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

Pâte sablée

In France, you can find quite a big range of pre-made pastries in supermarkets.
Most of them are already rolled out in a circle for you and it becomes harder and harder to find a block of pastry to roll in the shape you want.

You can find 3 different sorts of pastry: the “pâte feuilletée” which is puff pastry, the “pâte brisée” which is the equivalent of shortcrust but a bit different (I find it a bit more crispy and buttery) and then you have the “pâte sablée” which translates to “sanded pastry”, that pastry is used for sweet tarts and pies only. It’s very crumbly and buttery and a bit harder to work with as it contains less flour and more sugar than the two others.

I really like the pâte sablée because it gives a really crisp and sweet result, it tastes and looks much more like “French patisseries” than the other pastries.

I have made it myself since a while now. I normally use it for individual little tarts and I’ve used it a couple of times for big ones. The only down side is that it’s harder to work with.
When you actually make the pastry, it looks like cookie dough; it’s very sticky.
You’ll also need to chill it before you use it and the rolling requires a lot of flour on your worktop.

Tip:

If you’re planning to make a large tart, I highly recommend using a loose bottom tin: when you roll out your pastry, take the loose bottom part of the tin and slide it underneath your rolled pastry.
Fold the edges of the pastry inside the edges of the loose bottom and return it to the tin, then you only have to unfold the edges to make the sides. This way your pastry won’t break away too much.

For 500g of pastry or pâte sablée (1 large tart), you’ll need:

– 140g of butter
– 100g of sugar
– 1 egg
– 200g of flour
– 50g of ground almonds
– vanilla powder or extract

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour and ground almonds and mix until well combined but do not overwork it otherwise you’ll end up with tough pastry.

Put it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for 1h before using it.

You need to refrigerate it after it’s been rolled out in your tin.

The colder it is before you put it in the oven, the better it is.

If you’re planning on blind baking it, don’t forget to stab it with a fork in the tin and to use baking beans.

This pastry freezes really well. I usually make a lot of it and freeze it in little portions.

For a recipe on our blog using this type of pastry click the image below…

banoffee pie

Mylène

Eclairs au chocolat

As this week is national chocolate week, I’ve decided to post one of my favourite chocolate recipes everyday.

Today is Chocolate eclairs, or éclairs au chocolat.

If by that name, you imagine a long choux pastry filled with whipped cream and topped with chocolate icing, let me tell you, you’re making a big mistake!
The real french éclair is filled with crème pâtissière, flavoured with chocolate, coffee, vanilla… It gives that french touch you’ll never get with cream, so forget about the whipped cream, really.

In my family, we’ve never been great choux pastry lovers. My mum never used to make it so I suppose it’s why I don’t make it very often.

My first attempts weren’t quite right so I decided to try again until I got it perfect. All the recipes I tried didn’t live up to my expectations, so in the end I made a mix of two recipes and it worked perfectly.
In fact it worked so well we are going to sell them locally.

See the product page here

For the filling, I used my favourite crème pâtissière recipe, just with chocolate in.
For the icing, I found a couple of recipes but chose the one I thought would be the most like the one they use in French boulangeries.

Anyway, enough of the talking, here’s the recipe.

For 6 éclairs, you’ll need:

For the filling:

– 2 egg yolks
– 10g of cornflour
– 100g of sugar
– half a liter of milk
– 70g of chocolate, chopped

For the choux pastry:

– 2 eggs,beaten
– 70g of flour
– 60ml of water
– 65ml of milk
– 55g of butter
– 5g of sugar

For the icing:

– 50g of chocolate
– 20g of butter
– 40g of icing sugar
– 1,5 tbsp of water

The filling

Make the filling at least 2 hours before making the pastry.

Boil the milk, meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar together until nearly white.

Carefully pour the milk, a bit at a time, onto the mixture, whisking constantly.
Put the whole thing back on the hob at a low temperature and stir for 2min or until it has thick texture
Put it aside and sprinkle with the chopped chocolate.
Leave it a minute and stir the chocolate, until totally melted.
Leave to cool in the fridge.

The pastry:

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Boil the butter, milk, water and sugar together. Then take the pan off of the hob and stir in the flour.

Put it back on the hob to dry it out, you’ll get a ball of paste.
Take it off the hob again and whisk in a bit of the beaten egg with an electric whisk.
Then add the rest of the eggs a bit at a time. You should get a smooth glossy mixture, not too runny.

Pipe that mixture onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Pipe long lines of it.

Put it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven up to 220°C and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Take your long choux out of the oven and leave until totally cool.
With a very thin knife, cut into the choux, make a big enough cut for the nozzle of your piping bag to fit in. Fill each one with the chilled crème pâtissière.

The icing

Start the icing by melting the chocolate. When it’s melted, add the butter and icing sugar, your pan still on the hob.
Stir until the butter is totally melted. Put it aside and stir in the water a little at a time.

Wait five minutes and then you can ice your éclairs.

