Tag Archives: pastry

Rhubarb and Orange Frangipane Tart

The last of the home grown rhubarb is coming this month, after that you need to let the plants rest and regroup.  So I whipped up this Rhubarb and Orange Frangipane Tart to make the most of it while it’s still with us!

Rhubarb and Orange Frangipane Tart

The later season rhubarb isn’t as vibrantly coloured as the younger forced rhubarb you get at the beginning of the year, if you made it with that then this would really be a pink showstopper!  However, the regimented rows of rhubarb are very pleasing to me and the taste is amazing!

Rhubarb and Orange Frangipane Tart

The natural tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the orange frangipane go together so well and make a wonderfully refreshing tart that’s full of flavour.

Rhubarb and Orange Frangipane Tart#

Makes 1 rectangular tart

One sheet ready rolled sweet shortcrust pastry (or make your own but I was short on time!)
~4 sticks rhubarb
85g butter, softened
85g caster sugar
1 egg
85g ground almonds
zest of one large orange, finely grated
1 tbsp caster sugar

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and grease your loose bottomed rectangular tart tin well.
  • Shape and roll the pastry to fit (I had to trim a bit off the sides to make an extension, the scraps then went for jam tarts!)
  • Press the pastry into the tin carefully, leaving a small overhang around the edge.
  • Slice your rhubarb into batons the width of the inside of the pastry shell.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine the butter, sugar, egg, ground almonds and orange zest and beat until well combined and smooth.
  • Scrape the frangipane mixture into the pastry.
  • Place the rhubarb on top of the frangipane evenly.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the top of the frangipane is golden brown and the pastry an even colour.
  • Remove from the oven and trim away the excess pastry from the edges with a sharp knife.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin then carefully unmould.
  • Serve with fresh clotted cream for a delightful afternoon treat!



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Filed under Moderately easy, quick, Teatime Treats

Apple Pie Slices

These Apple Pie Slices are a quick and easy way to bake up some lovely pastries for guests, snacks, afternoon tea or even a naughty breakfast!  (What?  Apples are a fruit ergo it’s healthy!)

Apple Slices

They are deliciously flakey and actually not too sweet.  They are also super quick and easy to throw together!

Apple Slices

They use my Apple Pie Jam as the filling but you could substitute with a bought apple jelly if you preferred. I would add a pinch of cinnamon to it though for maximum tastiness!

Apple Slices

I also use bought puff pastry because nobody outside of the Great British Bake Off tent has time for that nonsense!

Apple Slices

Makes 8

1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
1/2 jar Apple Pie Jam
 tbsp milk
3 tbsp demarera sugar

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and line 2 baking trays.
  • Cut your pastry into 16 equal pieces.
  • Put a spoonful of jam in the centre of half of them.
  • Prick the remaining slices with a fork to make little holes in the top.
  • Put these pieces on top of the jam ones and press down all around with a fork to crimp the edges closed.
  • Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  You will probably have to switch the trays over halfway through if they are on different shelves.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before you eat them.  They are equally good cold!


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Aspara-bacon Quiche

Ah, Quiche!  The poor quiche has a bit of a bad rep simple because it has a bit of a funny sounding name!  But we should not mock the quiche for it is delicious!  Throughout the summer months I will frequently have one in the fridge just waiting to be grabbed for causal lunches, a picnic, a light supper.  It’s a very versatile dish and once you have the basics down you can whip one up in no time!

Asparabacon Quiche

This little quiche is an asparabacon quiche.  Asparabacon is one of the finest flavour combinations so adding it to a quiche seemed like a brilliantly obvious step!

Asparabacon Quiche

I’m not going to lie though, I think I’ve had it with pastry!  I CAN make pastry, sure.  It’s not that hard… but I hate it.  It’s just one of those fiddly jobs that I just don’t really enjoy.  I think that these days you can get some good ready made pastry at a decent price in any supermarket so I may just throw the towel in and go for an easy life!  We shall see!

Asparabacon Quiche

There’s an entire bundle of asparagus in this small quiche, which is a lot, yes, but ASPARAGUS! Fresh, British Asparagus too!  If you want to dial back the asparagus that’s cool, but why not indulge yourself a bit?

