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.
Preparing the apples as a purée and then mixing with meringue make these filled crêpes very light. They are finished off in the oven where they will puff up and look quite impressive. Then a dusting of cinnamon – this a very different type of crêpe.
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) and 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
For the filling
565g (1¼ lb) dessert apples (4 medium)
120ml (4 fl oz) water (½ cup)
3½ tbsp caster/superfine sugar
20g (¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15cm (6 inch) crêpes.
First make up the batter for the crêpes. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the apples and place in a large pan. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a pulp.
Now to cook the crêpes. Get the pan really hot and then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or another flavourless oil (not olive oil) and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of the pan for each crêpe. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions to spread the batter. You are aiming to make a 15cm (6 inch) crêpe.
Turn when the batter starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems a bit sticky, give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time, until you have 8 crêpes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Now once the apples have been reduced to a pulp, turn up the heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick. Stir continuously to prevent the apple catching on the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to melt the sugar.
Now to make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff.
Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is glossy.
Stir a quarter of the meringue into the apple to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest.
Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of the meringue mixture over half of each crêpe. Then fold the other half of the crêpe over the meringue mixture.
Grease the ovenproof dishes with butter and place two crêpes in each dish, a little apart so they are not touching. Bake for 10–12 minutes until puffed up and hot.
Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately before the soufflé has a chance to sink.
This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.
The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!
So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.
This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.
Apple crumble – a very classic dish. The first dessert I ever made. Here sultanas are added to the apples to make it a little more interesting and also giving it more flavour. Using oats as well as flour for the crumble topping reduces its sweetness too. A very tasty crumble.
You will also need an ovenproof dish and a baking tray/sheet for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a large bowl along with the sultanas, sugar, and spice. Toss to mix. Now tip into the ovenproof dish and even out the top.
Squeeze the juice from the half-lemon and sprinkle over the fruit. Then put to one side while making the topping.
For the topping
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the oats. Now rub in the butter. Next mix in the sugar. Spoon over the fruit and lightly press down.
Put the dish on the baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (350°F) (gas 5) and bake for a further 30–40 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the juices are bubbling around the edge.
12-cup bun or muffin tin lined with 9 or 12 paper baking cases. (The standard size baking cases are smaller in the U.K. and so the mixture will be enough to make 12. Being larger in North America, they will only make 9.)
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)
Sift the flour into a bowl and put to one side.
Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl using a balloon whisk. Again, put to one side.
Now cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric mixer.
Next, gradually beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the remaining flour adding the milk to make a soft consistency.
Spoon into the baking cases, filling them two-thirds full.
Bake for 15–18 minutes until the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched with the tip of the finger.
Leave for one minute and then remove the cakes to a cooling rack to become cold.
For the buttercream filling
Beat the butter until it is really soft.
Slowly add half the icing/powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then beat in the remaining sugar along with the vanilla extract until soft and creamy.
Cut a cone from the centre of each cake using a small pointed knife held at angle. Cut each cone in half to create two wings.
Next, spoon a generous portion of buttercream into each hole and carefully place each pair of ‘wings’ on top with the cut edges facing down into the buttercream.
Wash and halve plums. Remove the stones and cut the fruit into chunks, placing them in a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cornflour/cornstarch and toss to coat. Tip into the ovenproof dish and set aside.
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles small crumbs. Mix in 70g (2½ oz) sugar. Stir through the buttermilk or yogurt until combined. A food processor does all of this in no time.
Scatter balls of the dough over the plums, leaving some of the fruit exposed. The balls of dough will expand when cooked.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar and bake for 40 minutes until the juices are bubbling and the top is pale golden in colour.
If your day-to-day bread is used for sandwiches or for toasting, you might want to try this milk bread. It produces a softer, tighter crumb and a softer crust than breads made with water.
Bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the milk. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20–30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt, yeast, sugar, and butter.
At the end of the 20–30 minutes, melt the butter and add it with the salt, yeast, and sugar to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.
Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.
Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.
Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.
The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl 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.
Depending on the kind of loaf you want, prepare for the shaping while you wait. If you want a classic rectangular shape as shown in the photograph, prepare a loaf tin. (For this amount of dough, I use one which measures 23.5 × 13.3 × 7cm /9¼ × 5¼ × 3 in. Lightly oil the whole of the inside to prevent the loaf sticking.) If making a natural-shaped loaf, say a cob or a boule, line a baking tray 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. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then shape the dough.
For the classic shape
Flatten the dough into a rectangle, short side towards you, with the width about the length of the loaf tin. Roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom. Place the dough in the tin, moulding as necessary to make sure it's even along its length.
For a natural shape
Rotate the dough into a ball and shape appropriately. Place on the baking tray.
Cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's 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 the oven to 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6).
Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top lengthways with a sharp knife. Then bake for 35–40 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
* 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%.
Soda bread is delicious in its own right with soup or stews, with cheese, or just spread with butter. And it’s also a quick and easy solution if you want a homemade bread and you suddenly find you’re out of yeast.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then stir in the buttermilk. Once all the flour has been taken up by the liquid, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop, fold it in on itself a few times and shape it into a ball. It doesn’t need kneading.
Place on the baking tray and flatten it slightly. Then cut a cross deeply into the dough, almost cutting it into quarters. A deep cut is essential to get the heat into the loaf. Lightly dust with flour.
Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned. Turn over the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Soda bread doesn’t keep as well as yeast bread, so either eat the same day or freeze.
*An alternative is to use 250g (9 oz) plain/cake & pastry flour and 250g (9 oz) wholemeal/whole wheat flour (shown above).