Apple Frangipane

I didn’t think I could possibly be SO behind on my GBBO challenges – but here we are – I’m only just posting this recipe which was made on the show roughly 6 weeks ago! (maybe even more) and to make things worse I still haven’t seen the final! But I know who wins thankfully.

So a big apology for being so rubbish at keeping up with my challenge – I blame the re-decoration of my house which took over my life for around 4 weeks – But I don’t feel too bad as I now have lovely carpets and painted walls 🙂

Anyway, enough chit chat – here’s my take on apple frangipane!

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g soft butter, plus extra for greasing
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • 4 eating apples
  • 1 tbsp smooth apricot jam

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and dice 100g butter into it. Add the salt. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in 1-3 tbsp cold water until the dough seems to want to cling together. Knead lightly to make a ball, dusting with flour if it seems wet. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
  3. Generously butter a 24cm-diameter flan tin with a removable base and dust with flour. This makes the tin non-stick. Roll out the pastry, line the tin, and trim the edges. Cover with foil and half-fill with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 5 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, beat together 100g butter and 100g sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time. Fold in the almonds and lemon zest and tip into the pastry case. Halve and peel the apples, carefully cutting out the cores. Place flat side down and slice thinly across the width. ‘Plant’ the apples in the tart and spread out the slices slightly. Melt a knob of butter, paint the apple halves with it and dredge with caster sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the frangipane is puffy and golden and the apples just cooked. Paint the apples with the apricot jam, and leave in the warm, switched-off oven, with the door ajar, for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
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Crème Brule

I am VERY behind with my GBBO challenges – so this goes back a few weeks. I still have a bag of apples in my kitchen ready to be made into a frangipane. So here goes – here’s my take on Crème Brule – the recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website. The only thing I cheated on was I used my jazzy blow torch for the toppings, which they weren’t allowed to do in the tent (but I think that’s more to do with the fact that it would be a lot of naked flames in a giant tent rather than a culinary challenge!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons double cream, 1 large (284ml) plus 1 small (142ml)
  • 100ml full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 50g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Sit four 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. Pour the two cartons of cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.
  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy. Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot ixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard. Give the mixture a stir.
  4. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don’t let them get too firm.
  5. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.
  6. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover (Anne Willan’s tip for an even layer). Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar – then use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.

 

Mini French Baguettes

Bread week challenge number 2! Mini French baguettes – Paul Hollywood style!

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 5g salt
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 180ml cool water
  • Olive oil for kneading

Method:

  1. Add the flour to a bowl and put the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Pour water in slowly and mix together using your hands.
  3. Knead dough until its elastic and can stretch to around 30cm long – this takes about 20 minutes
  4. Leave in an oiled bowl covered in cling film for around 2 hours.
  5. Tip the dough onto an floured and semolia’d surface and knock the air out of it using your knuckles.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong by flattening the dough out slightly and folding the sides into the middle. Then roll each up into a sausage – the top should be smooth with ha join running along the length of the base. Now, beginning in the middle, roll each sausage with your hands.
  7. Place the baguettes on the baking tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for about 1 hour, until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C and put a roasting tray in the bottom to heat up.
  8. When your baguettes are risen and light, dust them lightly with flour. Then slash each one 3 times along its length on the diagonal, using a razor blade or a very sharp knife. Fill the roasting tray with hot water to create steam and put the bread into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the baguettes are golden brown and have a slight sheen. Cool on a wire rack.

These were surprisingly easy to make and super yummy straight from the oven! Enjoy! I’m slightly behind on my GBBO challenges so watch this space for crème brulees and even more! x

Caramelised Onion, Rosemary & Cheddar Quick Bread

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Here’s to my third Great British Bake Off inspired challenge – Quick Bread! I have made quick breads in the past and just never really knew they were called quick breads. I understood them more as a ‘lazy bread’ because when I first started baking I saw ingredients such as yeast as ‘effort’ – something I would need to go out and buy and have a stock of in my so called ‘larder’.  A few years later I have plentiful amounts of yeast in my cupboard and see myself as a fundamentally lazy baker back then. Turns out I was lazy, rather than the bread. So! This is my take on the third challenge from GBBO – I got the basic bread recipe online and added my favourtire flavours as taken from John Whaite’s caramelised onion and rosemary fougasse recipe – (click here to see my bake of this) It was utterly scrummy taken straight from the oven and slathered with butter. It’s safe to say that the entire loaf had disappeared by lunchtime the next day!

I hope you enjoy and please tag me if you make any of my bakes 🙂

Happy Baking! x

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of strong bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine or olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary (or even better – fresh if you have it! Mine died in the garden a few weeks ago)
  • Cheddar (use as much as you like – I used a size about as big as a door wedge – specific as ever!)
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Chop your onion into small pieces and fry off on a medium heat with some olive oil
  2. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook until translucent – around 10 minutes
  3. Mix together the dried ingredients
  4. Mix together the wet ingredients
  5. Add wet to dry including the herbs, onion mix and cheese
  6. Bake for 40 minutes in a 200C oven

Enjoy hot from the oven slathered in butter and in front of the telly – I would recommend something like University Challenge 🙂 x

 

Hazelnut & Chocolate Biscotti

My second GBBO recipe challenge was the beautifully scrumptious Italian Biscotti! This was surprisingly easy to make and is so yummy with a tea or coffee whilst snuggled on the sofa. I went for a hazelnut and chocolate flavoured recipe but for my next batch I think I’m going to try a coffee and walnut flavour. I didn’t have any oranges so I didn’t add the orange zest but I made up for it with a little vanilla extract to add an extra oomph. My jazzy camera is still out of action I’m afraid, so the photos aren’t as good as I would have liked, but none the less here are my biscotti! Recipe is taken from BBC Good Food.

Enjoy! xx

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • zest 1 orange
  • 25g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 25g chocolate chips

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the orange zest, hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Fold into the egg mix to make a soft dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a 25cm sausage shape with lightly floured hands, then transfer to baking sheet. Flatten to a 3cm thickness, then bake for 30 mins until lightly browned on top.
  2. Remove and slide onto a chopping board, then reduce the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Cut the log into 1cm thick slices and return to the baking sheet, cut-sides up. Bake for 10-15 mins until crisp, then cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tin for 3 weeks.

Madeira Cake

My latest challenge in improving my cookery skills and potentially making myself ‘GBBO ready’ is to bake one or more of the GBBO challenges each week in the time constraints set for the contestants. So I decided to make a Madeira cake from the first episode of the new series.

 

I’ve been away on holiday for the last two weeks so I’ve had to buy a new tin and cook away from my home kitchen (without my jazzy camera – hence the slightly dodgy photos!) making baking slightly more tricky – but none the less I’ve given it a go! I made a chocolate and orange flavoured cake with an orange flavoured icing sugar on top. It tasted lovely although there wasn’t the infamous ‘madeira cake crack’ on top – I think this is because I baked the cake in a larger square tin rather than the traditional loaf tin. But this is what this challenge is all about – learning from baking mishaps! I hope you enjoy 🙂 x

Ingredients:

  • 175g butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • Icing sugar to decorate

Method:

  1. Whisk the butter and sugar together until creamy and light
  2. Ad the eggs one by one
  3. Add the zest and chocolate
  4. Add the flour and almonds
  5. Bake in a lined and greased tin at 170C for 55 minutes
  6. Enjoy with a cup of tea! 🙂