This is a must recipe for those coffee and nut lovers. Two light coffee and chopped walnut sponges are sandwiched together with a coffee butter icing and completely covered with more icing. Then walnut halves are used to decorate the top.
A very simple tartlet that is easy to prepare. Delicious caramel is spread over a pastry base and covered with thinly sliced sweet apples. Sugar is then sprinkled over the top just before serving.
Caramel Apple Tartlets
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
For the pastry
225g(8 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (1¾ cups)
55g(2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
55g(2 oz) shortening (¼ cup)
3–4tbspvery cold water
For the filling
6tbsprounded, Dulche de la Leche (a caramel spread)
3small eating apples
icing/powdered sugar to dust
Vanilla ice cream or pouring cream
You will also need 6 x 20 cm (4 inch) individual tartlet tins.
For the pastry
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Now add the butter and shortening, cutting them into small pieces using two knives.
Pick up the mixture in small handfuls and gently rub the fat through the flour with the tips of the fingers. Continue until the fat is evenly blended throughout the flour and the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. (This can also be achieved in a food processor.)
Then sprinkle 3 tablespoons water over the mixture and, using a fork or round-ended table knife, draw the mixture together until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean and forms a rough ball, adding extra water if the mixture seems dry.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to form a smooth ball.
Wrap in a plastic food bag and rest it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Now roll out the pastry quite thinly.
Using a tartlet tin as a guide, cut out six circles slightly larger than the tin and use to line the six tartlet tins.
Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and return to the fridge for a further 15 minutes for the pastry to firm up.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6) and place a baking sheet in the oven while it is warming up.
For the filling
Spread 1 rounded tablespoon of the Dulche de la Leche over the base of the pastry and up the sides.
Quarter, core and thinly slice the apples (do not peel).
Neatly pile the apple slices upright over the caramel.
Then carefully place the tins on the hot baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Lightly dust with icing/powdered sugar just before serving.
A batch of crepes folded into quarters then drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar make a very light version of the traditional English pancake.
Crêpes with Lemon and Sugar
8–10 large crêpes
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Standing time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 20 minutes
110g(4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1 cup less 2 tbsp)
2eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
240ml(8 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk (1 cup)
60ml(2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
55g(2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
2lemons, juice only
You will also need a 25.5 cm (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. You need just enough to be able to coat the base of the pan with a very thin layer.
So 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 it is golden. This side will need less time to cook.
Slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.
Continue making the crêpes until all the batter is used. Stack them on the warmed plate as they are ready. Keep them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil.
To serve, fold each crêpe into quarters and divide them amongst the four warmed plates. Pour the lemon juice over the top and then generously sprinkle with sugar.
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.
Apple Soufflé Crêpes
Preparation time: 40 minutes plus (the crêpes can be made while the filling is cooking)
Standing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40–45 minutes
For the crêpes
115g(4 oz) strong plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
300ml(10 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk (1¼ cups), OR
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)
20g(¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed lightweight pan, 20–23 cm (8–9 inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15 cm (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 45 ml (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 15 cm (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.
Lemon Surprise Pudding
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
55g(2 oz) butter, softened (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
115g(4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
55g(2 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (½ cup)
150ml(5 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (⅔ cup)
Double/whipping or heavy cream
You will also need a 1 litre (1¾ pint) (4 cups) ovenproof dish.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
First, zest one of the lemons and then squeeze out the juice from both of them. The juice should yield 150 ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup). Put to one side.
Then add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, beating well between each addition, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a bowl to whip later and adding the yolks to the mixture.
Sieve the flour into a separate bowl. Now add a tablespoon of flour followed by a tablespoon of milk, beating well between each addition, until all the flour and milk have been incorporated.
Slowly add the lemon juice. It may start to curdle but that will not be a problem.
Finally, whip the egg whites until they are just stiff and then lightly fold in.
Generously butter the ovenproof dish and then pour in the mixture.
Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Place the ovenproof dish in a roasting pan and then add the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ovenproof dish.
Bake for 35 minutes until the top is beginning to brown and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.
Serve immediately along with a jug of cream.
You will find there will be a lovely, thick lemon sauce at the bottom of the dish covered with a very 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.
Apple and Sultana Crumble
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
900g(2 lb) Bramley apples (or other variety of apple suitable for cooking) (about 5 or 6)
115g(4 oz) sultanas (¾ cup)
55g(2 oz) granulated sugar (¼ cup)
1tspmixed spice/pumpkin pie spice
For the topping
85g(3 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup)
85g(3 oz) porridge oats/rolled oats (¾ cup)
85g(3 oz) chilled butter, cubed (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
You will also need an ovenproof dish and a baking 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 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.