Sunday, 30 November 2014

Chocolate Lime Macaroons

Yesterday I started the Christmas cake making process.  But it will be another two weeks before it is ready. The cake is made and has been fed with brandy.  Now it is resting in and airtight container.  I will post about the cake when it has been finished with marzipan and icing.  In the meantime I have just made a few macaroons, with lime and chocolate.

It is a simple recipe and takes no time at all to do, so ideal for a Sunday morning

Ingredients:

  • 80 grams dessicated coconut
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg, white only
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 100 grams dark chocolate

Chocolate Lime Macaroons
Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Grease and line a baking tray, using parchment paper.
  3. Mix the coconut, sugar, cornflour, zest and juice in a bowl.
  4. Beat the egg white to a light and fluffy consistency.  Do not overbeat until stiff.
  5. Fold the egg white into the coconut mixture.
  6. Use a spoon to make about 9 small mounds of mixture on the baking tray.
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  The macaroons should be just browning.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes on tray and then transfer to a wire rack.
  9. Gently melt the chocolate in a bain marie.
  10. Dip the base of each macaroon into the chocolate, to lightly coat it. 
  11. Place on the parchment paper, which should still be on the now cool baking tray.
  12. Use the remaining chocolate to top the macaroons.  You can do as I did and use a teaspoon, or you can be more fancy, piping in stripes.
  13. Allow the chocolate to set.  The macaroons should then lift of the parchment paper cleanly.



Friday, 28 November 2014

Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Butter Frosting

My first day back from my holiday and I am baking again.  This time is it a little invention of my own, but I came up with the idea after searching through a few recipes which are similar.

I wanted to try something like a Banoffee Cake, rather than a pie, so that it had a banana taste, with a cake texture and some caramel, but not so excessive that it is too sweet.  To add another flavour and a little texture I decided to use some walnuts as well.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 200 grams(7 oz) softened butter
  • 200 grams (7 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • 200 grams (7 oz) self raising flour
  • 75 grams (3 oz) walnuts, chopped

For the topping:

  • 150 grams (5 oz) softened butter
  • 250 grams (9 oz) icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp dulce de leche(or Carnation caramel)  
  • 50 grams (2 oz) walnuts, chopped
Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c(160c fan)/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a deep 8 inch cake tin, preferably with a loose bottom.
  3. Line the tin with parchment paper.
  4. Mix the 200g of butter with the sugar, beating until light and fluffy (in a stand mixer is fine).
  5. Beat the 4 eggs and gradually add them to the butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Chop the ripe bananas and add to the mixture, beating until well blended.
  7. Fold in the flour and walnuts.
  8. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and level with the back of a spoon.
  9. Bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, in the tin for about 30 minutes.
  11. While the cake is cooling put the 150 g of butter,and the icing sugar into a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. In a stand mixer is fine, but cover to ensure the sugar doesn't escape as it is very light.
  12. Add the dulce de leche and mix until evenly spread throughout.
  13. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely.
  14. Carefully and remove the parchment paper.
  15. Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake, keeping it as evenly spread as possible.
  16. Use the 50 grams of walnuts to sprinkle over the top(you may not need all of the 2 ounces).


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Fruit Shortcake Biscuits

Fruit Shortcake biscuits are a childhood favourite biscuit, made with a short pastry and currants.  The recipe I used to make these is actually referred to on Good To Know as squashed fly biscuits, from a recipe by Rachel Allen.  

This is another easy to make recipe, and the results are very tasty indeed.

This will be my last bake for a couple of weeks, as I will be going on a trip.  As soon as I get back I will start posting again.

