baking, celebration, christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, pastry

Christmas Tart

Christmas Tart
A moist tart full of festive fruit and topped with a light sponge. Encased in a crisp buttery pastry.

A moist tart that is an ideal Christmas treat. With lashings of moist fruit, soft sponge and a crisp sweet pastry, it won’t last long. It makes a wonderful alternative to a rich Christmas pudding and will accompany a freshly brewed pot of tea…to a tee. Simply decorated, with a glazed top and glittery fondant stars it creates a stylish looking pastry.

Ingredients: (Makes 10″ tart)

Pastry:
250g plain flour. Extra for rolling dough.
156g chilled butter – cut into cubes.
62g caster sugar.
84g egg – approx’ 1 1/2 eggs.
1/2 tsp salt.

Fruit filling:
50g raisins.
100g sultanas.
50g veg’ suet.
25g mixed peel.
50g soft dark brown sugar.
50ml brandy.
1 tsp mixed spice.
Juice of 1/2 orange and all the zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon and all the zest.

Jam for tart base:
3 dessert spoons of ginger jam/preserve for base of the tart.

Sponge:
60g self raising flour – sieved.
50g ground almonds.
1 tsp mixed spice.
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
2 beaten eggs – at room temp.
1tsp vanilla extract.
100g caster sugar.
100g soft butter.

Apricot Glaze:
3 dessert spoons of apricot jam.
2 tabls of water.

Decoration:
50g of fondant easy roll icing. Rolled to 3mm thickness and cut into star
shapes with cutter.
Edible glitter spray – lightly spray each star.

Method/cook:

Fruit filling:
Mix all the ingredients together. Leave to macerate for 24 hours in a cool place.

Pastry:
Beat the egg and sugar together until well mixed – set aside.
Add the salt to the flour.
Rub the butter into the flour to create a crumb texture.
Once all the butter has been rubbed into the flour add the egg and sugar mix.
Combine all ingredients into a dough, wrap in cling film and chill for several hours.
Note: This dough is quite sticky, so use a little extra flour to bring it all together. Refrigerate for several hours before rolling.
Once chilled, roll out and line a 10″, loose bottomed, flan tin. Pop your lined flan tin in the refrigerator to chill. Set aside.

Sponge:
Combine the flour, ground almonds and spices. Set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar.
Gradually mix the beaten egg into the creamed butter and sugar . (Note: Eggs at room temp’ will lessen the risk of splitting when mixed with the butter. If your mix starts to split before all the egg has been added – mix in a couple of tabls’ of the flour mix.)
Add all the flour mix to the butter mix. Combine, thoroughly, with a balloon whisk. Set aside.

Preparing the tart for baking:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
With your fruit macerated, flan tin lined with pastry and the sponge mix made, it’s time to prepare the tart for baking. Place your lined flan tin on a baking tray.
Firstly, spread a layer of ginger jam over the base of your flan. (see image)
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Next, drain any liquid from the macerated fruit mix. Put a layer of the drained fruit mix on top of the jam layer. (see image)
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Finally add the sponge layer over the fruit. (see image)
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Bake on the lower middle shelf for 35-45 mins’. The tart is cooked when the middle of the sponge is firm to touch. After 35 mins’, give the centre of the sponge a light press with your finger. If the sponge is firm and springs back up after lifting your finger – it’s baked. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Time to prepare the apricot glaze.

Apricot glaze:
In a pan, slowly heat up the apricot jam and water to a, simmering, runny consistency.
Sieve the glaze to remove any apricot bits.
Now spoon the hot apricot glaze over the top of your hot tart.
Leave the tart to cool in the flan tin.

Serving:
Turn out your cooled tart and decorate with glittery fondant stars.
Serve generous slices with whipped cream.
Enjoy.

celebration, christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, pudding

Flaming Fabulous Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding
A Luxurious Christmas pudding made in single succulent portions. With rich fruit, treacle and brandy… it’s flaming fabulous.

A rich, fruity pudding for the festive season. This ‘old flame’ pops up once a year and it’s well worth the wait. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off making your own luxury puddings. They’re very easy to make and can be steamed several days in advance and re-heated just before serving on Christmas day. These puddings actually taste better if cooked several days before serving and one less thing to think about on Christmas day.

Ingredients: Makes 8 individual 150ml puddings. Tip: Heatproof plastic pudding moulds are great to use, as the cooked puddings can be chilled and re-heated in the microwave. For the purpose of this recipe I have used both plastic and stainless steel moulds.

50g strong flour.
100g veg’ suet.
100g raisins.
100g sultanas.
50g mixed chopped peel. (See recipe below)
50g chopped dried apricots.
65g glacé cherries – halved. (Extra for garnish)
1/2 nutmeg – grated.
1 heaped tsp mixed spice.
100g soft dark brown sugar.
100g bread crumbs.
25g flaked almonds.
50ml milk.
2 eggs lightly whisked.
100ml brandy.
Juice of 1 orange. (save the peel)
Juice of 1 lemon. (save the peel)
2 dessert spoons of treacle.

Butter for greasing your dariole/pudding molds.
8 good teaspoons of treacle for the bottom of each mould.

Mixed Peel:
Peel from 1 orange
Peel from 1 lemon.
600ml water
2 dessert spoons of sugar.
1 bay leaf.
4 cardamon pods.

Garnish:
200g glacé cherries.
Strips/julienne of orange and lemon peel – use mixed peel recipe.
Brandy for flaming – 2 tabls for each pudding.
50g Fondant/easy roll icing. Roll out to 3mm thickness and cut out star shapes with a small star cutter.