Keep them in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Mylène

Galette des Rois

Like every early January, I’m going to make a Galette des Rois. It’s a tradition in France; it’s supposed to celebrate a religious moment (epiphany) but for most people, it’s just an old family tradition. It’s a pie filled up with frangipane (or something else) and covered with pastry.

The whole excitement about it is that there is a “fève”, a little character made of porcelain, hidden in it.  You cut the galette and ask the youngest child to go under the table (I know, it’s weird) and he’s going to choose who’s having what piece without seeing.

The one who’s got the fève is the king or the queen of the day and can choose his queen or her king.

In medieval time, the (real) king and nobles used to choose an 8 year old boy with no money to be the king for the day; the boy could eat what he wanted and had servants all day. Each person in the court gave money for the boy to be able to go to school.

Anyway, enough of the mythology, here’s the recipe.

You’ll need:

–  2 circles of puff pastry
–  150g of ground almonds
–  100g of sugar
–  2 eggs
–  100g of melted butter
–  1 egg yolk, for brushing

The almond mix – Mix the almonds, sugar, eggs and butter together (for mine I also added 1 tablespoon of pistachio paste).

Put one circle of puff pastry on a baking tray, brush the edges with water.

Spread the frangipane (almond mix) but stop at about 3cm from the edge.

Put the fève randomly on the frangipane and place the second circle of pastry on the first.

Stick the edges together as much as you can then brush the pastry with egg yolk.

Finish by drawing a nice pattern with the top of a knife. Put in the oven on 180°C for about 25 minutes or until golden.

Mylène

Banoffee pie

A massive classic over here, the banoffee pie is absolutely unknown in France. I never had the occasion to taste it or to make it so it was time for me to have a go!

I found a recipe which looked great and mouth watering and added my own touch. Instead of making a big pie, I decided to make 6 little ones mainly because we are only 3 living at home for the moment and I didn’t want to stuff myself with banoffee pie; I have to be presentable in my Christmas dress!!

I made my own pastry which is much longer to do but much more delicious as well.

You’ll need:

–  Shortcrust pastry , baked blind
–  2 bananas
–  2 tablespoons of sugar
–  50ml of milk
–  150ml of double cream
–  Half a teaspoon of instant coffee, diluted in a tablespoon of hot water
–  Vanilla extract or vanilla pod
–  Dark chocolate curls

First, put the sugar in a pan (don’t use a non stick one, in just ruined mine because of this recipe) and wait until the sugar melts and makes a caramel. Don’t stir it at all.

Mash one of the bananas with the milk and when the sugar has dissolved, pour the banana mixture into it until you have a nice banana caramel. Pour this caramel into the pastry. Let it cool down for half an hour or more.

When the caramel is cooled, cut the other banana into slices and arrange them on the caramel.

Whisk the double cream until stiff with some vanilla. Add the coffee (you can always add the half if it’s too strong) and mix it up. Put some cream on each pie and sprinkle with chocolate curls!

Ready!!!!

Mylène

Apple time!

As you know, it’s the apple season and if you’re lucky, you may have apple trees in your garden, or generous friends who can share some of their fruit.
I was given some cooking apples last week, so what to make with them?

If I was listening to my greedy boyfriend, I would make apple crumbles everyday but I’m trying to be creative and prepare some other wonderful puddings.
Here are some examples of things I’m making at the moment:

Old favourite, apple crumble (you can see the recipe on one of my older posts)

 

Apple pies. I’ve got so many different recipes: you can cook the apples separately or not. Take a pastry case and if you use an almond and egg filling with the apples (very popular in France) it’s called “tarte amandine”. You can make a kind of sweet apple quiche with eggs and cream and sugar which you pour over the raw apples before cooking (I know it sounds weird but it’s very good, it’s my special mum’s recipe)… I also love to just caramelize the apples with butter and sugar before to pour them in the pastry, mmmhhhh… 

Tarte tatin, this wonderful invention. Thank you so much to the Tatin’s sisters (French, of course!!) for this amazing new age apple pie. You just make a brown caramel with 50g of butter and 100g of sugar, pour it in a tin with high sides, put the apples all nicely on this lovely caramel, an finally put some pastry (puff, shortcrust or your own nice one) on the apples.

Make a little hole in the middle of the pastry to let the air go out. Cook it until the pastry looks golden and then turn the tin upside down onto a plate (don’t wait, it has to be hot!!), knock it a bit and remove it. If everything went okay, you should end up with a nice caramelized pie.

Compote or stewed apples. Everybody has their own recipe, I personally add a little bit of water, sugar and cinnamon to the apples when you’re cooking them.

Apple juice, if you’ve got a juice extractor

Sorbet!!!! Even if you haven’t got an ice cream maker, you can find a recipe online, doing it normally, pour the mixture into a plastic tub and leave it in the freezer for the night. The day after put the sorbet in your food processor until it goes creamy. Put it back in the freezer or eat it now! You have to take this sorbet out of the freezer about half an hour before to use it.

Have an appley day!

Mylène