Dulce and Banana Cake

Yes, the pun is intended. I think. Another one of Lorraine Pascale’s recipe, this is a really tasty cake and allowed me to introduce booze to my baking, which is always a bit fun. Don’t take that too seriously, I am not an alcoholic. Use ripe bananas as they will give you the best result and only peel them and slice them when you are ready to roll, as they tend to go a bit brown (it’s called oxidization  if you want to impress your friends).

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Ingredients (for the topping)

  • 75g butter
  • 75g soft light brown sugar

Ingredients (for the sponge)

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 75g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rum

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20cm/8in square tin with baking parchment and grease again. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. First make the topping. Place the butter and soft light brown sugar in a small pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble away for a few minutes, until it begins to thicken slightly. Stir it frequently so it does not catch on the bottom.
  3. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the lined tin and tip the tin back and forth to spread it out evenly. The mixture will eventually solidify in the tin so make sure to spread it out now.
  4. Now make the sponge mixture. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl (or food mixer) until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at time, beating hard between each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Then fold in both flours, the baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, treacle and salt and set aside.
  5. Slice the bananas into 5mm thick pieces. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the tin. Pack them all in tight so they don’t move around once the cake mix goes over. Then drizzle over the rum.
  6. Now, carefully dollop the cake mix over the bananas and gently spread it out with the back of a spoon or palate knife, levelling the top. Pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes.
  7. After 35 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and insert a metal skewer or the blade of a small knife right into the centre (but not touching the bottom. It should come out completely clean. If there is some cakey gooeyness left on it just pop it back in the oven for another five minutes or so.
  8. Once the cake is cooked remove it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Then put a large flat plate over the top of the tin and holding the tin and the plate, flip the whole lot over so that the tin is now upside down. Gently remove the tin and carefully peel off the baking parchment.
  9. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.
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Cheddar Cheese Risotto

Such a weird and yet so tasty combination could only be the result of Nigella’s diabolical mind. I have to say, I was instantly attracted to this because, as a big cheese fan, I didn’t want to miss the chance to include it even in risottos. And yes, I know you usually use Parmesan cheese in normal risotto anyway, but a risotto where the cheese gets the spotlight is truly wonderful. If you want to be at peace with your conscience, consider it a leek risotto with plenty of added cheddar. Easy and very straightforward to make, it needs to be eaten on the same day, possibly within an hour of making. It tends to go a bit hard when left in the fridge, so it doesn’t lend itself too well to a packed lunch.

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Ingredients

  • a few knobs of butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 L hot vegetable stock
  • 125g Cheddar, chopped
  • fresh chives, chopped, to decorate

Method

  1. Melt the butter and drizzle some olive oil in a pan, then tumble in the leeks and cook over a medium heat until softened.
  2. Add the rice and keep on stirring until glossy and slick, then turn up the heat and add the wine and mustard. Keep on stirring until the wine has been absorbed.
  3. Start ladling the stock into the pan, ensuring each ladleful of stock gets absorbed before adding a new one. Keep on stirring.
  4. Continue adding the stock until the rice is al dente, that is with a bit of a bite.
  5. Add the cheese and keep on stirring to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and spoon the risotto into dishes, then scatter with some chives, add a twist of pepper of you want and enjoy.

Tips

  • As usual, I have made this risotto with Red Leicester and it came out as nice as with standard mature cheddar. Try other cheeses such as Gorgonzola or Gruyere, you won’t be disappointed!

Linzertorte

I found the recipe for this cake (and its first mention) on an Italian blog about baking. The guy who started it is a former pastry chef and, in a typical Northern Italian way (read: monotone), he shows you how to prepare cakes, pasties and French patisserie must-haves, not to mention he posted very good tutorials on how to make pastry. You can have a look here.

As it usually is the case, I later found out the recipe I am about to post is not the original one for the Linzertorte, so apologies to all purists about. In my defence, the origins of this cake seem to be enshrouded in a deeper mystery than those of the Sachertorte, for which I am proud to say I have found the original recipe and will be making it soon. Anyway, the most curious thing about this cake is that it is a piped one. Yes, you have read correctly, the pastry is piped in the baking tin. Easy to do if you have big piping bag nozzles, not so if you, like me, only had small ones.

