Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart

Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart
I think of myself as quite knowledgeable when it comes to food so when I haven’t heard of something it really intrigues me. I’d never heard of bilberries before, so I really wanted to try them. The bilberries were kindly given to me by Angela from Only Crumbs Remain.  She picked them herself and if you are a bilberry fan or are interested in baking with them you will find lots of bilberry recipes on her blog! They are a foraged berry and come from the same family as blueberries and blackberries. I’ve never seen them in the shops before, so do let me know if you’ve ever seen them sold anywhere. Otherwise look out for them on your next country walk! I decided to pair them with nectarines in this tart as the bright orange colour is a great match to the dark blue bilberries, and they also taste delicious!

I started by making the creme patisserie custard filling as it takes several hours to cool. I started by heating 500ml whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat and poured it into a jug.

In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour and mixed it in, then I poured the warm milk in with the mixer still going.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst continously stirring. When it started to thicken, I started whisking it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.

 

I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the
creme patisserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.

To make the pastry I rubbed 170g butter into 350g plain flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.

I added 2 eggs and mixed to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To roll out the pastry I decided to try out an item from the new Joseph Joseph baking range, which were kindly sent to me recently. If you haven’t heard of Joseph Joseph before, they are a family business
ran by twin brothers. Their focus is on the whole user experience of their products, they combine design, function and quality materials to make their range.

I tried out their Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat. The mat features a handy rolling size guide printed in circular shapes, as well as sizes along the sides. It also has an integrated strap so you can roll it up, fasten it and store it easily.

I rolled out the pastry and the size guides on the mat were really helpful – I don’t know why I haven’t bought one of these already as I do make pastry quite often!

I lined my 23cm tart tin with the pastry and pricked it all over with a fork.

I lined the pastry with baking paper then poured in baking beans, I blind baked it on 180C/106C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.

I then removed the baking beans and baked it again for 10-15 minutes until the bottom was fully cooked and it was golden brown all over.

When the tart case was fully cool I filled it with the creme patisserie and smoothed it out.

I sliced up 5 nectarines and arranged them in circles on top, and I placed the billberries in the gaps. The bilberries freeze really well and I still have more to use.

 

To glaze the tart and keep the fruit fresh whilst also creating a lovely shiny appearance, I warmed up 5 tbsp apricot jam in a pan. I then sieved it to remove any lumps, and used a pastry brush to generously brush it all over the tart.

And the tart was ready! It’s best to eat this straight away, although it will last a few days if kept in the fridge.

It was a bit messy when cut but the sweet creamy custard and delicious fresh fruit soon distract you from the appearance. It was my first taste of bilberries and I have to say they go very well with custard. The pastry was also perfectly crisp which is just what you need for a tart like this as it holds the wet filling in place without any leaks, not a soggy bottom in sight!

      

I’m linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation, and to The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen. I think this tart would be a delightful afternoon tea treat!

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Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Whole milk
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 140 g Caster sugar
  • 45 g Cornflour
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 170 g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 5 Nectarines
  • 70 g Bilberries
  • 5 tbsp Apricot Jam

Instructions

  1. Start by making the creme patisserie custard filling. Heat the whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod in a pan until it reaches boiling point. Then take it off the heat and pour it into a jug
  2. Using an electric mixer whisk up the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix it in, then pour the warm milk in with the mixer still going
  3. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it at a medium-high heat whilst continously stirring. When it starts to thicken, whisk it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps
  4. Sieve it required to remove any lumps, then put it in a bowl and covered it with cling film. Make sure the cling film is touching the creme patisserie so that a skin doesn't form on it. Leave it in the fridge overnight to cool
  5. To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
  6. Add the eggs and mix to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  7. Roll out the pastry and line a 23cm tart tin. Prick it all over with a fork
  8. Line the pastry with baking paper then pour in baking beans (or dry rice if you don't have them) bake it on 180C/106C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes
  9. Remove the baking beans and baked it again for 10-15 minutes until the bottom is fully cooked and it is golden brown all over
  10. When the tart case is fully cool fill it with the creme patisserie and smooth it out
  11. Slice up the nectarines and arranged them in circles on top, then place the billberries in the gaps
  12. To glaze the tart, warm up the apricot jam in a pan. Sieve it to remove any lumps, and use a pastry brush to generously brush it all over the tart

 

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Queen of Puddings Cupcakes

Queen of Puddings Cupcakes
This year in the UK we are celebrating our Queen’s 90th Birthday, and of course one of the main focuses of the celebration is food. If you haven’t heard of the dessert Queen of Puddings before, it is a lemon breadcrumb base, topped with custard, then jam and finally meringue on top. I am a big fan of turning different types of desserts into cupcakes, and although I’ve never tried Queen of Puddings, it sounds extremely tasty and perfect for converting into cupcake format! I’ve used a lemon sponge as the base, filled it with creme patisserie and raspberry jam, and finally topped with Italian meringue. Surely a dessert fit for a Queen!

I started by making the creme patisserie the night before so I could cool it in the fridge  overnight. I heated 250ml whole milk with  the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took  it off the heat and poured into a jug.

In my food mixer I whisked up 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for later) with 70g caster sugar until
pale and thick. I added 23g cornflour and mixed that in. I then put the mixer on a medium speed and
poured the milk in slowly as it mixed.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst stirring continuously. When it started to thicken, I started whisking it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps. I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the  cling film was touching the creme pattiserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.

I only made 8 cupcakes, but the creme patisserie and Italian meringue make enough for double, so I’ll give you the quantities for 16. To make the cupcakes I first creamed together 240g butter and 240g caster sugar. I added the zest of 2 lemons and mixed it in.

I then whisked in 4 eggs, mixing between each addition, and finally folded in 240g self raising flour.

I separated the mixture into cupcake cases and baked on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

I left the cupcakes to cool completely.

Using a cupcake corer, and a knife, I made holes in each cupcake.

I filled each hole with the creme patisserie.

I then covered the creme patisserie with raspberry jam, piling it on top.

I then made the Italian meringue. I started with the sugar syrup. I put 170g caster sugar and 95ml water
in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If I noticed any  sugar around the edges of the pan I brushed them away with a wet pastry brush. When the mixture boiled I took it off the heat and poured the sugar syrup into a jug.

In a stand mixer I whisked up the 3 egg whites reserved earlier with 1/2  tsp cream of tartar until they reached soft peak stage. Then, keeping the mixer on, I poured the sugar  syrup into the meringue. I was careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl. I kept the food mixer running until the bowl felt cool, it had a wonderful fluffy texture and was white and shiny.

I dolloped the meringue on top of each cupcake using a spoon and flicked it around to give it texture.

Then my favourite bit! I got out my kitchen blowtorch and browned the meringue all over.

The cupcakes were so indulgent and delicious. The Italian meringue creates a pillowy soft marshmallow texture on top, and the fruityness of the jam compliments it so well along with the sweetness of the creme patisserie hidden inside. I certainly felt like a Queen as I enjoyed eating this divine dessert!