Method/cook:

Pudding:
Combine all the dry ingredients – set aside.
Add the milk and eggs to the dry ingredients – mix.
Now add the brandy, lemon juice and orange juice – mix.
Finally, add the 2 dessert spoons of treacle and thoroughly combine.
Cover the pudding mix with cling film and store in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Once the pudding mix has had the time to macerate it’s ready to cook.
Grease your 8 pudding moulds with butter.
Drizzle 1 good teaspoon of treacle into the bottom each mould, then drop in 3 glacé cherries. (see image)
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Divide your pudding mix between the 8 moulds – approx 140g for each pudding. Note: Don’t overfill or pack the moulds – leave a centimeter from the top. (see image)
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When all your moulds have been filled, top with a circle of parchment paper and fix in place with string or an elastic band. (see image)
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Wrap each pudding in tin foil. (see image)
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To steam the puddings: Pop your puddings into a large pan. Top up the pan with boiling water until it reaches half way up the sides of the moulds. Bring the water to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer – pop on a lid.
Simmer the puddings for 50 mins’.

Mixed Peel: (I like to make my own as it uses up orange and lemon peel that would otherwise be discarded. Also, the strips of homemade peel look very attractive as a garnish and taste great with xmas’ puds’.)

Place all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil, pop on a lid and simmer for 40 mins’.
After 40 mins’ drain the peel and chill.
Chop 50g for your pudding mix. Save the rest for garnish.

Serving:
Note: If you have made your puddings several days in advance, re-heat in the microwave. Place your puddings, in their plastic moulds, upside down in a dish. Heat on full power for 2 mins’.
Serve your hot puddings topped with 3 glacé cherries and strips of your cooked orange and lemon peel.
Top with an optional spoon or two of brandy.
Serve with either brandy sauce, brandy butter or custard.

Enjoy.

bread, celebration, chocolate, Easter, food blogging, thefoodygrail.com

Chocolate and Orange Easter Bread

Easter Bread. Chocolate and Orange.
Chocolate and orange Easter Bread.

A sweet treat for Easter – or any occasion really.
This recipe is my own and, with a method similar to baking a Stollen, is very easy to make. It uses a simple fortified dough (containing eggs and butter) and takes little kneading. Give it a go.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
10″ or 25.5cm non-stick baking tin – greased and lined with parchment paper.
600g Strong Flour – plus some for kneading.
150ml warm milk – blood temperature.
200g unsalted butter – must be unsalted.
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk.
2 tsps salt.
2 tabls caster sugar.
25g dried active yeast or 50g fresh yeast.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Butter for greasing.

Filling:
180g Chocolate spread.
55g crushed Pistachio nuts.
Zest from 3 large oranges.

Glaze:
1/4 jar of Apricot jam.

Decoration:
1 packet of mini eggs.

Method:
In a large bowl stir 50g of butter into the warm milk.
When the butter has melted into the milk add the yeast, sugar and 2 heaped tablespoons of flour – taken from the 600g of flour that you have already weighed.
Tip: To remove any lumps of flour from the ferment – lightly whisk with a hand whisk.
Leave the milk and yeast mixture to ferment for 30-40 minutes. The mixture will bubble and quadruple in size.
In a second large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt and rub in the remaining 150g of butter, until all the butter has dispersed into the flour. Make a well in the centre.
In a separate bowl lightly whisk, with a fork, the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
When the ferment is ready add, with the eggs and vanilla, to the flour and butter mix.
Combine all the ingredients into a dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
Once kneaded, put the dough into a floured bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size.
Note: The first prove can take 2 hours.
Note: Unsalted butter is essential for the ferment, as salt will prevent yeast from activating.
Note: If you think that the dough is a little dry, add a touch more warm milk. If it’s to wet/sticky add a touch more flour.

Rolling the dough:

Once the dough has proved, roll out, on a lightly floured surface, into an oblong shape, approx’ 18″ x 13″ or 46cm x 33cm (see image 1 – below) and 1/4″ or 6mm in thickness.
Once rolled out to the required size, cover with chocolate spread and sprinkle with crushed pistachio nuts and the zest of the oranges. (see image 2 – below)
Roll up the dough into a sausage shape. Once rolled continue to roll the dough back and forth lightly stretching the length to approx’ 21″ or 53cm.  (See image 3 below.)
Once rolled to the desired length, trim 1/2″ or 1cm off each end.
Now, with a sharp knife, cut the dough into even pieces – approx’ 1 and a 1/4″ or 3.5cm in length.
Arrange the cut pieces of dough in a greased and lined baking tin. (see image 4 – below)
Cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours.
Once proved bake in a preheated oven on Gas 6 or 190°C / 375°F for 30-35 minutes.

Note: Don’t cram the baking tin with cut dough pieces – leave room for the dough to expand while proving. Any pieces that won’t fit in the tin just bake as separate buns and have with a cuppa’.

Glazing:

When Easter Bread is baked, remove from the oven.
Gently heat 4 tablespoons of Apricot jam in a pan until melted and liquid.
Remove the, warm, baked Easter Bread from the baking tin place on a wire rack.
Spoon the melted apricot jam over the warm bread, and using a pastry brush, make sure that the top and sides are covered with the apricot glaze.
Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Decorate with mini eggs, if you so wish. Enjoy.

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Image 3.                                                                                          Image 4.
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