Hazelnut, Pear & Sticky Toffee Tart

So along with the apple picking and autumnal weather, it also seems to be pear season. I’m not the biggest fan of pears, especially cooked pears. I’m also not the biggest fan of nuts. Or dates for that matter.

Want to know the weird thing? I absolutely LOVED this tart.

Like, seriously, seriously, loved it.

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The soft, crumbly pastry was so sweet and tasty. The warm, moist pears were to die for. And the actual filling was just on another level; the flavours and texture were simply incredible. I will most definitely be baking this one again.

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Don’t even get me started on the toffee sauce. I have my own standard recipe that I use, and it’s always been simple and yummy. Yet the double cream in this recipe completely transforms it.

I love love love sticky toffee pudding (recipe can be found here) and it’s definitely a classic. But if you want something slightly different, a pastry pudding full of flavour and texture, this one’s your man. Or woman. Can a tart have a gender?! (gosh this is taking me back to Uni days and writing my dissertation on gender difference)

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So…. Go bake this…. Now…. Seriously…. Can you tell I’m now passionate about pears, nuts and dates?!

Good ol’ Paul Hollywood, thanks for this one!

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Hazelnut, Pear & Sticky Toffee Tart (serves 8)

                      For the pastry:                     

200g plain flour

2 tbsp icing sugar

100g unsalted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp very cold water

For the filling:

150g stoned dates, roughly chopped

150ml milk

3 ripe pears

50g unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

50g ground almonds

2 eggs

100g light muscovado sugar

2 tbsp black treacle

75g shelled cobnuts or hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the toffee sauce:

200g light muscovado sugar

50g unsalted butter

250ml double cream

  1. To make the pastry: mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs
  2. Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mix. Using one hand, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes
  3. For the filling: put the chopped dates and milk in a pan. Bring to the boil, and then set aside for 30 minutes to soak
  4. To make the toffee sauce: heat the sugar, butter and cream together in a pan over a low heat until melted and smooth, then bring to a simmer and let bubble for 5 minutes to thicken. Leave to cool
  5. Heat your oven to 180°C and have ready a 25cm loose-based fluted tart tin
  6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line the tart tin. Prick the base with a fork. Peel, quarter and core the pears; slice each quarter in two. Arrange in a circular pattern in the tart case. Drizzle over about 3/4 of the toffee sauce and place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the filling
  7. Mash the date mixture to a coarse purée with a potato masher. Tip it into a bowl with the softened butter, vanilla, flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds, eggs, sugar and treacle. Whisk together with an electric whisk until just combined. Stir in the chopped nuts
  8. Spoon the date and nut mixture over the pears in the pastry case, spreading it out evenly. Bake the tart on the hot baking tray for 40 minutes, until the filling is well risen and browned. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin
  9. Serve the tart warm, with clotted cream or ice cream and the rest of the toffee sauce.
  10. ENJOY!

Pork, Apple & Cider Pie

It’s been apple picking season for us this past week or so. We’ve got delicious Reverend W Wilks and Worcester Pearmains. They smell so lovely and sweet, fresh off the trees. There’s nothing quite like waking up early, the air is starting to get a little crisp, the field is misty and the apples are ready to cook with.

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Watch out for more apple related posts!

A few dinners ago I decided on a pork, apple and cider pie; autumn is upon us! Shoulder is particularly tasty, and with the apple and cider, this pie is so so so simple yet so flavoursome. It’s sweet homely aromas filled the kitchen, the mash and greens complementing the pie perfectly.

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 The cider pastry recipe is particularly scrummy, and might just have made it into my favourite pastry bakes.

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And what’s better than using your own apples in a yummy pie for dinner hey?!

ENJOY! 🙂

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Pork, Apple & Cider Pie (serves 4)

For the cider pastry:

1 egg, beaten

125ml dry cider

125ml olive oil

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

375g plain flour

1 egg, to glaze

For the filling: 

1 tbsp

1 sweet onion

2 celery sticks, de-stringed and chopped

500g pork shoulder

2 tbsp plain flour

175ml dry cider

1 cooking apple (about 150g) peeled, cored and sliced

2 eating apples (about 250g) peeled, cored and sliced

4 sage leaves

Salt and pepper to season

  1. To make the pastry: beat the egg in a large bowl with the cider, olive oil, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix in the flour until you have a soft dough (you may not need all the flour) Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to cool in the fridge for around 45 minutes
  2. To make the filling: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for around 5 minutes, until soft. Remove the vegetables from the pan
  3. Add a little more oil and increase the heat to medium-high. Brown the pork well on all sides. Turn the heat down a little and return the vegetables to the pan. Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the cider and stock, stirring so the flour is absorbed. Add the apples and sage. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmering for around 45 minutes, until the pork is tender. Taste the sauce and season to taste
  4. Heat your oven to 200 degrees and position a pie funnel in the middle of your pie dish
  5. Spoon the filling into the dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and lift the pasty sheet over the pie, pressing down the edges to seal (I usually find sticking strips of pastry around the rim helps keep the sheet in place). Crimp the edges and decorate with pastry leaves and berries
  6. Brush the lid with a beaten egg and bake for around 35 minutes, until golden and crisp
  7. Serve with mash and greens 🙂

Banana Doughnuts with a Chocolate Glaze

Yes I am back on the doughnut baking hype!