Fruit Shortcake Biscuits
Ingredients:
  • 225g (8oz) butter, softened
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 400g (14oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 110g (4oz) currants
Method:
  1. Beat the softened butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer to soften a little more, then cream with 150g (5oz) of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks lightly and stir them into the mixture along with the lemon zest. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, add the currants and mix to give a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 20–30 mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºC/gas mark 4.
  3. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to a thickness of 5mm (¼in) and use a 2.5 inch scone cutter (or cut into the more traditional rectangles with a knife) to stamp out the biscuits. Arrange on a couple of large baking sheets and place in the fridge for 10 mins before baking in the oven for about 12 mins or until just turning golden.
  4. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg whites. 
  5. Remove the biscuits from the oven and, working quickly on 4-5 at a time, brush lightly with the egg whites. Sprinkle with a little of the remaining sugar and repeat until all are done. Return the biscuits to the oven to bake for a further 4–5 mins or until golden (this gives a crunchy top). Remove and leave to cool on the baking sheets for a few mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

My Hob Nobs

Hob Nob biscuits are actually a proprietary brand, but I have made a similar type of biscuit, just trying out a basic biscuit recipe with some rolled oats in it.

They have turned out rather well, with a lovely sweet aroma, as they cooked. They have a nice, brittle crunch to then, and have just a taste of golden syrup.  

They are also very easy to make, so give it a try.


 Hob Nob
Hob Nobs
Ingredients:

  • 140 g Self-raising flour( I used plain flour and sifted it with two teaspoons of baking powder
  • 110 g rolled oats
  • 140 g of softened butter
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150c/130c fan/Gas Mark 2
  2. Cream the butter with the sugar
  3. add bicarbonate of soda, golden treacle and milk, mix together
  4. add the flour and rolled oats and mix together
  5. when all is mixed together(you may want to use your hands to pull the mixture into a ball
  6. divide the mixture into about 20 pieces, and roll into a ball. (or roll the mixture into a sausage and cut into 20 pieces)
  7. place each ball onto a baking sheet, about 10 per sheet
  8. press down the ball to flatten a little
  9. place the trays into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown
  10. The biscuits will spread a little as they cook and the tops will start to crack slightly, giving a nice rustic look.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, on the baking trays, before transferring to a cooling rack.



Tuesday, 11 November 2014

FruityTea Cake - Loaf

I found what reads like a nice recipe to try, for a Tea Cake.  The recipe is on BBC Good Food. The recipe calls for mixed dried berries and cherries. In my supermarket the only dried berries were cranberries.  So I opted to use mixed dried fruit instead.  The flavour should still be good, even though different from the recipe.

I show the recipe below, and make a separate note about the fruit I used.  I have another comment to make.  The recipe calls for 225ml of hot tea to soak the fruit in.  That is what I did, including using the orange juice.  However after leaving it overnight, although most of the liquid had been absorbed there was still some left.  I was worried about what to do, whether to use it when mixing in the fruit, or whether to strain the fruit and discard the excess.  I decided to discard it, as I was worried about the mixture being too wet.  However, when I had mixed the butter, sugar, eggs and flour the resultant mixture was very dry indeed.  Too late, my excess liquid was gone, so I added a little semi-skimmed milk to moisten things a little.  Just enough to allow me to easily mix in the fruit.

On reflection I should have had faith, the recipe would have told me, if I should discard any excess liquid.  But I am sure all will be fine.  Maybe I will try the recipe again, and update this blog entry to let you know the result of that.

But for now I can say the cake smells very good as it bakes, and it has risen well.  The pictures below, is after the cake has cooled and been cut.

It certainly tastes good, and is moist too.  I must try it again, without discarding any liquid, as that will surely intensify the flavour and make it even more moist.
Fruity Tea Cake
Ingredients:
  • 300g mixture dried berries and cherries ( I used mixed dried fruit instead)
  • 225ml hot tea
  • juice 1 orange (about 75ml/2½fl oz) plus zest
  • 50g butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 225g self-raising flour ( I made my own, 225g plain flour and 3 tsp of baking powder)
  • 4 tbsp demerara sugar
Method:
  1. Place the dried fruits in a bowl and pour over the hot tea, orange juice and zest. Cover with cling film, then leave for at least 4 hrs or better still overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 2lb loaf tin. Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then beat in the egg followed by the flour. Carefully stir through the fruit mixture. Spoon the mixture into the tin, then smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle all over with a thick layer of demerara sugar.
  3. Bake for 1 hr or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out, cut into slices and serve.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Spiced Teacake

