You will also need a 7cm (2¾ inch) and a 4cm (1½ inch) fluted cutter. If you don’t have the smaller cutter in your set, don’t be tempted to go for a larger size as it will make the hole too big. I have found the flat end of a large icing nozzle works very well.
Also 2 large baking trays/cookie sheets, greased.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric hand mixer or food mixer. Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, gradually beat in the egg and then the vanilla extract.
Sift the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix in until just combined.
Now tip out onto a work surface and gently knead by hand until a soft dough has formed.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 0.5cm (¼ inch) thick. Then using the large cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place them onto the baking trays/cookie sheets.
Keeping all the whole rounds on one tray and the centre cut ones on the second tray, use the smaller cutter to remove the centres of half the rounds. (Don’t try to remove the centres from any whole rounds before placing on the trays/sheets as they will become misshapen when lifting them on.)
Keep re-rolling the leftover dough and cutting out the rounds, making sure there are an equal number of whole rounds and cut rounds. There should be enough dough to make about 15 finished biscuits.
Bake the centre-cut rounds for 8–10 minutes and the whole rounds for 12–14 minutes, or until the biscuits are just starting to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Spread a thick layer of strawberry jam over the whole rounds and then place the cut rounds on top.
Finish by dusting with icing/powdered sugar. The sugar will melt on the jam but will remain on the biscuit.
Refrigeration time: The individual serving dishes will take about 1 hour and the large serving dish will take about 3 hours
1 pkt raspberry jelly/jello
2 tbsp caster/superfine sugar
150ml (5 fl oz) soured cream (⅔ cup)
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
½ lemon, juice only (1½ tbsp)
450g (1 lb) frozen raspberries (4 cups)
crème frâiche to serve
You will also need a large glass serving dish or 8 individual glass dishes.
Bring some water to to the boil.
If using a packet jelly in the UK, pour 150ml (5 fl oz) of the boiling water into a bowl. Separate the jelly into its sections and add to the bowl, stirring until the jelly has melted. Then stir in 150ml (5 fl oz) of cold water.
If using jello in North America, pour 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of boiling water into a bowl. Add the jello, stirring to dissolve and then stir in 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of cold water.
Add the sugar to the jelly, stirring to dissolve.
Then, using a balloon whisk, whisk in the sour cream until it is well mixed in.
Now in a separate bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks form and then fold this into the jelly mixture until fully incorporated.
Stir in the lemon juice.
The raspberries do not have to be fully thawed but they do need to be separated. Gently stir these into the jelly mixture.
Pour into the large bowl, or divide amongst the individual glass dishes, and refrigerate to set.
When ready to serve just dollop a spoonful of crème frâiche on the top.
Scoops of vanilla ice cream and mounds of whipped cream smothered with a chocolate fudge sauce, then decorated with grated chocolate, make this chocolate fudge sundae a sure winner with all the family.
85g (3 oz) dark muscovado sugar/soft dark brown sugar (⅓ cup)
180ml (6 fl oz) single/table cream (¾ cup)
55g (2 oz) cocoa powder, sifted (½ cup)
You will also need 4 sundae glasses
For the sundaes
Whip the cream until it just holds soft peaks and put to one side.
For the chocolate fudge sauce
Put the butter, sugars, and cream in a pan over a low heat until the butter has just melted, stirring now and again. Remove from the heat.
Now stir in the cocoa powder and beat until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Keep it warm while putting together the rest of the sundaes. If it becomes too thick, just add a little boiling water.
(Not all the sauce may be needed but it will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. It will thicken as it cools and will eventually become solid, and it can be warmed through again to create a pouring sauce.)
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the chocolate fudge sauce around the insides of each sundae glass.
Add 2 scoops of ice cream to each glass.
Then top each glass with a large dollop of cream.
Now slowly spoon 2 tablespoons of the chocolate sauce over the top, letting it run through the cream and ice cream.
110g (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 milk (1 cup)
60 ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
55g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
2 lemons, halved
You will also need a 25.5cm (10 inch) heavy gauge aluminium frying pan/skillet.
First mix the milk and water together.
Then 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 around 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.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into the batter and whisk again. Reserve the remaining butter.
Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes.
Place five plates in a warm oven.
