3 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity frangipane

50g flaked almonds

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

Method

Line baking tray with baking paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 20cm square, approximately 5mm thick. Cut into 10cm squares. If you make them a little smaller, and roll the dough a fraction bigger, you can squeeze 6 out of the dough. Fold the corners into the middle and press down lightly with your finger so the fold sticks.

Put the pastries onto the baking tray, spacing them apart. Put the tray into a clean plastic bag, leaving to rise at cool room temperature  (18 – 24 degrees C)  until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Place about 1tbsp of frangipane in the middle of each risen pastry and sprinkle with flaked almonds.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and optionally drizzles with orange icing. Again, I left them plain this time.

IMG_4062 2Berry Danishes

Ingredients

1 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity crème pâtissière

100g mixed berries

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

Method

Line baking tray with baking paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a rectangle, about 30 x15cm and approximately 7mm thick. Cut into 7cm squares. on eaxc square, make cuts from each corner going diagonally almost to the centre so you have 4 triangles. Fold one corner from each triangle into the centre to create a star shape.

Put the stars onto the baking tray, spacing them apart to allow room for spreading. Put the tray into a clean plastic bag, leaving to rise at cool room temperature  (18 – 24 degrees C)  until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put 1tbsp of crème pâtissière in the middle of each risen pastry and top with a couple of berries.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and drizzles with lemon icing. I left them plain.

Crème pâtissière

Ingredients

500m milk

1 vanilla pod, split down the middle and seeds scraped out

100g caster sugar

4 free-range eggs, yolks only

40g cornflour

40g butter

Method

Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the split vanilla pod and its seeds. Bring the milk mixture to the boil, then remove from the heat.

Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl.

Pour out a little of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well-combined, then return to the saucepan.

Cook the mixture over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes thick. It will just come to the boil.

Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted and thoroughly combined.

Leave to cool, cover with clingfilm and then chill before using.

Frangipane

Ingredients

100g butter, softened

75g caster sugar

40g plain flour

2 large eggs, beaten

60g ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp almond extract

Method

Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and one tablespoon of flour and mix well. Add the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder and almond extract and process until combined. Chill before using to make it easier to shape.

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Cherry Frangipane Tart

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This is a lovely almond filled tart, a traditional French sweet treat. The base is pastry, layered with jam, then topped with a thick almond custard like cream. I added some cherries  to the frangipane for texture and tartness.

“Frangipane is a filling made from or flavoured with almonds.This filling can be used in a variety of ways including cakes, tarts and other assorted pastries…Originally designated as a custard tart flavoured by almonds or pistchios it came later to designate a filling that could be used in a variety of confections and baked goods…It is normally made of butter, sugar eggs and ground almonds.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frangipane

My version uses a shortcake pastry base, to give a little more substance to the base. I cooked the tart in a springform tin. I think it might have better to cook the mixture in a traditional tart mold or tin. My cake tin version was quite deep, resulting in tart that took a long time to cook in the middle and overcooked a little on the base and sides.

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Ingredients

Shortcake Pastry Base
70g unsalted butter
70g castor sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Tart
3 tbls cherry jam*
225g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla paste
225g caster sugar
5 free range eggs
225g ground almonds
Handful of whole cherries, plus more to decorate

Method
For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Carefully line a 23cm springform tin with the pastry, pressing the pastry into the edges of the tin.

Spread the jam over the base of the tart, then place in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.

To make the frangipane, beat the butter, vanilla paste and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until all of the eggs have been fully incorporated into the mixture. Fold in the ground almonds carefully by hand.

Top the pastry base with the almond mixture and smooth to the edges. Placer some halved fresh cherries on top of the mixture, pushing them gently into the mixture. They should still be partially visible.  Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 40 45 minutes, or until the filling has risen, is cooked through and the surface is pale golden brown.

* I made a simple cherry jam by placing 6 or tablespoons of morello bottled cherries with their juices in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Bring to the boil and cook till the cherries are jammy and the liquid is reduced.

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Berry, Apple, Golden Syrup and Oat Flapjacks

IMG_2186I found a recipe for flapjacks while surfing the internet for “tray bakes”. As a food etymologist I was intrigued by the name, not overly used in Australia. We tend to talk more of “slices”.

The following recipe is very loosely based on one of my finds, Blackberry and apple oaty flapjacks: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/511747/blackberry-and-apple-oaty-flapjacks.

My traybake turned out more of a tart as it was quite soft. I think the apple makes it soft, so you could try less apple to firm it up or cook it for longer.

My next incarnation of the flapjack will be apple-free and I’ll make the berries into jam before cooking. Watch this space!

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped

200g  rolled  oats

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbs store bought caramel

200g fresh or frozen mixed berries

2 tbs golden syrup

Crumble topping:

60g rolled oats

1 tbs butter cut into small pieces

1 tbs golden syrup

Handful of flaked almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a medium sized baking tin. I used a flan mold for something different.

Place the chopped apple in a saucepan with enough water to cover.  Put on the lid and cook until soft.  Drain the water and puree or mash the apple.

Mix the oats and the cinnamon in a large bowl, add the apple and caramel and combine well.

Spread the oat mixture Into the base of the tin or flan and spread out into an even layer.

Scatter the mixed berries on top of the oat mixture, having cut in half any larger berries such as strawberries.  Drizzle the golden syrup over the berries.

To make the crumble topping, combine oats, butter and extra golden syrup.

Spoon the crumble mixture over the berries, lastly scattering the flaked almonds.

Press down slightly to stick the layers together. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the flapjack is golden brown and the berry juices are bubbling.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before cutting into pieces.

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