225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1¾ cups)
55g (2 oz) butter, cubed (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
55g (2 oz) shortening, cubed (¼ cup)
8 tsp cold water
For the filling
300ml (10 fl oz) water
100g (3½ oz) sugar (½ cup)
450g (1 lb) granny smith apples (about 3 medium)
strip of lemon rind
squeeze lemon juice
28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
For the meringue
2 egg whites
55g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup)
You will also need a 20.5 cm (8 inch) loose bottomed flan case and a baking tray/sheet.
For the pastry
Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl.
Rub the butter and shortening into the flour until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.
Now sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if the water is added unevenly, it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Then, using a pallet knife, bring the mixture together.
Once it starts to clump together, remove from the bowl and knead lightly to form a firm, smooth dough.
Pop in a plastic bag or cover with cling film/plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (225°C) (gas 7).
Now, on a floured surface, roll out the pastry in one direction only, turning it occasionally. Then line the flan case and trim the edges to neaten. Prick the base of the pastry with the tines of a fork to make sure no air gets trapped underneath the pastry.
Bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 300°F (150°C) (gas 3).
For the filling
While the pastry is cooking start preparing the filling.
In a medium-sized pan make a sugar syrup by gently dissolving the sugar in the water over a low heat.
While the sugar in dissolving, peel, core and cut the apples into small chunks.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add the apples along with the strip of lemon rind and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples have softened but still hold their shape.
Drain the apples and then add the butter. Stir to melt the butter into the apples, mashing them slightly. Now add the egg yolks and mix in.
Once the flan case has cooled, carefully remove the pastry case and sit it on a baking tray/sheet. Fill with the apple.
For the meringue
Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Pile the meringue on top the apple, making sure it completely covers the filling. Finally pull the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The meringue will be crisp and lightly browned on the outside but still soft on the inside.
This is one of my favourite fish pies which is really good to serve to guests as it looks so scrumptious and different when baked. Filo pastry keeps it light and is used in a decorative way as a topping. The herby cream cheese filling which is added to cubes of salmon and prawns/shrimp is so smooth and delicious too.
You will need a 20cm (8 in) loose-bottomed flan tin, 3.75cm (1½ inches) deep, buttered, and a baking sheet. Also a deep sided frying pan/skillet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6.
Pop the baking sheet in the oven to heat up while preparing the pie.
Now bring some water to the boil in the frying pan/skillet. It will need to be deep enough to cover the salmon. Then add the salmon and bring back to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat, cover the pan/skillet and leave for the water to poach the salmon, about 2–3 minutes, until it is just cooked.
With a slotted spoon, remove the salmon and leave on a plate to cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat together the crème fraîche, cream cheese, eggs, herbs, and seasoning until the mixture is smooth.
Take two of the sheets of pastry, cut them in half to give four sheets. Brush one sheet with melted butter, then lay a second sheet on top, rotating it slightly so the edges don’t line up. Brush this sheet with melted butter. Now lay a third sheet on top, again rotating it slightly, and brush with butter. Lay the fourth sheet on top, slightly rotated.
Lift the pastry layers and line the flan tin, gently pressing the pastry down into the tin. The edges of the pastry should extend over the rim. Now brush the top layer of pastry with melted butter.
Brush the remaining piece of pastry with melted butter and put to one side.
Place the salmon cubes over the pastry and then add the prawns/shrimps.
Pour over the cream mixture.
Now bring the edges of the pastry up over the the filling around the edge, leaving it roughly scrunched up.
Tear the remaining piece of pastry into long strips. Scrunch these up and use them to cover the exposed filling.
Place the flan tin on the hot baking sheet and loosely cover with foil. Then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is crisp and turning golden in colour.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes for the filling to set.
Now carefully lift the pie from the tin but leave on the base. Let it cool for 2 minutes then gently slide off the base.
Serve cut into wedges along with a green salad.
Filo pastry dries out very quickly, so keep it covered until it is needed to be used.
As the pastry does not contain any fat it can be refrozen. Remove the packet from the freezer to thaw, keeping it covered. Then when the pastry is needed, unroll it and remove the 3 sheets. Now carefully roll the pastry back up, return it to its wrapping and place back in the freezer.
These meringues are flavoured with coffee and, when cooked, a little melted chocolate is drizzled over. Serve on their own or with whipped cream or ice cream. Whatever you choose, they just melt in your mouth.