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Ingredients

  • 200g soft unsalted butter
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 250g plain flour
  • vanilla extract
  • berry jam, half a jar

Method

  1. In a big bowl, cream the butter until soft and fluffy using an electric whisk. Slowly add the ground almonds and icing sugar and mix well. 
  2. Crack in the egg and keep on whisking to combine it with the rest of the mixture.
  3. Last addition, pour 1 tsp of vanilla extract in the bowl and slowly add the flour, mixing well. The overall consistency of the dough should be similar to that of a paste. Don’t worry if it’s too hard, as that is what allows you to pipe it later.
  4. Grease and line a baking tray (approximately 22cm diameter) and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and, using a 1cm star nozzle (the bigger the better in this case), use approximately half the mixture to fill the base. Pipe in circles, starting from the outside and turning the tin as you go, so that from above it should look like a big twirl. Remember to only pipe one layer.
  6. Once finished, use a palette knife to smooth it all out and fill any gaps which you might have created while piping. starting from the centre, spoon in some jam (as much as you like). Leave approximately 1.5cm empty all around the edge.
  7. Now let’s pipe the sides. Use half of the remaining mixture to pipe a second layer on top of the base all around the edge. Don’t worry if the mixture touches the jam layer, as that is actually better. Make sure you leave no gaps between the jam and the sides by piping an inner circle if necessary.
  8. Use the remaining mixture to pipe a lacing pattern on top. No need to panic for it, just make it simple and hold the cake in front of you, then draw vertical lines. Turn it by 90 degrees and draw some more vertical lines. Easy.
  9. Put it in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Once ready, it will be all golden and slightly puffed up and it will be shrinking from the sides.
  10. Let it cool before serving as the jam will be scorching hot!

Tips

  • The jam flavour you use is totally up to you. I used wild berries as the original recipe used a similar one, but you are more than welcome to try it with blueberries, blackberries and so on. I would say that, in order to achieve a better effect, the jam should be dark so as to create a nice contrast with the pastry layers. That said, it would probably look nice in red as well, so maybe you could give strawberry and/or raspberry jam a go.

Caramel chocolate torte

I found this amazing recipe in the Christmas edition of the Feel Good Food magazine. A bit outdated, I agree, but a still very useful recipe for one of the deepest and darkest chocolate torte you have ever tasted. It was down as a salted caramel torte, but as I am not a massive fan of salted caramel (and indeed any salty dessert whatsoever), I just took the salt off. I know the method might sound and look complicated, but believe me it’s really easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 12 digestive biscuits
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar (for the caramel)
  • 2 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 600ml double cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • 125 g caster sugar (for the chocolate layer)
  • vanilla extract
  • 300g dark chocolate, melted and left to cool

Method

  1. Put the biscuits in the food processor and blitz until you get fine breadcrumbs, then tip in the butter (diced, for ease of operation) and whiz again until you get a sandy consistency. Tip into the base of a lined 20cm loose bottomed cake tin and press down well. Chill in the fridge while you get on with the rest.
  2. For the caramel, place the sugar, glucose and 4 tbsp water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Using a damp pastry brush, remove any crystals which are forming on the side of the pan but for Heaven’s sake don’t stir the sugar any more. Increase the heat a bit and let is come to a bubble until the mixture turns a rich golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 300ml of the cream in another saucepan and bring it to the boil. Remove the caramel from the heat and slowly and carefully pour in the hot cream, whisking all the time. Stir well, then return the pan to the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Once cooled, pour most of the caramel over the biscuit base in the cake tin and spread it almost to the edges. Reserve the remaining caramel for the topping. Put the cake tin back in the fridge.
  5. Place the egg whites and the sugar in a bowl over hot water. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then remove the bowl from the water and whisk the mixture to form a thick meringue.
  6. In a different bowl, whisk the remaining cream with a few drops of vanilla extract until it just forms soft peaks.
  7. Fold the chocolate into the meringue mix, then fold in the cream. Pour over the caramel in the tin and smooth the top. Chill the torte until set (about 1 hour to be on the safe side).
  8. Once the cake is chilled enough, spoon the rest of the caramel into a piping bag and use to decorate the top with nice swirls.
  9. To serve, run a round bladed knife around the edges of the tin to release the cake and slide it on to a serving plate.

