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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!

 

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!

Homemade sausage rolls

9 Jun

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been travelling for work. weekends away and celebrating.  So this is the first week that I have had time to do any baking for a few weeks!  As we had the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee here in the UK, with many street parties, I thought that I would join into the spirit of things and bake some sausage rolls.  Everyone loves sausage rolls, even the Duchess of Cornwall recently commented that she was a big fan.

My mother used to make them for our parties as children and there were never any leftover.  I found a recipe to use, but I changed it slightly to be similar to what we used to get as children.

My partner ate about 5 when he got home for work.  After he had finished, he asked where I bought them, as he thought they were amazing.  He nearly fell over when I told him that I actually baked them.  I had to show him the used oven tray to prove it.  So they were quite a hit.

250 gr puff pastry (I just used shop bought)
450 gr pork sausage meat (I squeezed the sausage meat from 6 sausage skins)
225 gr beef mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper
milk for glazing
 

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F.

Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper and grease with some butter / oil and then chill.

Cut the pastry in half, lengthways.  Roll each to approx a 30 x 15cm / 12 x 6in.  Cover with clingfilm and chill.

In a large bowl mix all of the other ingredients (exclude the milk).  Divide the sausage mix into two.

Lay the chilled pastry out on the clingfilm or floured surface.  Roll the sausage mix into long tubes and lay in the centre of each piece of pastry.

Brush the pastry with the milk.  Fold the pastry over the sausage mix.

Cut the long sausage rolls into 12 pieces.  I found dipping the sharp knife in water in between each cut, made it a lot easier.

Put each sausage roll onto the pre-prepared oven tray.  Make two small cuts on the top of each roll and then brush with the milk.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Eat with tomato or chilli sauce.  Enjoy!

How to make Baklava

20 Feb

This recipe is from Food Wonders of the World.

My partner and I with a few friends managed to devour half the tray on the weekend and I just had to take the rest to work today, otherwise I would need to diet for a month. It’s that good….!

20 filo pastry sheets
250 gr unsalted butter, melted
30 gr (approx 1 tablespoon) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
375 gr ground mixed almonds and walnuts
 
SYRUP
3 1/2 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Make the syrup first, as you want to pour cold syrup over hot baklava.  Simply stir all the ingredients over a very low heat for at least 20 minutes until it’s slightly syrup.  Leave to cool.

Turn the oven to 180 C / 350 F.  Grease the sides and base of a tray that is large enough for one piece of filo pastry laid out flat (approx 33 x 23 x 5 cm).  Lay one sheet of filo pastry on the base of the tray.  Brush it relatively generously with melted butter.  Repeat 9 times until you have 10 sheets of filo pastry in the tray with melted butter brushed in between every sheet of pastry (I did say it wasn’t healthy!  But it is amazing!)

Combine the sugar, cinnamon and ground nuts together.  Pour half of the mixture on top of the 10 sheets of filo and spread it out evenly.  Top with two sheets of filo pastry, brushing the melted butter on top of each sheet, like before.

Pour the remaining half nut mixture into the tray and evenly spread.  Then with the last 8 sheets of filo pastry, continue to lay one at a time brushing melted butter on each sheet, just as before.

Once completed, cut into squares or diamond shapes, whichever you prefer.  Pour any leftover butter over the top.  Sprinkle a few drops of water over the top.  Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes.  Then reduce the temperature to 160 C / 320 F and bake for a further 45 minutes.

Then pour the cold syrup prepared earlier over the top of the hot baklava.  Serve cooled.  Enjoy!

Leek Quiche and a failed shortcrust pastry

13 Feb

Being quite chuffed about the bread, I stuck with the savoury theme and branched out to savoury pastry.  The filling I was quietly confident about, as I knew I could just make this up as I went along, but I’ve never made my own pastry and I was a little nervous.

Shortcrust pastry, I’ve learnt, is a temperamental mixture that I know I will have to practise quite a few times before getting it right.  This first attempt was not a success.  Thankfully, the rest of the leek quiche was and we had something to eat for dinner.

I used the food processor method and in hindsight, I should have added more water than I did.  I was too nervous of messing it up.  The recipe said 1 – 4 tablespoons of water, but it’s better if you don’t add any.  I added 2 tablespoons and when I brought it out of the fridge, waited for it to warm up again (which feels like an eternity!) and started rolling it out, it turned into a big mess of crumbs.  So I just pressed the crumbling mess into the quiche tin.  Not a great start.

I also don’t think I blind baked it for long enough.  After taking it out of the oven, the bottom still looked quite raw and the butter glistened.  Again being too nervous to ruin it, I didn’t return it to the oven.  Second error.

So we ate the quiche and most of the pastry for dinner.  These parts were very tasty, but I may have to keep some shop bought shortcrust for emergencies until I get it right.

Leek Quiche

Shortcrust pastry (shop bought in my case, homemade if you can)
4 leeks, sliced
Good sized knob of butter
½ cup water
Good pinch salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk
4 slices prosciutto, sliced (can use bacon or ham instead)
Pinch grated / ground nutmeg
Black pepper
Grated cheddar cheese for topping

Turn the oven to 180 C / 350 F.

In a saucepan, add the leeks, butter, water and salt, bring to the boil and then simmer until the leeks are soft.  Drain and then cool.

Blind bake the shortcrust pastry by pressing into a quiche / tart baking tin, cover in baking / parchment paper and pour in baking beads or raw rice/beans to cover the base well.  Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the pastry looks half-baked.  Remove the paper, rice / beads.

In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, prosciutto, nutmeg and pepper and mix well.  I didn’t add any extra salt as the meat is already quite salty.  Add to the leeks and mix well.

Pour this mixture into the prepared pastry, top with grated cheese and bake for approx. 30 min or until the cheese is nice and golden.  Enjoy!