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
170g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
85g (3 oz) dark chocolate
You will also need 2 medium baking sheets/trays lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) (gas 1).
If using coffee granules, dissolve in 1 teaspoon of hot water and set aside to cool.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until just stiff. Now gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly until the mixture becomes very thick and glossy. Then sprinkle over the coffee and whisk until it has thoroughly mixed in.
Dab a little meringue on the corners of the baking sheets/trays which will prevent the parchment paper from slipping. Then line each sheet/tray, pressing the baking parchment down at the corners. Spoon 4 mounds of meringue onto each baking sheet/tray, spacing them well apart. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringues should feel hard to the touch and lift off the parchment paper easily. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile break the chocolate into small pieces, put in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of just simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat and leave until it has become cold.
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the meringues and then refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
Serve with some crusty bread and a slice of favourite cheese.
Peel and finely chop the carrots and onions, chop the celery sticks and break the cauliflower into small florets.
Now melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the butter. Cook the vegetables over a medium–low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the vegetables, reserving the liquid. Then purée and return to a clean saucepan. Add the reserved cooking liquid and then stir in the yogurt. Reheat gently but do not let it boil.
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
170g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp coffee extract
3 tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped (or walnuts)
For the filling
70g (2½ oz) dark chocolate, chopped
20g (¾ oz) butter (1½ tbsp)
240ml (8 fl oz) double/heavy cream (1 cup)
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)
For the meringue
Preheat oven to a cool setting, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)
Toast the hazelnuts by heating in a pan over a medium–low heat until just turning colour and you can begin to smell the nuts. Watch them carefully as they can burn very quickly. Set aside to cool.
Now whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then slowly add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Drizzle over the coffee extract and whisk again until mixed in. The meringue should form stiff peaks and be glossy.
Carefully fold in the nuts.
Line two baking trays/sheets with baking paper. Dab a little meringue in each corner of the trays/sheets to hold the linings in place. Then swirl spoonfuls of meringue onto the paper. The mixture will make approximately 24 meringues (you want an even number). Do not try piping the meringue as the nuts will clog the tip! Now bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues are dry and lift freely from the paper. Turn off the oven and, if you have time, leave them to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Otherwise transfer the trays/sheets onto a wire cooling rack and leave the meringues to cool. When they are cool, remove from the paper..
For the filling
Melt the butter slowly with half the chocolate. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the chocolate, stirring until it has melted. Beat with a wooden spoon and, when it is smooth, coat the flat surface of 12 meringues.
Now whip the cream until stiff and spread it to sandwich together a chocolate-coated meringue and a plain meringue.
Cocoa powder can be sifted lightly over the top of each meringue to decorate.
Update This recipe includes a mixture of spices that resembles the Mixed Spice that we used in the UK but don’t find here in Canada. An alternative is to use 3½ teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice.
Tastier than store-bought, we enjoy these traditional hot cross buns at Easter and all year round! I have to thank Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bakeoff for the idea of adding an apple to the recipe. It adds to the flavour and gives them a softer, more moist, texture.
I use a KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook but you can knead by hand if you prefer.
If you store your yeast in the fridge, take it out first and allow it to warm to room temperature. Chop the mixed peel and the apple into small cubes, grate the zest of an orange into the mixture, and put to one side.
Weigh out the salt, sugar, and yeast, and add to the flour in the mixer bowl, putting the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Then add the sultanas and the fruit that you chopped up, as well as the spices. Mix all these dry ingredients together. (This allows the flour to coat the fruit and prevent it sticking together.)
Soften the butter, warm the milk to about 100°F (40°C), and then add the butter and a whisked egg to the milk, and stir. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix on speed 1 until it is all evenly mixed. This only takes about a minute. Then mix on speed 2 for another 8 minutes. While this is kneading, lightly oil a large bowl for the dough to rise in.
The dough should now be smooth, the sides of the bowl should be clean, and the dough should come off the dough hook without sticking. Tip it out onto a lightly floured (or oiled) surface and shape it into a ball. Put it into the oiled bowl, make sure there's a coating of oil over the whole dough, and cover with a tea towel or cling film.
Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.
While waiting, prepare a large baking tray – line with baking parchment.
Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a smooth ball. (To do this, flatten the dough with your hand flat, then moving your hand in a circular motion, gradually lift the palm while leaving the finger tips on the work surface, forming a cage around the dough. Do this quite quickly.)