A lovely treat is a toasted teacake, with lashings of butter, all washed down with a cup of tea.  I looked around for a recipe, and found several that looked promising.  The one I settled of was on the BBC Food website, courtesy of The Hairy Bikers.  I just want to comment on that site, and one other.  The BBC seems to have 2 different sites for recipes, BBC Food and BBC Good Food.  Now that might imply that BBC Food is not quite good food.  But in fact the reason for the difference is simply that BBC Good Food is the site of BBC Good Food Magazine. 

On to the recipe then.  I just have a couple of comments about it.  Firstly when kneading the dough if became very firm, and hard to work, really quite quickly.  I persevered though, but later thought that maybe it dough was too dry, and I should have added a little more milk.  In the event it was too late to do that, as I had added the dried fruit and had set the dough to prove.  

The only other comment is that I washed the top of the rolled out teacakes with some beaten egg before baking.  That was just to give them a shine.  Often, with shop bought teacakes, the outside is slightly sticky.  I think this might be achieved by brushing a little apricot jam on them, but it would have to be a very light covering.
Spicy Teacakes
Ingredients:
  • 375g/13oz strong white bread flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes, lightly crushed
  • 7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ orange, zest only
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • 50g/1¾oz butter, cubed
  • 150ml/5fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 125g/4½oz mixed dried fruit
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil, for greasing
  • butter, for serving
Method:
  1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, spices, orange zest and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Put the butter and milk in a small saucepan and heat very gently until the butter is melted and the milk is just lukewarm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the warm butter, milk and egg. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.
  4. Turn out on a very lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes to form a smooth, pliable dough. Knead the fruit into the dough until evenly distributed, then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½ hours, or until doubled in size and spongy to touch.
  5. Knead the dough lightly, divide into six portions and roll into balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball to a circle about 1cm/½in thick and place on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for a further 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Remove the clingfilm and bake the teacakes in the centre of the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until well risen and golden-brown. Serve warm or leave to cool on a wire rack, then toast and serve spread thickly with butter. Eat within 24 hours to enjoy them at their best.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Cherry Almond Loaf Cake

A nice simple to make cake is a loaf cake.  In this case it is Cherry Almond Loaf Cake. I took this from a Nigella Recipe.  Reading some comments on her site seemed to imply that the cooking time was longer than that given.  However I found that the 45-60 minutes estimated time was just about right.  Many reviewers reported needing more time in the oven.  I would suggest to anyone who is going to bake, from recipes, to invest in a cheap oven thermometer.  I have found mine, which cost about £6, to be extremely useful.  When setting the oven to a particular temperature, according to the dial, the thermometer shows a higher temperature, so I know I have to reduce the heat to obtain the recommended temperature.  The same would, obviously, happen in reverse in some ovens, where there temperature is actually lower than the dial setting.  This could be why more time is needed, for some people, for this recipe.

As for the loaf cake, it turned out very well, and is a very tasty treat.  The recipe is simple and takes no time at all to make.  So I recommend anyone to try this.  The smell, as the the cake bakes, is that lovely, sweet, almond aroma.  It fills the room and just makes one want to take it out and eat it right away. Of course that is not possible.  You need to cool the cake down before removing it from the tin.  Then don't hold back, hack into that cake and eat your fill, you will love it.

