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Boozy Buns with Raisins and Sultanas

 


I’m a huge fan of buns, rolls or scrolls, any kind of bread with a sweet filling. I usually make cinnamon scrolls, which are always delicious. This time I wanted to make some sweet buns using boozy fruit from the jar in my store cupboard.

I keep a jar permanently in the cupboard with raisins and sultanas soaking in alcohol. I top up the jar with rum or brandy or even whisky, whatever I have on hand. Stick in a vanilla pod, give the mixture a stir and leave the fruit to macerate. The boozy fruit makes a delicious dessert served over ice cream or with cream or yoghurt, or as a filling for cakes or pastries.

These yeasted buns are full of luscious fruit and almond frangipane, rolled like a scroll, and finished with a golden syrup glaze while still warm. They are pretty easy to make, particularly if you use a mixer with a dough hook. You will need to use a bit of elbow grease if you knead by hand!

Start the buns the day before you want to bake them, and leave in the fridge overnight for the second prove. Then bake them first thing in the morning and eat them warm from the oven for breakfast if you can’t resist the smell of freshly baked sticky buns!

Ingredients 

For the Dough

500g strong flour

7g instant yeast

10g salt

50g caster sugar

250g milk

2 large free range eggs, beaten

50g butter

For the Frangipane

50g butter

50g sugar

60g ground almonds

1 large free range egg

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

Filling + Glaze

300g boozy raisins and sultanas (If you don’t have a jar of prepared fruit, simply put the fruit in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of rum, brandy or whisky. Leave to soak for 1/2-1 hour)

100g golden syrup

Icing

100g icing sugar with a little water to make a paste

Method

Put the strong flour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or into a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand. Add the instant yeast and salt, making sure the yeast and salt are on opposite sides of the bowl, and the caster sugar. Add the milk which you have warmed to tepid (microwaving is easy) and the beaten eggs. Mix by hand into a rough dough, even if you’re going to use the dough hook in the next stage.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel or my favourite, a plastic shower cap, and rest for 20 minutes. Then move the bowl to the mixer and knead with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth and starting to develop some elasticity, about 5 minutes. Add the butter in small pieces, then knead again for about 5 minutes, using the mixer until the butter is thoroughly incorporated, the dough is smooth and you can achieve the “windowpane” effect. That is, you can pull  some of the dough off the dough hook, between two fingers, stretching it so that it’s translucent.

If you are kneading by hand, you will knead to work the dough really well, in both stages, to get it to the desired silky, elastic stage.

Cover the bowl again and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour, until the dough is doubled in size. You ideally need a temperature of about 25 degrees C. In winter in Sydney it can be hard to get that temperature, so I usually resort to leaving the bowl near the heating source, and even giving it an extra 30 minutes plus if the dough hasn’t doubled in size.

Make the frangipane while the dough is proving. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix. Or you can beat the ingredients together by hand. Either way you want to end up with a smooth paste.

Once the dough is risen, take the dough out of the bowl onto the bench top or ideally a large wooden board. Flour the bench top or board liberally with flour. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle, as large as you can go, with the dough ending up about 1/2 cm thick. My dough rectangle is usually about 30cm in width by 40-50cm in length.

Smear the frangipane over the entire rectangle of dough. It will look like you haven’t got quite enough, but keep on spreading and you will cover the rectangle.

Drain your boozy raisins and sultanas, and scatter them over the dough. Now carefully roll up the dough along the long side. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough. You should get about 12 slices, give or take.

Line a large baking tin or tray with baking paper. Carefully place each slice, cut side up, into the tin or tray, fitting them snugly together.

Place the tin or tray into a large plastic bag. You will need to make sure you have enough room in your fridge, as you are going to prove the buns in there overnight. Put the tin or tray into the fridge, and leave for 8-12 hours overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C fan forced, or 200 degrees C non fan forced. Place a baking tray, or ideally a cast iron pan, in the bottom of the oven, with some water in it, to create steam for your baking.

Remove the plastic bag from the tin/tray and put the buns straight from the fridge into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the buns are risen and a deep golden brown.

Remove the buns from the oven. Warm the golden syrup to make it spreadable – 30 seconds in the microwave on low, or gently heat in a saucepan.

While the buns are still still warm, brush all over with the golden syrup. Be generous! You want the buns to be really sticky!

Pull the buns apart, and eat while warm – they are truly delicious and moreish. Or wait till they are cool, and drizzle over some icing. Make the icing by adding water, a teaspoon at a time, to the icing sugar, until you have a paste that you can drizzle over the buns – not too thick but not too runny.

An easy way to drizzle is to put the icing in a zip lock bag and snip the corner off. You can squeeze the icing out of your makeshift piping bag.

Or even easier – dip a fork in the icing and drizzle straight over the buns!

Whether you eat warm or at room temperature, ice or not, these buns are super yummy. They keep for a couple of days, and also freeze well.

But best eaten on the day!

Cherry and Apricot Upside Down Cakes


Today I’m posting easy and delicious recipes for upside down cakes.  And they can be made with store cupboard ingredients!

I thought it would be good to give bakers, and particularly novice bakers, a simple recipe for a cake that uses basic ingredients, can be whipped up in a flash, with or without specialist equipment.

And don’t be put off by all the instructions – both cakes really are super easy!

I made two, a cherry almond upside down cake, and an apricot upside down cake. I made the cherry one first, then realised that not everyone has bottled cherries and ground almonds lying around in the pantry. But I figured that everyone has tinned or canned fruit like apricots – peaches or plums or pineapple are just as good – and ordinary flour, in the cupboard.

I make this cake in various forms all the time. The flour version is a basic cake mix that is good for cupcakes and bigger, iced or layered cakes. The almond version makes a frangipane cake, very moist and a perfect receptacle for fruit.

And putting the fruit on the bottom is genius – making a lovely, sticky, fruity topping.

I make the cakes in the food processor. It’s really simple and fast.  You could use a stand mixer, or hand held electric beaters. Or beat the old fashioned way with a spoon. So anyone can make these cakes, regardless of what kitchen equipment you have!

You will need an 18cm (7inch) cake tin. Bigger is fine, the cake will just be a little flatter.

Cherry Upside Down Cake

Ingredients
400g pitted cherries from a jar or tin/can*
150g butter
150g sugar
3 free range eggs
I teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon almond essence
125g ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

*A jar is about 670g, a tin/can is about 415g

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan forced. Butter a 18cm/7 inch cake tin thoroughly, and place a circle of baking paper on the base of the tin.

Combine butter and sugar using a food processor/ electric mixer/spoon, with vanilla extract or paste and almond essence. Add eggs one at a time and mix well well. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit lumpy or curdled, it will come together once the almonds and flour are added.

Fold in the ground almonds, plain flour, baking powder and salt.

Drain the cherries from their juices, reserving the syrup. Place the cherries onto the baking paper in the tin. You can be artful and make a pattern, or just place them any old how.

Carefully spoon the mixture on top of the cherries into the tin. Smooth out the dollops, but don’t worry too much, the mixture will even out in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes  – 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake. This cakes takes a while to cook. Start checking at 45 minutes and take out of the oven once cooked. Cool in the tin 10 – 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the reserved syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 or 4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and is thick and syrupy.

Carefully turn the cake out onto a plate, and peel off the baking paper. The cake will now have a lovely cherry top! Spoon some of the reduced syrup over the cake, as much or little as you wish. Personally, I like it with lots of syrup and really gooey!

Apricot Upside Down Cake 

The recipe is pretty much the same, but I have written it again just to highlight the different ingredients and slightly different method.

Ingredients
400g apricot halves from a tin/can *
150g butter
150g sugar
3 free range eggs
I teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

*Peach slices, plum halves or pineapple rings will work well too, all from a tin/can

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan forced. Butter a 18cm/7 inch cake tin thoroughly, and place a circle of baking paper on the base of the tin.

Combine butter and sugar using a food processor/ electric mixer/spoon, with vanilla extract or paste. Add eggs one at a time and mix well well. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit lumpy or curdled, it will come together once the flour is added.

Fold in the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Using only flour can mean a drier mixture, if the mixture is too stiff, loosen it with a tablespoon of milk.

Drain the apricots from their juices, reserving any syrup. Place the apricots onto the baking paper in the tin. You can be artful and make a pattern, or just place them any old how.

