Tag Archives: almonds

~scottish trifle~

After the traditional Burn’s Night meal of Haggis, neeps and tatties, this Scottish trifle always goes down well!

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There are many different trifle recipes but this is the easiest and one of my favourites. It uses freshly made custard and if possible, homemade raspberry jam. It doesn’t include jelly or chocolate as others do.

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Ingredients – serves 6-8

8 egg yolks

110g caster sugar

35g plain flour

450ml milk

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped.

about 9 sponge fingers (depending on the size of your bowl)

about 3tbsp raspberry jam

4tbsps liquid – orange juice or sherry

285ml thick cream

toasted almonds to decorate

optional – 1 or 2 bananas or some apricots

How to: For a simpler recipe use ready prepared custard and skip this first step! Otherwise first make the custard – whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the flour. Boil the milk, remove from the heat and add the vanilla seeds. Leave for about 15 mins. Remove the seeds and add the milk to the egg mixture stirring as you pour. Return the egg/milk mixture to a clean pan and whisk over a gentle heat until boiling. Keep whisking to get rid of any lumps. Once smooth, keep whisking for a minute or 2 until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, cover with cling film (to stop a skin forming) and leave to cool.

Cut the sponge fingers in half and spread one side of each half with jam – be generous! Place the sponges on the base and round the outside of your serving bowl. Pour over the liquid and tilt the bowl so all the sponges get thoroughly soaked. If using banana, slice as much banana as you like into small rounds, then place on top of the sponges. (Likewise if using apricots, place the apricot halves on the sponges). Pour the cooled custard on top. Then whip the cream (and sweeten if necessary) until thick. Spoon the cream onto the custard in a thick layer. Finally decorate with a sprinkling of almonds which have been toasted in a frying pan until golden brown. Chill until ready to eat.

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Trifle is great the following day too when the sponge is deliciously soft and juicy!

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Filed under Christmas, creams and sauces, Dessert, fruity, Scotland, Uncategorized, vegetarian

~baked apple with mincemeat~

It’s not quite Spring weather yet so a hot baked apple was warming and perfect for lunch!

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I was very happy to find a jar of mincemeat left over from Christmas and so my apple was ready in no time!

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There really aren’t any ingredients, but this is nicer than a plain apple on cold days.

I cored 1 apple, then split the skin about a third of the way down and all the way round. I spooned the mincemeat into the hole where the core once was and also added a spoonful or 2 round the base so that I’d have extra if I wanted. I spooned over a tablespoon of water so that it wouldn’t be too dry and so I’d have some hot juice. Then I put it in the microwave and cooked on high for 3 minutes. This was perfect for a fluffy piping hot apple and the mincemeat was sweet and juicy.

When making more than 1 apple, I check after 3 minutes in the microwave and then increase minute-by-minute the cooking time (4 or 5 is good for 2 apples).

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I enjoyed this plain but it’s also great with vanilla ice-cream, pouring cream or crème fraîche and topped with a sprinkling of crushed almonds.

If you don’t have any mincemeat, it can be replaced with a mixture of glacé cherries, raisins, a knob of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar.

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Filed under Christmas, Dessert, fruity, no-bake, Uncategorized, vegetarian

~galette des rois 2013~

This year I made a galette filled with a mixture of frangipane and soft apple pieces.

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Pretty similar to the traditional galette des rois but with less almond paste and lots of apple!

Ingredients (for 6 big people):

2 rounds of puff pastry or about 500g of puff pastry

80 g ground almonds

80 g sugar

1 large egg

80 g of butter

2 tablespoonfuls of créme fraîche or natural yoghurt

3 apples, peeled, cored and cubed

1 egg yolk to brush onto pastry before baking

A lucky charm (a figurine, a fève) to hide inside the cake

How to : Place 1 pastry round on the baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Sauté the apples in a little butter and a tbsp of brown sugar until softish. Leave to cool. Meanwhile mix all the other ingredients (almond powder, sugar, egg, butter, créme) together in the processor or in a bowl until you’ve got a thick paste. Mix the apples into the paste then spread the mixture over the pastry circle, leaving about a 2cm gap between the mixture and the edge of the pastry. Position the charm somewhere in the mixture – preferably towards the edge of the circle to minimize the chances of finding it when cutting the cake later.

Paint round the pastry edge with warm water, lay the second pastry circle on top and press the edges together well. Use a knife to gently score the pastry which will leave a nice pattern when baked. Paint the top pastry with beaten egg to ensure the cake is glossy when it comes out of the oven.  Finally, to avoid the cake swelling up or drying out, pierce a small hole in the center to allow air to escape. I read somewhere that the galette should then be chilled for 20 mins or so before being put in the hot oven as the sudden temperature change makes the puff pastry rise more evenly, so I put mine in the fridge and then baked it at 210 ° C for approximately 25 minutes (check the cake after 20 mins, but don’t hesitate to leave it for up to 35 mins if necessary). It can be eaten warm or cold, on its own or with ice-cream, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine…

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Filed under Alsace, cakes, Dessert, France

~almond cake with fresh raspberry center~

This is a really fresh moist cake made with almonds and raspberries.

It’s juicy and the slight tartness of the raspberries sets off the almonds brilliantly.

It’s a wonderful one-bowl recipe and after making it more than a dozen times, has always given great results!

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Filed under cakes, Dessert, France, fruity, tarts

hazelnut chocolate cake

This is another very quick cake recipe which makes a cake with a good nutty taste with just a hint of chocolate.

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galette des rois – twelfth night cake with raving rabbit !

Christmas may be over but the French are still eating cakes and mine has a raving rabbit in it!

At this time of the year, all over France the bakers windows are filled with their famous « Galette des Rois »  or  Twelfth Night cakes which are basically puff pastry pies stuffed with a frangipane filling – all nice and flaky and almondy, uumm. The name explains it doesn’t it – round about the twelfth day of Christmas, (Epiphany)  the wise men visited Jesus and according to tradition, the galette des rois, was to “draw the kings” to the Epiphany.  And so this day is celebrated by eating cake. What’s new? It’s Epiphany on the 6th January and galette is eaten on this day and at both weekends surrounding the 6th. No chance of missing it then!

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Filed under Alsace, cakes, Christmas, France