I must say the flavour is awesome. I used Morello Glace Cherries, and the taste is just divine.
Cherry Almond Loaf Cake

Ingredients:
  • 200 grams natural-coloured glace cherries
  • 250 grams self-raising flour
  • 225 grams butter (softened)
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 2 - 3 drops almond essence
  • 100 grams ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons milk
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3/325ºF. 
  2. Halve the cherries, wash them in a colander under cold water, then pat them dry, toss them in some flour and shake well to get rid of excess.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the beaten eggs and almond essence, then gently fold in the flour and ground almonds. 
  5. Fold in the cherries and then the milk and spoon the thick mixture into a lined and buttered loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches) and bake for ¾-1 hour, or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. As with all of these sorts of cakes, leave in the tin on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Chicken and Leek Pie, with a Suet Crust

I just love Chicken and Leek Pie, so I thought I would make one, and see how it turned out.  But I decided to be slightly different, and use suet in the pastry top, rather than the more commonly used puff pastry.  

For the filling I used, as well as the chicken and leeks, some smoked lardons, which give a nice flavour to the creamy sauce.  The addition of some mixed herbs also adds another layer of flavour.  A taste of the mixture, before putting it into the pie tin, to check for seasoning, confirmed that it had a super flavour.

So, an easy to follow recipe is given below.  Remember, if you decide to try this out, you can use puff pastry, following the cooking times for that.  You can also vary the herbs, maybe fresh rosemary, or whatever you prefer.
Chicken and Leek Pie
Chicken and Leek Pie - inside
Ingredients:
for the pastry:

  • 250 grams plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125 grams suet
  • a pinch of salt
  • 150 ml cold water
  • beaten egg, for brushing over the top

for the filling:

  • 550 grams chicken breast
  • 200 grams lardons(smoked or unsmoked)
  • 300 grams leeks, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs, or herbs of choice
  • 300 ml milk, semi-skimmed or full fat milk
  • 350 ml chicken stock
  • 30 grams butter
  • 50 gram plain flour 

Method:

  1. Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces
  2. Gently fry the chicken, for about 6 minutes, until sealed and golden brown and set aside
  3. In a large saucepan melt the butter and gently sweat the leeks for 3 minutes
  4. Add the minced garlic and the lardons to the saucepan and allow to cook for 2 minutes, stirring from time to time
  5. Add the 50grams of plain flour, stirring continuously for one minute, allowing it to coat the other indgredients
  6. Add the milk, gradually, stirring all the while, until all the milk seems to be well mixed in.
  7. Add the chicken stock and mixed herbs.  Keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes, tasting and adding salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Set aside to cool.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/gas mark 4
  11. In a bowl mix together, with a knife, using cutting motions, the flour, baking powder, suet and salt
  12. Add the water and continue mixing, with the knife. 
  13. Then use a hand to bring the mixture together, into a ball
  14. Refrigerate the pastry dough for 30 minutes
  15. Transfer the chicken mixture to the pie tin
  16. Brush the edges of the tin with egg
  17. Roll out the pastry dough to the size large enough to cover the tin
  18. It should be rolled to about half and inch in thickness
  19. place it over the pie tin, pressing down on the edges 
  20. brush the beaten egg over the top of the pastry
  21. make a hole in the centre, to allow some steam to be able to escape
  22. place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes
  23. Remove from the oven and serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables of choice

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Scandinavian Cinnamon Buns

There is nothing quite like the smell of cinnamon as it is being baked.  The aroma really whets the appetite. So I hunted around for some nice bunsrecipes and found one for a Scandinavian type bun in The Guardian .  The article actually goes into detail about several different recipes they tried, and then provides, what they say, is the perfect recipe.  

I found it easy to follow, though it doesn't say what to do with the egg wash and demerara sugar, or when.  

In the event, it is easy to decide.  Once I had placed the buns in the baking tin I simply gently brushed the egg wash onto them and sprinkled with the sugar.

The article does say you can make individual buns, or a bun-cake.  I opted for the bun-cake as I thought it looked nice and would be good to tear, when sharing.  

Although it is a cinnamon bun the dough does have cardamom in it.  That was slightly tricky, since in the UK the supermarkets only seem to sell cardomom pods, rather than ground.  But I bought some pods and ground them up as best I could.  The purpose is to infuse the milk and butter with the cardamom flavour, and then you strain it, so not having it ground fine is not a big problem. 

