Vanilla Macarons

Last weekend I made vanilla macarons using the French meringue method. I followed The Ultimate Macaron Recipe which I found on the Good Housekeeping website. I had okay results, but I could definitely tell the difference between the macarons I baked using the Italian meringue method last time round and these ones. These macarons were crumblier, drier, not chewy in the middle, not as smooth on top and had lower ‘feet’ (the ruffly bit at the bottom of the shell). The French meringue is known to be not as stable as the Italian meringue, which may be why I also had my first cracked shell!

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Raspberry & Chocolate Macarons

I have been wanting to make macarons for so long, and finally two weeks ago I tried making them for the first time! I’m not going to lie, they are not the easiest thing to bake, but they are so worth the effort. I followed Edd Kimber’s macaron recipe on the BBC Good Food website. This recipe uses the Italian meringue method, and features a raspberry jam filling with a dark chocolate ganache. I experimented baking on parchment paper and on a silicone mat, and I definitely had the best results from the silicone mat. These really are delicious! The bitter chocolate and the raspberry jam pair well with the sweet shells, which are perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I highly recommend!

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Bara Brith

At the end of last month, I decided to bake bara brith for the first time. ‘Bara brith’ means ‘speckled bread’ in Welsh. Dw i’n dwlu ar yr enw (I love the name) – it’s such a descriptive name for this fruit cake which features currants and sultanas. I followed Mary Berry’s recipe on page 100 of her book Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes. It’s a pretty simple cake to make and it came out a lovely brown colour. It was really delicious and quite moist, sticky, sweet and fruity. It’s a dense, heavy cake that will fill you up, so it was perfect for our wild camp trip to the Brecon Beacons earlier this month!

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Welsh Cakes

Being able to make Welsh cakes (‘pice ar y maen’ in Welsh) is almost the law being married to a Welshman! My mother-in-law made wonderful, heart-shaped Welsh cakes for our wedding in 2017, and I’ve pretty much been smitten since. She even bought me a pancake pan especially so that I could make these beauties! I’ve made Welsh cakes several times and I never tire of them, as they are so delicious. The recipe I follow is one handed down to me which is known in Will’s family as ‘Mam-gu’s recipe’ (‘mam-gu’ is Welsh for ‘grandmother’). Welsh cakes often have mixed spices in them, but Will’s grandmother didn’t like spice so these are spice free. I’ve not tried one with spice, but all of Will’s family say how much they dislike them, so I’ve always stuck to this recipe. One day I might go rogue and make a batch with spice in it just to see what it tastes like hehe!

Making the Welsh Cakes

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

Here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 283 g self-raising flour
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 113 g butter (softened)
  • 28 g Trex
  • 1 large egg
  • 72 g sultanas
Welsh Cakes Ingredients
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Banoffi Pie

Banoffi? Banoffee? How should this word be spelt? As a linguist, I naturally spent a fair while pondering this question while baking Mary Berry’s banoffi pie last weekend. This portmanteau word is formed by the combination of the words ‘banana’ and ‘toffee’, so really, if we’re being logical about it, the spelling ‘banoffee’ makes more sense. However, as ‘banoffi’ is the word Mary Berry uses (and is recognised in the Collins dictionary), I’ll just go with it 🙂 I followed the banoffi pie recipe on page 454 of Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook.

Making the Biscuit Crust

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

First, I gathered together all of the ingredients. Here’s what I used:

  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g ginger biscuits (crushed)

You will also need an 18 cm loose-bottomed fluted flan tin. This is the second flan tin I’ve purchased in the space of a few months… things are getting serious!

Banoffi pie biscuit crust ingredients
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