Parma violet macarons

Well here we go again, a large absence on my part……..oops x I think I just have to accept that I am not going to blog as much over the summer period. Lots of very exciting things going on to keep me distracted. But I will try to put up the odd post here and there x

Today is a good one, I’ve been working on this macaron recipe for a while now to get it right and I’m pleased to finally be sharing it with you all now.

Parma violets are a firm favourite from my childhood and I could smell them all day, the smell is so amazing!! So I had to find a way to incorporate them in to a recipe!! I hope you like these as much as I do!! 🙂 x

Parma violet macarons

Ingredients: Shells

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 80ml water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 x 80g egg whites (approximately the egg whites of 4 large eggs)
  • 1tsp violet flavouring
  • food colouring
  • Crystallised violet petals

Filling:

  • 200ml Double cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Parma violet macarons

Method:

  1. Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds together thoroughly until you have a fine, even powder. Sieve and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the water and the caster sugar to the boil. Use a thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the syrup does not exceed 110ºC. This is very important.
  3. Whisk half the egg whites until they form soft peaks, not too stiff.
  4. Decrease the speed of the whisk, then, still whisking, pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites in a thin line. Continue whisking until the mixture has almost cooled, this will take a while and will be easier in a food mixer.
  5. Mix the other half of the egg whites (unbeaten) with the sugar and almond base to get a thick paste.
  6. Add the food colouring to the almond paste, this allows the colour to be mixed in well without overworking the meringue mix (as this can sometimes have disastrous consequences). Then add the violet flavouring.
  7. Add a little of the meringue to the almond paste with a flexible spatula and stir in with regular motion from the bottom towards the top and from the edges towards the centre of the bowl. Add the rest of the meringue in one go and mix in gently. This is a crucial step: it is the art of making macarons. The consistency of the macaron mix should be smooth, even and runny.
  8. Fill a piping bag with macaron mix and pipe small even discs of mix on to a tray covered with grease proof paper. Add crystallised petals to the top of half of the shells (you may want to choose the best half for this….heehee). Lightly tap the bottom of the tray on the work surface to remove any small air bubbles. Put the tray aside for 1 hour to allow the shells to dry, then bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 145ºC (or fan assited oven 125ºC).
  9. Immediately on taking the macaron shells out of the oven, slide the greaseproof paper on to a lightly dampened surface. This will stop them over cooking and make them easier to remove from the paper.
  10. The shells should be smooth and glossy with a good colour.

Filling:

  1. Whisk the double cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until it thickens sufficiently.
  2. Fill a piping bag and squeeze a good amount on to the bottom layer shells and the sandwich the upper layer on.

Parma violet macarons

Advertisements

Peanut butter and chocolate fudge

I thought it was about time I put up more recipes, it’s been quite a while. But this a recipe worth a long wait for, it’s super tasty and the perfect texture for fudge.

My friend Anne has given me access to lot’s of new amazing homemade sweet recipes and this is the first of many I plan to try out.
Fudge

 

Ingedients:

  • 750g caster sugar
  • 250ml golden syrup
  • 300ml double cream
  • 75g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 200g smooth, natural peanut butter
  • 150g roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
  • 100g milk chocolate (34% cocoa solids), chopped

 

fudge

 

  1. Grease a 8in square baking tin and line with baking parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Put the sugar, golden syrup, cream and butter in a large, heavy pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
  3. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring the mixture to the boil.
  4. Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a slow rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the soft-ball stage (114○C/238○F).
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Gently fold in the nuts and chopped chocolate.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking tin and leave it to cool completely. This can take up to 8 hours.
  7. Lift the fudge out of the tin by the sides of the parchment paper and place on a cutting surface. Cut into squares and serve. Store in an airtight container.

 

fudge

Strawberry tart

Hello………….I’m back!!

Most have you probably hadn’t even noticed that I had gone, but I’ve had no broadband for the last week and a bit which has been a little more than inconvenient to say the least!!!  I’ve had several blogs planned for quite a while  and I’ve been itching to share them with you!! So I’m sorry that you have had to wait so long, but I’m here now x

Today’s post is about the Strawberry tart that I made last weekend, it was extremely delicious!! And it’s already long gone….haha xx

But I think it is still worth sharing the recipe with you and as you can see I got some great photos and it looked amazing too!!!

The pastry recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 250g Plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 125g Cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for the tin
  • 2 Large free-range eggs
  • Dash of milk
  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the butter cubes. Using your finger tips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. At this stage, either continue with your hands or transfer to a food mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Beat together 1 of the eggs with the milk, add this to the flour mixture and mix until it just comes together into a crumbly ball of dough. Do not overwork it: it should look a little dry. Add a little more flour if needed.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to a day.
  4. It is often necessary to ‘blind bake’ the pastry. To do this, remove the clingfilm and roll the pastry out on a floured surface,using a floured rolling pin, until 5mm thick. Use it to line a lightly buttered tart tin. Cover with clingfilm return to the rigrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180○C/350○F/Gas mark 4.
  5. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or raw rice, to prevent the pastry rising. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans or rice. Beat the remaining egg, use it to brush the pastry all over, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes to seal the pastry; this stops the base becoming soggy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling.

