Tag Archives: almonds

LITTLE RASPBERRY AND ALMOND CRUMBLE CAKES

raspberry & almond crumble cakeI bloomin’ love these cute little cakes! So much so that it’s a wonder that Mr Colonial Cravings even got a look-in with them. I could have quite cheerfully polished off the lot. I love an almond sponge at the best of times but if you top it off with some crunchy, buttery crumble then there’s a chance that I might just bite your hand off to get to them.

These are really light and fluffy and look so dainty too. Honestly, I just can’t get enough of them. I’d rather have one of these than a cupcake any day. They make me want to drink Darjeeling tea out of bone china cups.
They’re wonderful on their own but even better topped with a dollop of silky clotted cream.

raspberry & almond crumble cake

Ingredients
makes 12

Crumble Topping
65g cold butter
100g plain flour
20g sugar

Sponge
75g butter (room temperature)
100g sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs (separated)
1/3 tsp almond extract
100g ground almonds
50g fine semolina
1 tsp baking powder
50ml milk
Small punnet of fresh raspberries

raspberry & almond crumble cake

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease a muffin tin really well with butter.
Start by making the crumble topping. Simply rub the butter into the flour and sugar with the tips of your fingers. Pop this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Next make the sponge.
Cream together the butter, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and the almond extract and mix again to combine.
Whip the egg whites in another bowl until they hold a stiff peak.

raspberry & almond crumble cake
Mix the almonds, semolina and baking powder into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Use the milk to loosen this before carefully folding in the whipped egg whites using a large metal spoon. Make sure it’s well combined but don’t knock all the air out of the eggs.
Divide the batter between the holes in the muffin tin and then push about 3 raspberries gently into the top of each one. Scatter over a little of the crumble topping and then bake them for about 20 minutes. They should be well risen and golden brown once they are done. Leave them to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes then gently run a pallet knife around the edge of each one before carefully turning them out and popping them on a rack to cool completely before serving.

raspberry & almond crumble cake

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BITTER ORANGE AND PISTACHIO CAKE

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

As much fun as cupcakes and layer cakes are, it’s nice to bake a slightly more grown up cake once in a while. This one is wonderfully fragrant and perfect for a summer afternoon tea, especially if you’re not a frosting obsessed sugar-fiend. (I’m not, honestly.)

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

It’s sweet, but not tooth-achingly so and has lots of sunny citrus flavour. The nuts and semolina give the cake a generous crumb texture and moistness which means that you can make it ahead of time and not worry about it becoming too dry.
A lot of the recipes I looked at when I was researching this particular bake seemed to require a lot of faffing about making candied fruit and peel. This is something I was dis-inclined to do when I knew I had a perfectly good jar of homemade marmalade sitting in the cupboard. It works really well in place of both the fruit and the sugar in the other recipes I’d seen. There’s no need to mess around with making soaking syrups or fancy decoration for it either, a dusting of icing sugar and a scattering of beautifully green chopped pistachios and you’re good to go.

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

Ingredients
serves 12

75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g fine semolina
35g ground almonds
35g ground pistachios
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
150g good quality chunky marmalade
100ml buttermilk

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
Sift together the baking powder and flour and then whisk in the semolina, both types of ground nuts and the salt.
Separate the eggs and whisk the whites in a large clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Pop these to one side.
In another bowl, beat together the egg yolks, oil, buttermilk and marmalade until they are well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, in two batches, mixing well between each addition. Finally fold in the egg whites, using a large metal spoon, in two or three goes.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, until it is golden brown and a skewer comes out cleanly if you give the cake a bit of a poke. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the top with icing sugar and sprinkle with roughly chopped pistachios before serving.

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

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CHOCOLATE PEAR AND ALMOND TART with vanilla-rum cream.

Chocolate pear & almond tart

Pear and almond tart is one of my favourites and it’s very hard to make a dessert worse by adding chocolate to it, so I thought this was worth a shot.

The flavours of this are delicious, not too sweet but very rich. I like to serve it slightly warm so that the the middle is a little gooey.
I’ve used the same crust here as I make for my bakewell tart. It’s not the easiest dough to work with but it produces such a wonderfully buttery crisp base (almost like shortbread) that I feel that it is worth all the stickiness whilst trying to spread it around the tin. If you’re short on time (or inclination) then by all means use a ready prepared pastry case. I promise not to tell anyone. You can use fresh or tinned pears. Fresh obviously taste better and to poach them you just need to peel and core them before simmering them for around five minutes in a simple syrup made from 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. Easy peasy.