Carefully spoon the mixture on top of the apricots into the tin. Smooth out the dollops, but don’t worry too much, the mixture will even out in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes  – 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake. This cakes takes a while to cook. Start checking at 45 minutes and take out of the oven once cooked. Cool in the tin 10 – 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the reserved syrup in a small saucepan. If there is not enough syrup, add a tablespoon of apricot jam if you’ve got it, or honey or maple syrup. You really just want a sweet glaze to go over the cake! Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 or 4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced.

Carefully turn the cake out onto a plate, and peel off the baking paper. The cake will now have a lovely apricot top! Spoon some of the reduced syrup over the cake, as much or little as you wish, to give a delicious sticky glaze.

 

 

 

Frangipane Fig Tart



So it’s fig season, as I talked about in my last post. While the weather in February is not to my taste – hot and very humid – the month is a ripper for bountiful, beautiful fresh fruit. Apricots, yellow and white peaches, nectarines, blood plums, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, passionfruit and wonderful figs are ripe and plentiful.

Before I talk all things fruit, I need to acknowledge the awful weather conditions we are experiencing in NSW this summer, quite unprecedented. We have endured horrific bush fires and now floods. Absolutely devastating for the communities directly affected, but even here in Sydney we have had weeks of heat, sometimes extreme, and constant smoke haze. The recent floods last weekend (8 and 9 February) affected Sydney too. Torrential rain inundated Sydney. Living just 5 kms from the city, I narrowly avoided a flood in my house as the waters rose, filling my courtyard garden. All was well in the end.

So it is a credit to all those farmers who have managed to keep on producing our lovely summer fruit and veg through such times of trial, ensuring that we have been able to enjoy summer’s bounty. Thank you, we appreciate what you do to bring us your produce.

Here’s a big shout out to some places where I source my fruit:

Harris Farm Markets, which focuses on seasonality and has the best no waste approach to produce. They espouse the principle of “ugly fruit” – selling at a reduced price misshapen fruit and veg which is perfectly good to eat.

Of course there’s the wonderful Orange Grove Organic Markets, my local farmer’s market where everything is fresh and so delicious!

Having sung the praises of these two produce outlets, I should also mention that my local supermarket, Woolworths, has a pretty good range of seasonal fruit too.

Now to the recipe! This is SO easy! You can knock this together in under an hour. I call it a tart as it’s not quite a cake. You could bake it in a tart tin, but I prefer a small springform pan.

You could make this tart with figs, or stone fruit such as apricots or plums. Or bake it just with a swirl of chocolate hazelnut paste.

A note on chocolate hazelnut paste: this is a great addition to the tart, but it works perfectly well without it too.

I used an amazing product, acquired on my recent trip to Wellington, New Zealand – Fix and Fogg’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. Utterly delicious and addictive!

Ferrero’s Nutella works really well too, and is pretty much available worldwide.

Ingredients

110g unsalted butter, softened 

110g caster sugar

2 large free range eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

130g ground almonds

1 tablespoon plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons or to taste chocolate hazelnut paste

3-4 fresh figs

Method

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease an 18cm (7 inch) spring form pan, and line the base with a circle of baking paper.

Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, ground almonds and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor, or you could use an electric mixer.

Blitz or mix the ingredients until you have a smooth paste with no lumps. Don’t over mix. Stir in the plain flour and baking powder.

Swirl a tablespoon of the chocolate hazelnut paste through the frangipane mixture. Halve the figs and place on top. Use as many or few of the available halves as you like – for some reason I liked 7!

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack. Dollop small teaspoonfuls of chocolate hazelnut paste into the cavities of the figs once the tart is completely cool.

Serve with cream or yoghurt and a little more chocolate hazelnut paste spooned over the top. 

Pear and Hazelnut Tart – Jamie Cooks Italy

4388E494-996C-4253-BF6C-6747503FFF92.jpeg

C42A5815-2EC1-4519-AA14-8C654E97581FI’ve just acquired Jamie Oliver’s new book, Jamie Cooks Italy. It’s beautiful! A wealth of fantastic recipes which highlight the breadth and depth of Italian cooking. Here is a link to the book.

I couldn’t wait to start my baking, so this weekend I made a lovely chicken dish, “Chicken under a Brick”. More of this in a later post!

I also baked “Pear and Hazelnut Tart”, a twist on a classic frangipane tart. The frangipane is made with hazelnuts rather than almonds. You process whole hazelnuts, so the texture is quite gritty compared with traditional almond or hazelnut meal. Pears are baked on top of the frangipane. The pastry and frangipane are both flavoured with orange zest, which adds to the piquancy of the tart.