     

I am entering these cupcakes into myself and Cakeyboi‘s challenge Treat Petite, this month’s theme is ‘Fit For A Queen’, into the Food Year Link Up hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, as these would be perfect for The Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day, into Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Honest Mum, with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too and finally the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

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Queen of Puddings Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 250 ml Whole milk
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 7 Eggs
  • 480 g Caster sugar
  • 23 g Cornflour
  • 240 g Butter
  • 2 Lemons
  • 240 g Self raising flour
  • 95 ml Water
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
  • Raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. To make the creme patisserie, heat the whole milk with the seeds from the vanilla pod until it reaches boiling point. Take off the heat and pour into a jug
  2. In a food mixer, or with an electric whisk, whisk 3 of the yolks from the eggs (reserve the egg whites for later) with 70g of the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix in
  3. Put the mixer on a medium speed and pour the milk in slowly as it mixes
  4. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it up whilst stirring continuously. When it starts to thicken, whisk it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps. Once thick, put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film so that the cling film touches the creme patisserie. Put in the fridge to cool completely
  5. To make the cupcakes cream together the butter and 240g of the caster sugar. Add the zest of the lemons and mix in
  6. Whisk in 4 of the eggs, mixing between each addition, and finally fold in the self raising flour
  7. Separate the mixture into cupcake cases and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely
  8. Using a cupcake corer, or a knife, make holes in each cupcake
  9. Fill each hole with the creme patisserie, then cover the creme patisserie with raspberry jam, piling it on top
  10. To make the Italian meringue put 170g of the caster sugar and the water in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If you notice any sugar around the edges of the pan brush them away with a wet pastry brush. When the mixture is boiled, take it off the heat and pour the sugar syrup into a jug
  11. In a food mixer or with an electric whisk, whisk up the 3 egg whites reserved earlier with the cream of tartar until they reach soft peak stage. Then, keeping the mixer on, pour the sugar syrup into the meringue. Be careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl. Keep the food mixer running until the bowl feels cool
  12. Dollop the meringue on top of each cupcake using a spoon and flick it around to give it texture, then use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over
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Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe: GBBO Week #7

Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe: GBBO Week #7
My week 7 review and bake is a bit late as I’ve been in Hong Kong for the past 2 weeks (more on my trip coming soon!) This week The Great British Bake Off changed up the theme again with a Victorian episode. They do love their history so I think this was a nice choice. The first challenge for the contestants was to make a raised game pie using hot water crust pastry. In the Victorian era, game pies were status symbols for the middle class. Mary expected to see an ornate pie with intricate decorations, and Paul wanted thin pastry all around.

Mat had a traditional pie tin from his friend’s mum which dated back to 1850, his pie was filled with venison and pigeon. The judges loved the look of the pie and thought the meat was tender. Baker Paul used wild boar in his pie, but the judges thought it wasn’t decorated well. To be honest I thought they were overly harsh on Baker Paul about the decoration element. Tamal did a middle eastern spice mix with rabbit, lamb and venison. The judges absolutely loved it and he even got a handshake from Paul! Nadiya went for an untraditional Chinese 5 spice mix with pheasant and duck. Paul loved the decoration on top, but both he and Mary thought the spices over powered the game.

Flora really emphasised her middle class background as she told us how she made a pheasant pie in school and won a competition with it. She went for lucky pheasant again along with pigeon and rabbit, but she had problems cooking the pie as she over filled it. Although it had caught a little, the judges liked both the pastry and filling. Ian revealed his roadkill eating passion, and his pie was filled with venison, partridge and guinea fowl. He also made a meat jelly to accompany it. Mary did not think his pie was decorated enough on the outside, but she loved the appearance of the layers of meat inside. He did well for flavours too.

This week’s technical challenge was a Tennis Cake. This is a rich fruit cake decorated with a royal icing tennis court. Mary noted that it was very important that the cake was baked as soon as possible to it had time to cool down. Paul noted that there were a lot of elements of the decoration that could easily go wrong!

They had to make all of the different types of icing – marzipan, royal icing and sugarpaste from scratch. Mat struggled with his sugarpaste and ended up with radioactive looking goop, he also baked his tennis court and net so they turned brown. Meanwhile, Nadiya couldn’t remember what a tennis court looked like, but she was the only one to have an upright tennis net! Nadiya won the challenge with Paul 2nd, Tamal 3rd, Flora 4th and Ian 5th. Mat came last.

This week’s showstopper challenge was a Charlotte Russe, which is a mousse called bavarois and a jelly layer surrounded by ladyfingers. A structural nightmare to say the least! Mary said the most difficult element was getting the bavarois and jelly to set in time. I do mention this a lot, but I really think they should give them extra time for things to set as it really isn’t under anyone’s full control. Everyone was making the ladyfingers from scratch of course, and everyone except Tamal were using the ladyfinger sponge mix for the base of the dessert. Tamal used jelly as his base which really impressed the judges. He also decorated the ladyfingers with a chocolate swirl pattern.

Ian and Paul certainly had the most elaborate and impressive decorations. Ian made a 3D crown which was just fantastic! Mary thought it looked spectacular and Paul said it was purely magical. And Paul carved fruit into swans, but unfortunately his jelly was not set. Nadiya mixed italian meringue into her bavarois which was a recipe she learnt in school. The judges absolutely loved it as it was so light and creamy.

Mat made a simply flavoured strawberry Charlotte Russe, but he had problems with the ladyfingers breaking and the jelly wasn’t set. Flora flavoured her Russe with pomegranate, champagne, raspberry and white chocolate. Paul really didn’t like the addition of pomegranate at all, but they liked the other flavours and the defined layers of the Russe.

Mat left us this week after coming last in the technical and delivering a disappointing Charlotte Russe. I was so sad to see him go! He’s really funny and a brilliant baker of course. I think we’ll definitely see more of him in the future. Tamal won star baker, and I was really pleased for him as I think he’s deserved it in the past and I was glad he finally got it! Next week it’s all about patisserie.

I decided to make the Charlotte Russe this week as the tennis cake looked incredibly fiddly and as we are a vegetarian household a game pie was not suitable. The Charlotte Russe is very similar to the Charlotte Royale which featured on the Bake Off in 2013. So I was a bit disappointed not be using any new techniques, but on the other hand I was really excited to make bavarois again as it’s so delicious!

I prepared the tin by using a long piece of baking paper and folding it in half, then using it as a collar inside the cake tin. I secured it with a paper clip.

Lining the tin was the most fiddly part. I used shop bought lady fingers as they would be more sturdy. I started by covering the bottom and slowly building the side as I filled the bottom. This made sure the ladyfingers along the side were wedged in as I went – otherwise they just fell over. I dipped each ladyfinger for a couple of second in a mixture of 100ml sugar syrup (I used Fruiss Pure Cane Sugar Syrup) and 100ml Chambord – which is a black raspberry liquor. I really wedged it all in and filled in all of the gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers, I was determined not to have any leakages!

To make the lime bavarois I put 750ml whole milk, 250g granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, the seeds from 1 vanilla pod and the zest of 2 limes into a pan. I heated it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolved.

In a separate bowl I mixed up the yolks of 10 eggs. I poured the milk into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it for about 5 minutes until it thickened up. I poured it through a sieve to remove the zest, then added 8 pre-soaked leaves of gelatin and the juice of 2 and a half limes. I stirred it until all the gelatin was dissolved, then popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool.

Once the custard was cool I whipped up 460ml double cream with my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer and mixed it into the custard.

I poured it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. I left it in there overnight, but it set within about 2 hours.

The next day I made some jelly using half a pack of Hartleys raspberry jelly. I added 2 tsp of Chambord to the mixture. I poured it on top, but I did have some problems with leakage. I decided not to fill it too much as it was leaking.

For the decoration I whipped up some cream, I didn’t measure it but it was about 300ml. And I piped it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom (this handily hid the leakage evidence!)

I added raspberries and lime zest on top and it was done! I was really pleased with the final apperance and look of it. I thought it looked really pretty! I haven’t cut into it yet, but I tasted some of the bavarois while I was making it and it was so creamy and delicious. I can’t wait to have a slice!

