Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day at home

We decided to have a quiet day at home today to recover from the festivities yesterday, but still managed to get a remarkable amount done.

I got my fruit macerating for my Christmas cake (macerating is an odd word - sounds vaguely rude or threatening, depending on the mood!)...

peeled and cored a shedload of apples from Leigh's parents' garden. I was going to puree them all up for Leo, but I also made him another batch of dinners (chicken with winter vegetables) today and wouldn't have had enough freezable containers. So the apples have just gone into bags and into the freezer ready for pies/crumbles/anything else appley which grabs us.

And made a Raspberry Bakewell slice which is delicious! Pics to follow. Leigh was also busy - planted up all his bulbs with Zachary this morning, then turned a load of tomatoes from his parents' garden into a pasta sauce for tomorrow, made Mexican strawberry jam (it's got limes in it) with the fruit we had in the freezer, and then turned out a fab risotto for dinner. In between all this we managed to watch Up with Zachary, play a bit of Wii golf and 'supervise' him doing some gluing. Yes, the kitchen is now covered in glitter!

Raspberry Bakewell Slice

375g pack sweet shortcrust pastry (I made my own - the recipe is at the end)
5 tbsp thick seedless raspberry jam (I didn't have any in and used our homemade summer fruits jam instead - strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant and gooseberry)
100g/4oz frozen raspberries, just thawed (I missed these out altogether as had none!)
25g flaked almonds
4 tbsp apricot jam
Sponge :
200g butter, very soft
200g golden caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 eggs, beaten

1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the base and sides of a buttered traybake tin, about 18-20cm x 30cm, with baking parchment. Roll out the pastry to line. Lift into the tin and evenly press right into the corners. Prick with a fork and chill for 20 mins.

2. Bake the pastry for 8-10 mins until it's cooked but not too coloured. Cool for a few mins and turn down the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Dot the jam over the pastry (there's no need to spread) and scatter over the raspberries.

3. For the sponge, put all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until soft and very well mixed. Spoon this over the raspberry layer then smooth evenly. Scatter over the flaked almonds and bake for 35-40 mins until golden and firm. Cool completely in the tin. (Will freeze for up to 3 months - overwrap the tin with baking parchment and foil beforehand).

4. To serve, thaw for 4 hrs at room temperature then reheat in a low oven. Melt the apricot jam with 1 tbsp water and brush over the top of the sponge just before serving.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

200g plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar100g chilled butter, cubed
1/2 - 1 egg, beaten

Place the flour, icing sugar and butter into a food processor and whiz briefly. Add half the beaten egg and continue to whiz. You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together. Flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm thick. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30 mins.

Can't wait to try it with custard!

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