Asparabacon Quiche


Serves 4 / Makes 1x 8″ quiche

150g plain flour
50g butter
25g trex (or just 75g butter)
1-2 tbsp cold water

6 large eggs
200 ml milk
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 bungle asparagus spears, trimmed of the woody end
125g smoked bacon lardons
25g grated cheese

– Put the flour, butter and trex in a mixing bowl and rub together with your hands until it forms a breadcrumb consistency.
– Add the water a little at a time mixing until it comes together into a dough.
– Shape into a flat round, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface into a rough circle.  It should be about the thickness of a £1 coin and large enough to cover an 8″ sandwich tin with a little overhang.
– Gently pick the dough up using the rolling pin and drape it gently into the 8″ sandwich tin, lightly press down into the edges and smooth up the sides and over the lip making sure there are no trapped air bubbles.
– Cover the pastry with foil and fill with baking beans.
– Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and gently remove the foil and baking beans.  If it won’t release evenly put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
– Bake uncovered for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is just cooked and has lost that sickly pale look!
-Prepare your filling: Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a jug.
– Scatter the bacon and asparagus evenly over the pastry shell.
– Pour the egg mixture into the pastry shell.  If you’ve got it right and there are no holes this is where your filling should stay.  If you’ve got it wrong, well, that why it’s on a baking tray!
– Scatter the grated cheese on top.
– Pop it back into the oven (if it’s leaking get it back in as quickly as you can so that egg seals the hole!)
– Bake at gas mark 5 for 45 minutes until the egg is set in the centre and the top is a golden brown.
– Leave to cool completely before running a sharp knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the pastry.
– Place the bottom on a sturdy bowl smaller than the tin and press down evenly to unmould it.
– Run a sharp knife between the pastry and the tin base to separate it.
– Serve and enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Mains, Moderately easy, Starters, Teatime Treats

Chicken Pot Pie


There is something innately comforting about a simple chicken pot pie.  The combination of simple ingredients adds up to make a dish that just hits all my comfort spots!  Flaky pastry, creamy filling (without any actual cream!) chicken and vegetables, it’s pure comfort in a dish and the perfect way to warm up at this time of year.

Chicken Pot Pie

The great thing about these individual pies is that I can make up a batch of 4 and then freeze 3 of them, leaving me with an easy dish to grab and shove in the oven on days when I need something quick, tasty and nutritious!  It’s always a great feeling knowing I have some of these stashed away in the freezer, and they’re equally good for whipping out for an unexpected dinner guest!


Makes 4

1/2 quantity Rough Puff Pastry / bought block of puff or shortcrust pastry

2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stick celery, sliced finely
1 cup frozen peas
1 chicken stock cube
1 litre boiling water
40g butter (can use oil)
3 tbsp corn flour
salt and pepper to taste
milk to glaze (beaten egg if you want it shiny!)

– Heat a little oil in a large, deep frying pan.
– Add the chicken, onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is just catching colour.
–  Dissolve your stock cube in the boiling water and set aside.
– In a small saucepan melt the butter then add the corn flour and stir together to make roux.
– Add the hot chicken stock and keep stirring until it thickens.
– Add the peas to your large frying pan.
– Pour over the thickened stock.
– Season to your taste.
– Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes. Check you are happy with the seasoning.
– Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface to about 5mm thick.
– Cut around at least 1cm larger than your chosen pie dish.
– Divide the mixture equally between your pie dishes.
– Use a pastry brush (silicone, always silicone!) to brush the edge of your pie dish with milk.
– Place the pastry top gently over the pie dish and press evenly to seal.
– Make a little hole on the centre for steam to escape.  You can also decorate your pies with the spare pastry if you wish. (Add guest’s names for a dinner party, I love that!)
– At this point you can wrap in cling film and freeze any pies you don’t want right away.
– When you are ready to cook them brush the top with milk and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at gas mark 6/200C.


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Christmas Pie

Christmas is tradtionally a time of leftovers.  We’ve got just about all of the sandwich suitable turkey off it now so now it is time to think of other things to make with the bits and pieces left over.  There are lots of options available but few I’d actually enjoy.  Pie seemed the way to go.  Not only can you use the turkey but there’s nothing stopping you from using up some stuffing or leftover vegetables or even a few dollops of cranberry sauce.  Got a ham? Pop it in too!  Whatever is left or takes your fancy, within reason, then in it goes!  I usually keep things simple.  I might do turkey, stuffing and cranberry but I’d leave out the vegetables.  Ham, turkey and vegetables go well together too.  If you’ve got a lot of mash then why not skip the pastry and use that?  It really does depend entirely upon what you have and what you like.  If you’ve only got turkey to play with then a simple turkey and mushroom pie is great too. 

Makes 1 average pie dish serving 4 people. 

