Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tarte Tatin

I was treated to a copy of this series GBBO Cookbook! Decided to attempt Sarah Jane's Banana Tart Tatin... Banana, caramel and pastry. Easy as... Oh no. No. No. 

The pastry proved to be the easy part! Making the caramel took three attempts and turning the tart out wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, lots of the bananas stayed in the dish. But oh well, it tasted great in the end!

Ingredients for the rough puff pastry
225g plain flour
a pinch of salt flakes
190g butter, cubed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
140ml icy water
For the caramel
100g caster sugar
60g butter, cubed
For the topping
3 large bananas 

1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter and toss them until they are coated in flour.
2.Mix the lemon juice and icy water together and add to the bowl. Using a palette knife, work in the liquid, cutting the butter as you mix and rotate the bowl.
3. When the dough has come together in a shaggy lump, turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a block.

4. Roll out the pastry into a larger rectangle. Fold in three, like a letter. Give it a square turn, roll and fold like before. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling twice until it has been folded a total of six times. Wrap and chill for at least an hour before using. 
5. Preheat the oven to 180. To make the caramel put the sugar in a non-stick pan on a low heat. Do not stir or touch it. Let it melt completely. Turn up the heat and let it boil, when it starts to colour swirl it around to amalgamate all bits that might be left. Remove from the heat, add the butter and swirl it around. Pour the caramel into the dish. (Unless you make the caramel in the pan you intend to bake in. I would've done this but didn't have the right kind of pan!)
6. Cut the bananas into 1.5cm discs and place in the pan, on top of the caramel. 
7. I only ended up Roll out the pastry until very thin. Cut into a circle just bigger than your dish. Using your rolling pin, place the pastry on top of the bananas. Prick the pastry with a fork.
8. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, puffed up and crisp. Put a plate over the pan and invert onto it. Take care while doing this as the dish will be hot! 
A lot of the bananas stuck to my dish and I had to take them out and place them back on my tart! With a bit more practise, hopefully this won't happen again!

Ta da!
Intend to practise this one some more, loved making the pastry. Until next time, tatin! X Bo

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Stressful strudel!

Once again, I was inspired by the Great British Bake Off to try and bake a strudel, pastry and all! This is, without a doubt, the most stressful thing I've ever made, but it was totally rewarding and delicious! 

Finding a strudel pastry recipe proved to be one of the most difficult things! Tried one recipe off the internet which must have had a typo... 300ml of vegetable oil for pastry? Needless to say it didn't turn out well...

Disastrous dough

Then decided to adapt Danny's pastry recipe off the BBC Food section for her savoury strudel from episode six! Here it is!

Ingredients for pastry
285g plain flour
1 tsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt
1 medium egg
150 ml water 
butter for scattering
Ingredients for filling
6 apples
a handful of sultanas
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the middle. 
2. Add the oil and egg to the well. Stir in a little. Gradually add the water until it forms a soft dough. 
3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 15 minutes. (I tried Paul Hollywood's 'lift and twist' method and it worked quite well! The dough is very sticky and elastic so make sure you put lots of flour on your hands!)
4. Place in an oiled bowl and leave to rest for 1 hour.
5. Put some water and lemon juice into a pan. Peel and slice the apples, placing the prepared pieces in the pan as you go.
6. Drain the liquid off the apples. Add the cinnamon and sultanas and stir. Leave to simmer until soft.
7. Preheat the oven to 200. Place a patterned cloth on your table and flour it.  Roll out your pastry to about 50cm wide with a rolling pin. Then stretch the pastry by hand.
8. Scatter melted butter on the pastry. 
9. Place the filling in a line about 10cm from the top of the dough. Fold the top over the filling tightly. Then lift the cloth and roll the strudel up. 
10. Glaze liberally with butter and bake for 30-40 minutes. (I checked mine after 20, then 30 and took it out of the oven after 35 minutes as I had a little leakage)
11. Remove to a wire cooling wrack and enjoy!

For a first attempt, I was very happy with the result! Here are some snaps I took along the way! X Bo

Dough when first combined

After 15 minutes of kneading


Pastry rolled and stretched so thin you can see the flowers!

Filling added

Rolled and ready to bake

35 minutes later...


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bored? Let's make cookies!

I have always had a soft spot for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes. I am especially fond of this one. Enjoy! 

100g dark chocolate
125g melted butter
100g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsps vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 170. Line 2 trays with baking parchment.
2. Mix together  the two kinds of sugar. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
3. Break the egg into the bowl and stir. Add the vanilla extract and stir.
4. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir.
5. Chop up the chocolate into tiny pieces and add to the mixture.
6. Dot heaped teaspoons of the mixture on to the trays. Leave plenty of room as they spread! 
7. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Today's batch

These went down a treat with my chums. Highly recommended! X Bo

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Apron Envy

As much as I love my apron, I do find myself straying to the Anthropologie Apron section an awful lot...

 I have a feeling one of  these may appear on my Christmas list this year! X Bo

Eight Strand Plaited Loaf

I have been inspired by this series of 'The Great British Bake Off' to try and be more adventurous with my recipe choices. I've made this loaf about five times now and I'm always pleased with the results.

500g strong bread flour
2 x7g sachet fast action dried yeast
10g salt
olive oil
340ml warm water

extra flour for dusting
oil for greasing the bowl
1 egg for the glaze

1. Place your flour in a large mixing bowl. Add your yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Stir the ingredients together.
2. Add a good splash of olive oil. Add three quarters of the water to the bowl and mix together. Then add the rest of the water to make a dough.
3. Flour your work surface and turn the dough on to it. Knead for 10 minutes.
4. Oil your mixing bowl and place your dough to it. Cover in cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour. 
5. When risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back. 
6. Divide into eight equal pieces. Roll them out into strands.
7. Lay the strands out, all joined at one point at the top. Then plait, using these steps:
Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1
Step 2: place 8 over 5

Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8
Step 4: place 1 over 4
Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1
Repeat steps 2-5 until the dough is all plaited.
8.Tuck the ends under the loaf. Line a tray with greaseproof baking paper and place the dough on there. Leave to prove for another hour.
9. Brush generously with beaten egg. 
10. Bake in a 180 oven for 25-30 minutes. 

Here are some photographs I took of today's loaf!
My dough

After first prove

My plaited loaf

My plait, after second prove

After baking!

It went a bit wide at the bottom today and it was quite pale. The loaf was very pale underneath. But all in all, I was happy with today's loaf! 

X Bo