Archive for March, 2017

Hot Cross Buns

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by Harriet Low No Comments

1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.

3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – at least 1 hour, but it’s fine to leave it for 2 or even 3 hours.

4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and scatter the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon on top. Knead in until evenly incorporated. Cover and leave to rise for a further hour.

5. Fold the dough inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide into 12 peices and roll into balls. Place, fairly close together, on 1 or 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment or silicone paper.

6. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rest for 1 hour, or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C.

7. For the crosses, mix the flour and water to a paste. Using a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Warm the apricot jam with a splash of water, sieve and brush over the tops of the warm buns to glaze. Cool on a wire rack.

Simnel Cake

Posted on: March 19th, 2017 by Harriet Low No Comments

1. Heat your oven to 150°C. Line the base and sides of a 20cm round deep cake tin with baking parchment, cutting it so that it stands a good 5cm proud of the top of the tin.

2. Roll out one-third of the marzipan to about 5mm thickness and cut a circle that will just fit inside the cake tin. Set aside.

3. Using an electric hand-held whisk or mixer, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cinnamon, orange zest and lemon zest together in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Stir in the sultanas, currants and glace cherries until thoroughly combined.

4. Put half of the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Lay the prepared marzipan circle over the mixture, then spoon the rest of the cake mixture on top and smooth the surface.

5. Bake for about 2½ hours until the cake is well risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. When the cake is cooled, warm the apricot jam gently with a splash of water in a small pan over a low heat, sieve, then brush over the top of the cake. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and cut to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges decoratively. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife, if you like.

7. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls. Brush the marzipan on the cake with beaten egg, then place the marzipan balls evenly around the edge. Brush the balls with beaten egg too. Use a cook’s blowtorch to brown the marzipan balls. Alternatively, do this by putting the cake under a hot grill for a few moments; watch it carefully because marzipan burns easily.

Soda Bread

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by Harriet Low No Comments

1.Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Put the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and pour in half the buttermilk. Using your fingers or a round-bladed knife, draw the flour into the buttermilk. Continue to add the buttermilk until all the flour has been absorbed and you have a sticky dough. You may not need all the buttermilk – it depends on the flour you use.

3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, shape it into a ball and flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. It is important to work quickly, as once the buttermilk is added it begins to react with the bicarbonate of soda.

4. Put the dough on the baking tray. Mark into quarters with a large, sharp knife, cutting deeply through the loaf, almost but not quite through to the base. Dust the top with flour.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Eat on the day of baking – or toast it the next day.

 

Photography by Peter Cassidy

Croissants

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 by Karl Hudson No Comments

1. Put the flour into a bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the water and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be fairly stiff.

2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm; it should be about 1cm thick. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 40 x 19cm, by bashing it with a rolling pin. Put the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.

4. Fold the exposed dough at the top down over one-third of the butter. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of the dough up. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour to harden the butter.

5. Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured work surface with a short end towards you. Roll into a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top to make a neat square to make a neat square. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back into the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge for an hour between turns.

6. Your dough now needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly.

7. When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.

8. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 30cm wide; it should be about 7mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten them.

9. Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.

10. Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. Now starting at the thick end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.

11. Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.

12. Heat your oven to 200°C.

13. Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.