I’m up against a busy few weeks of work, thus on my day off today, what do I think of baking…. but of course, doughnuts!

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Today I wanted simple, plain, good ol’ doughnuts with a nice shiny chocolatey glaze. Obviously I had to include bananas, because, why not?! The addition of buttermilk gives them that all too lovely twang, yet the sweetness of the bananas and brown sugar creates the yummiest of combinations.

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These are soooooo scrummy we pretty much ate the whole lot in one sitting… we weren’t actually sitting…. we were all standing around the doughnut pan…. there’s nothing quite like a warm doughnut with a chocolate glaze fresh out the oven.

Enjoy ❤

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Banana Doughnuts with a Chocolate Glaze (makes around 8)

125g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 egg

65g light brown sugar

60g unsalted butter, melted

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp/30ml buttermilk

For the glaze:

100g dark or milk chocolate

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tbsp golden syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and spray your doughnut pan with non-stick spray
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl
  3. Whisk the egg and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, mashed bananas, vanilla extract and buttermilk, until fully combined
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined, be careful not to overmix, otherwise the doughnuts will be too dense
  5. Spoon the mixture into your doughnut pan, or use a piping bag (whichever you prefer)
  6. Bake for around 8 minutes or so, until they have browned a little. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly before glazing
  7. To make the chocolate glaze: melt the chocolate, oil and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat. Dip the doughnuts into the chocolate glaze and sprinkle over pretty much anything you want (I left mine plain because I was in a plain mood 😉 )
  8. I find that they are best eaten on the same day, but if you don’t quite manage that, you can pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften and warm up!

*inspired by sallysbakingaddiction*

My Favourite Banana Bread [with nutella this time]

It was a banana bread kind of day today. I had 4 bananas hanging on my banana tree looking very very bruised and sorry for themselves; now they are very very mashed and happy in my bread!

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I loooooooooooove this recipe and make it all the time, but today was special, because I dolloped a load of nutella in the middle. You can add pretty much whatever you want (or keep it plain and simple with no “swirl”).

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It was too good today, thus I had to share.

Click here for the full recipe and instructions in my previous post….

ENJOY ❤

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Blueberry & Oat Doughnuts

Owning a doughnut pan is a very very risky business. I feel as though it is possible I may have gained at the very least half a stone in weight – simply from doughnuts.

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So to make myself feel very slightly better, I made up a rather healthy and rather tasty recipe! I’ve had some applesauce in my fridge for a while and have been meaning to put it to good use. If you don’t have any in the cupboard, yogurt could be another good healthy substitution for the ‘fat’. I love the addition of blueberries, spilling and bubbling over the top, creating a sweet and subtle flavour. The applesauce is quite tangy, and it’s not everyone’s cup-o’-tea, but I kinda like it!

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Considering these are so so low in calorie and still considerably satisfying when you simply need “a bit of scran” (don’t you just love British slang), they definitely stand alongside my insanely healthy flapjacks!

The fact that you still feel as though you are holding a doughnut (oh that wondrous and godly shaped treat) basically makes you love them either way. Who doesn’t love a doughnut?!

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Enjoy! ❤

Blueberry & Oat Doughnuts (makes 6)

50g rolled oats

30g plain flour

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp applesauce

60ml soya milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Handful fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and spray your doughnut pan with non-stick spray
  2. Mix your dry ingredients together and then pour in the wet. Gently fold in the blueberries until fully combined
  3. Pipe or spoon into your tin (whichever you find easiest) and bake for around 15 minutes
  4. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack

Quintessentially British Buttermilk Scones

Everyone seems to rave about using buttermilk in scones. I regularly bake scones; plain, fruity, sweet, savory, and so on. They are quintessentially British, and nothing seems better than a cream tea (check out my classic recipe here). When you become a regular scone baker (it’s not that hard – you’ll get addicted) you suddenly transform into a scone freak; I’m talking getting the perfect amount of raising agent, right amount of golden colouring, perfect combination of light yet somehow thick, creamy texture, with a sweet but not overwhelming flavour.
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But very rarely do I use buttermilk to achieve this. Mainly because I like my favourite recipes, so why branch out and use another, when I know I can rely on my trusty, classic, traditional, simple, sturdy, good ol’ scone recipe..? (here it is if you haven’t already found it 😉 )
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I branched out. I did it. I went there. I was pleasantly surprised – these were super moist and super thick. Very different to my classic recipe, and I’m still not sure I prefer using buttermilk, I suppose it depends on preference (using buttermilk gives them a bit of a twang – a good twang – and also a rich density which doesn’t suit everyone).
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Of course I added strawberries at a last attempt to claim summer before it leaves us here in England. Not quite as fresh as in June/July, but still pretty scrummy! Especially with my homemade jam – Plum this time – new obsession along with the doughnut panJAM MAKING! Recipes (for the jams) are still being put together and tweaked, each batch seems to turn out slightly more runny or slightly more solid than the last, I’m slowly (very slowly) learning the art!
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Enjoy ❤
P.S. I can’t believe it’s September tomorrow…. where did the summer go?!
Buttermilk Scones (makes around 15)
450g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
75g unsalted butter, cubed
75g caster sugar
100g sultanas/raspberries/strawberries etc
2 eggs, beaten
1x 200ml buttermilk (or 200ml milk & 1tbsp lemon juice)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and lightly grease your baking trays
2. Mix the flour and baking powder, then rub (using your fingertips) the butter in, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
3. Stir in the sugar and any fruit you wish to add. Mix the eggs and buttermilk together in a jug and pour into the breadcrumb mixture (saving a little for later)
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, lightly kneading for 1 minute until it gathers together
5. Roll and pat out, cutting as many rounds as possible from the first rolling (I used a 2 inch cutter) Keep rolling out until you have used up all the dough
6. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg and bake for around 10 minutes or until golden
7. Remove and cool on a wire rack – serve with clotted cream and jam, with a cup of Yorkshire tea!

When Life Gives You Lemons – Grab Tequila & Salt – Or Loads Of Eggs & Make a Tart

I’ve never made a tart before…. *shock*gasp*horror*

I know…. I think I’ve kinda been putting it off, cause I don’t really like them, and I know they can be tricky little creatures, or big creatures for that matter. I’ve always made jam tarts, very tiny, very easy, jam tarts, literally just with a blob of jam in the middle, no work involved really.

However a rare moment happened a few weeks ago. My Grandad and Dad came into the kitchen, placed a magazine in front of me, with a recipe for a lemon tart spread across two pages. My eyes immediately went to the corner where there was an alternative salted caramel chocolate tart…. Now that was my cup of tea!

But, alas, after much dispute, it was decided I was to make this tart, not for me, not with chocolate, and not with great happiness, but for Grandad and Dad.

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It was actually really simple to make, I just needed SO MANY EGGS! Apart from the slight horror of using up almost all of the eggs in my cupboard, I warmed to the idea of a challenge and something new. That’s what bakers do right?!

After lots of prep and waiting for things to cool and carefully swaying a tray full of tart into the oven (boy was that a challenge) I actually kinda maybe potentially made a pretty sweet pie tart thingy.

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I don’t really like lemon (much prefer orange), but it wasn’t too bad at all. The pastry could have been better, but I suppose that comes with experience, as well as the right amount of mixing and whisking with the filling. In fact I’m sure there are nicer and more fancy recipes out there for lemon tarts, but I liked the simplicity of this one (if I remember correctly, I believe it was a French recipe) and thought it was pretty good for innocent tart beginners like myself. Obviously I will be making a chocolate-y one soon enough….

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But I wanted to share, as my Grandad and Dad thoroughly enjoyed it, as did I with the rustic appearance (I like imperfect things!).

Hope you enjoy and have a fabulous weekend ❤

Rustic Lemon Tart (serves around 6-8)

For the sweet pastry:

120g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

75g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

2 egg yolks

250g plain flour

2 tbsp water

For the lemon filling:

5 eggs

150g caster sugar

85ml lemon juice, around 3 lemons

2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

150ml double cream

  1. To make the pastry: In a large bowl, cream the butter and icing sugar together, then beat in 2 of the egg yolks. Add the flour and rub the mixture with your fingers, creating a breadcrumb texture. Add the water (if you need it) and form a ball with the mixture. Knead the pastry on a lightly floured surface (try not to overwork the pastry otherwise it will be too hard – I knead for around 1 minute). Wrap in cling film and chill for around 30-60 minutes
  2. Making the lemon cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and cream. Sieve and then add the zest. Place in the fridge to cool
  3. Take out the pastry and roll out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a circle, around 3mm thick. Here comes the tricky part! Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it over a (I used 24cm) loose-bottom tart tin. Gently tuck into the bottom edges of the tin so it fits nice and tightly. Cut off any excess (I wasn’t too bothered about a neat tart – hence the adjective rustic!). If you have any particularly loose or thin parts, use the excess pastry and press gently into rough areas to create a nice snug fit. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes
  4. Cooking the pastry: Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Now line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, pushing them against the side. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out both greaseproof paper and beans. Return the pastry to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes
  5. Cooking the lemon cream: Turn the oven down to 150°C/ 275°F/Gas Mark 1. Pour the lemon mixture into your pastry base and carefully place it into the oven (CAREFULLY!). Bake for around 35-40 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes, then dredge icing sugar around the edge of the tart. Remove the tart from the tin and place on a serving plate. Enjoy!