So, there was me thinking that profiteroles were hard to make… then I tried to make a lemon tart on one of the hottest days of the year… OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY! This was definitely by far the hardest bake I have attempted to date, but also one of the most rewarding as I had to persevere to get it right. This bake spanned both Saturday and Sunday of last weekend because it took me three attempts to get the pastry right. I’d never baked a tart nor tried making sweet, shortcrust pastry (pâte sucrée) before; it really was quite epic, and I definitely chose a silly time weather-wise to attempt it! I have, however, learnt so much from this experience and I think for my baking education, this post will be a really important one for reminding me of things to do and things not to do when baking future tarts.
I chose to bake “Gregg’s Tangy Lemon Tart”, a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website. It had 104 five-star ratings, so I figured it must be a fairly decent recipe to try. There were, however, two big things going against me on Saturday; my inexperience at making sweet, shortcrust pastry and the heat. I tried to make the pastry twice, but both times were unsuccessful. I did, however, successfully make the filling (hooray!), which I kept in the fridge overnight in the hope that I would be successful at making the pastry correctly on Sunday (which I was – double hooray!!). I think it’s important to learn from things that go wrong, so before I outline how I made the tart successfully, first I will write a little bit about my first two unsuccessful attempts at making the pastry. If you’re not interested in reading about that, you can skip straight to the successful part!
I can’t believe that it’s taken me 39 years (nearly 40 – but let’s not go into details, eek) to eat (never mind bake) my first scone! It was well worth the wait, however, as they were delicious 🙂 Last weekend I decided to bake Mary Berry’s Devonshire Scones; you can find the recipe on page 123 of her book 100 Cakes and Bakes. Will (my hubby) loves scones, so I thought I would give them a go.
Making the Scones
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
First of all, I gathered together all of the ingredients to make the scones:
450 g self-raising flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder
75 g butter (room temperature)
50 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
Approximately 225 ml milk
Equipment-wise, you need two baking sheets. Mary Berry says that this recipe makes 8 – 10 large (9 cm) scones or 20 smaller ones. I was able to make 17 from my batch and they were about 5 to 5.5 cm in width, so I guess mine turned out to be on the smaller side. I used the cutter size recommended in the recipe, so they couldn’t really have turned out to be any other size anyway!
Last weekend I decided to bake butterfly cakes – another first for me 🙂 I followed Mary Berry’s recipe on page 51 of her book 100 Cakes and Bakes. I love this book – it’s full of great recipes and I come back to it time and time again. I thought it would be nice to bake these butterfly cakes in pretty baking cases, so five minutes before my hubby went to the shops, I asked him to look for some. But when he returned, he said he’d forgotten to look! Typical eh! So I made do with the plain baking cases in my cupboard. To make the cakes look visually more exciting (and because my husband is a chocolate fiend) I decided to bake half the batch with plain butter cream icing and the rest with chocolate icing. I think they turned out well – I just wish I hadn’t taken 235 photos, as it made selecting photos for this blog post a little tedious 😉
Making the Cakes
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
First of all, I gathered all the ingredients to make the cakes. Here’s what I used:
100 g unsalted butter (softened)
100 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100 g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
I still haven’t bought matching bowls for my ingredients yet!:
Last weekend I decided to make profiteroles for the very first time. I have never attempted choux pastry before, so I was excited to give it a go! I found a really lovely looking recipe for raspberry, white chocolate and pistachio profiteroles on the BBC Good Food website, so decided to use this. There were many comments about the recipe saying it included too many eggs, that the mixture was too runny and that the profiteroles turned out to be more like pancakes than profiteroles. In my naivety, I decided to just give it a go, thinking mine would be ok… well, I was wrong! Once I added the three large eggs specified in the recipe, the mixture was destroyed; it became a runny liquid which was impossible to pipe:
What better day to visit my first Welsh vineyard than on St David’s Day, 1 March! With husband in tow, we pulled up at White Castle Vineyard in Llanvetherine, Abergavenny. It was no surprise to me that when we arrived, it started to rain. Thankfully, we had missed the worst of Storm Jorge, so we sat in the car and waited it out. As I was putting on my waterproof trousers and Will was puting on his boots, Nicola Merchant, one of the owners, came along to open up the shop and to greet us. Robb Merchant came out to say hello too, but due to recent knee surgery, unfortunately he couldn’t join us on our tour. “Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!”, “Happy St David’s Day!” I said cheerily, as I met them both. It effectively turned into a private tour, as clearly nobody else is as bonkers as my husband and I and likes to venture out when the weather is bad…