27 Sep 2013

Apricot Couronne - The Great British Bake Off

Apricot Couronne
Last weekend, before the 'Sweet Dough Week' was on television,  I had a go at making the Apricot Couronne by Paul Hollywood.

At least I had the full instructions in front of me, unlike the contestants who have to work through a few scant notes and are seriously under pressure.

I gave myself three hours to make the bread and it was ample time to make, prove, bake and decorate. When I placed my buttery filling of apricots, raisins and walnuts onto the dough and rolled it up like a swiss roll the dough seemed to stretch and have a mind all of it's own. Another observation, I didn't allow a large enough centre, although in the photograph it looks as though there isn't a gap in the centre, I'm pleased to say that there is! The icing was a little runny, it's drizzled over the couronne whilst it's warm and this makes the icing lovely and crunchy.

The couronne is fairly easy to make and would be a fabulous bake for the Christmas season.  It's rich, sticky, tender and delicious.  The bread kept happily for a couple of days under clingwrap.

To sum up, it took three hours to make, we ate it three times a day (well there were only two of us to get through it) and it took us three days to polish it all off!  Although I say it myself, I was quite pleased with my first attempt at making this recipe......

The recipe can be found on the BBC Food website.

21 Sep 2013

Individual Pineapple Tart Tatin - Recipe

Pineapple Tart Tatin made with fresh pineapple
Today we have had glorious weather and it's looking like we are going to get some more late summer sunshine. Hubby happily cooked a barbecue and I made these lovely fresh pineapple tart tatin for dessert. They are delicious served with ice cream for that lovely hot/cold dessert which always works so well.


Sometimes caramel can be a pain to make and for reasons unknown won't play and I managed to get toffee instead which is no bad thing because my husband loved it.  I find the best way to make caramel is to use a small saucepan, which I forgot to do, and used a frying pan which seemed to give problems.

The pineapple rings sitting on top of the set caramel
The 'what's that' in the top right of the photograph is my clever apple corer, which is a great kitchen gadget and I've had this for many years, it's very useful for taking the cores out of pineapples too.

It's best to make a few slits in the pastry lids
My caramel and pineapple tried to burst out of the tins whilst cooking and next time I'm going to make some slits in the pastry.

I hope you have a go at making this delicious dessert.......

Serves:  4 people:

You will need:  4 x deep individual tart tins

4 x 2cm slices of ripe pineapple
50g caster sugar
cube of butter
4tsp rum
375g puff pastry

1.   Roll out the pastry - cut out four circles slightly larger than the tops of the tart tins.
2.   Remove the core from the centre of the pineapple slices, this is easily done with an apple corer.
3.   Take a small saucepan and add the sugar to the pan.  Set over a medium heat until it turns golden brown, add the butter, let it melt and bubble.
4.   Pour into the four tins and place in the fridge until set.
5.   Take a pineapple ring and place on the top of the caramel.
6.   Spoon a teaspoon of rum into the centre of each pineapple ring.
7.   Take a pastry lid and place over the pineapple and with the help of the handle of a teaspoon, tuck the pastry edges in to encase the pineapple.  Make a few slits in the pastry lids.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
8.   Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200oC.
9.   Place the tarts onto a baking tray and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden.
10. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.  Run a knife round the tins and place a plate over the tin and turn upside down.  Beware the caramel can still be hot and it is safest to use a tea towel to help you remove the tins.
11. Serve with ice cream.



15 Sep 2013

Fresh Berry Scones - Great British Bake Off Everyday

The crunchy demerara topping on the lid is the best part of the scones
 and I eat the lid first!
I have a passion for scones but so much the better if berries are incorporated into them. Blueberry scones are my favourite but here we have both blueberries and raspberries.  The beauty about these scones is they bypass the usual jam then cream or cream and then jam debate that goes on and on...... My scone recipe is from The Great British Bake Off Everyday cookery book.

All they need is a dollop of cream
The book is full to the brim with very tempting cakes, bread and bakes - I was spoilt for choice. I've been baking quite a lot recently, in fact more than I intended to. I'm still getting to know my new oven and it's a good excuse to bake, bake, bake.

My kitchen posting has had to be delayed - the work seems to just go on and on and on. Everything seems to take ages, electricians coming and going, the fitter still doing small bits and pieces and then there is the glass man who has ordered the glass but this takes a few weeks to be made and then he has to come and fit.  Guess what, after the glass has been fitted the electricians have to come back to fit new socket covers and then the installer has to come back to do a few more bits and pieces........Shoo workmen, shoo........

There are still fresh berries on the shelves and using frozen for the scones unfortunately won't work because the frozen fruit will release too much liquid whilst the scones are baking.

I had some buttermilk left over from the Blackberry Buttermilk Sponge and used it to make the scones. If you can't locate any buttermilk here is a way of making your own: take 250ml milk (not semi), pour onto 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and leave to stand at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes.  If you have any blackberries left over from making the sponge I think I would be tempted to use these in the scones.  The scones freeze perfectly too, defrost and warm on the defrost setting of the microwave to refresh.

The Great British Bake Off is must watch TV and I for one find myself sitting in front of the TV every week watching, hubby knows he can't get any sense out of me whilst it's on, and now he watches too, eating one of my warm comforting fresh berry scones of course!

7 Sep 2013

Blackberry Buttermilk Sponge

The sponge has a lovely crunchy demerara sugar topping
This easy to make blackberry buttermilk sponge has a lovely tender crumb and if you can get hedgerow blackberries the cake will taste even better. My blackberries came from the supermarket, they were absolutely fine (but make sure they aren't dessert blackberries) or raspberries would be good to use too. The sponge is best served warm and can be reheated gently in the microwave.


I know sometimes it's not convenient to buy buttermilk and a buttermilk substitute can be made by taking 250ml milk (not semi-skimmed) and pouring onto 1 tablespoon of either white wine vinegar or lemon juice and leave to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Recipe is from The Great British Bake Off Everyday cookbook and they recommend serving the sponge with Hot Berry Sauce (recipe in the book). The cake is quite sweet and I think the berry sauce would counteract the sweetness. I served my cake with a dollop of cream.