Place the dough balls on the baking tray, laid out four by three, about an inch apart. This will give them room to grow so that they’re almost touching after proving. (You want them to join up when baking so that you have to tear them apart when finished.) Cover with a tea towel, or place inside a clean plastic bag, and leave to prove for about an hour. You can tell when they're ready when they've doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.
Before the end of the hour, preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5
For the crosses
Mix the flour and water into a paste and add to a piping bag with a fine nozzle. Make one half of the crosses by piping across each row of buns in one sweep, starting on the tray and finishing each sweep on the tray at the other side. When all the buns are piped in one direction, turn the tray and repeat, forming the crosses.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned.
For the glaze
Warm the apricot jam with a teaspoon of boiling water and brush over the tops of the buns while they’re still warm.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Unless you can't wait, freeze the buns and defrost when needed.
It's not easy to accurately divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I weigh the bowl with the risen dough in it, turn out the dough and then weigh the bowl again. The difference is the weight of the dough. Divide that by 12 and then weigh each portion as you cut it, adding or subtracting bits of dough until they're approximately right. With this recipe they worked out to be about 103g (3⅔ oz) each
* Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.
Apples are cooked with raisins and a hint of cinnamon while walnuts added to the crumble mixture to make this a real crunchy apple crumble. One of those comforting desserts, perfect for a winter’s day, and served with lots of cream.
100g (3½ oz) chilled butter, cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
55g (2 oz) demerara sugar (¼ cup)
Double cream/heavy cream
You will also need a 23cm(9 inch) shallow ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Then place them in a large bowl.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, add to the apples and toss to coat.
Now add the raisins, separating those that may have stuck together, and toss to evenly distribute.
Grease the ovenproof dish and then tip in the apples. Sprinkle over 4 tablespoons of water, cover the dish with foil, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn over the apple slices halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven, turn the slices over again, and set aside for about 1 hour to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), (gas 6).
To prepare the crumble, finely chop the walnut pieces and then set to one side.
Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the walnuts. The mixture should look like large breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sugar and then spoon the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the apples.
Bake for 30 minutes until the crumble is browning and the juices are starting to bubble through.
I call these Cheat’s Crêpes Suzette because they aren’t flambéed just before serving. The crêpes with orange segments in orange sauce flavoured with Cointreau still make them sublime. (To flambé them, just follow the last steps of the method.)
115g (4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1 cup less 2 tbsp)
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
240ml (8 fl oz) semi-skimmed/2% milk (1 cup) mixed with 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
For the orange sauce
55g (2 oz) icing/powdered sugar (½ cup)
3 small oranges
85g (3 oz) butter (3 tbsp, or ³⁄₈ stick)
1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
You will also need a 25cm (10 inch) heavy gauge aluminium frying pan/skillet.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and break in the eggs. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour, gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Squeeze the juice from one orange into a small pan and add the icing sugar. Stir to dissolve and then add the butter. Gently heat to melt the butter and then simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly. Set the pan to one side.
Then zest the two remaining oranges and put the zest to one side.
Now remove all the pith from the 2 oranges, separate into their segments and remove any pips. Cut each segment in half.
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2) and place five plates in the oven to warm.
To prepare for cooking the crêpes: Melt the butter in the pan/skillet. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and use it to smear the pan/skillet between cooking each pancake using a wodge of kitchen paper.
Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium–hot setting.
Use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to tip the batter into the pan/skillet in one go. Using the ladle or cup, hold it so that the base is very close to the bottom of the pan/skillet in the centre and then pour it in. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan/skillet, lift the pan/skillet and tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with the batter. If there are any holes, just fill them in with extra batter using a teaspoon. It will take less than a minute to cook. Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden.
Now flip the crêpe over. The other side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.
Continue until there are 12 crêpes. Overlap them on the warmed plate as you go, keeping them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil.
Pour the sauce into the pan/skillet and warm through. Add the zest and 1 tablespoon of the liqueur.
Then fold the crêpes into quarters, placing a few orange segments in each one. Add the crêpes to the pan along with any remaining orange segments.
Cook for 2 minutes to heat the crêpes through.
If you want to flambé the crêpes just follow the steps below.
To flambé the crêpes
This is done just before serving the crêpes. First mix together 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier and 3 tablespoons of brandy. Then pour them into the pan and set the sauce alight. This has to be done very quickly or the alcohol will evaporate and won’t light. Carefully swirl the pan around so that the sauce flames evenly. Serve when the flames have extinguished. Be very careful when doing this.