I took it into work and entered it into the ‘other bakes’ category of our Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and came first in the category! I was so pleased and I got some great compliments.

What did you think of this episode of The Great British Bake Off? Will you make any of the bakes? Let me know in the comments!

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

Recipe adapted from Chowhound.

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Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe

Ingredients

  • 2 packs of Ladyfingers
  • 100 ml Sugar syrup
  • 100 ml + 2 tsp Chambord
  • 750 ml Whole milk
  • 250 g Granulated sugar
  • 3 Limes
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 10 Egg yolks
  • 8 Gelatine leaves pre-soaked
  • 760 ml Double cream
  • Half a pack of Raspberry jelly
  • 8-10 Fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Prepare the tin by folding a long piece of baking paper in half, then placing it inside the cake tin as a collar. Secure it with a paper clip
  2. Line the tin with the lady fingers. As you do so, dip one side of each ladyfinger for a couple of seconds in the sugar syrup and Chambord mixed together. Start by covering the bottom of the tin, then slowly build the sides. Fill in any gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers
  3. Make the lime bavarois by putting the whole milk, granulated sugar, salt, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the lime zest into a pan. Heat it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolves
  4. In a bowl mix up the egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. Then pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it for about 5 minutes until it thickens up. Pour through a sieve to remove the zest, then add the gelatine and the lime juice. Stir it until all the gelatine is dissolved, then pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool
  5. Once the custard is cool, whip up 460ml of the double cream and mix it into the custard
  6. Pour it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. It should set in approximately 2 hours
  7. Make the jelly following the packet instructions, and add the 2 tsp of Chambord to the mixture. Pour it on top of the set custard
  8. For the decoration whip up 300ml of the double cream. Pipe it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom
  9. Add raspberries and lime zest to decorate
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Swedish Princess Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

Swedish Princess Cupcakes (Gluten Free)
 In Sweden, the one baked good they are crazy about (besides cinnamon buns) is Swedish Princess Cake, also known as Prinsesstårta. I recently spent a week in Stockholm, Sweden and saw these gorgeous green cakes everywhere. I’ve made a full size Swedish Princess Cake after the Great British Bake Off featured them as a technical challenge, but I thought turning them into cupcakes would be really cute and fun! Plus it’s a simpler way to get the delightful taste of the Prinsesstårta without making a full sized one.

I started by making the creme patisserie the night before so I could cool it in the fridge overnight. I’ve only made creme patisserie once before and the recipe worked beautifully so I decided to use it again. This did make far too much for the 7 cupcakes I needed, so I made another 12 the next day! So you may wish to half the creme patisserie recipe if you’re making a smaller number of cakes. I heated 500ml whole milk with
the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat and poured into a jug.

In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour and mixed that in. I then put the mixer on a medium speed and poured the milk in slowly as it mixed.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst stirring continuously. There is a moment when it suddenly thickens, I started whisking it at this point to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.

I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the creme pattiserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.

The next day I made the cupcakes. I was taking them to a dinner party where one of the guests had a gluten intolerance so I made regular cupcakes with gluten free flour. Ideally I would have made genoise sponge cupcakes as this is the traditionally sponge. So it’s up to you which to use if you try this recipe. I creamed together 120g butter and 120g caster sugar. I then whisked in 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I added 120g gluten free self raising flour and 3 tbsp whole milk, and mixed in. If you don’t need these to be gluten free, just use regular self raising flour.

 

I divided the cupcake mixture into 7 cases as that’s how many I needed, but I reckon you could stretch the mixture to 8 cupcakes. As I mentioned before, as the creme patisserie recipe makes quite a lot so you can make a lot more cupcakes to use it up if you wish.

I baked on 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes until golden. I left them to cool completely.

While they were cooling I kneaded some green food colouring into 100g natural marzipan and cut out 2.5 inch circles. I got exactly 19 circles from this much marzipan. I left the marzipan out to harden up.

I used a tiny dab of water to stick a pink heart sprinkle into the middle of each marzipan circle. Traditionally a pink flower is put on top of a Prinsesstårta, but I had these pink heart sprinkles in the cupboard from Valentine’s Day baking and I thought they looked really cute!

Once fully cool I used a knife to scoop out the middle of the cupcakes. A cupcake corer won’t make enough room for the filling so you do need to do this manually.

I half filled the holes with seedless raspberry jam, about 1 tsp per cupcakes.

Then I topped them up with the creme patisserie and smoothed the top.

I whipped up a 250ml tub of double cream and piped swirls onto each cupcake. I kept the swirls flat so I could place a circle of marzipan on top.

I was so pleased with the final result! I found making a full sized Prinsesstårta really tough in terms or decorating as I’m not skilled with covering cakes in fondant/marzipan, but these cupcakes are so much simpler. Everyone at the dinner party loved the cupcakes. The Swedes really have it down, I mean, cream, custard and jam in a cake – how can you go wrong?!

I’m entering this Swedish treat into myself and Cakeyboi’s baking challenge Treat Petite. Cakeyboi is hosting this month and the theme is Eurovision.

 
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Swedish Princess Cupcakes (Optional Gluten Free)

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 500 ml + 3 tbsp Whole milk
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 380 g Caster sugar
  • 45 g Cornflour
  • 240 g Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 240 g Self raising flour (gluten free optional)
  • Green food colouring
  • 100 g Natural marzipan
  • Pink sprinkles
  • 65 g Seedless raspberry jam
  • 250 ml Double cream

Instructions

  1. Start by making the creme patisserie the night before. Heat the whole milk with the seeds from the vanilla pod in a pan until it reaches boiling point. Then take it off the heat and pour it into a jug
  2. In a food mixer whisk up the egg yolks with 140g of the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix in. Then put the mixer on a medium speed and pour the milk in slowly as it mixes
  3. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it up whilst stirring continuously. It will suddenly thicken after approximately 5 minutes, start whisk it at this point to keep it smooth and stop any lumps from forming
  4. Put the creme patisserie in a bowl, and cover it with cling film so that the cling film is pressed into the bowl and is touching the top of the creme patisserie. Leave it in the fridge overnight to cool
  5. To make the cupcakes, cream together butter and 240g of the caster sugar. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract

  6. Add the flour and if using gluten free flour add the 3 tbsp whole milk, and mix in
  7. Divide the mixture into cases and bake on 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes until golden. Leave them to cool completely
  8. Knead the green food colouring into the natural marzipan and cut out 2.5 inch circles. Leave the marzipan circles to harden up

  9. Use a tiny dab of water to stick a pink heart sprinkle into the middle of each marzipan circle. You can also use a pink flower, pink heart made from fondant or leave plain

  10. Use a knife and spoon to scoop out the middle of the cupcakes
  11. Half fill the scooped out holes with seedless raspberry jam, about 1 tsp per cupcake
  12. Then fill the other half of the scooped out holes with the creme patisserie and smooth the top
  13. Whip up the double cream and pipe swirls onto each cupcake. Keep the swirls flat, then place a circle of marzipan on top of each cupcake
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Pumpkin Custard Donuts: GBBO Week #8

Pumpkin Custard Donuts: GBBO Week #8

We’re at the quarter finals now and the challenges are getting more difficult to really test the bakers. This week’s theme was advanced dough and for the first challenge the bakers had to make a sweet fruit loaf with an enriched dough. They could use any filling or flavour they wanted, the only rule was that no tins were allowed. The loaves had to be free form. Paul told us that enriched dough benefits from a slow prove as the butter, eggs and sugar that are added to the dough slows the yeast down.