And for the crème patisserie I followed this recipe:

  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  1. Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan along with the vanilla pod split lengthwise. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand to infuse for 10 minutes. If you’re not using the pod, add the vanilla extract later, when you’ve combined all the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy, and then beat in the flour. With the point of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the milk, and add this warm milk to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour back into the saucepan and stir or whisk gently over a low heat until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and let the custard cool by pouring it into a wide bowl and tearing off some greaseproof, wetting it, then covering the bowl with it. This stops it from forming a skin.Don’t put this in the fridge: something goes horribly wrong with the texture if you do, and you want utter, smooth voluptuousness here.

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Mix jam and lemon juice in small pan, bring to the boil and keep stirring until mixture becomes quite runny.
  2. Pour mixture on to a piece of muslin or fine sieve and drain off any excess water!!!

Then all you have to do is layer them all up and voilà!! x One tasty Strawberry tart x

Chocolate éclairs

Well I think it’s time for some more baking!! It thought I would try my hand at choux pastry this week and makes some yummy treats in the shape of Chocolate eclairs…….And I can report that they are yummy, I tested every single one myself!!  Nom nom……..bigger size dresses here we come!!  haha xx

So if any of you fancy being a lardy pants like me, here is the recipe;

Makes 12

  • 65g/2.5oz/9 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g/2oz/0.25 cup butter, diced
  • 150 ml/0.25 pint/two thirds cup of water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling and topping

  • 300ml/0.5 pint/ 1.25 cups double (heavy) cream
  • 10ml/2 tsp icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 1.5ml/0.25 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g/4oz plain (semisweet) chocolate
  • 30ml/2 tbsp water
  • 25g/1 oz/2 tbsp butter

1. Preheat the oven to 200○C 400○F/Gas mark 6. Grease a large baking sheet and line it with baking parchment.

2. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt on to a small sheet of baking parchment.

3. Heat the butter and water in a pan very gently until the butter melts. Increase the heat and bring the pan to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add all the flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour is incorporated.

4. Return the pan to low heat, then beat themixture until it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Set the pan aside and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until you have a smooth, shiny paste, which is thick enough to hold it’s shape.

6. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a 2.5cm/1in plain nozzle. Pipe 10cm/4in lengths on to the prepared baking sheet. Use a wet knife to cut off the pastry at the nozzle.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry fingers are well risen and golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven

8. Make a neat slit along the side of each to release the steam. Lower the oven temperature to 180○C/350○F/Gas mark 4 and bake for a further 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

9. To make the filling, whip the cream with with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until it just holds it’s shape. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/0.5in plain nozzle and use to fill the éclairs.

10. Place the chocolate and water in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water until melted. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the butter. Dip the top of each éclair in the melted chocolate, then place on a rack. Leave in a cool place until the chocolate is set. Best served within 2 hours of making, but can be chilled for 24 hours if required.

And the winner is……………………..Sweet fruit tart with crème patisserie

Well it wasn’t actually the winner, it was a draw between this and the cheesecake, so I had to have the deciding vote!! ;o)

As you will see I got the chance to play with my newest toy, my new yet Vintage Kenwood Chef!!!

And I think this has been my favourite recipe so far, they tasted amazing and were so much fun to make. I will definitely be doing these again (very soon)!! I used recipes from a couple of books for this, the sweet shortcrust pastry recipe was from Tana’s kitchen secrets by Tana Ramsay. and the crème patisserie was from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson.

The pastry recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 250g Plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 125g Cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for the tin
  • 2 Large free-range eggs
  • Dash of milk
  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the butter cubes. Using your finger tips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. At this stage, either continue with your hands or transfer to a food mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Beat together 1 of the eggs with the milk, add this to the flour mixture and mix until it just comes together into a crumbly ball of dough. Do not overwork it: it should look a little dry. Add a little more flour if needed.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to a day.
  4. It is often necessary to ‘blind bake’ the pastry. To do this, remove the clingfilm and roll the pastry out on a floured surface,using a floured rolling pin, until 5mm thick. Use it to line a lightly buttered tart tin. Cover with clingfilm return to the rigrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180○C/350○F/Gas mark 4.
  5. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or raw rice, to prevent the pastry rising. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans or rice. Beat the remaining egg, use it to brush the pastry all over, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes to seal the pastry; this stops the base becoming soggy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling.

And for the crème patisserie I followed this recipe:

  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  1. Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan along with the vanilla pod split lengthwise. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand to infuse for 10 minutes. If you’re not using the pod, add the vanilla extract later, when you’ve combined all the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy, and then beat in the flour. With the point of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the milk, and add this warm milk to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour back into the saucepan and stir or whisk gently over a low heat until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and let the custard cool by pouring it into a wide bowl and tearing off some greaseproof, wetting it, then covering the bowl with it. This stops it from forming a skin.Don’t put this in the fridge: something goes horribly wrong with the texture if you do, and you want utter, smooth voluptuousness here.

Pretty simple really, once both the pastry and the crème patisserie had cooled sufficiently I spooned in the crème patisserie and added the fruit on top. I think I may try Strawberries or Blackberries next time x But feel free to try any fruit you fancy!!

I have a busy couple weeks coming up and haven’t decided yet what to try next!! But perhaps a cake again may be worth considering now that I have a Kenwood Chef to play with :o) x