Here’s Jamie’s recipe as is. A couple of notes – I roll the pastry between clingfilm as this is far easier and less messy than the traditional way! I also substituted baking paper for non-PVC clingfilm in order to bake the tart blind, as I’m not sure you can get the latter in Australia.

Ingredients 

2 oranges
275g unsalted butter (cold)
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 large free-range eggs
Olive oil
150g blanched hazelnuts
150g golden caster sugar
3 firm pears

Method

To make the pastry, finely grate the zest of 1 orange into a food processor, add 125g of butter, the flour, icing sugar, vanilla paste and l egg, then pulse until it comes together into a ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm and pop into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Lightly oil a 25cm non-stick loose-bottomed tart tin. Preheat the oven to l80 degrees C.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick, then loosely roll it up around the rolling pin and unroll over the oiled tin, easing and pushing it carefully into the sides. Trim off any excess patch up any holes. Line with a double layer of non-PVC clingfilm, then fill with uncooked rice. Bake blind for IS minutes. Remove the clingfilm and rice, bake for a further 5 minutes, then leave to cool.

For the frangipane, blitz the nuts into a fine powder in the food processor. Add the remaining 150g of butter and the caster sugar and blitz again to combine. Finely grate in the remaining orange zest, crack in the remaining 2 eggs and blitz again. Just before assembling, peel the pears, quarter lengthways and remove the cores, then toss in the juice of half an orange.

Spoon the frangipane into the pastry case in an even layer, then arrange the pear quarters on top. Bake at time bottom of the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden. Leave for 5 minutes in the tin, then release and serve warm. Nice with orange-spiked crème fraîche and crumbled toasted hazelnuts.

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Fig and Frangipane Muffins

 

 

Here’s another muffin recipe – I’m always experimenting with ingredients and tweaking recipes to create new taste and texture sensations.

Figs are plentiful in early autumn in Sydney, and a colleague brought me some beautiful bounty from the Southern Highlands from her very own fig tree. Lucky Ms L to have a tree bearing such luscious treats!

This recipe is based on one from Mike McKenearney’s “Kitchen by Mike” see here for details – with a bit of method thrown in from Matt Stone’s Greenhouse Muffins and my own flavour combo of fresh figs, stem ginger and frangipane.

Ingredients

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of sea salt

80g butter, softened

65ml vegetable oil

150g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

75ml buttermilk (or ordinary milk with a good squeeze of lemon juice added)

6 fresh figs

6 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped

1/2 quantity of frangipane

A couple of teaspoonfuls of a good jam – apricot works well

Handful of flaked almonds, toasted

Frangipane

100g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 free-range egg

Method

These quantities make 6 big muffins. You could probably get 8 or so daintier muffins from the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a six-hole muffin tin with baking paper or paper cases.

In an electric mixer, whisk the butter, oil and sugar until smooth, and the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should look creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add the buttermilk or lemon-soured milk.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into another bowl and then add  1/2 cup of the flour mixture and whisk on a low speeed until smooth. Be careful not to overmix and this will toughen the muffins.

Fold in the remaining flour mixture, again being careful not to overmix.

Chop 4 of the figs into quarters and then half each quarter. Carefully fold the chopped figs and the chopped stem ginger into the muffin mixture and then spoon evenly into the baking papers or muffin cases.

To make the frangipane, cream the butter and caster sugar in a food processor, add the egg and ground almonds and process until smooth. (You will only need 1/2 this quantity, if that).

Mix a good teaspoonful of the frangipane into each muffin. It doesn’t matter if it’s not mixed in too well – it’s nice to have an almond surprise in the centre of the muffin!

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

When the muffins are cool, brush the top of each muffin with jam, then sprinkle on some toasted flaked almonds.

I decorated with slices of the remaining 2 figs. It would be nice too, to bake some fig slices on the top of the muffins. My track record of having baked fruit pieces stay on top of muffins and cakes is not good! They always sink. So I content myself with decorating the baked goods with fresh fruit.

Serve on their own or maybe with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.