Nancy hurried up here proving time by microwaving her dough. Paul was concerned about her doing this, but she had practised it at home with success. The dough certainly rose and her loaf was absolutely massive! It turned out ok, but was slightly underbaked. Luis added a cherry brandy soaked sugar cube to the middle of each of his fruit buns, which he used to make a tree shaped loaf.The judges thought it looked spectacular and it was also baked very well.

 

Paul Hollywood was on form and stalked the bakers as they decorated their loaves, provoking many shaky hands no doubt! Martha’s Spiced Plum loaf was a little underbaked, but the judges liked the flavour. Chetna made a Date & Walnut loaf which Paul thought had too much cinnamon in, but looked good and was baked well. Richard did very well and the judges had nothing bad to say!

The technical bake this week was Povitica, a Croatian swirled bread. Exactly what Chetna made in the first challenge, except shaped slightly differently. She was certainly pleased! It is an Eastern European cross between a bread and a pastry. All the other bakers immediately started wracking their brains trying to remember what Chetna did in the morning! Nancy was back to the microwave again to make the filling more pliable for spreading onto the dough, and Richard was right behind her copying the technique! Or as he called it ‘learning by looking’!

 

 

Chetna knew how long to prove and bake the dough for which was key to the recipe. Of course that information was not included in the recipe provided so she certainly had an advantage. I’m surprised they kept the challenge the same to be honest, as they obviously know what the bakers are going to make for the signature in advance. She came first, of course, Luis came second and Nancy third. Martha was fifth and Richard fourth.

 

One of my favourite showstoppers ever was this week – donuts! Who doesn’t like these delicious, deep fried, jam filled treats?! I’ve never wished so hard to be the chief taste tester in the tent. The bakers had to make two different types of donuts. I was so impressed with Luis’ Raspberry Mojito and Mudslide Donuts. Baileys is one of my favourite liquors and I would’ve taken care of most of these! Chetna made a South African inspired braided donut called a Koeksister which has potato in the dough.

Richard went for heart shaped Rhubarb & Custard Donuts and Toffee Apple Donuts, which the judges loved and Paul called ‘professional’. Nancy made half her donuts for adults by flavouring them with Limoncello, and the other half for children by decorating them with a familiar face. They were slightly irregular in terms of colour and a little dry, but had great flavour. Martha accidentally overproved her Passionfruit Curd Donuts which meant the were quite flat instead of puffed up.

Martha left the competition this week after coming last in the technical and overproving her showstopper. The level of baking talent and knowledge she has for a young girl is very impressive, and I think she will do well after the programme. Richard broke a record by becoming star baker for the fourth time!

This week I decided to make these golden deep fried Pumpkin Custard Donuts. I’ve made baked donuts before, but never the fried kind so I had to give it a go. They are a lot more involved and do take more time to make, but belive me the results are worth it!

I started with the pumpkin custard first. In a bowl I weighed out 112g granulated sugar, 35g plain flour, 25g cornflour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 pinches nutmeg and 2 pinches ground all spice.

In a pan I warmed 450ml whole milk and 2 tsp vanilla extract until it steamed.

Whilst it was heating I whisked up 6 egg yolks and 165g pumpkin puree.

I sieved the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and whisked to make sure there were no lumps. I poured in half the warmed milk, whisking as I poured.

I then poured the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk and heated it for about 4 minutes, continuously whisking, until it thickened.

Once thick I put it in a bowl and covered with cling film. I made sure the cling film was pressed right against the custard, so a ‘skin’ didn’t form. I put it in the fridge to cool down completely.

To make the dough I started by melting 150ml milk and 75g butter. I left it to cool until tepid, and added 2 tsp dried yeast and 1 tbsp caster sugar. I left it for 10 minutes, covered with a lid. Then I mixed in 2 beaten eggs.

I weighed out 425g plain flour and mixed in 1/2 tsp salt and 50g caster sugar.

I made a well in the flour and poured the wet mixture in.

I formed a rough dough and kneaded it for 10 minutes. It was pretty sticky so I oiled my hands.

I placed the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it and put it in a warm place for 2 hours.

After the first prove it had doubled in size nicely!

I split the dough up into equal pieces and rolled them into balls. I got 16 pieces. I covered them with loose cling film and tea towels and left them in warm place for the second prove. This took 1 hour 30 minutes.

They rose again nicely, but they did stick to the baking paper so I would dust some flour on it next time.

I set up the oil in a large jam making pan with a food thermometer attached. I used about 1 litre vegetable oil. I heated it slowly until it reached 350F/180C.

I tested a small amount of dough first to check the heat was ready, then I gently placed two of the donuts at time in the oil and fried for about 1 minute per side until dark golden brown.

I fished them out with a slotted spoon and put them on kitchen towel to cool down.

I used a piping bag to fill the donuts with the custard once they were completely cool. I punched a hole in the side and filled until the custard resisted or started to come out. I then iced the top with regular icing sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon and water.

One of my most popular bakes yet, these went down extremely well and my colleagues gobbled them up, I was breaking diets left right and centre! The donuts were very tasty, the cinnamon really came through and the dough was lovely and soft. You could fill them with anything you want, jam of course is the classic choice. It is a lot of effort to make these, so I don’t know if it’s something I’ll do again soon, but they are definitely worth it for a special occassion or an indulgent treat!

I am linking up again to Supergolden Bakes GBBO Bake Along.

Pumpkin pastry cream recipe from About.
 
Print

Pumpkin Custard Donuts

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 112 g Granulated sugar
  • 460 g Plain flour
  • 25 g Cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 450 ml Whole milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 165 g Pumpkin puree
  • 75 g Butter
  • 150 ml Semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp Dried yeast
  • 50 g + 1 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 litre Vegetable Oil
  • 100 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Start by making the custard. In a bowl weigh out the granulated sugar, 35g of the plain flour, the cornflour, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice
  2. In a pan warm the whole milk and vanilla extract on a low-medium heat until it steams
  3. Whisk up the egg yolks and pumpkin puree
  4. Sieve the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Pour in half the warmed milk, whisking as you pour
  5. Then pour the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk and heat it for about 4 minutes, continuously whisking, until it thickens
  6. Once thick, put it in a bowl and cover with cling film. Make sure the cling film is pressed right against the custard, so a 'skin' doesn't form. Put it in the fridge to cool down completely
  7. To make the dough warm the semi skimmed milk and butter in a pan. Leave it to cool until tepid, and add the dried yeast and the 1 tbsp caster sugar. Leave it for 10 minutes, covered with a lid. Then mix in the eggs
  8. Weigh out 425g of the plain flour and mix in the salt and 50g of the caster sugar
  9. Make a well in the flour and pour the wet mixture in
  10. Form a rough dough and knead it for 10 minutes. It will be sticky so flour your hands and work surface
  11. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it and put it in a warm place for 2 hours, it will double in size
  12. Split the dough up into 16 equal pieces and roll them into balls, put them onto lined and floured baking trays
  13. Cover them with loose cling film and tea towels and leave them in warm place for 1 hour 30 minutes
  14. Pour the vegetable oil into a large pan with a food thermometer attached. Heat it slowly until it reaches 350F/180C
  15. Gently place two of the donuts at time in the oil and fry for about 1 minute per side until dark golden brown
  16. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and put them on kitchen towel to cool down
  17. Use a piping bag fitted with a nozzle to fill the donuts with the custard once they are completely cool. Punched a hole in the side with the nozzle and fill until the custard resists or starts to come out
  18. Mix the icing sugar and a pinch of cinnamon with enough water to make a smooth paste and drizzle over the donuts
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Swedish Princess Cake: GBBO Week #6

Swedish Princess Cake: GBBO Week #6

The Great British Bake Off got all European this week. Mel and Sue put on some dodgy accents and requested that the bakers make a yeast leavened cake inspired by Europe. Paul explained that baking powder wasn’t invented until the 1850s, so yeast was used to raise cakes. Yeast is much harder to work with as any flavours you add to the mixture can affect the yeast from performing it’s rising job. The cake has to prove like bread before being baked.