Get the pan/skillet really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.
Smear a little of the reserved butter over the base of the pan/skillet between cooking each pancake.
You will need about 3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first. Then pour the batter quickly into the centre of the pan/skillet, at the same time tipping the pan/skillet around from side to side to get the base evenly coated. If there are any holes, just fill them in with extra batter using a teaspoon. It should take less than a minute for the underside to turn golden. Check by lifting the edge with a palette knife.
Flip the pancake over with the palette knife and cook the other side until golden. This side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.
Continue making the pancakes until all the batter is used. Stack them on the warmed plate as they are ready and keep them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil.
Serve with juice from the lemons squeezed over the pancakes and a generous sprinkling of sugar. They can then be rolled or folded into quarters.
I am indebted to Mary Berry of The Great British Bakeoff for this recipe. It is very light, and the lemon makes it a refreshing end to a holiday meal with family and friends.
This is a lovely dessert that really does taste heavenly and looks very impressive too. The one thing I like about it is that you can prepare a lot in advance. The candied lemon peel can easily be made the day before and the lemon curd a few days before. The meringue is best made on the day you wish to serve it but that takes very little time to prepare. Then all there is to do is to mix the whipped cream into the lemon curd and assemble everything.
Standing time: 2 hours or over night for the candied lemon zest
Cooking time: about 2 hours
For the candied lemon zest
55g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp) plus extra for coating
For the meringue
6 egg whites
340g (12 oz) caster/superfine sugar (1¾ cups)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
For the lemon curd filling
6 egg yolks
340g (12 oz) caster/superfine sugar (1¾ cups)
2 lemons at room temperature (plus the 2 reserved from making the candied lemon zest)
225g (8 oz) butter, cubed (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
480ml (16 fl oz) double/whipping cream (2 cups)
30 chocolate mini eggs
You will also need a piping bag fitted with a rose nozzle.
For the candied lemon zest
(Can be made up to 24 hours ahead)
Peel the zest from two lemons and cut into thin strips. (Reserve the lemons for their juice in the lemon curd.)
Lay a piece of parchment ready on the work surface and spoon over the extra sugar for coating.
Now dissolve the sugar in a pan with 60ml (2 fl oz) (¼ cup) water, then bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Add the zest and gently boil until syrupy, about 2–3 minutes.
Drain the zest and tip onto the parchment paper. Then toss in the extra sugar until each one is well coated.
Leave to dry in a warm place for at least two hours, or overnight.
For the meringue
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) (gas mark 2)
Draw a 25cm (10 inch) circle on a sheet of baking parchment. With the drawn side down, place on a baking tray/sheet.
Add the egg whites to a bowl and whisk until stiff but before they get to peak stage. Use an electric hand-whisk or a free-standing mixer.
Then gradually add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, while still whisking on the maximum speed, until the mixture is stiff and shiny, and stands in peaks.
Blend the vinegar and cornflour/cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth. Then gently stir this into the meringue.
Take half the meringue and spread it onto the baking parchment within the lines of the drawn circle. Now fill the piping bag with the remaining meringue and carefully pipe 10 separate nests equally around the edge of the meringue base.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 1½–2 hours. The pavlova will be a pale cream colour and will lift off the paper easily when ready. Begin to check periodically after 1¼ hours until it has reached this stage. Then turn off the oven but leave the pavlova on the oven shelf, with the door slightly ajar, until cold.
For the lemon curd
(The lemon curd can also be made ahead of time and, once cooled, it can be refrigerated covered with cling film/plastic wrap until needed. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to seven days.)
Squeeze the juice from the four lemons. (4 medium lemons should yield ¾ cup.)
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Add the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice to the bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
Now gradually add the butter to the pan, stirring until the butter has melted.
Continue stirring until the mixture starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. It should resemble pouring cream and coat the back of a spoon. Then remove from the heat and leave to cool. It will thicken further on cooling.
Once the lemon curd has cooled completely, pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk until really thick. Then add it to the lemon curd, gently swirling it through.
Spoon a little into each nest. Then fill the middle of the pavlova with the remainder (you may not need it all).
Finally, place three chocolate mini-eggs in each nest and then sprinkle the candied zest in the middle of the pavlova, creating a mound.
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.