Tarte Tatin

February 11, 2010

 

Sorry if I’m boring people with my pear obsession but I made this  tarte tatin and the result was so simple and so freakin’ delicious I had to let everyone know. It’s slightly adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi. I made it in a 9 inch tatin dish  but any reasonably deep pie dish about this size should do.

Peel, core and halve four ripe pears.  Take a heavy pan and melt 100g of sugar until it becomes a dark caramel and, with care cos obviously it’s very hot,  add the pear halves and cook fairly slowly for 15 mins.  Meanwhile roll out 250g of puff pastry – thank you Jusroll – to a circle  just larger than your pie dish.  Put the pears cut side up in the  dish. Make a new caramel with a 100g of sugar and stir in 30 gm of butter – it will turn a lovely light milky brown. Pour it on the pears and place the puff pastry on top, just tucking it down the sides so you are making a shallow, upside-down bowl shape. Cook until the pastry is done – about 40 mins at around mark 5 should do.

Let it cool for a bit and invert on to a plate – there shouldn’t be much runny caramel but take care. I’d serve it with it nowt but a bit a cream. And it’s as glorouous cold as it is warm (don’t it eat from-the-oven hot).

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Pear and almond cake

January 16, 2010

Today I had a few ripe pears that were threatening to head off to the great orchard in the sky. Throw in some fretting over work deadlines and an away defeat to Swansea City and the obvious solution was feel-good baking. This resulting cake is very easy and recommended for anyone with surplus fruit:

pear cake

So take  150g of caster sugar and cream with 50g of butter. Add two eggs and beat. Add three tablespoons of milk, beating as  you go.  Add 200 g of plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt and stir.  Take two ripe pears (Williams, Comice  or Rocha are maybe best) and  core, dice  and add to the mix. Now I added 40g of ground almonds and a scattering of sultanas but that’s my preference,  they’re hardly essential.  Take another two or three pears, core, thinly slice and use to decorate the cake.  

Bake in a lined cake tin at gas 4 for around 45 minutes until lightly brown. If you wantand I did want, glaze by taking  a desert spoon of apricot jam, heating with a similar amount of water. Then pass through a sieve and paint on with a brush. Yum.

Danish pastries

December 13, 2009

I’m a hopeless baker  but have a real sweet tooth so keep having a go at cakes and buns. I’m rather pleased with my recent attempt at Danish pastries. They take a while what with all the resting of the dough and that, but I reckon it was worth it – with a cup of costa rican (see November 19th post) they make an uplifting start to the day. 

This made around half a dozen – mix 250 g of strong flour with 25g of caster sugar and add 20g of yeast (I used Dove’s Farm quick yeast). Then add a large egg and about 100 ml of milk to create a dough. It will seem fairly dry at this stage but a good 10-15 minutes of kneading  and it will be smooth and springy. I don’t have a mixer but I think kneading is the best bit of baking anyway.  Then leave it to rest for half an hour.

So far so easy. Then roll out it into a 10 inch square, cut about 80g of  butter into smallish knobs and place around the centre of the square. Fold one edge towards the middle and then the other edge over (so the pastry is now  one third the size). Roll it out again to the same size sqaure – you’ll see the butter starting to spread within. Fold it again and leave it for 20 mins. Repeat this cycle two or three times. Finally roll it out  reasonably thinly and cut to the size of pastry you want.  Experiment with shapes and fillings  – the two pictured are one with a little raspberry jam, and the other is a little pear puree and sliced pear, sitting on some some almond paste (very simple – make as much as you want from equal quantities of ground almonds, caster sugar and butter creamed together). There’s a little bit of icing on them too. I’m also going to make others from  mincemeat and apple.  

 To bake they take around 10 minutes at 180 degrees celcius.  If you are baking a few together, keep an eye on them because unless your oven is very well behaved, you’ll probably need to move them around to make sure they bake evenly.

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