There was a wide variety of cakes from the bakers. Luis made an Austrian Kugelhopf flavoured with apple and cinnamon, Richard made a German Guglhupf filled with fruit, and Chetna made an French Savarin flavoured with orange. Martha, Luis and Chetna all did very well in the judging. Nancy’s cake was overproved, Richard’s underproved and Paul thought Kate’s fillings were too dry. All the bakers reacted well to the feedback. Nice to see everyone returning to being calm and collected!

Mary Berry’s recipe for a Swedish Princess cake (or Prinsesstårta) was this week’s technical challenge. The cake comprises layers of genoise sponge sandwiched with jam and creme patisserie, then an dome of whipped cream on top and the whole thing is covered in green marzipan with a pink marzipan rose decoration and chocolate swirls to finish. This is a pretty epic creation and is the Bake Off’s most complicated technical challenge yet as it compromises 26 ingredients and 14 stages. Mary advised that the bakers read the recipe at least twice to make sure they know what they’re doing!

This challenge really proved that the bakers have great technical knowledge. They weren’t told how to make a creme patisserie, but they all knew what to do. Martha knew a lot about genoise sponges, and Nancy is a jam making pro. The recipe is certainly tough as they had to make both the jam and marzipan from scratch! Kate and Chetna both made the sponges twice as they didn’t rise, which left them with little time to decorate. Nancy won the challenge, with Chetna and Luis in second and third. Kate came last, with Richard fifth and Martha fourth. I loved the clip of Kate at the end just going ‘Hmmm…’!

 
 

For the showstopper the judges requested a contemporary version of the Hungarian dobos torte. This is a multi layered cake topped with caramel slices, and the judges wanted at least two tiers, with lots of caramel sugar work in any shape of design the bakers desired. This is a very elegant cake and is mostly found in patisseries and fancy hotels. The bakers had to make lots of very thin layers of sponge to build up the height of the cake. The idea is that the buttercream and cake layers are the same so that when it’s cut you get a great effect.

Luis made a cage shape out of his caramel that was very precise and impressive, although his cake lacked in flavour. Richard spun some sugar to make a nest for a sugar bird, but his sponges drooped. Chetna had a very clever trick using grapes to make caramel bowls, which the judges loved. Nancy also did well. Paul and Mary felt that Kate did not do enough sugar work, and Martha’s cake tasted good, but again the sugar work was minimal.

So, quite obviously, no one left this week. After Diana’s unexpected exit, the programme are now down one person leaving the number uneven. Luckily this week Paul and Mary had a bit of a disagreement on who should go (it was between Kate and Richard). So they took the opportunity for no one to leave this week. Richard and Kate have both received the star baker award in the past, so they will hopefully pick up their game after this week as I really like them both! Next week is all about pastry.

I decided to make the Swedish Princess Cake this week as it contained a couple of techniques I’m not familiar with. Creme patisserie and genoise sponge are things I’ve never made before. Lucky for me I had all the time in the world to make it so I did the creme patisserie the night before and left it to cool in the fridge overnight. I also used shop bought jam and marzipan (sorry Mary). If you do want to make your own jam my Raspberry Jam post will show you how. As for marzipan – go and buy some is my advice!

To make the creme patisserie I started by heating 500ml whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat.

In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour, then turned the mixer back on and poured the milk in.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst stirring. There is a moment when it suddenly thickens, I started whisking it at this point to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.

I was so chuffed with the creme patisserie! I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the creme pat so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.

The next evening I lined and greased my 23cm spring form cake tin.

In my food mixer I whisked up 5 eggs with 150g caster sugar until pale and super thick. When you lift the whisk out the mixture that falls off should stay on the surface for 3 seconds before sinking in.

I folded 130g plain flour and 1 tsp vanilla sugar into the egg mixture very gently so as little air is lost as possible. I then put it in the tin.

I baked the sponge on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes.

Whilst it was cooling I kneaded pink food colouring into 40g marzipan. I rolled it out and cut out a strip about 2cm wide and 10cm long.

I rolled it up, nipping the bottom and spreading out the petals at the top with my fingertips.

I cut the sponge into three and put the first piece on my cake stand. I spread a thin layer of the creme patisserie onto it, then piped a border of it around the edge.

 

I added raspberry jam in the middle and spread evenly. At this point I got a bit confused and put the second sponge on top without adding cream over the jam first. To be honest at this point I was pretty tired and it didn’t affect the end result.

 

I put the second sponge on and spread over the rest of the creme patisserie.

I placed the final sponge layer on, then whipped up 700ml whipping cream with 2 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla sugar and spread it over the whole cake, making a dome shape on top.

I kneaded some green food colouring into 400g natural marzipan and rolled it out. Now I am not the decorator type. Baking I can do, but when it comes to decorating I lack finesse! The marzipan went on fine but I couldn’t get it smooth all the way round.

So I end up with what I shall call and ‘ugly bum’ at the back of the Swedish Princess Cake! Ah well. I cut the edges off and piped cream around the bottom. I melted some dark chocolate and piped a design on top, and finally added my pink rose.

When the Swedish Princess Cake was cut the layers were clearly defined which I was really thrilled with! It’s a very indulgent cake as there is obviously a ton of cream. The creme patisserie was really delicious and I’ll definitely make it again. I’m not a huge fan of marzipan but it’s not overpowering. I think a version of this cake covered in chocolate icing and maybe with some extra jam would be really good. Overall, although time consuming, the different elements weren’t as difficult to make as I expected. It went to plan, although I had the luxury of time, which the Bake Off contestants do not! I think with as much time as I had they would have produced similar if not better results.

I am linking up again to Supergolden Bakes GBBO Bake Along.

Recipe from The Telegraph.
 
 
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Swedish Princess Cake

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Whole milk
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 290 g + 2 tsp Caster sugar
  • 45 g Cornflour
  • 5 Eggs
  • 130 g Plain flour
  • 440 g Natural Marzipan
  • Pink food colouring
  • Green food colouring
  • 700 ml Double cream
  • 1/2 a jar Raspberry jam
  • Dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the creme patisserie heat the whole milk with the seeds from the vanilla pod until it reaches boiling point. Then take it off the heat
  2. In a food mixer whisk up the egg yolks with 140g of the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour, then turned the mixer back on and pour the milk in
  3. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it up whilst stirring. When it starts to thicken, whisk it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps forming
  4. Put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. Make sure the cling film is touching the creme patisserie so that a skin doesn't form on it. Leave it in the fridge to cool completely
  5. Line and grease a 23cm spring form cake tin
  6. In a food mixer whisked up the eggs with 150g of the caster sugar until pale and super thick. When you lift the whisk out the mixture that falls off should stay on the surface for 3 seconds before sinking in
  7. Fold the plain flour and 1 tsp of sugar into the egg mixture very gently so as little air is lost as possible. Then put it in the tin
  8. Bake the sponge on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. Leave to cool completely
  9. Knead some pink food colouring into 40g of the marzipan. Roll it out and cut out a strip about 2cm wide and 10cm long
  10. Roll the strip up, nipping the bottom and spreading out the petals at the top with your fingertips. Set aside
  11. Cut the sponge into three layers and put the first piece onto a cake stand. Spread a thin layer of the creme patisserie onto it, then pipe a border of the creme patisserie around the edge
  12. Add raspberry jam in the middle and spread evenly
  13. Put the second sponge on and spread over the rest of the creme patisserie
  14. Place the final sponge layer on, then whip up the cream with the icing sugar and 1 tsp of the sugar. Spread it over the whole cake, making a dome shape on top. Leave some cream aside for decorating
  15. Knead green food colouring into 400g of the marzipan and roll it out. Cover the entire cake with it
  16. Pipe the leftover cream around the bottom. Melt the dark chocolate and pipe a design on top, and finally add the pink rose in the middle
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Chocolate Orange Custard Tart

