Wednesday 29 December 2010

More festive and New Year baking

Tarte Noël
Festive baking continues with Tarte Noël. This is a recipe of my
Grandma's son, Albert, who lived in North Wales for the last 20 or so years of his life. I always make it during the Christmas and New Year holidays. It's a good one to use the last of the (homemade) mincemeat and is a favourite for New Year's Eve.

For the pastry:
4 oz/110g plain flour
pinch salt
2 oz /50g softened butter 
2 egg yolks
2 oz/50g caster sugar 
For the filling:
6 tbsps mincemeat

For the topping:
4 oz/110g ground almonds
2 oz/50g flaked almonds
2 eggs whites
almond extract
For the glaze:
2 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp boiling water

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Rub the fat into the flour. Once the mixture is crumbly, make a well in the centre and add the egg yolks and the caster sugar. Place in the fridge to chill for one hour. Roll out the pastry and line a 7 inch (roughly 18cm) flan dish. Spread the mincemeat over the pastry base. Blend the ground almonds, egg whites and almond extract and spread over the mincemeat. Cover the top with flaked almonds and bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F / Gas mark 4 / 180 C. For the glaze, mix the apricot jam with boiling water, and brush this over the top of the tart as soon as it is out of the oven.

I hope you enjoy it! I want to share lots of traditional recipes so send me your favourites to keep the legacy of our Grandmas' baking alive. Have you got a treasured family cake, pudding, pie or biscuit that they used to make?

Saturday 25 December 2010

Christmas baking like Grandma used to do

Grandma Abson aged about 16 in 1900
Today is Christmas Day, and I've been busy preparing some treats for the family over the past few weeks and days in preparation for this special day on the baking calendar. I've been particularly busy as I have been setting up my new blog where I will be sharing the baking passion and expertise that I inherited from Grandma Abson. So bear with me as I'm new to this! I hope you'll enjoy these baking tips and stories.

Homemade Mince pies

On Christmas Eve, we had my daughter's fiance and his family over. Grandma Abson's tasty Mince pies are always a really crowd pleaser. They are bitesize so you can enjoy more than one without feeling guilty. I make Mince pies with home made mincemeat and Grandma's melt in the mouth pastry. To make them extra special you can make Christmassy shapes such as stars, bells and Christmas trees out of the pastry on top, and brush them with milk before popping them in the oven. Try them for yourself.

At the end of October, I always make Grandma Abson's Christmas Cake. My tip is to always make the cake at least six weeks in advance so that the brandy  can mature, then just before Christmas, I put the finishing touches - home made almond paste and icing. We are usually too full to start the cake on Christmas Day, so we usually have a slice with afternoon tea and Wensleydale cheese on Boxing Day. 

Grandma Abson's Christmas Cake

Happy Christmas everyone!