Yesterday I made the lightest and most delicious scones I’ve ever eaten. They are “Lily’s Scones” from Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a Domestic Goddess” book and I can’t think why I hadn’t tried them until now. You probably all already know about them but here’s the recipe, just in case. Oh, and I served them with Diana Henry’s “nearly” strawberry jam which I made the other day; it’s a quick way of making jam and perfect for this time of year when strawberries are in abundance. It’s a fairly runny jam (just like my Norwegian grandmother used to make, actually) and deliciously fresh-tasting.
Diana Henry’s “Nearly” Strawberry Jam
- 350g strawberries, hulled and gently wiped clean
- 75g granulated sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Quarter the large strawberries and leave the small ones whole
- Place them in a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice
- Set on the simmering plate and stir a little until the sugar dissolves
- Roughly mash the fruit with a fork or potato masher. You want to end up with a mixture which is part purée, part chunks of fruit
- Remove to the simmering oven for about an hour until it’s thickened somewhat, but remember, this is a runny jam
- Pour into a bowl and leave to cool or into a lidded jar for storing in the refrigerator where it will keep for at least four days
Diana Henry says you could make a larger batch and freeze some.
(Makes about 12)
(You will need your large Aga baking tray, lined with bake-o-glide and a 6 1/2 cm crinkle-edged cutter)
- 500g plain flour
- 1tsp (or perhaps a little less) salt
- 2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
- 41/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 50g cold unslated butter, diced
- 25g lard, in teaspooned lumps
- 300ml milk
- 1 large egg, beaten, for egg-wash
- Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl
- Rub in the fats till it goes like damp sand
- Add the milk all at once, mix briefly and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough
- Roll out very gently to about 3cm thickness
- Dip the cutter into some flour, then stamp out your scones. You will need to reroll for the last couple
- Place them on the baking tray and brush the tops with the egg-wash
- Slide onto the second set of runners in the roasting oven and leave for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden
Serve with jam and Rodda’s clotted cream: the jam goes on first and the cream on top, as my Cornish daughter-in-law insists.
I hope it’s still correct to say apples are in season, because it’s already a couple of weeks since I made this apple cake with autumn in mind and only now am I getting round to writing about it. On the other hand, it’s not exactly a seasonal cake because we all cook with apples throughout the year and to make this cake I bought Bramley apples from the supermarket.
Regular readers will remember that I like making apple cakes and prefer them to pies and crumbles, partly because they work both as puddings (with whipped cream, say) and as teatime cakes.
You can’t have two many apple cake recipes in your repertoire, in my view, and I’m happy to add this Delia recipe to mine. The lazy baker in me particularly appreciated the fact that peeling the Bramleys is optional. That was a no brainer: I didn’t peel them.
To make the job even simpler I used the all-in-one method to mix all the ingredients together before folding in the apples and orange zest.
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Bramley apples
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 75g butter, softened
- Grated zest of an orange
- 1 tbsp milk (if needed)
- A little icing sugar
- Conventional oven: pre-heat to 180ºC
- Grease and base-line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin
- Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into your mixing bowl and add the butter, sugar and eggs
- Beat until thoroughly blended. I used my KitchenAid. You could use an electric hand whisk
- Chop the apples into small dice (with or without peel, remember) and fold into the mixture with the orange zest. Add a little milk if the mixture seems dry
- Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin
- Bake in the baking oven of your Aga (or in the centre of a conventional oven at 180ºC) for about 1 hour, but do check on it every 10 minutes or so after the first half hour. I put a piece of greaseproof paper loosely on top at this point because my cake was looking a little dark
- The cake is done when it feels springy to touch and is starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so before turning out onto a rack
- Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve
I don’t see myself as much of a maker of puddings or desserts; I’m nervous about pastry and anyway, during the week there simply isn’t time to make a dessert. In all honesty I’d rather bake a cake to have with a cup of tea in the afternoon and then just eat some chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth at the end of a meal. But, as I wrote here, I’m not eating chocolate anymore.
On Sundays, as I think I’ve mentioned before, my mother-in-law usually makes a pudding for us all. I’ll make one if we have friends round or to take to friends if we’re invited to lunch or supper. I’ll also make a dessert when it’s my turn to host book club or film club.
Raspberry and Cinnamon Torte
The raspberry and cinnamon torte I wrote about in my tumblr days is one of our favourites:
This bakewell cake by Fay Ripley, which my Twitter friend @lesleyj28 alerted me to recently, could serve as a dessert or a teatime cake. I pounced on the recipe because it contains everything that’s delicious and good about a bakewell tart (almonds, raspberry jam!) but no pastry. I love pastry but (see above) don’t love making it. Without the need to make pastry, this cake is mixed and baked in no time. I used to watch Fay Ripley in Cold Feet on the telly (LOVED it) and had heard about her recipes but had not tried them before. As I began to make this, I realised how similar it is to my torte. It is a little more “cake-y” (two eggs instead of one), has jam in it and doesn’t contain cinnamon but apart from that it’s the same. In fact, if I made it again, I’d probably replace the vanilla extract with cinnamon, but that’s just my personal preference. Also – a small point – I didn’t have any flaked almonds in the cupboard so scattered over chopped almonds instead: a poor compromise on Fay’s recipe, we later all agreed.
- 150g butter, softened
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 150g SR flour
- 150g ground almonds
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tsp raspberry jam
- 150g raspberries (I used frozen because it was all I had)
- 50g flaked almonds
- Grease a 22cm springform tin and base-line with bake-o-glide or baking parchment
- In a mixer, food processor or with an electric hand whisk combine the butter, sugar, flour, almonds, eggs and vanilla extract (oh how I love the all-in-one method!)
- Place half the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing it out, and dot the raspberry jam over, half a teaspoon at a time. Scatter the raspberries over
- Drop spoonfuls of the remaining mixture over the fruit but don’t worry if there are gaps; it will spread in the oven
- Scatter over the flaked almonds
- Bake for about 40 minutes in the Aga baking oven (or a little longer in a conventional oven at 180ºc). Not easy to test this cake with a skewer because the raspberries make it a little wet in the middle. It should be golden brown and springy to touch when done
Couldn’t be simpler.
I love making raspberry muffins too, although I see them as more of a coffee or teatime thing than a dessert. I also wrote about these on my tumblr: