Baking with Raspberries

 

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:

Bakewell Cake

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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.

 

IMG_2705

 

Raspberry Muffins

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:

Weekend Cooking

It’s probably very dull and predictable that I almost always go food shopping on a Friday to get what we need for the weekend.  I know I’m not alone in this because I invariably bump into friends doing the same thing.  In fact, Waitrose can be a very sociable place on a Friday morning!

Sometimes meals have been planned and I’ve drawn up a shopping list of ingredients (on my phone – I add to it throughout the week), but some weeks I hope I’ll be inspired by something I see at the butcher’s or in the supermarket.  Last Friday was one of those times.  I bought duck breasts, half a shoulder of lamb and a kilo of minced beef in case I changed my mind about the duck breasts.  When in doubt, make a bolognese or a chilli, is my motto.  The mince is now in the freezer and I slow-roasted the lamb on Sunday.

Duck Breasts 

Because we were going to be watching the Six Nations rugby on Saturday afternoon, I wanted to keep my duck breast recipe simple.  I used two duck breasts for three of us.  If your duck breasts are as large as ours were, you need less than a whole one per person.

Score the fat of your duck breasts and season.  Peel and cut into cubes one medium potato per person and place in a roasting tin in a single layer.  Place the breasts in a cold, non-stick frying pan on the Aga simmering plate (conventional: medium heat) skin side down.  Cook for 8 minutes, pouring the fat as you go along into the roasting tin into which you’ve placed the potatoes.  It would be sensible to line the tin with bake-o-glide (I forgot) because the potatoes might stick a little (as mine did).

After the 8 minutes, place the now golden breasts skin side up on a rack over the potatoes in the roasting tin and cook in the roasting oven (conventional 220ºc) for a further 15 minutes for a pink centre.  If you prefer them well done, increase this time by 5 minutes or so.  Make sure all the delicious fat from the frying pan has gone into the roasting tin.

While this is happening put the frying pan back on the simmering plate and add about a glass of red wine and a little stock (whatever you have to hand; I used Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder).  Let that bubble and thicken a little and then stir in some redcurrant jelly until melted.  I’m not giving you quantities here.  Just think of how many people you are serving; all you need is a little jus to pour over.

Pour the jus into a jug and keep this at the back of the Aga, take the duck breasts out of the oven and continue to cook the potatoes until they are golden brown, tender and crisp.  Keep the breasts warm; they need to rest for 5-10 minutes anyway before being sliced thickly and served.  We ate ours with buttered cabbage.

 

If you like duck, I can also recommend this Chinese-style duck leg recipe by the excellent food blogger “Eat like a girl”.  It’s where I got the idea for the potatoes in the above dish.  I have made it many times, often for guests and a couple of times for 12 people: I just used two large Aga roasting tins in the roasting oven, one on the second set of rungs and one on the fourth, and swapped them over half way through cooking.  As I’ve probably mentioned before, I love dishes that can be cooked in one dish/pot/tin.  All you need to accompany this one is some pak choi stir-fried in a little oil with some soy sauce.

Tart

This weekend I also made this “Eat like a girl” Blueberry and Cardamom Frangipane Tart.  (More cardamom, I hear you say.  I’m not even going to apologise.)  She only posted the recipe this week so probably hasn’t had much feedback yet.  I can tell you we loved it.  It’s very Scandinavian and would work as a dessert, with morning coffee or afternoon tea.  I thoroughly recommend it.