Chocolate pear & almond tart

Ingredients
serves 8-10

Pastry
150g plain flour
150g butter
30g icing sugar

Filling
4-6 poached pear halves (depending on size, mine were quite big so I could only fit 4 in the tin – 6 would have looked prettier)
100g butter
100g sugar
80g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

Beat together the butter and icing sugar and then mix in the flour. This should make quite a soft dough. Spread this out into a well-greased, loose-bottomed tart tin. I use a combination of my fingers and the back of a metal spoon to do this. It does get a bit messy I’m afraid.
Once you’ve spread the dough evenly, cover it with a piece of baking parchment and pop it in the fridge to chill and firm up for 15 minutes whilst the oven pre-heats to 180°c. Cover the pastry base and parchment with baking beans and blind bake the case for 20 minutes. After this time remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes, until the pastry is just starting to brown. Set aside to cool a little whilst you make the filling.

Chocolate pear & almond tart

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the almonds and salt before sifting in the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Beat this together, I like to use a hand held electric mixer for this. Whisk together the eggs and almond extract before gradually beating this into the almond mixture.
Fill the pastry case with the frangipane mixture, spread it out evenly and then arrange the pears on top. You can see how I’ve sliced mine but really you can do whatever you like with them, it shouldn’t affect how the tart bakes. Push the pears down into the chocolate frangipane a little and then pop it in the oven for around 35 minutes. Once it’s done the frangipane will have puffed up a little to surround the fruit and it should be slightly crisp on the surface but feel soft to the touch.
Leave to cool a little before serving with a big dollop of the vanilla-rum cream.

Vanilla-rum cream

300ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp dark rum
1 tsp icing sugar

Whisk all the ingredients together until the cream is thick and fluffy. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Chocolate pear & almond tart

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BAKEWELL TART NO-CHURN ICE CREAM

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My Bakewell tart of a few months back has proved very popular so, as the mercury shows no signs of retreating yet, I couldn’t resist bringing the same flavours to some cool, creamy, indulgent ice cream.
I have cheated a little bit and used soft amaretti biscuits in place of the frangipan that would normally adorn a Bakewell tart. The sweet, creamy almond ice cream is off-set by the tangy sharpness of the raspberries. Yummy!
Like all the ice cream recipes on Colonial Cravings, this doesn’t need you to remember to stir it every 30 minutes (hurrah!) and home made ice cream is always more impressive than anything that you buy from the shops. Go on, give it a try…

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Ingredients

300ml double cream
175g condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp fresh or thawed raspberries
1 tbsp raspberry jam
a few soft amaretti biscuits
toasted flaked almonds to serve

Simply put the condensed milk, cream and almond essence into a large bowl and whisk it until the mixture is really fluffy. Crumble the amaretti biscuits into the bowl and gently fold them through the mixture. Lightly mash the raspberries with a fork and stir them into the jam. Swirl this through the ice cream base, try not to over mix it. Transfer the whole lot to a freezable container and pop it in the freezer to firm up and set.

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Sprinkle with a few toasted flaked almonds before serving and if you’re feeling particularly decadent you could even add a little drizzle of Amaretto. Yeah, you know you want to…

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BAKEWELL TART

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For all you non-Brits out there ‘Bakewell’ is a place, not a judgement on your cooking abilities. Like all colloquial dishes, it’s also very controversial. I can fully understand, the mere thought of finding carrot in a pasty fills me with rage.
There’s an awful lot of debate about the correct way to make a Bakewell. Raspberries or cherries? Fresh fruit or jam? Iced or not? Some people even opt for custard fillings.
For me, this is the perfect recipe, crisp buttery pastry, moist almond sponge, jam with just enough tartness from extra fruit and not a hint of icing in sight. I really can’t bear icing.
I will admit that the pastry isn’t the easiest to work with (especially on a warm day) but the results are so delicious it’s totally worth it.

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Ingredients
make 15 slices

Pastry
200g plain flour
200g butter
40g icing sugar

Filling
150g raspberry jam
handful of fresh or frozen raspberries

Frangipane
150g butter
150g sugar
100g ground almonds
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
handful of flaked almonds

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Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and grease a 20cm x 30xcm tin.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and icing sugar, followed by the flour. This should give you a very soft mixture, a little bit like a soft biscuit dough. Spread this into the prepared tin, as best as you can. As I said it’s not the easiest dough to work with because it can be quite be sticky. Even it out and cover it with a sheet of grease proof paper. Pop it in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Once it’s chilled, pile on some baking beans and bake it for 20 minutes. Next, remove the beans, un-cover it and return it to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, until it is lovely and golden. Set this aside to cool a little whilst you prepare the fillings.
Warm the jam a little and stir through the fruit. Spread this evenly across the base.
The final stage is to make the frangipane. Beat together the butter and sugar using an electric hand or stand mixer. Next add in the almonds before sifting in the flour and baking powder. Give this all a good mix. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the eggs and almond extract before beating this into the dry mixture.
Pour this batter evenly over the base and bake 30 minutes. Scatter over the flaked almonds and bake for a further five minutes. It should be a lovely golden brown colour when it’s done.

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Remove it from the oven and sprinkle over a little sugar whilst it’s still warm. Leave it in the tin to cool completely before cutting.
This is really yummy served with a spoonful of clotted cream.

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