Chocolate Orange Custard Tart

After last week’s Great British Bake Off episode I found it hard to choose just one thing to make as pies and tarts are so damn delicious. So as well as the savoury Leek, Cheese & Potato Pie I made at the weekend, I also decided to make a sweet custard tart. Orange is my partner’s favourite citrus fruit, and I’ve not made a chocolate shortcrust pastry before, so I thought they would go together perfectly. Apologies for the bad photography, it had gone dark by the time the tart was ready and there was no way I could protect it from consumption before I got some natural light!

To make the pastry I rubbed 125g butter into a mixture of 225g plain flour, 25g cocoa powder and 80g golden caster sugar.

I added one egg and formed it into a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 
When the hour was up I rolled out the pastry onto some cling film. This makes it really easy to lift the pastry into the tin.

 

I used a 25cm tin, lined it with the pastry, smoothing it out around the bottom and side. I gently pricked the bottom with a fork.

I lined the pastry with foil and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes.

I took it out of the oven, removed the beans and foil, and used a knife to trim the edges. Some of the pastry did break a little more than I would have liked. I returned it to the oven for 10 minutes.

To make the custard filling I started by whisking up 6 eggs. I added in 150g caster sugar, the juice of 3 large oranges and 50ml orange liquor.

Finally I whisked in 200ml double cream and the zest of the 3 oranges.

I put the pastry case in the oven and poured the custard into it. This ensures it doesn’t spill!

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. the custard puffs up a lot, but sinks back down as it cools.

I dusted with a little icing sugar before serving. The pastry baked really well, I may use this recipe again without the cocoa powder for regular shortcrust pastry. The custard tart had a great chocolate flavour which matched really well with the fruity custard filling. You can really taste the orange liquor and it is rather moreish! I was quite happy to have a couple of slices of this, as was everyone else!

Pastry recipe from Sweet Cook. Filling recipe adapted from Drink Society.

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Chocolate Orange Custard Tart

Ingredients

  • 125 g Butter
  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • 80 g Golden caster sugar
  • 7 Eggs
  • 150 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large oranges
  • 50 ml Orange liquor
  • 200 ml Double Cream

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour, cocoa powder and golden caster sugar until it resembles bread crumbs.
  2. Add the egg and form into a dough.
  3. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the pastry out to bigger than a 25cm tin onto some cling film.
  5. Use the cling film to lift the pastry into the tin.
  6. Smooth the pastry out in the tin and gently prick the bottom with a fork.
  7. Line the pastry with foil and pour in some baking beans.
  8. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and remove the foil and baking beans.
  10. Use a knife to trim the edges of the pastry and neaten it up.
  11. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  12. To make the custard filling whisk up the remaining 6 eggs, add the caster sugar, the juice of the oranges and the orange liquor. Mix well.
  13. Then whisk in the double cream and the orange zest.
  14. Put the pastry case on the oven shelf first, then pour the filling in using a jug.
  15. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes
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“Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale: GBBO Week #9

Can you believe it was the semi finals of The Great British Bake Off on Tuesday?! That means next week is the final! And then it’s all over for another year. The episode began with the first challenge – to make savoury canapes. Three types were requested, one to be made with choux, one with pastry, and the third was baker’s choice. Beca knew already what the judges wanted, for the canapes to taste good and look amazing!
 

Mary warned that so much can go wrong when making canapes and the baker’s must pace themselves to get everything done. She wanted the finish of the canapes to be absolute perfect. Paul was also after precision, uniform size, and flavours that pack a big punch in small space. I loved Frances’ theming of her canapes (pictured above), and they really did look great. Paul was blown away by the taste and even shook her hand!

Kimberley also did very well, with great flavour and originality, and the judges were very happy to eat up all of her food! Ruby had mixed results, but it was overall quite pleasant. Beca did not fair so well and received the most negative comments.

The technical challenge was to make a Charlotte Royale, which I have never heard of, but Sue helpfully told the bakers that it looked like a brain! This dessert involves slices of swiss roll filled with jam, that form a dome around a set fruit custard, also called a bavarois. It involves several techniques that you must perfect to make it turn out right. The custard must not seep through the swiss rolls, which must be packed tightly in the bowl whilst retaining their shape.

In typical style, everyone except Kimberley looked a bit concerned about this challenge. I love how Kimberley approaches everything so positively! It worked for her too as her Charlotte Royale came out beautifully and she won the challenge, Frances came in second and Beca in third, both with decent looking Charlotte’s. Unfortunately Ruby’s was a bit of a disaster and she was last.

For the final challenge, an Opera Cake was requested. This is an elaborate French dessert made from seven even layers, which primarily involve a sponge called Joconde made from egg whites and ground almonds. The layers of sponge are sandwiched together with buttercream, syrup, ganache and finally covered in a chocolate glaze. It’s purpose is to represent the four acts of opera.

 

The judges wanted to layers to be clearly defined and of an even size. Although an Opera Cake is traditionally make with coffee, the baker’s could choose their own flavours. Mary wanted sheer perfection, and Paul said that this is one of hardest cakes to do properly.

Frances’ White Chocolate, Lavender and Lemon Opera Cake (pictures above) was the most good looking, although sadly it let down on flavour. Kimberley’s modern looking Passion Fruit & Lime Opera Cake (pictured top) looked great with tuilles and truffles as decorations, but was let down also on flavour. Ruby’s Opera Cake (pictured middle) suffered issues with a collapsed side, but Paul and Mary liked the flavours and textures. They didn’t like Beca’s Banoffee Opera Cake, as the banana flavour came from an artificial essence.

Sadly it was Beca that left us this week. Ruby was once again saved by flavours, but Frances and Kimberley both really shone this week, with Kimberley claiming star baker. Beca was very upset at leaving so close to the final, but said it had been an amazing experience. Next week it’s the final!! And I saw what looked like basket pies and three tired cakes in the preview.

Although a Charlotte Royale looked and sounded unappealing to me, I was discussing it with my colleague and mentioned how Sue had called it a ‘brain’. He suggested that I make a Zombie Brain Charlotte Royale for Halloween. I thought this would be brilliant! Suddenly a Charlotte Royale seemed very appealing! I changed a few elements, such as making a chocolate sponge, using bright green buttercream, and making the custard bloody red. I also omitted the fruit.

I started with the chocolate swiss roll. I followed the same recipe I used to make a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) last year, which is a Mary Berry recipe. I started by whisking up 4 eggs and 100g caster sugar in my food mixer until it was frothy.

Then sifted in 65g self-raising flour and 40g cocoa powder and folded it into the egg mixture gently so as not to lose the frothiness.

 

I put it into a lined baking tray (I don’t have a swiss roll tin, but this works just as well) and baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 8-10 minutes. It sprang back up when I pressed it with a fingertip.

