Archive | July, 2012

Sweet shortcrust pastry

16 Jul

After last weeks successful pastry, I thought I would make another one, just to test that last week wasn’t a fluke!  I had a few friends coming over for dinner and decided to make a chocolate and raspberry tart for dessert.

Thankfully, I managed to create another successful pastry – same process, but slightly different ingredients to make the pastry suitable for a sweet dessert.  As berries are in season, this worked a treat!

If I were to make this again, I would probably mix some milk chocolate into the ganache, as the dark chocolate was incredibly rich.

Pastry:
250 gr plain flour
100 gr cold unsalted butter, cubed
100 gr icing / confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
 
250 gr raspberries
10 gr mint leaves, finely chopped
 
Ganache:
250 ml whipping cream
200 gr dark chocolate (perhaps 50 gr could be milk instead)
25 gr liquid glucose
50 gr unsalted butter, cubed
 

Serves 8

In a food processor, pulse the flour and butter until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.  Pour on a work surface and mix in the salt and icing sugar.

Make a well in the middle and mix in the eggs until you have a dough.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bring the pastry back to room temperature and roll out to fit a 20cm flan ring.  Refrigerate again for 20 minutes in the tin.  Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F.

Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes, remove the beans / rice, reduce the temperature to 180 C / 350 F and bake for another 5 minutes or until the base is dry.  Cool the pastry on a wire rack.

Set aside 3 raspberries per person (24 if you’re serving 8) and halve the rest.  Mix in the mint.  Spread this evenly on the bottom of the cold pastry case.

For the ganache, heat the cream until just before it boils, take off the heat and add the glucose and chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted.  Slowly add the butter, whisking continually.

Pour this mixture over the raspberries.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate until very cold, approximately 2 hours.

Serve with the reserved raspberries.  Enjoy!

 

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Quiche Lorraine

8 Jul


Finally, finally, I have conquered the shortcrust pastry!  This is one of my most exciting posts as it took me more than one attempt to get this right.  It’s always so easy to buy pre-prepared pastry at the supermarket, but I really wanted to create it from scratch.

I’ve never had homemade Quiche Lorraine, it’s always been bought from a patisserie and I’m sad to say, I’ve even bought one from a supermarket as well.  I will never, ever do that again.  The supermarket version, like many things, is so bland in comparison.   The homemade version was so silky and the filling was almost like custard, it was so tasty.

I was so chuffed with how this turned out that I did go on about it a bit only to be crushed by my fiancé letting me know that he isn’t the biggest quiche fan, but then after trying he did have seconds….

SHORTCRUST PASTRY / PÂTE BRISÉE
250 gr plain flour
125 gr cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cold milk
 
FILLING
150 gr cubed bacon
3 eggs
300 ml double cream
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt & pepper
50 gr grated Gruyère cheese (optional, this is not traditional)
 

To make the pastry, pulse the flour and butter in a processor until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Pour onto a very large board (marble if possible).  Sprinkle over the salt.  Make a well and add the eggs and milk in the middle.  Very gently mix together to form a dough.  Knead 5 times only.

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes (can be overnight).

Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it to warm to room temperature (approx 30 min).  Otherwise when rolling the dough will crack.

Turn the oven to 190 C / 375 F.

Roll out to the dough and roll up on the rolling pin and roll out on the quiche tin (23cm tin, or you can make individual quiche).  Prick the bottom with a fork.  Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes so it doesn’t shrink while cooking.

Blind bake the pastry in the oven for 15 minutes, take the beads out and bake at 170 C / 335 F for a further 5 min or until the base is dry.

Fry the bacon for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In the cooked pastry case, spread the bacon over the base.  Sprinkle over the grated cheese if using.  Then fill to the brim the egg mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Can be served warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Easy Salmon bake

1 Jul

I’m sticking with the savoury dishes for a while and this one is very easy – if you stick with shop bought puff pastry that is.  Making pastry from scratch is high on my list of things to do, but I’m just procrastinating.  I think because my first attempt failed – which shouldn’t be a surprise, and I just need to shake that one-off and try, try again.

This salmon dish would be great for a small dinner party (the recipe below serves 4), as you can prepare the whole dish well beforehand and then just bake when needed.

85 gr watercress, chopped very finely
115 gr cream cheese
600 gr skinless salmon (very easy to slice the skin off), cut into two even pieces
250 gr puff pastry
salt and pepper
plain flour to dust work surface
milk for glazing 

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F.

In a small bowl, mix the watercress, cream cheese, salt and pepper.

Roll the pastry out to approx 3mm / 1/8 inch thick.  It should be very roughly 8cm / 3 inches longer than one of the salmon pieces and more than twice as wide.  Trim any excess and keep aside for decoration (optional).

Place one piece of salmon in the middle of the pastry.  Cover with the watercress mix.  Top the other salmon piece on top.  Brush the pastry with water and fold the end pieces up and then the side pieces over the entire contents, making sure they overlap.  Press together to make sure it is well sealed.

Brush the pastry with milk.  Top with decoration from the excess pastry if you want and then brush this again with milk.

Make 2 holes with a skewer to allow the steam out.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Test by pushing a skewer all the way in, hold for 5 seconds and then test if the skewer feels hot.

Remove from the oven, leave for a few minutes and slice to serve with salad.  Enjoy!