Shanghai Dumplings

For those of you who don’t know it, today marks the beginning of a new year according to the Chinese calendar. The year of the dragon is over and leaves its place to the snake, who is to reign for another year of happiness, prosperity and love – or, at least, that’s what you would hope. Anyway, here is a favourite of mine. A very easy (I promise!) recipe for steamed dumplings. The idea originates from a recipe I found in an issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine. You’ll need a steamer or a Chinese bamboo steamer (with a lid) to make these, so be sure to have that ready!

Ingredients (for the dough & the dipping sauce)

  • 400g plain flour
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil (all-purpose vegetable oil is also good)
  • 2 cabbage leaves
  • 100ml black rice vinegar (I can never find this, so I use 90ml rice vinegar and 2 tbsp soy sauce instead)
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded fresh ginger
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and finely sliced

Method (to make the dough)

  1. Put 365g of the flour in a bowl, then add 60ml boiling water and slowly mix using a wooden spoon.
  2. Gradually, stir another 125ml of lukewarm water into the dough and keep on mixing with the wooden spoon until a dough starts to form.
  3. Add 60ml cold water together with the sunflower oil and get your hands in there to mix it and bring it together. If you feel the dough is too sticky, adjust it with the rest of the flour.
  4. Tip onto a floured working surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes, then wrap in clingfilm and leave on the side to rest for about 30 minutes.

Ingredients (for the filling)

  • 450g pork mince
  • 125g raw king prawns, deveined and finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Method (continued)

To make the filling, tip all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well using a spoon or with your hands.

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  1. Once the dough is ready, divide it in 4 equal portions and roll each one out to a log about 3cm in diameter.
  2. Cut each log in two, then each of the two sections in two again, so as to get 8 small dough balls out of each log.
  3. Keeping your working surface floured, roll out each small ball until 2mm thick to make a small circle.
  4. Place 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre of the dumpling, then bring the seams together at the top and seal by giving it a small twist.
  5. Place on a floured tray and cover with a damp towel until ready to use.

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  1. Place a pan of boiling water on medium heat and line the base of the steamer with the cabbage leaves, then place that on top of the pan.
  2. Cook the dumplings in batches of 6-7 for about 8-10 minutes, until becoming slightly translucent and the filling is thoroughly cooked.
  3. To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Dip the dumplings and ENJOY!

Pan di Stelle

I have recently decided to master all aspects of baking, and starting from biscuits was the obvious choice – I have a sweet tooth, after all! This is another Mulino Bianco (see previous post) signature bake, the so-called Pan di Stelle (lit. “bread of stars”). It is a chocolate & hazelnut shortbread biscuits decorated with sugar stars and scattered with more granulated sugar on top. Very easy to make and infinitely tasty to have for breakfast dipped in milk (as I used to do when I was a kid) or as an afternoon snack. For the sake of precision, I used a 50mm cookie cutter and managed to get 5 trays’ worth of biscuits. I also burnt a whole batch, though, so in the end I didn’t end up with a massive amount of biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 30g dark chocolate
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 50ml milk
  • 20g peeled toasted hazelnuts
  • granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/s tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Method

1. Break up the dark chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of slightly simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
2. If you’re using unpeeled hazelnuts, peel them and then toast them in a frying pan (by dry frying them for about 5-7 minutes). 
3. Once that is done, tip them in a food processor with 3 tbsp of granulated sugar and whiz until they form a smooth paste. The consistency should be fine and not coarse.
4. Line 5 baking trays.
5. In a big bowl, use a mixer (or a wooden spoon) and cream the butter with the icing sugar until soft and fluffy.
6. Add the hazelnut paste, the egg yolk (keep the white aside), the melted chocolate, milk and honey. Mix thoroughly (I used the electric whisk here as well).
7. Last addition, the flour and bicarb + baking powder. Use your hands and mix the dough/pastry together, scraping the flour which sticks to the bottom of the bowl and mixing it in. If you see the mixture is too crumbly and won’t stick together, add more milk one /teaspoon at a time and mix that in.
8. Tip the dough/pastry on to a floured working surface and bring together to form a round mould. Using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to about 2-3mm thickness. 
9. Using your cookie cutter (or a glass, for that matter) cut even shapes out of the dough/pastry and put them on the baking trays. See below (this is a new baking tray so I only floured it as it is a non-stick one):

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10. Re-roll the trimmings and roll them out again. Cut more shapes and use all of the dough/pastry until you can’t get any more biscuits out of it.

11. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

12. Once all of the biscuits are on the lined (or floured) trays, lightly whisk the egg white you had put to the side before and brush them. Put 4 (or 5, as many as you want really) stars on top and then dust with some granulated sugar. Final result below.

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13. Put in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Please keep an eye on them and check they are not turning too dark. I also used the idiot-proof breaking test, that is taking one biscuit out of the oven and leaving it to cool for a minute or so, then trying to break it into half and checking whether it snaps.

14. Once baked, leave the biscuits in their tins to cool completely on racks, then carefully peel off the paper and put in a cookie jar.

Tips

  • When rolling out the pastry/dough, it is fundamental you keep your working surface well-floured as otherwise the biscuits will stick to it and getting them off the working surface will be a nightmare. 
  • In order to put the stars on the biscuits and ensuring an (almost) uniform result, I dipped my index finger in some of the egg white and used it to pick up the small sugar stars.
  • If you don’t want to use already made sugar stars and prefer to make your own instead, you can prepare some royal icing. In my case, I just couldn’t be bothered, although I spent an entire evening sorting through two small tubs of shop-bought sugar stars to separate the white ones from the pink, orange and yellow ones…

Macine

There we go, my first attempt at these shortbread biscuits made with fresh cream. If you’re Italian, you will be familiar with them as I believe there is not a single household where Mulino Bianco goods have not been eaten. If you’re not Italian, then a little explanation is needed. “Macina” in Italian means “grinding/milling stone” and, in this case, it refers to the shape these biscuits have, that is a proper wheel. I bet the name was also chosen to provide a rustic/idyllic/picturesque image… Mulino Bianco (lit. “white water mill”), in addition, is a baked goods brand which specialises in biscuits and small cakes. Anyway, here is the link to their official page. In order to get biscuits of the same size, I used a tall glass – my biscuit cutters only arrived yesterday – and I made the small hole in the middle using a piping nozzle. How easier does it get?

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Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 50g corn flour
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 200g butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 egg, cold
  • 7 tbsp cold double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a big bowl, mix the plain and corn flour together with the icing sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. 
  2. Add the cubed butter and rub it in using your fingertips until you get a sandy consistency and all bigger lumps of butter have been absorbed.
  3. Once that is done, add the egg, cream and vanilla essence, then bring the pastry together using your hands. You might need to add more cream or flour, so make sure you have them ready and add 1 tbsp of each at a time.
  4. Don’t overwork the pastry but merely bring it all together, then tip on a floured working surface, shape into a flat disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour.
  5. In the meantime, line 3 baking trays and, once the waiting time is almost over, pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  6. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out using a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness. Make sure you keep your working surface floured or the pastry will stick to it. Also try and handle it as little as possible. If you feel it’s becoming too soft and supple, pop it back into the fridge to firm up for another 15 minutes.
  7. Once the pastry has been rolled out, use a cookie cutter (or a glass, as I did) and cut evenly sized discs. While they’re still on the working surface, use a piping nozzle (possibly a star one or one which can make a medium-sized hole) to carve a hole in the middle of each disc. Transfer to one of the baking trays. I managed to squeeze about 15 to 20 on each.
  8. Keep on re-rolling the dough trimmings and cutting more discs out of them. Aim to get as many biscuits as you can.
  9. Bake each batch in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden. Keep checking them as you bake them because they brown really easily.
  10. Once they are baked, take them out of the oven and leave to cool on racks.

Tips

  • These biscuits are so easy to make and so versatile it amazes me someone has not yet copied the recipe and marketed in the UK. They make a great addition to your breakfast (that is, if you can give up the beloved fried breakfast for once) or are nice to have as a quick snack.

Salmon en papillote

A very nice and easy supper, steaming salmon (or any other fish to be honest) with plenty of spices and accompanying it with some boiled greens allows me to have a non-fuss healthy dinner with plenty of flavour. For more options, try adding other ingredients (red peppers, spinach, carrots to name a few) or varying the fish. Trout or cod would also be nice.

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Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • juice from half a lime
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • green beans, to serve with

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut two pieces of foil and lay each salmon fillet in the middle.
  3. Drizzle with the sesame oil, mirin, soy sauce and lime juice.
  4. Scatter the red chillies on top and add the spring onions and the celery slices.
  5. Wrap the foil around the filling so as to make a small parcel and make sure you crimp the edges and seal it properly.
  6. Lay on a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes.
  7. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for another 5 minutes before opening on the plate and serving up with some freshly boiled greens.

Red Velvet Choc & Cherry Muffins

First of all, let me start by saying that these are not very red at all. Rather, a very deep chocolate-like colour, probably intensified by the addition of red food colouring. Also, the latter is artificial and liquid not by choice but because I was following the recipe as published in the BBC Good Food magazine. If you can’t/don’t want to use bottled colouring, just substitute with the same amount of beetroot juice or, even better, simply use 2 tsp of powder instead and increase the amount of buttermilk by 15ml. These muffins went down a treat at work, I hope they’ll be twice as successful for you!

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Ingredients

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 28ml bottle red food colouring
  • 100g glacé cherries, roughly chopped, plus extra to decorate
  • 150ml double cream
  • 140g cherry conserve/jam, sieved
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Prepare a 12-hole muffin tin by either greasing the holes or filling it with paper muffin cases (as I did).
  2. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing plenty of time after each addition to whisk.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Fold that in until there are no lumps. On that note, I kept on whisking here as I was in a hurry and it did the trick.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  5. Then add the buttermilk, red food colouring and chopped cherries, stirring that briefly with a spatula.
  6. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for about 20 minutes until well risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature.
  7. To make the icing, warm the cream and jam into a pan over a low heat, then once that is well hot tumble in the chocolate, take off the heat and let is stand for a good 5 minutes. Whisk (by hand) until all the chocolate is dissolved, then leave to cool (and firm up) at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  8. Spread the icing on the cakes and decorate with the reserved cherries.

Tips

  • My local supermarket did not have cherry jam or preserve, so I resorted to raspberry instead. It worked wonderfully.

Quiche Lorraine

I had been scouring the internet for a while to find a decent Quiche Lorraine recipe, one which potentially did not include any cheese, onion, ham or anything which deviates from the original recipe. I was therefore extremely happy to stumble across Rachel Khoo’s recipe on YouTube, where she clearly states that a self-respecting Quiche Lorraine only comprises eggs, cream and bacon. If you add anything else to it, then it just is something else. Please have a look at the TIPS sections as I give out quite a lot of useful information!

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Ingredients

  • 90g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 180g plain flour
  • 2 eggs yolks (for the pastry)
  • 1 egg white
  • 150g bacon lardons OR pancetta cubes
  • 4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 300ml double cream
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. In a bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and the salt.
  2. Next, add the flour, the egg yolks and a couple of tablespoons of cold water.
  3. Bring the mixture all together either using a wooden spoon or your bare hands (preferable!), then once you have reached a good consistency, wrap it in clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill and relax. Possibly overnight but, should you not have the time (or patience), one hour will do just as good.
  4. Once the pastry is ready to roll, take it out of the fridge and either place it between two sheets of baking parchment (as Rachel does) or use the standard method of dusting a work surface with some flour and rolling it out to fill a 23cm loose-bottom flan tin.
  5. Put the pastry case back into the fridge until you are ready with the filling.
  6. In a pan, fry the bacon lardons until crispy, then drain them on a piece of kitchen paper.
  7. In a bowl, beat the remaining eggs and egg yolks with the double cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  9. Prep your base for blind baking, then pop in the oven with the baking beans for about 10-12 minutes until the edges are crispy.
  10. Take out of the oven, remove the baking beans and brush the pastry case with the egg white, to prevent a soggy bottom. Pop back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
  11. Once that is done, take the pastry case out of the oven once again and scatter the lardons on the bottom, then pour in the filling.
  12. Bake for 40 minutes until nice and golden on the top.
  13. Remove from the oven and unmould using a jar or a tin.
  14. Serve while warm.

Tips

  • In her recipe, Rachel rolls out the pastry for the case and then puts it into the tin. She then trims the edges prior to baking and chills it. This is fine if you do not intend to blind bake your pastry, as the filling will keep it in place. However, as I discovered, blind baking ensures the pastry is nice and crispy on the sides and bottom, which avoids the so-called soggy bottom. In this case, I would suggest not trimming the edges but leaving the pastry whole, then trimming it once it comes out of the oven after step 13.
  • To roll out the pastry, Rachel relies on two sheets of baking parchment. She says this prevents creating a mess with flour and ensures the pastry doesn’t stick to the table. True, but I prefer using flour and seeing the pastry as we go. I gave her method a try, but the baking parchment ended up folding and creating creases all over, which were in turn transferred to the pastry.