I prepared a sheet of baking paper dusted generously with icing sugar, I tipped the sponge out onto this while it was still hot, peeled off the baking paper it was baked in, and used a knife to make a grove along one end about 2cm from the end. Then I rolled the sponge up as tight as I could, taking the paper with it. I left it to cool fully still wrapped in the paper. This gives the sponge a ‘muscle memory’ so to speak, so it will not crack.

Once it was cool I prepared a buttercream filling using 100g butter, 200g icing sugar and Sugarflair Mint Green food colouring. If you have a neon green this would be even better. I gently unrolled the sponge, smoothed on the buttercream, then rolled back up again this time removing the baking paper.

I lined my bowl with cling film. I used a Pyrex 2L bowl from Tesco. I cut the swiss roll into slices and lined the bowl. There were a lot of gaps so I cheated by using some of the roll to fill in the gaps! I held the bowl up to the light to help me see where the gaps were. I didn’t want any filling seeping through!

For the bavarois, which is the custard mousse filling of a Charlotte Royale. I used an Anna Olsen recipe. First I made custard by simmering 225ml whole milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract in a pan. In a bowl I whisked up 4 egg yolks and 135g caster sugar until smooth. I slowly poured the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. I then returned it to the pan and turned up to a medium heat. I stirred it constantly for about 6 minutes until it had thickened. I then added a good blob of Sugarflair Extra Red food colouring, and 4 pre-soaked leave of gelatine (follow the instructions on the packet) and left it to cool to room temperature.

Once the custard was cool, I popped it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Meanwhile I whipped up 345ml double cream (you can also use whipping cream) until soft peaks formed. You want it to hold it’s shape but still be quite soft.

I folded the cream into the custard using a whisk. At this point I had to add a lot more food colouring as the whiteness of the cream dulled the red down a lot. Eventually I got a fantastic blood red!

I poured the mixture into my swiss roll lined bowl. I did not have enough swiss roll to cover the bottom, I quickly made 4 chocolate cupcakes, cooled them quickly by an open window, sliced them into discs and placed them on the bottom. I put it into the fridge overnight to set.

 

Turning it out was very easy thanks to the cling film. I came out straight away and retained it’s shape very well.

I made the glaze as suggested in Mary Berry’s Charlotte Royale recipe by boiling 75g caster sugar in 125ml water, and then adding 1 tbsp arrowroot powder that had been dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water. I let it cool, then brushed over my “Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale. It didn’t give as much of a sheen as I expected and I’m not sure if it’s a necessary addition for my Halloween version.

My only decorations around the Charlotte Royale was some Halloween confetti in the shape of skulls, spiders and pumpkins! It was difficult to cut into as too much force on the swiss rolls just pushes them into the filling. The best approach is to cut slowly and gently. The filling was a shocking bright red inside!

 

Despite it’s spooky looks, this “Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale was delicious! The custard mousse filling is to die for, so tasty! It went down really well with everyone and the Halloween theme was a big hit. It was fun to make such an unusual recipe that I had never heard of before, and this is my second time of making custard from scratch – I love how GBBO encourages me to learn new techniques! Have you tried anything new thanks to GBBO?

“Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale
 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 Eggs
  • 370g Caster sugar
  • 125g Self raising flour
  • 40g Cocoa powder
  • 200g Icing sugar
  • Green food colouring
  • 160g Butter
  • 225ml Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 4 Gelatine leaves
  • Red food colouring
  • 345ml Double cream
  • 125ml Water
  • 1 tbsp Arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp Cold water
 
Instructions
Start with the chocolate swiss roll. Whisk up 4 of the eggs and 100g of the caster sugar in a food mixer until frothy
Then sift in 65g of the self-raising flour and cocoa powder and fold it into the egg mixture gently
Pour it into a lined baking tray or swiss roll tin, and bake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 8-10 minutes
Make 4 chocolate cupcakes for the base. Cream together 60g of the butter and 60g of the caster sugar. Add 1 of the eggs and whisked in. Fold in 60g of the self raising flour. Fill 4 cupcake cases and bake on 18C/350F/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes. Leave to cool then slice into discs
Dust a sheet of baking paper generously with icing sugar, tip the swiss roll sponge out onto it while it is still hot. Peel off the baking paper it was baked on and used a knife to make a grove along one end about 2cm from the end. Roll the sponge up as tight as you can, taking the paper with it. Leave it to cool fully still wrapped in the paper
Prepare a buttercream filling by mixing 100g of the butter, the icing sugar and green food colouring. Gently unroll the sponge, smooth on the buttercream, then roll back up again, this time removing the baking paper
Line a 2 litre glass bowl with cling film. Cut the swiss roll into slices and line the bowl. Use more of the roll to fill in any gaps
For the filling start by simmering the whole milk and vanilla extract in a pan. In a bowl whisk up the egg yolks and 135g of the caster sugar until smooth. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Then return it to the pan and turn up to a medium heat. Stir it constantly for about 6 minutes until it thickens. Then add the pre-soaked leaves of gelatine (follow the instructions on the packet) and leave it to cool to room temperature
Once the custard is cool, pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Whip up the double cream until soft peaks form
Fold the cream into the custard using a whisk. Add enough red food colouring to get a bright red
Pour the mixture into the swiss roll lined bowl. Use the discs of chocolate cupcakes to lined the bottom. Put in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set
Turn it out and make the glaze by boiling 75g of the caster sugar in the 125ml water, then dissolve the arrowroot powder in the 2 tbsp of cold water and add to the sugar mixture. Let it cool, then brush it over the Charlotte Royale
 
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Custard Tarts: GBBO Week #4

After the departure of two bakers (Mark and Deborah) on last week’s GBBO, the series continued with pie week! The first request from the judges was a double crusted fruit pie. It was not to be soggy (bottom or top!), must hold it’s shape when cut into, and Mary noted that the fruit should not be overcooked as this will only encourage the dreaded… soggy bottom!

 

Frances was at it again with her styled bakes, and made a James & the Giant Peach & Frangipane Pie, however the judges said it had no flavour, not enough peaches in it, and it was bland and dry. They warned her about having too much style, and not enough substance. Kimberley knocked it out of the park with her Pecan & Rosemary Caramel Apple Pie, Paul said it was the nicest pie he’d had in some years and tried to carry it away with him! Rob and Ruby both did well, but everyone else suffered from soggyness, lack of flavour and crumbly pastry!

This week’s technical challenge was Custard Tarts, from a Paul Hollywood recipe. The requirements were golden pastry, and a layer of even, smooth custard with just a little bit of wobble. The dough had to be worked slightly more than a usual shortcrust, so it would be robust without becoming chewy. Making a shortcrust pastry is quite a straightforward task for a regular baker, so the first step didn’t cause many problems. The custard filling was where the bakers stumbled as the only instructions provided were “make the custard filling”… oh Paul!

Frances was the only one who heated the custard before baking it. The bakers spent the next half an hour staring into their oven doors. Once the tarts came out of the oven, the nightmare of getting them out of the tin began. The sound of knives scraping against muffin tins began…and frustration reigned over the GBBO tent. Only clever little Ruby used little strips of baking paper to easily lift hers out of the tin! Frances won the challenge, Beca came second and Rob third. Glenn was last with Ali in 8th place and Christine in 7th (her tarts pictured above).

This week’s showstopper was a filo pastry pie. The pastry had to be made from scratch and could be shaped however the bakers wanted. Filo pastry is notoriously difficult to work with, it has to be worked and worked to build up a vast network of gluten so it can be stretched out thin enough so that a newspaper can be read through it. Anyone who even dares to make filo from scratch deserves a medal in my book!