The buns seems to have turned out very well, if one can go by look, and smell, alone.  The proof will be in the tasting, which will happen later.
Scandinavian Cinnamon Buns
Ingredients:
for the dough:
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds (about 25 pods)
  • 50g butter
  • 425g plain flour
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 60g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • Oil, to grease
for the filling:
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
For the topping:
  • demerara sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Method:
  1. Put the milk in a small pan, add the cardamom seeds and bring to just below the boil. Take off the heat, stir in the butter and leave to infuse until it is just warm.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. When the milk is warm rather than hot, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the egg. Stir in, then strain in the milk and stir together to make a soft dough which comes away from the edge of the bowl.
  3. Tip on to a lightly oiled work surface (you don't want to add more flour to the mixture) and knead for five minutes – it will be very soft at first, but persevere. A dough scraper is useful here. Wipe out the bowl, oil it lightly, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover and leave somewhere draught-free and not too cold for 30 minutes. (A cold oven, with a bowl of hot water on the base, is a good place.)
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating together all the ingredients until soft and easily spreadable. Grease a tall, 23cm cake tin.
  5. Heat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6
  6. Roll the dough out on the lightly floured surface to a rectangle roughly 35 x 25cm. Smear the filling out across the dough (it's easiest to use your hands for this), then, starting from one of the long edges, roll the dough up tightly like a swiss roll. Position it on its seam, and cut into seven slices.
  7. Arrange these in the tin, evenly spaced out, with the smallest in the middle, cover, and leave to prove for about 30 minutes, until the dough springs back when prodded gently.
  8. Brush egg over the top and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Dundee Cake

Dundee Cake is a lovely, fruit-filled cake, topped with blanched almonds.  Often eaten around Christmas time instead of a darker, more dense Christmas Cake.  I love both types of cake, but Dundee cake is perhaps my preferred one, and it can be eaten at any time of the year.  It also keeps well in an airtight tin.  Often the advice is to bake it and keep it in an airtight tin for a couple of days before eating, to allow the flavours to intensify.

My recipe is really a combination of several I looked at, so I can't claim it as traditional, but as there are so many different recipes available it is difficult to know just what is.

I must confess to a slight problem, when I baked mine, I think I did rather too much beating of the mix, before folding in the fruit.  With the result that mine rose a little too much, cracking somewhat on the top.  However that is not going to affect the flavour one iota.


Dundee Cake
Ingredients:
  • 225g plain flour 
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder 
  • 150g softened butter, or margarine 
  • 150g golden caster sugar 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 tsp milk, only if needed 
  • 175g currants 
  • 175g sultanas 
  • 50g glace cherries, rinsed dried and cut into halves 
  • 50g mixed candied peel, finely chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds 
  • grated zest of 1 orange
Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170C, Gas Mark 3 
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, 
  3. Add the butter, caster sugar and eggs, and, combine them for about 1–2 minutes until you have a smooth dropping consistency. 
  4. If it seems too dry, add a little milk 
  5. Fold in all the other ingredients: currants, sultanas, cherries, mixed peel, ground almonds and orange 
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, spreading it out evenly with the back of the spoon. 
  7. Then, carefully, arrange the whole almonds in concentric circles over the top – but drop them on very lightly. Make sure you do not press them down, as the cake mix will rise and will swallow up the almonds, if you do. 
  8. Place the cake in the centre of the oven and bake for 1¾ hours or until the centre is firm and springy to touch. Allow it to cool before taking it out of the tin.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Eclairs

I decided to try to make some eclairs.  I must say it was not without problems.  Researching the various recipes it was very difficult to decide which one would produce the ideal results.  

There seem to be two schools of thought.  One says cook the pastry oh a high heat for a while and then reduce the heat for the remaining time.  The other says to cook the pastry on the same heat throughout.  The times for cooking seem to vary as well. 

