Wednesday, 15 February 2017
French Rhubarb FlanThe annual Rhubarb Festival of Food and Drink in Wakefield is almost upon us and forced rhubarb is appearing in the markets and grocery stores across the country. I love the tender sweetness of the young rhubarb which is grown in dark sheds in the Rhubarb Triangle in West Yorkshire. It makes delicious rhubarb crumbles and tartes to savour. Looking through an old recipe book which Sheila from Chesterfield sent me, I came across French Rhubarb Flan. I’ve brought the recipe up to date and added a few more suggestions. It looks impressive but is easy to bake.
French Rhubarb Flan
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
175g/6oz shortcrust pastry
50g/2oz (golden) caster sugar
2 eggs – yolks and whites separated
1 tbsp milk
50g/2oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
25g/1oz ground almonds
½ tsp ground ginger
50g/2oz (white) caster sugar
Pre heat the oven to 325F, Mark 3, 160C, 140C Fan.
Prepare the Rhubarb
Wash and cut the rhubarb into 2cms/1 inch chunks. Place on a baking tray and sprinkle the sugar over them. Then cook the pieces in the oven for about 15 minutes until tender but so they still hold their shape. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Line a 21 cm/8 inch flan dish with the pastry, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Prepare the Filling
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the yolks of eggs and mix with the milk. Then mix the flour, ground almonds, ginger and baking powder together. Add the flour and egg mixtures alternately to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing well. Place the cooked rhubarb pieces in the flan dish over the pastry and then spoon the mixture over the rhubarb. Bake for 30 minutes and remove from the oven to add the meringue topping.
Prepare the meringue topping
Whisk the whites of the eggs in a bowl until stiff. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue to whisk. Spoon the meringue on the top of the tart and make a pattern of swirls. Cook in a slow oven for about 20-25 minutes until the meringue is slightly brown.
Meryl says : Serve hot or cold with crème fraiche, yoghurt, ice cream or custard. It will keep well for a couple of days. What your favourite Rhubarb recipe?
Monday, 30 January 2017
This recipe came from Edith, who was a member of a group in Barnsley where I did a talk about Grandma's baking. ‘Courting’ in the North of England means ‘dating’ or ‘going out’ with a partner. Courting Cake is a traditional cake given as a gift to your ‘intended’ or ‘betrothed’ or whoever you had ‘got your eye on’ as a potential partner! The texture of the cake is denser than a Victoria Sandwich but lighter than Shortbread. It's usually filled and topped with lightly bruised strawberries but I’m hoping the baker’s heart doesn’t get bruised along the way…!
6oz/75g caster sugar
2 large eggs (beaten)
8oz/225g plain flour
1½ tsps baking powder
pinch bicarbonate of soda
Milk to mix
Grease and line 2 x 8 inch (21 cm) sandwich tins with baking paper. Pre heat the oven to 180C (Fan 160c)/Mark 4/350F. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and add the beaten eggs gradually. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until well baked. Allow to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.
For the decoration :
Double or whipping cream or butter cream
Whip the cream or prepare the butter cream and spread on one cake. Slice the strawberries and put on top of the cream, reserving some for decorating the top of the cake. Put the remaining cake on top. Either dredge the top with icing sugar or cover with cream or butter cream and decorate with the reserved strawberries.
Meryl says : It’s a good way to use those luscious strawberries which we get all year round now in the markets and grocery stores and makes a gorgeous cake or dessert for Valentine’s Day. What will you bake for your Valentine?
Try more Valentine Biscuit Recipes from Grandma’s collection :
Try more Valentine Biscuit Recipes from Grandma’s collection :
Monday, 9 January 2017
I’ve just made this year’s batch of marmalade with the new crop of Seville Oranges and I can’t wait to start baking all my favourite marmalade recipes. Here’s an easy Grandma recipe for Marmalade Bread and Butter pudding which will warm us up as well as making us think of the lovely area of Spain where the super Seville Oranges come from.
Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding
8 slices slightly stale (e.g. 1 day old) bread
2 tsp cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange
350ml/12fl oz milk
50ml/2fl oz double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 (large) eggs
50g/2oz caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/ Gas 4. Grease a 1 litre/2 pint pie dish with butter. Spread butter and marmalade on each slice with. Arrange a layer of bread, buttered-side up, in the dish, then add half the sultanas. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and orange zest, then add another layer of bread, sultanas and cinnamon. Warm the milk and cream with the vanilla extract gently in a pan over a low heat. Beat the eggs in a bowl with the sugar. Add the warm milk and cream mixture and stir well. Pour this over the bread layers and sprinkle nutmeg on top. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Meryl says : Don’t let the milk and cream mixture boil - just heat gently until warm before you add it to the eggs and sugar. Serve with crème fraiche, cream or ice cream as you wish. Delicious start to the New Year!
Here’s Grandma’s easy foolproof method of making Marmalade
You may also like Grandma’s very popular
all with a kick of ginger to enhance the taste. Let me know which you like best. Enjoy!
Saturday, 24 December 2016
I’m always on the lookout for old recipes to bring up to date and at Christmas there’s a wealth of traditional baking to draw on. I’ve adapted this Yorkshire regional recipe which originally came from the 1913 edition of The Imperial Cookery Book to make a scrumptious Yorkshire Christmas Spice Loaf. The original recipe has quantities for a large household but I have reduced the amounts and substituted fast action yeast for fresh yeast. I’ve also replaced half the currants with dried cranberries and increased the amounts of the spices to give a festive touch!
Yorkshire Christmas Spice Loaf
1lb 11oz/750g strong plain flour
1 sachet fast action yeast
½ pint/300ml warmed water
4oz/110g demerara sugar
5oz/150g dried cranberries
30z/75g mixed peel
2 tsps mixed spice
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps ground nutmeg
Rub in the butter into the flour in a large bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the yeast, sugar and water, mixing until a dough is formed.
Knead for around 5 -10 minutes on an oiled surface until the mixture is soft and smooth or use a dough hook until the dough separates from the mixer bowl. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This can be up to a couple of hours. Oil 2 x 2lbs/1kg loaf tins. Add the dried fruit and spices to the dough and mix in well. Knead for around 5 minutes and then divide the dough into two. Place the mixture in the 2 tins.
Leave to prove for another hour or more in a warm place until the dough has risen again and it springs back if you push it lightly with your finger. Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7/425F. Bake the loaves for about 30-35 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out.
Meryl’s tips : I made a glaze by warming with 2 tbsps of apricot jam and 2 tbps redcurrant jelly in a pan to brush over the loaves once they came out of the oven. Serve with lashings of butter. It’s also good toasted. We’ll be enjoying a slice or two on Christmas morning. A happy and peaceful Christmas to all!
Try more Yorkshire Recipes from Grandma’s collection :
Monday, 24 October 2016
Next to , homemade Yorkshire Curd Tart is prized above the rest in God’s own Country. Originally baked for Whitsuntide, when there were feasts and fair days across Yorkshire villages to use the leftover curds from making cheese, the filling is made from curd cheese and flavoured with currants, allspice and occasionally rosewater. Theses ingredients are sufficient for a 10 inch/25 cms pie dish or to make 12 small curd tartlets. 's recipe is perfect and not too sweet.
I posted this recipe for George on the occasion his retirement. I wish him a long and happy one and hope he'll have lots of fun baking! He says “Yorkshire Curd Tart ... gives me such fond memories of my childhood in North Yorkshire. My mother made this and my Auntie Ellen Codling who ran the tea rooms at Shepherds Hall Lealholm near Whitby, assisted by my grandmother. What memories ... tastes and smell remind of us of such wonderful things in our lives.”
Meryl says : You can find curd cheese at most large supermarkets and online grocery shopping.
Try more Yorkshire Recipes from Grandma’s collection :
Friday, 23 September 2016
Orange & Speculaas BiscuitsI'm really taken with the Speculaas spice mix and have been trying it out with more recipes. Here's another take on Orange and Cinnamon Biscuits using the speculaas spice instead of Cinnamon. We love them even more as the flavour is even more intense.
Orange & Speculaas Biscuits
2 tsps cinnamon
8oz/225g self raising flour4oz/110g butter
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp golden syrup
1oz/25g soft brown sugar
1 egg beaten
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the cinnamon. Melt the butter, honey, golden syrup in a pan with the sugar. Allow to cool slightly and then add this to the flour. Add the beaten egg and then the orange zest and juice. Mix well to combine. Place small teaspoonfuls of the mixture on baking trays about 5 cms/2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven 180C/Mark 4/350F for 10-12 minutes until brown at the edges. The mixture makes around 30 biscuits.