 

Peach, Nectarine and Plum Frangipane Tart

 

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It’s summer in Sydney and stone fruit are plentiful and really delicious. At this time each year I try to find lots of ways to showcase yellow and white peaches and nectarines, and blood plums with their wonderful dark red flesh.

This is a simple tart that is a great vehicle for summer stone fruits. A fillo pastry base, with a layer of frangipane and scattered with slices of fresh peaches, nectarines and plums.

A lovely way to to enjoy the summer bounty of fresh fruit.

Ingredients

For the base:

Half a 375gm packet of fillo pastry  (approximately)

2 tbls melted butter

For the Frangipane:

100gm butter

100gm caster sugar

100gm ground almonds

1 free-range egg

For the fruit:

1 yellow or white peach

1 yellow or white nectarine

2 blooms plums

Demerara sugar, for scattering

Method

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

Butter a flan tin with a removable bottom. I used a rectangular one – a traditional round one is fine, although the fillo pastry can be a little tricky to put into a round flan tin.

Place a sheet of fillo into the tin. Brush with melted butter. Keep on layering with fillo, brushing with melted butter between each layer, until you have used about half of the packet of fillo.

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.

Now is the fun part! Slice the stone fruit, and arrange as artfully  – or as rusticslly  – as you please. Scatter some demerara sugar over the fruit slices.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the fillo is lightly browned and crisp around the edges, and the fruit is soft.

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

Serve warm or cold, with cream or on its own. Delicious.

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Pear and Almond Cake

 


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

 

Apricot Almond Cake

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This is a kind of frangipane, as the cake is mostly butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds, with a little bit of flour to stabilize the mixture. I make it every summer, using whatever stone fruit is at its best.

I was lucky enough to pick apricots from the trees of my friends the Artist and the Artisan in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands this week. The fruit was abundant, but unlike the pristine looking fruit from the supermarket, these apricots were mottled and often marked.  The taste, however, was lovely.  They were so fresh and packed full of pectin, making great jam.

The rest of the fruit not used for jam went into my Apricot Almond Cake. I placed cut fruit halves sprinkled with a little golden caster sugar on top, which sank into the mixture as it was cooking. Once the cake was cooled, I scattered apricot pieces on the cake which had been lightly poached in sugar syrup.

Delicious on its own or serve simply with a little pouring cream.

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The photos below are of the trees from which the apricots came. Also pictured is a wild (but friendly) king parrot, and the latest art work from the Artist, made with her colleague and our good friend, Gazza, all in the same marvellous garden!

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Ingredients
Quantity of fresh apricots (about a dozen) halved and stoned
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
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

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

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 springform tin lined with baking paper. It’s important to line the tin as the mixture can sometimes leak.
Scatter 3/4 cut apricots cut side up over top of mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar in the cavity of each fruit half.

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

Dissolve the other tablespoon of golden caster sugar in a small frying pan or saucepan with a2 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil and add the rest of the apricot halves. Simmer gently for a 3 or 4 minutes or until the apricots have softened slightly and mos of the liquid has evaporated.

Serve the cake with the apricots on top – you can quarter or slice them if you like – and with the afore mentioned pouring cream. Delicious.

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Croissants and Danish Pastries

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Continuing my exploration of laminated pastry making, I made a batch of croissant dough. The recipe is very similar to that for Danish pastry.

I followed Paul Hollywood’s recipe for croissants from his well written and very informative book How to Bake.

For croissant dough, you omit the eggs for a lighter, flakier pasty. I substituted semi-skimmed milk for the water in the yeast dough, following a recipe for croissants from another great book, Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets.

I was very happy with the results – light, flaky croissants and Danish pastries that were equally as delicious as my first version.

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Rather than reproducing the recipes in full, I refer you to my previous post. https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/07/25/danish-pastries/

But note: Omit the eggs. Use 300ml semi-skimmed milk in the base dough instead of water and full fat milk.

I made croissants, almond croissants, pain aux raisins and cherry and strawberry danishes.

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Here are Paul’s instructions for how to shape the croissants – the quantities refer to using the whole amount of the dough. To make almond croissants, put a tablespoon of frangipane (recipe in my previous post) at the base of the croissant triangle and roll as for ordinary croissants. Scatter some flaked almonds on the top before baking.

Method

When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 30cm wide; it should be about 7mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten them.

Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.

Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. Now starting at the thick end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.

Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200°C.

Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.

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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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