For the pastry:
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g butter, chilled and diced
50g Trex (white vegetable fat), chilled and diced
3-4 tbsp chilled water

– Mix together the flour and salt.
– Add the butter and Trex and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 
– Add 3 -4 tbsp cold water by sprinkling it evenly over the surface fo the mixture.  (I used 3 tbsp and a bit.)
– Using a flat bladed knife mix it together until it forms a dough. 
– Gather it together with your hands and lightly knead for a few seconds to bring it together. 
– Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm.  Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

For the filling:
1 onion, chopped
a good splash of olive oil
2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 pint chicken stock

– First saute your onion with a pinch of salt in a little oil in a frying pan.  Add whatever leftovers you’re using and stir gently to combine. 
– In a separate small pan add a good splash of oil, at least enough to cover the base of the pan. 
– Gently heat this until it just starts to shimmer a bit then add the corn flour.  Whisk rapidly to combine. 
– Pour in your chicken stock, still whisking and keep stiring until it is a smooth sauce. 
– Pour this sauce into the other pan and stir well to mix. 

To make pie:

– Lightly flour the worksurface and the rolling pin, not the pastry. 
– Turn out the chilled dough onto the worksurface and roll it out in one direction, turning it as you go until it reaches about 3 mm thick. 
– Place your pie dish upsidedown on top of the pastry and cut a line around the dish about 1 cm out to leave room for shrinkage. 
– Cut a second line around this about 1.5 cm thick.
– Fill the pie dish with the filling.
– Moisten the edge of your dish with a finger dipped in water then press the 1.5 cm thick strip round the outside of the dish trimming the length to fit.   
– Moisten this pastry with water again then lay the rest of the pastry over the top using the rolling pin to help lift it across. 
– I fluted the edges of this pie.  It’s very simple.  You basically place the thumb and index finger of one hand on the ‘inside’ of the pie and with the index finger of the other hand press the edge of the crust inwards between the two fingers of the other hand.  Move round the pie and keep going until the whole edge is fluted. 

– With any spare pastry I like to make decorations for the top of the pie.*  I went for a Christmassy snowman and Christmas trees.  Again just dampen any pastry you’re pressing together to make it stick. 
– Once you’re done brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and cook in an oven preheated to gas mark 7 for 40 minutes until the pastry is a golden brown and the contents heated through.  If it starts to look too brown then cover with foil or butter papers** for the remaining cooking time. 

* And any spare spare pastry I stamp out shapes with cutters, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated parmesan to make cheesy biscuits. 

** I keep the butter papers when I’ve used a block for covering things like this.  It saves on foil and is a great little recycling tip!

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Rough Puff Pastry

I could make puff pastry from scratch the proper way… but I haven’t yet found a dish where I think it’s actually worth it!  This is a perfectly acceptable ‘rough’ puff pastry.  I saw Nigella’s recipe for making puff pastry in a food processor and started off with that but then went by way of this ancient tome “Farmhouse Cookery” we have because it was much more helpful in the method.  I did use the food processor to do the first bit but frankly5 minutes and a knife would have the same effect.  Yes, it would technically take longer but once you factor in getting the food processor out, set up, used and washed up you’re probably more than even.  But I’m washing up phobic so I always choose the method with the least amount! 

250g strong plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
250g butter, cut into 1/2 cm slices
1 tsp lemon juice
5-6 tbsp chilled water

– Mix together the flour and salt. 
– Add the butter and either pulse 3-4 times or cut the butter into the flour repeatedly.  Chunks of butter will still be visible. 
– Add the lemon juice and enough water to bring the dough together. 
– Get in there with your hand to bring the dough together in a ball. 
– Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
– Unwrap the dough and roll out on a floured worksurface into a large rectangle 3 times longer than it is wide. 
– Fold into thirds (bring the right third over onto the centre third then the left side over on top of that), turn 90* and roll out again. 
– Fold into thirds again, turn another 90* and roll out again. 
– Repeat another 3-4 times.  The dough will become harder and harder to roll out as you go and the buttery chunks will disappear. 
– Fold the dough again and rewrap in clingfilm and chill for another 30 minutes. 
– Unwrap and roll out the dough to your desired thickness on a lightly floured surface.

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Filed under Basic, Moderately easy

Mince Pies

I made the first mince pies of the season today!  It’s Christmas!!!   I tend not to start on the mince pies until about now as I love them but I know that if I started at the beginning of December I would be sick of them by Christmas day after the inevitable eating half a dozen in one sitting incident!  They were made with homemade mincemeat and homemade pastry.  Words cannot describe how wholesome I feel right now.  The mincemeat takes 2 weeks to mature so if you want to have a go at making your own then it’s not too late. 