Howard baked his Fresh Fig & Feta Filo Flan in a decorative mould – which required Mel and Sue’s help to remove it, with Glenn and Beca nervously looking on! Rob talked about his membership in a local mushroom foraging club, and talked about the dangers of his hobby, “it’s a very unforgiving past time, you get it wrong and you can pay a hell of a price…some mushrooms, you eat them and there is no cure…you just dissolve” he said. Luckily, shop bought mushrooms were in his pie. The bakers vied for table space as they stretched out their filo. Ali’s filo measured 2 metres in length!

 

Beca, Rob and Frances didn’t get good results from the judges. Frances again suffered from style over substance, Rob’s Mushroom Spanakopita was underbaked and soggy, and Beca’s filling was not liked by Paul and Mary. Glenn, Ali and Christine all got average results with the judges liking some things about the pie, but pointing out mistakes. Ruby’s Rose, Almond & Raspberry Filo Pie was labelled as ‘beautiful’ by the judges, Kimberley received glowing praise for beautiful layers and a fantastic taste. Howard also did well, the judges liked his pie and called it elegant with complimenting flavours.

Ali was the one to leave this week, which I am very sad about. I don’t think it was his time to go yet, and I was shocked when they announced his name. A lot of the other bakers seemed very sad to see him go, he is obviously a lovely guy. Christine said he was a lovely, kind and nice man and she would miss him. Howard was welling up too, bless him. I will miss Ali too! Next week – biscuits!

This week I decided to make Custard Tarts. As I’m not crazy, filo wasn’t an option, and I love Custard Tarts and really wanted to try them. I decided to follow Paul Hollywood’s recipe, which you can find here. Although, and you will find out why as you read on, I personally would make some tweaks to the recipe(!) Shhhh don’t tell Paul!

 

I started by liberally greasing my muffin tin with butter and I took a leaf from Ruby’s book and put strips of greaseproof paper in them to lift the tarts out with.

In a mixing bowl I used my fingers to rub together 120g butter, 165g plain flour and 25g ground almonds. Once it looked like breadcrumbs, I stirred in 55g caster sugar.

I added one egg, and brought the mixture together into a dough. Once it was smooth, I wrapped it in clingfilm and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes. TIP: Have your clingfilm ready before you get your hands covered in pastry and flour!

I didn’t have an 11cm/4.5″ cutter as required, so I used the lid off my baking beans as it had the same diameter, and I used a knife to cut around it. I rolled out the pastry as thin as I could but only got enough for 11 tarts. In the above photo you can see how much dough I had left.

I probably didn’t roll it out quite thin enough, but with the amount of dough you have, getting exactly 12 is tight. God knows how you crimp the edges, with finesse I imagine, I didn’t do this.
 

For the custard, I whisked 7 egg yolks and 90g caster sugar together until smooth. I heated up 700ml whole milk until luke warm, then poured it into the eggs, whisking as I poured, it went nice and frothy. I also added 1 tsp vanilla extract. TIP: Put the leftover egg whites into ice cube trays and freeze them, the next day, remove the frozen egg cubes and put them in a freezer bag for easier storage. Defrost them as needed. There are definitely going to be some macarons or meringues in my future!

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. I placed the tarts onto the shelf, then poured the custard in using a jug. I filled up the cases as much as I could, then sprinkled ground nutmeg over the top. There was a lot of custard left, even if I had 12 pastry cases, there would still have been enough for 2 or 3 more tarts. So the amount of custard is something I would reduce in this recipe.

I baked for 15 minutes on this heat, then turned down to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a final 10 minutes. I took the tarts out and let them cool for 30 minutes in the tin. The custard had a nice wobble to it!

With the help of the baking paper strips, the tarts came out of the tin extremely easily and without any sticking problems! I left them to cool on a rack.

I cut into my tarts and was pleased to see the custard retain its shape! I think the custard could have done with slightly longer, no more than 5 minutes. But it was cooked and tasted great, I ate two right there and then – I just couldn’t resist!

These went down a storm, who doesn’t love a custard tart?! A couple of people thought the custard was cooked enough, and a couple others agreed with me that it needed a few more minutes. So this being my only issue, and seemingly a matter of taste, I was extremely pleased. I will definitely make these again!

 
 
Print

Custard Tarts

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 120 g Butter
  • 165 g Plain flour
  • 25 g Ground almonds
  • 55 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg

For the filling

  • 7 Egg yolks
  • 700 ml Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg for sprinkling
  • 90 g Caster sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and grease a muffin tin with butter, and strips of baking paper so you can easily lift the tarts out once baked

  2. In a mixing bowl use your fingers to rub together the butter, plain flour and ground almonds. Once it looks like breadcrumbs, stir in the caster sugar

  3. Add the egg, and bring the mixture together into a dough. Once it is smooth, wrap it in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes

  4. Roll out the pastry onto a floured work top and use an 11cm/4.5" cutter to cut out 12 circles

  5. Place the pastry into the muffin tin
  6. For the custard, whisk the egg yolks and the caster sugar together until smooth. Heat up the whole milk until luke warm, then pour it into the eggs, whisking as you pour. Then add the vanilla extract

  7. Place the muffin tin onto the oven shelf, then pour the custard into the pastry cases using a jug. Fill up the cases as much as you can, then sprinkle the nutmeg over the top

  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a final 10 minutes. Take the tarts out and let them cool for 30 minutes in the tin. Then remove from the tin using the greaseproof paper strips to assist you

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Things To Do With… Leftover Egg Yolks

Things To Do With… Leftover Egg Yolks

Whenever I have egg yolks left after making meringue, I feel bad about just throwing them away. I hate wasting food so I’m always on the look out for recipes that use only egg yolks. I’ve searched the internet for recipes using only egg yolks, and I’ve also made some too, and I’ve brought them all together on this page. I’m sure many bakers have been in this situation before, so hopefully this selection of recipes will prove useful!

Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Caramel Tart with Macadamia Nuts Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars
Uses 1 Egg Yolk Uses 1 Egg Yolk Uses 1 Egg Yolk
Nutella Swirled Chocolate Chip Cookies Three Cheese Mac & Cheese Passionfruit Curd
Uses 1 Egg Yolk Uses 1 Large Egg Yolk Uses 2 Egg Yolks
Chocolate Truffles Raspberry & White Chocolate Mini Trifles Jam Filled Butter Biscuits
Uses 2 Egg Yolks Uses 2 Egg Yolks Uses 2 Egg Yolks
 
Homemade Mayonnaise  Lemon Curd Chewy Lemon & White Chocolate Cookies
Uses 3 Egg Yolks  Uses 3 Egg Yolks Uses 3 Egg Yolks
Creme Brulee Key Lime Pie with Coconut Oreo Crust Lemon Pound Cake
Uses 3 Egg Yolks Uses 3 Egg Yolks Uses 4 Egg Yolks
Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara Almond Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce Charlotte Royale
Uses 4 Egg Yolks Uses 4 Egg Yolks Uses 4 Egg Yolks
Peanut Butter Pudding Coconut & Berry Fruit Tarts Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Uses 4 Egg Yolks Uses 5 Egg Yolks Uses 5 Egg Yolks
 
Yellow Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting Mocha Eclairs  Pumpkin Custard Donuts
Uses 6 Egg Yolks Uses 6 Egg Yolks  Uses 6 Egg Yolks
   
Swedish Princess Cupcakes  Custard Tarts  Raspberry Custard Tart
Uses 6 Egg Yolks  Uses 7 Egg Yolks  Uses 7 Egg Yolks

Let me know if you try any of these and how they turn out!

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