Bakewell Tart

Video link

This week, I’m sharing with you a video recipe! Yay!! This bakewell tart used to be my number 1 favourite when I was about 16. My gran made it once and gave me her recipe, I thought the sweet jam (she used apricot, a LOT of it) with fragranced almonds and earthy pine nuts was the absolute perfect combination.

I hadn’t made it for years so when I bit into the one I made for the video, it took me way back. I used damson jam instead which was a really good alternative, less sweet than apricot & more fruity.

Regarding the filling, as I didn’t have the original recipe, I looked around the internet for regular bakewell tarts but was unsatisfied with all of them (too little egg, too much sugar, flour???) so I made up my own. To me, the pine nuts are essential as they really take the tart to a whole new level. They balance out the sweetness that can sometimes be overwhelming.

Ingredients (for 6-8 people)

– 120g of ground almonds
– 120g of sugar
– 120g of soft butter
– 75g of pine nuts
– 2 small eggs
– half a lemon zest
– 1.5-2 tbsp of jam, damson or raspberry are best
– a pastry case, 20cm, already blind baked (see my pate sablee recipe)

Preheat oven at 180 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Add the ground almonds and lemon zest. Add 50g of pine nuts, keep the remaining 25g for decoration.
Spread the jam onto the pastry. Spread the almond mix on top of the jam. Sprinkle with the remaining 25g of pine nuts.

Bake for about 35min or until the middle of the tart doesn’t wobble.

Leave to cool completely or eat it slightly warm.

Video link

Mylène

How to make a good sorbet

The last couple of weeks have been so hot that I’ve been craving for sorbet.
I own an ice cream machine but use it rarely because I don’t usually have time to make ice cream or sorbet.

We’re going on holiday in a couple of days so I had to empty the fridge and our perishable food. I happened to have quite a lot of strawberries and cherries. I also had a bottle of limoncello I’ve been waiting to try in recipes since a while. All the omens were there: I had to do a sorbet.

I’ve made sorbets in the past but never really got it right. It was always rock hard or it would melt away after 2 minutes in a cup. So I had a look on-line for advice and found out how easy it is to master a sorbet.

You’ll need a few ingredients (for the measures, I used US cups):

– 3 measures of juice of your choice or fruit puree, relatively thin.

If you’re planning on making a lemon or lime sorbet, use 2 measures of juice and one of water otherwise your sorbet will be too sharp.

– (Sugar Syrup) 1 measure of sugar, boiled until the sugar has disolved, with 1 measure of water

– 2 to 3 tablespoons of a fruity alcohol

First make the sugar syrup and leave it to cool completely.

Pour your fruit juice in a tall and shallow container.
Add an egg to it (a whole egg, still in its shell). This may sound weird but as you add your sugar syrup to the fruit juice, the egg will float to the surface.

Add the syrup little bit by little bit, you may not need the whole quantity.

When the egg floats, it means that the amount of syrup is enough to make your sorbet the right texture.

Add the alcohol, it will help the sorbet not to become rock hard as the alcohol won’t freeze.

Taste your mixture.
It should be slightly too sweet. Once frozen, you’ll taste it less as it’s so cold. Don’t worry if you can taste the booze, I thought I put too much in mine but couldn’t taste any of it once frozen.

sorbet with mint

Mylène

Lemon cookies

A few weeks ago, I made some lime biscuits to use up some leftover egg yolks. I had high hopes for them but was very disappointed in the result.
I think it’s only a matter of personal taste as Matthew really loved them. They were crumbly and quite shortbread-like.

I think lime and sweet biscuit/pastry don’t really work for me.

I read about a lemon cookie recipe but wasn’t too sure about it. Although, it won the award for the best cookie in the US so really, I had to try.

The cookies looked really underdone in the pictures so I experimented. I tried to bake one batch for the same length of time as on the recipe and with another batch I baked them for a few minutes longer, until golden, just to see the difference.

My advice is to take them out before they get golden otherwise they are just boring crispy lemon biscuits and don’t have that chewy moist texture.

I’ll definitly make them again, it was a really nice change from chocolate-chip biscuits, a bit fresh and definitely fresher and less sickly.

Next time though, I’ll add more lemon zest to make it stronger.

For 25 chewy lemon biscuits you’ll need:

– 115g of butter
– 200g of sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp of lemon zest
– 1 tbsp of lemon juice
– a pinch of salt
– 1/4 tsp of baking powder
– a pinch of baking soda
– 190g of plain flour
– 75 g of icing sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.

Add the egg, lemon juice, zest and salt.
Stir in the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Make walnut sized balls, toss them in icing sugar, place them on a baking tray.

Cook at 180°C for about 10 minutes.

Leave to cool down and enjoy!

Mylène

Elderflower champagne

You’re never going to believe me but the other day, between two big dark rainy clouds, I’ve seen some blue sky. Yes, blue sky, there was even a bit of sun…

I start, like everyone, to feel depressed about this non-summer so I try to cheer up with one of my very summery drinks: elderflower champagne.

I made some about 5 weeks ago, when the first flowers arrived.
It’s the third year in a row I’ve made some. Last year’s was horrible, I have no idea what happened as it was the same recipe. Anyway, I opened a bottle of this year’s champagne and I can’t tell you how good it is! Very fizzy, not too sweet, just right with this lemony flavor and of course, a nice and delicate taste of elderflower!

I give you the recipe for you to try next year, as the season is over now (in the uk anyway)

For 5 bottles, you’ll need:

– 6L of water
– 700g of sugar
– 15 to 20 elderflower heads
– Juice and zest of 4 lemons
– 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

In a big pot (I use a jam pan), dissolve the sugar with the water.
Add the other ingredients and mix well.

Cover the pot with a cloth and leave it for 5 days in a cool and airy place. You can check regularly to see if everything is going well: if you see that the mixture is beginning to change and becoming yeasty and bubbly, it’s a good sign.

If you think your mixture doesn’t behave like it should, add a pinch of dried yeast, it should help a bit.

Sieve and bottle up in preferably strong glass bottles.

Leave it at least 2 weeks before drinking.

You’ll really need good bottles (not with a screwing lid).
Last year, we drove with some big jars (because of a lack of bottles) full of elderflower champagne in the boot and the gas made the glass break! So be careful!

Mylène

Radio Northampton with Vanessa Kimbell

What an amazing experience! I passed this last Sunday on the radio!! It was on BBC radio Northampton in the morning.

I was contacted Friday evening so I had a very short time to get the idea. I quickly made some samples to taste for the radio staff and had a bit of time to get nervous!

It’s a lady called Vanessa Kimbell who asked me to be on her one hour show. She wrote a cook book and has a lovely blog called Prepped. It was quite scary to go in the studio and speak in this big microphone when you know that many people are going to listen to what you’re saying.

I finally enjoyed it a lot. The atmosphere was relaxed and lovely, the presenters were very nice too. They tasted my patisseries and looked very happy with them.

Now I’m listening back to the recording online and I absolutely hate my voice and accent (you know this feeling when you hear your own voice) but everybody else looked impressed.

People from the BBC are going to send me the recording so I’ll be able to put it up properly on the blog.

Have a greedy day

                                                                               

Mylène