Yesterday I made my first attempt and, having followed the recipe slavishly, the results were not satisfactory.  The pastry case should be risen and crispy on the outside.  But mine had risen but, although the top was crispy, the side were soft and therefore unlikely to be properly cooked.  So I dumped them and tried again this morning.

The difference with this morning's recipe was that the cooking time was longer, overall, and the starting temperature was higher.  The results were much more satisfactory.  But when I cut them open there was still a residue of soft dough inside, which I pulled off.  I had watched a video where exactly that happened, so it seems to be a common occurrence.

The recipe I followed was Mary Berry's, from BBC Food.   I reproduce that below, but I actually didn't do the raspberry ones, since I didn't have raspberry powder.  Instead I filled some with cream and topped them with chocolate.  The others are as per the recipe, with the cream mixed with lemon curd.  I didn't bother with piping white chocolate over the top, as I don't think it was necessary, adding little to the overall flavour.

They seem to be fine, but the proof will be in the eating, which will be done later.

It was a worthwhile experience to try this type of confection, though I am unlikely to do it again, since it seems to be a lot of messing about.

The other comment I have on the recipe is that even with 12 eclairs, and I only had ten due to making them slightly larger, 600 ml of cream is rather more than you actually need to fill them.  Yesterday's recipe, which had exactly the same ingredients for the pastry, suggested 400 ml of cream.  That is probably more realistic.


Eclairs - Chocolate and Lemon curd

Ingredients:
For the choux pastry
  • 50g/1¾oz butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 65g/2¼oz plain flour
  • 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 150ml water
For the filling
  • 600ml/1 pint double cream
  • 6 tbsp lemon curd
  • 2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberry powder

For the icing
  • 400g/14oz icing sugar
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • pink food colouring paste
  • yellow food colouring paste
  • 100g/3½oz white chocolate drops, melted
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate drops, melted

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C(fan)/Gas 7. Grease two large baking trays with butter.
  2. For the choux pastry, put the butter and 150ml/5½fl oz water in a small pan over a low heat. Bring slowly to the boil, tip in the flour, then remove from the heat. Stir vigorously.
  3. When the mixture becomes a smooth paste, return the pan to the heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will dry out a little and form a soft ball that comes away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat again, leave the mixture to cool slightly, then gradually add the eggs, beating really well between each addition until the mixture is smooth and glossy. (You may not need all the eggs, the mixture should be a piping consistency.)
  5. Sprinkle the baking tray with water (a water spray with a fine nozzle is good for this).
  6. Spoon the éclair mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in plain nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets into 7.5cm/3in lengths, leaving room between each éclair for them to spread a bit.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190C/170C(fan)/Gas 5 and bake for a further 20 minutes. Split each éclair in half lengthways and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the filling, whip the cream to soft peaks. Divide the cream into separate bowls and fold the lemon curd into one bowl of cream and the raspberry powder into the other.
  9. Once the éclairs have cooled, spoon the lemon cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in plain nozzle and pipe the lemon cream into the bottom half of six éclairs, then spoon the raspberry cream into the piping bag and pipe into the bottom half of the remaining éclairs.
  10. For the icing, place half the icing sugar in a bowl and mix with enough lemon juice to form a very stiff icing. Colour with the yellow food colouring and spoon into a disposable piping bag.
  11. Tip the remaining icing sugar into a bowl and add enough water to make a very stiff icing.
  12. Colour with the pink food colouring and spoon into a disposable piping bag. Snip the ends off the piping bags and pipe on top of the raspberry éclairs. Spread the icing out using a palette knife dipped in boiling water, so the top is smooth.
  13. Repeat with the yellow icing on the remaining six eclairs. Place on top of the lemon cream filled eclairs.
  14. Drizzle the melted white chocolate over the raspberry éclairs in a zig zag pattern. Drizzle swirls of melted dark chocolate over the lemon éclairs. Serve.