Wednesday, 26 June 2013

An easy peasy Wimbledon themed dessert

This week I've been watching alot of the tennis at Wimbledon so thought I'd incorporate the food associated with it in a recipe, strawberries! This recipe is chocolate dipped strawberries with shortbread, an easy recipe you can make with things in the cupboard.

Serves 4 
12 strawberries  
60g/2 oz dark chocolate

125g/4 1/4 oz plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
82g/3oz softened butter or margarine 
37g/1 1/4oz caster sugar

1. Melt the chocolate until smooth in either the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Dip the end of the strawberries into the chocolate and refrigerate. 
2. To make the shortbread preheat the oven to 180oC and line a small baking tray with baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until soft and light, add the flour and salt then combine into a dough.
3. Put the dough into the tray and squeeze it down with your knuckles until it is about 5-10mm thick, then bake for 20mins until golden brown. Take out of the oven, sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool on a cooling rack or in the tray you've baked it in.
4. Cut the shortbread into four rectangular pieces and serve with the strawberries (and maybe a cheeky Pimms to carry on the Wimbledon theme). 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Chocolate eclairs

After seeing the great Mary Berry make chocolate eclairs on TV the other day I thought I just had to make them because they looked delish! I haven't made eclairs before, only profiteroles, and I know a lot of people think choux pastry is hard to make but it really isn't as difficult as people think and these treats are extremely tasty so it's worth the effort.

Makes 12 but you can make them as small or large as you want, just remember to adjust cooking times accordingly

150ml double cream (I used Elmlea but it does take a while to whip)
50g/ 1 3/4oz butter
75g/ 2 1/2oz plain flour
2 large eggs, beaten
120g chocolate (milk or dark whichever you prefer) melted 

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C fan oven and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Make the choux pastry by putting the butter along with 150ml of water into a saucepan, melt the butter and bring to the boil, take off the heat. Add the flour and beat vigorously until the mixture comes away from the sides and forms a ball shape. Allow to cool a little then gradually add the eggs, don't worry if the mixture is looking curdled at this point just keep stirring, until the mixture is smooth. Put the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle.
2. Sprinkle the baking sheet with a little water, this will create steam when in the oven to puff up the pastry. Pipe the pastry mixture into 7.5cm strips with spaces between each to allow for spreading in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 170C fan oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 
3. Take the eclairs out of the oven, immediately slice them in half and put on a wire rack to cool completely. 
4. Fill your eclairs with as much, or little, cream as you want them dip one half in the melted chocolate, or drizzle the chocolate over with a spoon if it doesn't fit in the bowl which I found! Eat straight away so the pastry does not go soggy. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

My first blog

So here it is, I've finally decided after a long deliberation to start blogging about my love for baking sweet things. Not that I really need an excuse to try out, and of course taste new sugary foods, but I thought this might be abit of fun and an opportunity to share some recipes with fellow bakers.

Here's my first recipe: rhubarb and almond crumble. The rhubarb was fresh from my mum's allotment and the recipe is so easy and delicious. Give it a try, it was a winner in my house enjoyed after a roast dinner...

Serves 6-8
500g rhubarb
6oz/170g Demerara sugar
5oz/142g plain flour
1oz/28g ground almonds
3oz/85g margarine
Flaked almonds to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (fan oven). Chop the rhubarb into short chunks and place with 3oz/85g of the Demerara sugar into a saucepan, heat gently until soft which should take about 15-20 mins, take off the heat and leave to cool.
2. To make the crumble put the flour, ground almonds and margarine into a bowl and rub together until it resembles a fine breadcrumb like texture. Add the rest of the Demerara sugar and mix.
3. Put the rhubarb mixture into an oven proof dish and spread the crumble mixture over the top, sprinkle a little Demerara sugar ontop for added crunch and then scatter the flaked almonds and bake for 25mins until slightly golden brown. Add some cream or custard and enjoy :)