I don’t buy biscuits. I simply don’t because I might simply scoff the lot. Plus there is the vexatious question of dubious ingredients in some shop bought biscuits (think additives and trans fats). However I do have a sweet a tooth so I occasionally bake a batch of biscuits. These vanilla biscuits are one of the first things I learnt to bake many years ago; they are beyond easy to make and if you exclude the cooking time the making of them takes just five minutes. You should get about twenty from this recipe.
Tag Archives: Baking
I love the glorious aroma of freshly baked home-made bread. However I have limited bread making skills and I am rather scared of using yeast so other than occasionally making focaccia I tend to stick to baking breads that don’t require it. The yeast free spelt bread pictured above is very easy to make; it is just the thing when you want to cut back on your wheat intake and it tastes delicious. The recipe comes from ‘Cornucopia at Home: The Cook Book’.
Am I alone in sticking to a very limited choice of foods to eat for breakfast? I usually select either the healthy option of a bowl of porridge with yogurt or the not so healthy alternative of a scone. In an effort to make some tiny changes to my breakfast routine, when I was baking a batch of scones for the freezer I added walnuts and dried mango instead of the usual couple of handfuls of sultans. I try to avoid dairy as much as possible but I have never been able to find an acceptable substitute to use for baking, if anyone knows one please let me know.
I am of the make-your-own-pastry-tribe but if you’re not and would like to make the tart you could always seek out a good ready-made pastry. When a recipe calls for a pastry shell to be baked blind, I adopt a twenty-four hour approach to tackling it; I make the pastry and bake the shell the evening before it’s needed and then all I have to do the following day is make the filling and cook off the tart. This is a Simon Hopkinson recipe, I suspect everybody is probably into Simon Hopkinson’s latest book, The Good Cook, post his recent BBC series, but the chocolate tart recipe is from his older and excellent book Roast Chicken and Other Stories published by Ebury Press in 1994.
For the pastry
65g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
225g plain flour
For the filling
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
40g caster sugar
200g dark chocolate broken into pieces (I used one with a 70% cocoa content)
To make the pastry, put the butter, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl (or food processor) and work together quickly. Blend in the flour, and work to a homogenous paste. Chill for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C . Roll out the pasty as thinly as you can and use it to line a 20.5cm tart tin. Bake blind in the oven for about 25 minutes or until pale biscuit in colour, but thoroughly cooked through. Remove. Increase the heat of the oven to 190°C.
To make the filling, put the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat vigorously together, preferably with an electric mixer until really thick and fluffy. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Pour on to the egg mixture while just warm. Briefly beat together until well amalgamated, them pour into the pastry case. Return to the hot oven for 5 minutes, then remove and leave to cool. Serve with thick cream.
Note: To bake the pastry case blind I lined it with tin foil and weighed it down with uncooked rice.
This Sunday’s weather made it very difficult to believe that we are just ten days away from Midsummer. The sky was dull and dark in these parts and misty, gauzy, grey rain floated incessantly to the ground. A soft day! To cheer myself up this evening I did a spot of comfort baking and whizzed up a batch of orange and cinnamon breakfast bars, for the freezer. The recipe comes from Jane Clarke’s book Body Foods for Life.