Makes 12

1 quantity shortcrust pastry (So so so easy to make, don’t be afraid!  It’s way better than store bought.)
1  jar mincemeat (Or buy a jar if you don’t have the time.)
1 egg white
3 tbsp sugar

– Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6. 
– Very lightly butter or oil a 12 hole bun tin, preferably straight sided but round is fine. 
– Roll out the shortcrust pastry to a thickness of about a £1 coin.  (2-3mm)
– Cut out 12 large and 12 smaller circles to fit the bun tin.  You will have to reroll the pastry. 
– Press the larger circles into the bun tins being careful not to leave air bubbles underneath. 
– Put a teaspoon of mincemeat in the pastry cases. 
– Run a wet finger round the top of the pastry cases. 
– Place a smaller circle on top and lightly press down. 
– If you have any remaing pastry cut out holly leaves and roll berries. 
– Put a dab of water on top of the pie and place your decorations on carefully. 
– Stab a small hole in the top of the pie with a paring knife, I like to do it between the leaves, to allow steam to escape. 
– Add a few drops of water to the egg white and beat until loose. 
– Brush over the tops of the pies and sprinkle each one with the sugar. 
– Bake for 25 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even browness. 
– Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving warm or allow to cook completely on a wire rack. 

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Mini Quiche Recipe

Mega baking session this morning as my sister went into hospital yesterday for 4 days and hates the food.  I needed to cook up lots of things to take to her today to tempt her!  She loves these mini quiche as they’re perfect to nibble on and much lighter than a regular quiche.  I sometimes make them in a mini muffin tin and then they really puff up!  I’ve also made them as starters in tartlet tins. 

Mini quiche

Makes 9-12 dependent on the size of your bun pan.  But it can easily be increased to whatever yield you want. 

125g shortcrust pastry (approx 1/4 of a pack)
3 spring onions, sliced
2 cm cheddar cheese (I just cut 2 large slices off the block) cut into small chunks
2 eggs
splash of milk
pinch of salt

– Heat to oven to gas mark 6. 
– Roll out the pastry to a thickness of a pound coin and use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of pastry to fit your tin. 
– Press each round lightly into the tin. 
– Divide the spring onions and cheese between the pastry cases.
– Beat together the eggs, milk and salt. 
– Pour the egg mix equally into each pastry case on topof the cheese and onions.
– Put the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the egg is puffed up and just golden. 
– Eat warm or cold.

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Free Food!!!

Tis the season for blackberries and apples.  We have a glut of both.  While walking the dog we’re picking pounds and pounds of blackberries and the little Discovery tree in our garden is positively laden down with fruit.  I love the apples from our tree, they’re deliciously sweet and the flesh is a gorgeous pink colour, almost like a peach when you take the skin off!  They’re not actually a cooking apple but I find that they hold their texture and flavour very well. 


The question is what to do with all the bloody things?

One answer is this simple Blackberry and Apple Pie Recipe

Serves 6

300g shortcrust pastry
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tbsp corn flour
a few good handfuls of blackberries
6 tbsp golden caster sugar
milk to brush

– Preheat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about a pound coin. 
– Cut round your pie dish to get the top. 
– Having cored, peeled and sliced your apples toss them in a small bowl with the cornflour and half the sugar. 
– Mix the blackberries and apples together in the pie dish and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar. 
– Place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp the edges with a fork.  I like to use the spare pastry to make a picture of what is in the pie and put that on the top too.  If there’s enough left I frequently make a mini pie/tart in a silicone baking cup to have in my lunch. 
– Brush the top of the pastry with milk and then bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown. 
– Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream. 

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Filed under Desserts, Easy

Apricot Tart Recipe

Serves 8

500g shortcrust pastry (I buy ready made as I do not have a way with pastry)
800g apricots
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 pint water
1 tsp almond extract

– Roll out the pastry until a few millimeters thick and place over a flan dish.  Trim off with a knife and prick the bottom of the tart all over with a fork. 
– Bake blind (line with foil and put baking beans on top) at Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes. 
– Take 600 of the apricots and halve them, removing the stones. 
– Put the water, almond extract and the sugar in a medium sized heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil. 
– Put the halved apricots skin up in the pan and simmer for 3 minutes.  It is best to do this in batches. 
– Remove the apricots to a bowl using a slatted spatula. 
– Take the remaining 200g apricots and slice up into segments. 
– Place these in the pan with the liquid and cook for 10 minutes, boiling constantly, until the fruit is very soft.  Keep stiring occasionally.
– Turn off the heat and use a hand blender in the pan to puree the fruit. 
– Spread half of the puree on the base of the flan. 
-Arrange the halves fruit skin up on top of the puree then use a pastry brush to spread the rest of the puree on top of the fruit. 
– Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes. 

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Filed under Desserts, Easy, Teatime Treats