Saturday, 26 July 2014

BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

I will admit that my last blondie recipe (strawberry blondes) wasn’t really a blondie, delicious nonetheless, but not really a blondie. It didn’t have the density, that chewiness that blondies have. I will also admit that I thought blondies were called that because they used white chocolate and after eating quite a lot of them on my coffee break at uni and researching, I realised its because of the soft brown sugar. Weird how you use a darker sugar and it gets called a lighter name (my excuse for not knowing).  So this recipe is all about capturing that. It’s a blondie recipe at its simplest, the only addition being a browning of the butter to give an even deeper, richer flavour.  

125g butter
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g flour
A splash of milk (if necessary)

Makes 8 

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4.
Line and grease a 8x8 brownie tin.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and leave to simmer for a good few minutes once fully melted. When the butter is properly bubbly keep an eye on the colour and smell, when it starts to ripple brown when stirred, and smell slightly nutty, remove from the heat. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl then add the sugar. Stir together well until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and give another mix. Finally, add the flour. Beat well until you have a thick, almost sticky batter. It should be like this, but if it is too stiff add a little splash of milk to loosen. Pour the mixture into the tin and even out.


Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is cracked looking but you can feel the blondie still has a firm squidgy-ness (the density is what you want). Leave to cool in the tin before removing and cutting one way 4 times, and the other way 2, so that you have 8 strips. These go perfectly with a coffee. 


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

APRICOT AND ALMOND FRITTATA

This is a mega speedy dessert, made in my favourite miniature frying pan, but if you want to make one to feed a few people just triple the recipe I’d say. It’s like a pastry-less almond-y custard tart, but filled with juicy tart apricots. A sweet frittata. It takes no time but tastes like it took a long time. Win.  

1 egg
Splash of milk
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
3 tbsp amaretto liqueur
3 apricots, sliced in half, stones removed
Tiny knob of butter and ½ tsp golden caster sugar for frying

In a small bowl mix beat together the egg, milk, sugar and 2 tbsps of the amaretto to make a smooth batter for the frittata.

Preheat the grill ready for browning the top of the frittata. Melt the butter over a low flame in a miniature frying pan with ½ tsp of sugar. Add the apricots, halved faces down first off and fry for about 20 seconds. Flip them over, so the halves are facing upwards then add 1 tbsp of the amaretto and fry for about 20-30 seconds.

Pour over the batter and swish around the pan a little. Allow to set, swishing occasionally for about 2-3 minutes until there only remains a little bit of thin batter in the pan. At this point place under the grill (leaving the handle outside) to brown, rise and set the rest of the batter. It will probably take about 1 minute to set.


Once ready, slide off the pan onto a little place and enjoy this mini sweet take on a savoury classic. 


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

RHUBARB AND RASPBERRY PIE

I suppose this pie could be called ‘pink pie’ since the insides are all pink, but I opted for the other alliteration of ‘rhubarb and raspberry’ as the title since you also have to know what’s in there. It’s a pie that’s quite summery actually, even though most pies are autumnal/wintery. The sharpness of both of the fruits help liven this little classic up and, served with some ice cream, it makes a perfect post-dinner treat.

200g plain flour
100g cold butter
About 6 tbsp water
175g raspberries
175g rhubarb, chopped
75g golden sugar
2 extra tbsps flour
1 egg
A little extra sugar for sprinkling

Make the pastry by blitzing the flour and butter, or rubbing in by hand. Slowly add the water and mix until a dough just about forms. Transfer it onto a sheet of cling-film, wrap around and press into a ball. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Mix together the raspberries, chopped rhubarb, sugar and flour in a bowl then set to one side.

Heat the oven to fan170/190/5.
Once chilled, allow the pastry to warm up for 5 minutes before rolling out and using just over half to line a small pie dish. Press the pastry into the corners of the dish with a little ball of the excess pastry then take a knife around the edges of the pie to cut off any that is hanging over. Fill the now pastry-lined dish with the fruit. Re-roll the left over pastry into a circle for the lid. Lay over the top of the pie and cut away any large excess, but leave a slight overhang to turn under for sealing. Press a fork around the entire outside of the pie to seal the two pastry layers together and create a crimped look. Slice 2 holes in the centre of the pie to let the steam escape. You can make any shapes to stick on top with the left over pastry, but I crafted a ‘R + R Pie’ design, which looked rough, but quite charming.

Beat the egg with a folk then brush over the top of the pie to help give a shiny finish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the fruit bubbles out of the little slit. Sprinkle over some sugar to finish and serve hot.