Meryl’s tip : These biscuits are very tempting and last well for a few days if you can resist! Let me know what you think. And try Grandma's Overnight Cake with speculaas too.
Monday, 12 September 2016
Overnight Cake with Speculaas SpiceGrandma was always keen to use spices to enhance the flavour of her baking so I was delighted to receive a sample of speculaas spice mix from Steven at
The Netherlands for Dutch bakers to make their own secret spice mixes. Steven has continued the family tradition and the memories from his Grandma’s Speculaas biscuits to set up his own company in London, promoting this wonderfully exotic spice mix which we can enjoy today.
Grandma’s Overnight Cake was a good place to start as her original recipe contains nutmeg, mixed spice and cinnamon. The name of this cake is exactly as it says – you leave it overnight before cooking. I’ve also reduced the sugar in Grandma’s original recipe to let the sweetness from the dried fruit come through.
450g/1lb plain flour
2 tsps speculaas spice mix
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
450g/1 lb mixed dried fruit
2 eggs (beaten)
1 pint milk (or milk and water)
Rub the butter into the flour and add the other dry ingredients. Mix in the eggs and milk. Leave in a bowl overnight – in the refrigerator. Place the mixture in a 23cms/9 inch tin. Bake in a preheated oven (300F, Mark 2, 150C) for about 1 ½ hours.
Meryl says : I used 2 x 1kg/2lbs loaf tins rather than a large cake tin. I took the results to Wentworth WI in Yorkshire where I was doing a talk about my Grandma’s life and her baking. The members loved the taste and aroma of the cakes. Thanks to Steven - I’ll be trying out more of Grandma’s recipes with Speculaas Spice mix. After all, Grandmas did know a thing or two about baking!
Let me know if you try the speculaas spice mix.
Monday, 22 August 2016
Just to set the record straight what we call ‘buns’ in Yorkshire are sometimes known as small cakes elsewhere across the country. Margaret wrote to me about her fond memories of buns as a child in Kiveton Park near Sheffield when I visited her Local History group to talk about the History of Afternoon tea :
“Before, during and after the war, tea parties would be held on a large lawn behind the houses on Wales Road (now a car park). Kids were excluded but we played on the edges and our mums would usually save a precious bun for their offspring. If we were caught playing on it during the week, we were chased off by Mr Betteridge!”
Maybe Margaret and her chums would be eating a Ginger bun or a Ground Rice bun. Here are some recipes for baking tasty buns from Grandma Abson’s collection :
Buns or small cakes
Which is your favourite?
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Summer’s here and the time is just right to get out those BBQs in the garden or take a picnic to a favourite beauty spot. Bake this easy recipe in a foil container to put out on the garden table or simply wrap and pop in your picnic basket. Whatever the occasion, these bars are packed full of flavour with dried fruits, nuts and seeds and make a healthy treat with no additional sugar. You’ll find they don’t last long!
Fruit, Nut & Seed Bars
12oz/340g porridge oats
6oz/175g dried fruits
4oz/110g chopped mixed nuts
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tsp linseeds
2 tbsps lemon juice
Melt the butter and honey gently in a pan over a low heat.
Mix the porridge oats with the dried fruit nuts and seeds, keeping a few seeds back to decorate the top. Add the melted butter and honey to the oats, fruit, nuts and seeds mixture and stir in well.
Spoon the mixture into a tin or foil case (approx 23cm x 23cm). Scatter the reserved nuts and seeds on the top. Bake in a preheated oven 180C (160C Fan)/Mark 5/350F for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into bars with a sharp knife.
Meryl says : This is a really versatile recipe which you can vary to your own taste and what’s in your store cupboard. I used apricots, raisins and sultanas for the dried fruits but you could use other dried fruits such as cranberries, dates or gogi berries. Almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts were my choice but macademias nuts or pecans work just as well. Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) and linseeds fitted the bill but chia and sesame seeds are equally good. Finally, cacao nibs would also give the bars an intense chocolate flavour.
Enjoy Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars!